39 | TAKE AN ASPIRIN...and maybe you won't have to call any doctor in the morning. If you're a man over 40, a woman past menopause or a smoker or have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or a family history of heart disease, you can sharply lower your risk of a heart attack by taking an aspirin every day or every other day (consult your doctor first). The cost of aspirin: about 20˘ a day. The average cost of treating a heart attack: $25,000, including hospital, doctor and drug bills.
40 | STRESS LESS Between 60% and 90% of doctor visits stem from stress-related factors, says Dr. Herbert Benson, founder of the Mind/Body Medical Institute. So chill out: Take a yoga class, listen to music and exercise for at least 30 minutes a day.
41 | STUB YOUR BUTT You know those coffin nails aren't cheap ($4.35 a pack on average or more than $1,500 a year if you smoke a pack a day). But consider the extra costs of lighting up: $1,600 more a year in health-care costs than for nonsmokers, plus a 10% surcharge on homeowners insurance and up to 300% on individual life policies, not to mention higher dry-cleaning and dental bills. And you may soon be paying more for health insurance at work too. By 2008, 25% of companies expect to impose penalties for bad health behavior, such as higher deductibles and premiums for smokers.
42 | PUT A CORK IN IT If you're a binge drinker (routinely imbibing a minimum of four to five drinks at a sitting), you'll average $900 a year more in medical expenses compared with a teetotaler, according to the Lewin Group. To avoid these costs and stay healthy, have no more than one drink a day if you're a woman, two if you're a man. Plus, that $40 bottle of your favorite Bordeaux will last twice as long.
43 | GET MOVING Obese people pay about 26% more in medical costs than those who are in shape. So joining a gym or taking a dance class is a smart investment in your health. Or buy a pedometer (about $20) and aim to walk at least 10,000 steps each day.
44 | GET A LUNCHBOX Brown-bagging your lunch can help you lose weight since home-cooked eats contain 20% less fat on average than restaurant meals, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Bonus: Skipping the $6 deli sandwich could save you about $1,000 a year.