Live a Longer and Happier Life With These 8 Frugal Buys


Life has its ups and downs. Despite the problems we face, most of us would give anything to maximize longevity. Fortunately, there's plenty you can do to have a long, fulfilling life. Some things are fairly obvious, such as quitting a bad habit like smoking, and avoiding life-threatening behaviors. What you might not realize, however, is that certain purchases also have a hand in extending your lifespan. Here are eight things you can buy to help you live longer.

1. Books

After finishing high school or college, maybe you vowed never to pick up another book again. Reading was no doubt a grueling chore while you were cramming for an exam, but there are benefits to making reading a regular routine. According to a new study, reading can boost cognitive function, and people who read for at least 30 minutes a day can extend their lives and live two years longer than those who don't read.

2. A Cat

If you're thinking about getting a pet, don't automatically assume a dog is the better choice. Some cats aren't as social or playful as dogs. Nonetheless, owning a cat can be good for your heart and have a positive effect on your life. The National Health and Nutrition Examination study followed 4,500 men and women over a 20-year period. More than half of the participants owned a cat during their lives. The study found that people who never had a cat were 30% more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than those who had owned a cat.

3. Floss

Brushing your teeth at least two times a day contributes to oral health. But if you're looking to add years to your life, don't forget to floss. The American Dental Association recommends daily flossing, and for good reason. Flossing — which helps remove particles of food from places a toothbrush can't reach — can add as much as six years to your life. The benefits of flossing have recently been hotly debated, but not flossing increases the risk of gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). Gingivitis can lead to heart disease, stroke, and infection.

4. Sunscreen

Whether you're at the beach, an amusement park, driving in the car, or working in your garden, it's important to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays with sunscreen. Sunshine is an excellent source of vitamin D, but too much exposure can be deadly. Having more than five sunburns can double your risk for melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Therefore, always apply sunscreen before exposing your skin to the sun, and reapply as directed.

5. Coffee

You don't have to feel guilty about starting your morning with a cup of Joe. Coffee can provide a much-needed energy boost to get through the day, and it can help you live longer. Researchers found that coffee has antioxidants that protect our bodies from damage. The beverage can reduce the risk of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and type 2 diabetes. But it's important to drink in moderation. Too much caffeine also increases blood pressure and can cause sleep problems.

6. Bike

One or more days a week, ride your bike to work or while running errands. And if you have a regular exercise routine, incorporate cycling a few days a week. Researchers have found a link between riding a bike and living longer. For every hour you bike, you can add one hour to your life.

7. Blood Pressure Monitor

You probably don't give your blood pressure a second thought — but you should. High blood pressure is a silent killer because it increases the risk of stroke and heart disease. Rather than wait for a health crisis to learn you have high blood pressure, invest in a blood pressure monitor and regularly check your levels to ensure they remain within a healthy range (less than 120/80 mm Hg).

Blood pressure can fluctuate throughout the day, and you may have higher than normal readings after exercising or eating. If your numbers are consistently high, talk to your doctor. With lifestyle changes or medication you can lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of early death.

8. A Wedding Ring

Maybe you're happy living a bachelor or bachelorette life. Even so, there are benefits to tying the knot. Not only can you enjoy companionship, a study conducted by Duke University Medical Center found that people who never marry were "more than twice as likely to die early in life than those people in long-term, stable relationships." The study followed 4,800 people born in the 1940s. These findings support other studies, which found that married people had a lower risk of heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer.

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Guest's picture

"If you're thinking about buying a pet"... please change "buying" to "adopting" (or at least include both). Adopting is a far more responsible option.