Losing weight is hard. It shouldn’t have to be expensive too. If you think finances are stopping you from losing weight. We’re here to prove you wrong.
We’ve compiled 15 ways to lose weight on a budget so you can start shedding pounds without destroying your budget.
The ideas below will help you make better food choices, get smart about exercise, and get in the right mentality to finally get the weight loss results you want.
What are you waiting for?
1. Stop Snacking
One of the best ways to lose weight is to stop snacking. We often find ourselves mindlessly snacking in front of the TV or at work. Before you know it, you’re wondering if you really just ate that entire bag of chips.
Not only is most snack food terrible for you, it’s usually pretty expensive too.
While it may seem like you really, really need whatever snack it is that you crave, you really don’t. We can all exist on three meals a day without starving.
Actually, empty carbs and sugary food items (probably most snack items you’re thinking about right now) can make us even hungrier. A false sense of feeling full is usually followed by a major hunger attack. When our bodies come off their sugar high they start looking for the next source right away.
The first few days off snacks may be tough, but once you establish new habits, you won’t even miss them. Keep those pounds off, and your budget intact by ditching the snack foods altogether.
2. Drink More Water
For most people, water is easily accessible and cheap. Staying hydrated is great way to lose weight on a budget. We’re talking very hydrated.
Without hydration our bodies actually swell up. Not to mention dehydration can cause feelings of tiredness, headaches and even mood swings. Who wants any of that?
A side bonus is that drinking more water will help you feel full. Try drinking a full glass of water every morning when you get up before breakfast. You may be surprised how much less hungry you feel.
You’ll also feel surprised how much switching out water with other popular drinks can impact your weight.
Sugary coffee drinks, flavored drinks and sodas are full of sugar and other crap. And be careful of smart branding. Vitamin Water sounds pretty healthy, but have you ever looked at the nutrient calculations? Most types have a ton of sugar! And if Vitamin Water is full of sugar, you might as well kiss soda good bye.
The great news is that you really don’t need any of these sugary drinks. Getting rid of them will help your waistline, and your budget.
Incorporate as much water as you can into your weight loss program so you can stay healthy and lose weight without wasting your entire budget on beverages.
3. Eat Breakfast
If you think skipping breakfast is going to help you reach your weight loss dreams, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Breakfast is way more important than you think.
Breakfast kick starts your metabolism and gets you going for the day. That doesn’t mean it a huge stack of pancakes. It means choose healthy options that will give you the energy you need to make the most of your day.
Need some healthy breakfast ideas on a budget? Try these.
- Avocado toast
- Chia Pudding
- Oatmeal (watch pre-packaged options for sugar levels)
- Apples and almond butter
- Nut mix
With a belly full of a healthy breakfast option, you’ll be less likely to make poor choices for the rest of the day too.
Pre-plan your breakfast the night before so there are no temptations or excuses.
4. Load Up on Veggies
Have you ever noticed how cheap vegetables are?
Vegetables are the perfect solution for losing weight on a budget. Veggies are an amazing low calorie food that are also packed with minerals and vitamins. They’ll make you healthier and help you lose weight at the same time.
Incredibly enough, they’re not expensive either. Some of the lowest cost vegetables are broccoli, carrots and cauliflower.
Are vegetables boring? Only if you let them be. Cooking with vegetables can create endless opportunities if you use a little creativity.
You can eat them raw with a healthy dip option, roast them to your liking with yummy spices, or even transform them into something else entirely.
Riced broccoli and cauliflower have gained steady popularity over the recent years, and make a great replacement for rice or another carb. Most grocery stores even sell them pre-made so you don’t have to do the heavy lifting (although they will be slightly pricier).
Veggies can also be a healthy, low cost solution to your pasta cravings. Try zoodles or spaghetti squash to get your fill of favorite pasta dishes without the extra carbs.
5. Skip Dessert
It’s no secret that dessert isn’t helping you lose weight. They are also a total waste of your budget.
We’re conditioned to think we need a treat after we eat. Why do we need anything at all? We just ate! You should be full from your meal already. If you’re not, it probably wasn’t a great meal choice to begin with.
It’s not to say that you don’t deserve a sweet something every once in a while, but your waistline and your budget certainly don’t need dessert every night.
It’s easiest to cut out dessert by simply not having sweet items in your home. That means the whole family needs to get on board. Having desserts within easy reach makes them way too hard to resist. Plus, you’re still spending money on them.
Save the sweet treats for special nights out, birthdays, or holidays and you’ll enjoy them even more!
6. Say No to Cheat Days
Cheat days are a great excuse to ruin your weight loss progress, and spend money you don’t have.
You’re likely binging on something unhealthy, and for what? Getting your cheat food of choice back in your system will make it harder to say no the next time it’s an option. Cutting out foods entirely will help you create good habits that last.
Whether you’re thinking of swinging through Starbucks for a drink that has more calories and costs more than your lunch, or grabbing a sugary snack from the checkout lane at a store, stay strong and skip it.
Saying no to extra unhealthy items will help you continue to lose weight and keep your budget intact.
7. Avoid Weight Loss Marketing
The weight loss industry is HUGE. There are literally a million different products and programs you could buy to “help” you in your weight loss journey.
But do you really need any of it?
Do you need a $100 device to track your steps, or could you just start walking more? Do you need expensive new workout gear, or could you just use what you have for now?
We often convince ourselves that if we just had “this one product” all of our outcomes would change. It’s no different for weight loss. We are the ones that need to put the work in, not a product.
You will most definitely be targeted with all sorts of weight loss ads, so you need to find a way to resist. Evaluate every new potential item carefully. When you find yourself tempted, ask yourself if you REALLY need it. Will your weight loss journey come to an absolute halt because you don’t have this item? Probably not.
Stay focused on what’s already working for you instead of getting distracted with a bunch of new stuff you don’t really need.
8. Workout at Home
You want to lose weight. The first place you head is the gym. Gyms are awesome, but they’re expensive. They can require a long commitment too.
If you’re trying to up your workout game on a budget, we suggest working out at home or outside. Anywhere you can access that’s free.
There are a ton of great free weight loss resources online. They’ll give you specific exercises, programs, and guidelines to follow to see the best results.
Weight loss apps are also a useful way to find exercise inspiration and track your progress. Luckily are a lot of totally free weight loss apps too. This ultimate guide to weight loss apps can help you find one that you love.
Instead of relying on a pricey gym or personal trainer to kick your weight loss into gear, find a free routine that works for you.
9. Try Meal Planning
One of the biggest ways you can waste money is to throw away uneaten food.
Are you cleaning out your refrigerator every week and throwing half of it away? You might as well be throwing cash in the garbage.
Not to mention it’s really easy to overeat when you don’t plan ahead. Meal planning gives you the opportunity to plan and buy only exactly what you need. You also get to pre-portion out your meals. The third bonus? It will probably save you time too.
Get prepped on Sunday and make your meals for the entire week. Portion out breakfast options, lunches (whether you work at home or at the office), and even pre-make healthy dinner options.
Having a meal plan for the week will stop you from throwing random items in your cart at the grocery and only to trash them a week later. Your budget will seriously thank you, and your scale will too.
10. Skip Delivery
We all have lazy days, and on lazy days delivery always sounds good.
Think back to the last few delivery meals you’ve ordered in. Were they healthy? Did they support your weight loss goals? Were they cheap?
Chances are you did not answer yes to all three of those questions.
Cutting out food delivery is another great way to help your budget and your weight loss goals at the same time.
It’s tempting to think food delivery isn’t THAT much more expensive than making dinner at home, but delivery charges and tips really add up.
You can also switch up your habits so you’re still satisfying a need, without the extra cost. Chances are it will be a bit healthier too.
Craving pizza delivery? Keep a few healthier version from the grocery store stocked in the freezer, or even better, make your own using cauliflower crust.
11. Fire Your Cleaning Service
Think of all the money you could save if your cleaning service suddenly disappeared. Then, think of all the calories you could burn by doing the cleaning yourself.
Cleaning your home is an amazing free workout with lots of fringe benefits.
It’s a single opportunity to knock half your to do list. One, workout. Two, get organized. Three, improve your mental health state. Plus, your roommate or family will be ecstatic too. It’s literally a win, win, win.
If you’re thinking, wait, the whole reason I hired a cleaning service in the first place was because I didn’t have TIME to clean, don’t panic.
Break down your cleaning list into workable amounts so you can knock out small chunks at a time. Keep up with small chores so you never have to tackle big ones.
Most importantly, follow the five minute rule. If it won’t take more than five minutes, do it now instead of saving it for later.
12. Create a Food Budget
You can start with the best intentions, but when you hit the grocery store it can all fall apart. Instead of leaving your weight loss and budget status up to fate, create some guidelines for yourself.
Creating a grocery budget is a great way to keep yourself on track financially and lose weight at the same time.
Grocery budgets force you to plan ahead, look for deals, and spend wisely. When you walk into the grocery store you’ll be less likely to throw extra items in the cart. And if you’re tempted by unhealthy snack foods you’ll think twice about whether you can afford them.
Working with guidelines will also help you get into a rhythm of healthy habits.
You’ll figure out which healthy dinners, lunches, and snacks work best for your budget. Then you’ll get used to pricing and start noticing sales and save even more. Eventually you won’t need a list!
Food budgets are a great way to stay on track while keeping your budget intact.
13. Avoid Temptations
If you have certain dietary weak spots, avoid temptations at all costs.
Friends are heading to your favorite restaurant? Skip it. Coworkers are grabbing Starbucks? Skip it. Everyone is heading into the break room because someone left cookies out? You can guess, skip it!
There’s no need to make yourself miserable. Watching friends eat your favorite meal, or coworkers enjoy your favorite treat is a drag. Not being around will make it easier to avoid unhealthy choices and it will be a little less depressing too.
Not to mention, the more you avoid going out to eat or grabbing treats on-the-go, the more money you’ll save. Both your scale and wallet will be happy.
There are many ways to set yourself up for better weight loss results. Check out these 13 ways you can create a better weight loss environment.
14. Get Active With Your Family
There are lots of free, fun ways to get active with your family.
Workouts don’t have to happen alone at the gym. You can spend time with the kids, and burn calories at the same time. Plus, you can make it free.
Here are some of our favorite free ways to exercise with the family:
- Take the dog for a walk
- Go for a family bike ride
- Hit the local park
- Play a game of tennis
- Have a dance party
- Do some yard work
- Play catch in the backyard
- Have a water balloon fight
15. Get Weight Loss Inspiration from the Library
Weight loss books are a great way to get motivated about shedding pounds. Someone else’s story can inspire you, or you can learn an entirely new way of thinking about food.
It’s not surprising that just like food, weight loss books can be addicting. They also get expensive.
Instead of blowing your whole budget on the newest recipe or fad diet book, check them out at the library.
Getting your local library card up to date is a smart way to save money while still getting the info you need.
Library isn’t your jam? Ask a friend to borrow theirs instead.
Here are some of the best books to inspire weight loss to get you started.
Losing weight doesn’t have to be expensive. If you get smart about your goals and plan ahead, you can get results without burning through your savings.
Do you have other ideas for how to lose weight on a budget? Comment here and tell us about them!