We all know that we’ll likely face increased costs as we age. Most of those will come from healthcare costs as we fight diseases ranging from cancer to arthritis to dementia. While we’re aware of those increasing expenses, we assume that life won’t get more expensive until we’re “much older.” However, I’m finding that life is already starting to get more expensive as I age, and I’m not “old” yet.
It’s the little, subtle things that are starting to weigh down my bank balance. Subtle changes in my body are starting to require that more money be spent to keep me operating effectively and looking halfway decent. No longer can I just buy the cheapest thing on the shelf and know that it will work. As I age I’m finding that I’m becoming higher maintenance, and I’m not thrilled about it. Here are some things that are starting to get more expensive.
Shampoo and Conditioner
I used to be able to buy the cheapest shampoo and still have good looking hair. As I’ve aged, however, my hair has changed and it now requires “better” shampoo and conditioner to prevent breakage and keep it from hanging limply. The cheap stuff no longer works for me and I’ve had to start buying a more expensive salon formula to get good results.
I hardly ever used lotion when I was younger. As I’m aging, though, my skin is getting drier. Not only that, the cheap lotions can’t even touch the dryness, especially in the winter. Now I’m not only paying for lotion on a regular basis, but I’m having to buy the more expensive formulas to get any results.
Like many people, when I was young my diet wasn’t the greatest. During college it was especially appalling. I can no longer get away with that. If I eat too much junk food, it no longer simply disappears. It tends to stick around on my hips. I’m also less tolerant of unhealthy food now. I don’t feel well after eating it. While I don’t buy “organic everything,” I do find that I spend a bit more now on fresh produce and seafood. On the plus side, I rarely eat out anymore because I can’t tolerate the high sodium and spice content in many foods, so this one might be a wash cost-wise.
While I try hard to get everything I need from my diet, I find that I function better when I include some supplements in my life. I never used to bother and I was fine. My doctor has also recommended a couple of supplements due to medical conditions in my family. Different people will take different things, but as you age you may find yourself visiting the pharmacy for various vitamins and minerals.
More Medical Screenings and Checkups
As you age you start coming up on medical milestones. Mammograms for women starting at forty. Colonoscopies at fifty. Yippee. I used to go to the doctor once per year for a physical. Now I go to the ophthalmologist (my eyes are aging, too), dermatologist (thanks to all those years of ill-advised tanning), gynecologist, primary care doctor, and radiologist for my mammogram. All of that every year. And that’s just to keep me healthy. Since each of these carries a co-pay, I’m paying five times more in co-pays than I used to, and I’m healthy!
More Hair Cuts
Back to my hair again. I used to go eight weeks between cuts and my hair would still hold its look. Now, thanks to hair that refuses to cooperate, I’m having to go every four weeks to keep from looking like a sheepdog. That’s twice as many cuts in a year. Thank goodness my stylist is cheap.
I think this one is uniquely female, but I’m doing battle with my internal thermostat these days. Some days I have to chill the house down until the penguins move in, and other days I’m turning the heat up because I’m freezing. My days of careful thermostat management have been suspended while I seek an ever changing level of comfort. Sadly, the electric bill is a casualty.
Back to the ever changing skin. Somewhere along the line, my skin went from normal (which meant that I could use any kind of soap) to sensitive which requires special soap. No longer can I just buy whatever’s on sale. I have two brands that work for me and I have to get one of those. I pray for sales and stock up because those soaps are almost twice as much as what I used to buy.
Women will know that as you age, there is a little more work to do on the face. I don’t wear much makeup since I work from home but when I do need to look my best, I can no longer get by with drugstore cosmetics. Thanks to the skin sensitivity, I’m limited in my choices, plus I need a few more products than I used to. It isn’t cheap.
This is another one of those reasons why it’s so important to save money while you’re young. It’s not going to be just the bigger things that cost more as you age, the little things are going to start costing more, too. Thank goodness I saved a lot when I was young because just getting me up and out the door every morning is starting to cost more.
(Photo courtesy of Unfurled)