A friend sent me a photo last week. It was me in 2004 just about to start a half marathon.  Not only do I look a tad younger, I am a hell of a lot thinner and healthier than I am now.

At the time, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to road run unless I stopped smoking.  Being honest, the part of me that really wanted to give up smoking wasn’t the runner, it was the banker. Unlike here, smoking in the UK is astronomically expensive and even then, by not smoking I saved over £1,700 a year ($2,300).

Here it is a different matter.  When I gave up again two years ago, (moved to Russia and was back on 20 a day within a month before anyone asks) there wasn’t such a monetary incentive apart from the first month and that was a gentleman’s bet to pay for brunch at the Park Hyatt.

After that it was just sheer will power and support from a great wife and friends who looked the other way when I went a bit barking mad once in a while.

Even if the monetary incentive isn’t as big here, there are so much more ways that you save money by being just a little bit healthier.  If you want to reduce your health insurance by a massive amount, the easiest way is not to smoke.

You will most likely have to go two years without smoking but this should cut your renewal fees by at least 10% to 15%.

Don’t lie to the insurance company if you do smoke though. The first time you go to the doctors for bronchitis or a similar ailment, they may refuse your payment. There are ways that they can check.

Your life policy is another way to reduce your costs. If you do not smoke you can reduce your annual fees by a huge amount, and going back to my first point, losing the weight will help dramatically.  Reducing your risk to heart disease and diabetes reduces your premiums massively.  Looking at my own policy, I could have reduced the annual fee by over 30% if I was close to the same weight I was in that photograph.

So that’s it.  It has been too long an off season for this batsman.  Saving money on my health and life insurance is now my priority.  I am looking for the long term gains by losing the long term gains.

If you want to see short time gains, stop after the six or seventh beer or have a night off a week, or cook at home once instead of getting a takeaway and put the money you would have spent in a box.  Look at it after a month.  You may not have lost any weight but you definitely will have a box full of cash.

If you see a red faced, bald, beer bellied Scotsman, plodding around Phu My Hung, waft a good Chateauneuf du Pape in front of me or slap my behind with a fish slice because I won’t be bothered by how bad I look as long as I can save a couple of grand.

Paul McLardie is a partner at Total Wealth Management. Contact him at Paul.mclardie@t-wm.com