Losing weight is a very difficult and often expensive thing to do. I've gained and lost weight multiple times in my life due to pregnancies, knee surgeries, and other life changes. As always, I try to be frugal and save where I can. There are many ways to make losing weight less draining on the pocket book. Here are 15 of them...
1- Use what you already have.
Unless your workout clothes and shoes don't fit or are completely worn out and you don't have the necessary items you need, then I'd highly recommend using the clothing, dishes, and equipment you already have.
2- Get free music and workout videos if possible.
Streaming a good workout station from Pandora is a free way to get great music. Using workouts on YouTube, videos, or on TV is another great way to save.
3- Don't buy a gym membership with a contract unless you will regularly go.
Gym memberships can be amazing things to have, but I caution those who aren't regular gym goers to avoid long term contracts. If you prefer to work out at home or outside, then avoid paying for the gym altogether. If you know for sure that you will make great use of it, I'd buy the non-contract monthly or daily passes until you are in the habit of regularly going. After you have been regularly going for at least a month or two then a yearly membership may be a great way to save. I love working out from home to workout DVDs (Winsor Pilates is my favorite).
4- Shop wholesale, use Subscribe and Save, and coupon.
I've found that wholesale often have the best deals on healthy foods I need in bulk. But often they don't have everything I need.
I'll order PB2, and Protein powders monthly through Amazon's Subscribe and Save (it has discounted prices and free shipping) there are options to set it to come each month, two months, or skip months if you haven't used up what you thought you would.
If the items are cheaper at a regular grocery store and I can get the quantity I'm looking for there I'll use sales and coupons (here is a beginners guide to couponing) to save that way too.
5- Save on produce.
I've found (in my area) that Rancho Markets have very inexpensive produce along with another store called Sprouts. Getting produce through co-ops, growing it yourself, and/or buying it at the end of the day at Farmers markets can be very inexpensive as well. Depending on the item, wholesale and grocery stores often have sales and/or coupons that make saving on produce possible as well.
6- Buy used clothing or clothing that will last you through a few sizes.
If you are losing weight (especially if it is over 20 pounds of weight loss) you will go through multiple sizes of clothing—which can be expensive. My recommendation is to get clothing at really nice neighborhood garage and yard sales (tutorial on how to do that here) or at thrift stores.
Shirts/tops will fit through more sizes than pants. For women who want to save on pants I'd recommend buying maternity jeans, leggings, jeggings, and ponte pants. Maternity jeans (favorite brand is Lilac maternity jeans found here) are often very stylish these days and made by brandname companies. They look just like regular jeans but instead of a button they have a stretchy elastic top. Leggings and jeggings, and ponte pants stretch a lot too. My absolute favorite jeggings/ponte pant can be found here—they even have pockets which is unbelievable handy for cell phones! These four types of pants are not only very comfortable and acceptable to wear in public, but they can accommodate 2-4 size changes!
For women, I suggest reading this bra fitting guide and making sure that you are in the right size of bra for your size. If you anticipate going through a few sizes in bras I'd recommend buying one bra and a sports bra. You can wash one while wearing the other and they should last a few months while you go from one size to the next.
7- When eating out, share or eat less than half of the portion.
Typically restaurant portions are large. Unless it is a salad or something that is very healthy, I'll take half home for my next meal. This saves quite a bit.
8- Stop buying junk foods and soda.
Not only is it difficult to lose weight with these types of foods around, they are typically expensive. That said, I do think it is wise to have some craving busters on hand to avoid a 'shake run.' I'd just recommend not having many.
9- Make meals from home and meal plan.
Planning out what you are going to eat and when can help you budget better and save on food.
10- If you buy organic food read how to save hundreds on organic foods.
I really do think that organic food tastes much better and helps your body utilize nutrients more efficiently. I believe that organic food is a great way to ensure quality and feel satisfied. So if you are an organic fan, I'd recommend reading the article linked above.
11- Sample or buy small quantities of diet foods that you can't return.
I bought a few things that I thought I'd love and when it came down to it, they were hard to even swallow. (I.E. some clear liquid protein drinks, a veggie based protein powder, and a few other items). I was lucky that I was able to return some of them for a full refund. The other ones that I couldn't return cost me a pretty penny. If the item is new to you, buy a sample or smaller portion first—unless you know you can return it.
12- Eat filling foods first.
If you eat the filling foods first (protein and veggies then complex carbs) you won't have room for the rest. Instead of snacking on a small bag of chips, eating a few cookies, and grabbing a bag of fruit snacks I can eat a cheese stick and a chicken salad and be just as full and satisfied for longer for less money. Eating your filling foods first and stopping as soon as you feel full (save leftovers for later) will cause you to eat less and save more.
13- Use smaller plates.
You can't fit as much food on a smaller plate and it does trick your mind into thinking you are eating more than you are. Which helps you lose weight and save money.
14- Use free tracking apps and a FitBit.
I really like Fooducate, My Fitness Pal, and Cardiio apps and they are all free. FitBit is unique because it is on your wrist and updates the free app it syncs with. Unless you are getting some handholding or personal one-on-one help, you shouldn't be paying a monthly subscription for tracking and informational sources. These free apps are great and are just as good or better than the paid subscriptions.
15- Make money on DietBet.com.
I joined one or two Diet Bets and made a small amount of money by winning. What you do is everyone joins with the same goal (losing 4% or something similar) and pays money into a pot. At the end of the bet, whoever didn't meet the goal forfeits their money and those that did win split the 'winnings.' I honestly was very motivated when I did Diet Bet to not forfeit my money, so it did motivate me to lose weight. I did win some cash (albeit not a ton). Yet, at the same time, if you don't meet the goal your money goes down the drain. Diet Bet is not a foolproof way to make cash. I recommend only participating if money motivates you.
Well there you have it: 15 ways to save money while losing weight. I wish you the best in your weight loss goals!!