The recession has almost everyone looking to save money (or spend less) these days. But what if you are aiming to lose 50 pounds? Don’t you have to join a gym or get on an expensive food program? Definitely not! Here are 10 ways you can lose weight while spending less at the same time:
1. Drink water instead of juice, milk or soda.
You’ll save the cost of the beverages and keep the extra calories out of your body. Bored by water? Consider starting out by trading off: drink one glass/bottle of water for every “other” kind of beverage you drink during the day. Then once you have that tackled, slowly start tapering off the other beverages. Look for fun ways to make water more delicious without adding calories or artificial sweeteners; for example, add a few slices of cucumbers or lemons to a pitcher of water and stash it in your refrigerator. Try to consume at least one pitcher a day!
2. Walk everywhere.
It’s the cheapest and easiest way to get your body moving. Experts say we should aim for 10,000 steps a day, but if you don’t have a pedometer, just try to add steps to your day wherever possible. Park in the back of the parking lot; you’ll save on the gas it would normally take to circle around looking for a prime spot, plus you’ll add to your daily steps. If you live close to any of your daily activities (such as the post office or a restaurant you might regularly visit on your lunch break), make a point to walk instead of driving. Anytime you choose to walk to a destination rather than drive, you’ll save money on gas, you’ll help the planet by keeping the air clean and you’ll burn calories.
3. Cereal and soup:
Swap a lunch or dinner meal out for one of these two items. You’ll save roughly 200-600 calories (depending on how large a typical lunch or dinner is for you) and anywhere from $3-$20 (again, depending on how expensive your typical meal is). Do this three times a week, and you’ll really begin to see it pay off.
Find ways to move while doing typical, daily tasks. For instance, do squats while you brush your teeth. Try lunges while you blow-dry your hair. Suck in your stomach while loading or unloading the dishwasher. Jog your clean laundry from the dryer to the spot where you fold clothes. Now this may not technically count as saving money, but if you can fit in exercise during times you normally do not, that counts as saving money and for many people, time IS money.
5. Try on clothes … from the clearance racks.
Trying clothes on – especially a variety of clothes such as pants, shirts, dresses, etc. – is a great way to burn some calories. It’s full-body motion, and you know you’ll be sucking your stomach in so you can check yourself out in the mirror. So how do you save money while trying clothes on? ONLY try on clothes from the clearance racks. You might be surprised to find a shirt for $3.99 or a pair of jeans for $5.99. Clothes from the clearance racks are just as well-made as others, they are usually just out-of-season, thus the lower prices. If you vow to only try clothes on from the clearance racks, you’ll get a good workout and possibly find an amazing bargain in the process.
6. Eat food at home.
It’s so convenient to get fast food; unfortunately, it’s a money sucker and hard on your diet. Try to stash healthy granola bars in your car for that moment when the kids are starving and trying to talk you into McDonalds! If you don’t have enough time to make dinner, refer to Number 3! Soup and cereal can be made in two and a half minutes, and it won’t kill anyone to have them for dinner once in awhile. If you currently eat out five times a week, try dropping it down to twice a week. If you currently eat out once a week, try going every other week. You’ll save money – it’s almost always cheaper to make those items yourself – and a lot of calories.
7. Cut your portions in half.
Try eating three-fourths of what you normally consume. There’s a good possibility you won’t even notice the difference, but if you add up that 1/4 over every meal for the next 365 days, you’ll save a good amount of money and probably lose a few pounds for it. Likewise, if you do go eat at a restaurant, box up half your portion and bring it home for lunch the next day. That way, the amount you paid for your dinner will now have net you two meals, and your calories will be halved as well.
8. Exercise videos/DVDs.
An exercise DVD will cost you less than $10 at stores like Wal-Mart and Target. Consider buying two or three of them. You can alternative them and make them last for years on end. This is a much cheaper workout than a gym membership, and you can get a variety of activities such as yoga, dance or boxing. Even better, talk to a few friends who are fitness-minded and have everyone buy 1-2 DVDs with the intent to swap and share. You can also put a posting on Freecycle requesting used fitness videos/DVDs; there is a good chance someone has a few they are no longer using.
9. Go vegetarian… at least some of the time.
The most expensive part of a meal (even a meal made at home) is the meat. But there are lots of delicious vegetarian meals you can make 1-3 times a week to save money and calories. Check out www.eatingwell.com or www.hearthealthyonline.com for some good recipes. Or just type “healthy vegetarian recipes” on Google! Start out with vegetarian Monday (or whatever day works for you) and try to end up at 3 times a week.
10. Never eat dessert or drink alcohol in restaurants.
Both of these items are highly overpriced in restaurants (your beer costs the restaurant roughly 50 cents, but costs you $5-8; your dessert maybe cost $1 to make and costs you about $7.95), and neither one is healthy for your waistline. Vow to forgo both of these items whenever eating out. Your restaurant bill will be much cheaper, and you’ll take in several hundred less calories.