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Save Money and Improve Health in 2018

How can you manage health and wealth wisely in 2018? Here are some small steps to help you begin.

Nashville, Ark. – With the New Year, thoughts of setting goals often turn to improving health and/or increasing wealth. In fact, these are the two most popular New Year’s Resolutions made annually. Both are important resources for living a happy and successful life.

            Health and personal finances are both closely associated with happiness. Research data indicate that four factors strongly predict happiness and well-being in most cultures: health, economic status, employment, and family relationships. Studies indicate that people are happier when they are healthy, employed, married or in a long-term committed relationship, and financially secure.

            People “invest” in their health through healthy lifestyle choices, just like they invest in wealth-building assets such as stock or a college education. Good health has been identified as a major factor in the accumulation of household wealth. High medical expenses and unhealthy habits, such as smoking, erode household wealth and claim income that might otherwise be used to save or reduce debt.

            So how can you manage health and wealth wisely in 2018? Here are some small steps you can begin with.

            Pay yourself first. Set up a payroll automatic deduction into our savings account. Build up an emergency fund to pay for unexpected expenses such as a flat tire or appliance repair/replacement. Adopt “preventative care” health routines such as washing hands frequently, exercising at least 30 minutes daily five days a week, and eating more fruits and vegetables for example.

            Keep a log of spending habits. Develop a budget and stick with it. Keep a diary of your food and drink for several days. Develop a healthy eating plan that works for you and follow it. Keeping written records, although tedious, has been shown to be an effective way to track current practices and make behavioral changes in eating, exercise, and spending.

            Balance your spending and saving to get out of debt. Develop a plan to pay off your debts. Financial planners often recommend paying off the debt with the lowest balance first by increasing that payment until paid in full. Balance your calories and activity level with food and beverage intake to lose excess pounds or maintain a healthy weight.

            Remember the phrase, “If it is to be, it is up to me.” Set realistic goals, take small steps to reach them, learn from your setbacks, and believe in yourself and your capacity to become healthy and wealthy. If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else will either. As Walt Disney once observed “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

            For more information on basic nutrition and financial management, contact the Howard County Extension Office at 870-845-7517 or visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse. You can also find information at or e-mail me at

Recipe of the Week

            Looking for a recipe for cold winter nights? This one fits the bill. It is delicious, easy to make and costs less than $.60 per serving.

Chicken Noodle Soup

2 chicken leg quarters

6 cups water

1 Tablespoon dried parsley

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup chopped celery

½ cup chopped onion

2 cups sliced carrots

2 cups whole grain, wide egg noodles

            Put chicken and water in a large stock pot. Bring water to a simmer. Cook until chicken reaches 165ºF.

            While chicken is cooking, clean and chop vegetables. Take chicken out of water with tongs or fork. Cool in refrigerator about 5 to 10 minutes.

            Add parsley, Italian seasoning, pepper, salt, celery, onion and carrots to the pot of hot water. Once chicken is cool enough to handle, remove bones and skin from chicken and discard. Cut meat into bite-sized pieces and add to the pot of hot water. Bring to a boil.

            When water is boiling, add noodles, cook according to package directions or about 5 minutes.

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


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