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Things you lose, if you do not use.

October 29, 2015

We all hate to lose, especially when we don’t have to. Yet each year, billions of dollars are wasted in the United States. And that’s just the beginning.

Here are the top things you lose, if you do not use:

Annual Dental Benefits: Countless dollars of dental benefits will go unused this year. When benefits go unused, the premiums you paid are wasted. Since benefits often do not carry over to the New Year, it means you only have eight more weeks to take advantage of your 2016 benefits. There are a number of ways you can maximize your benefits. For example, if you’ve already met your deductable requirements and have been putting off treatment, now may be a good time to take care of it. Preventive visits are another great way to use unused benefits and could save you even more money down the road -- today’s cavity could be tomorrow’s root canal if not attended to. So make sure to check with your insurance company to see what’s available to you, or give us a call and we can help you navigate your benefits.

Vacation Days: This one should be considered an American travesty! Nearly half of Americans don’t use all their vacation days each year. According to a recent Gallup Poll, last year alone, 169 million vacation days went unused. Research has proven that taking vacation days has a therapeutic effect on your body. Vacation days lead to less stress, better mental and physical health, and a decreased chance of burning out. Not to mention that vacation days are just fun! And it’s not always about going somewhere exotic. Sometimes a day trip, or just relaxing at home, is exactly what you need.

Food: It is estimated that about 40% of food in the United States gets tossed out because it expired.1 And if you are a typical family of four, it means you are wasting $2,275 a year! You can easily cut down on wasted food by giving your leftovers a fresh taste with a new recipe. And keeping a detailed shopping list of what’s in your refrigerator and cupboards will help make sure you buy only what you need. It will also save you money. Even storing your food better has benefits. For example, if you break your bananas apart instead of keeping them bunched up, they will last up to twice as long. Pretty cool.

You: The old saying “use it or lose it” is all about you. And as you might expect, exercising your body and mind benefit each other. Research has shown that exercising daily can improve cognitive abilities. The interesting thing about exercising your brain is that you can do it with things you enjoy. Taking a daily walk, reading, playing card games and even visiting a museum helps. The key is to always be an active participant. Asking questions, repeating facts, and truly taking-in the experience is great for your brain. So get out there and enjoy!

1Natural Resources Defense Council