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Save Money Lose Weight | Money Saving Weight Loss Tips | Diet on a Budget | Low Cost Diet | Eat Organic

This is a guest post by Sarah of Little Progress Notes

You may be aware of the health benefits of losing extra weight, but have you thought about the ways you’d save money if you acheive and maintain a healthy weight? Costs for doctor’s visits are lower when you aren’t sick as much, your joints aren’t strained by extra weight so there are fewer knee issues and ankle sprains. You miss less work from illness related to an immune system that’s not at it’s prime, and don’t have to buy so many medications for obesity-related symptoms like acid reflux, diabetes, high blood pressure, or elevated cholesterol. Also, life insurance premiums drop quite a bit–I saved hundreds each year on my own policy by reaching a healthier weight before buying my policy.

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But does it feel like you have to fork over bundles of money to lose those pounds? Everywhere you look, people advertise ways to spend on weight loss. Join this pricey gym, hire a trainer, buy those premade meals, buy expensive shakes and “cleanses” sold by a multi-level marketing scheme. But does lasting weight loss really have to cost so much financially? While some of these things can promote a jump start, and trainers can certainly get you moving, there are actually ways to save money, and possibly even make a few bucks, while dropping those unhealthy pounds. Here are ten ideas:

1. Eat half, or at least less, of what you were previously eating. I’ll start with something simple–make the decision not to go back for seconds. You’ll have leftovers for another meal. Eating smaller portions means you don’t have to buy as much food, a great way to stretch the grocery budget. Restaurant portions can certainly be split most of the time, and give you two meals for the price of one.

2. Cook with dried beans as the main protein source for several meals a week. Make a goal of testing and choosing several recipes you can prepare that feature beans as the main protein source, and instead of grabbing cans–just cook them from dried. It’s really not that hard if you plan ahead, and beans are one of the cheapest–and healthiest–protein sources around. If dried beans intimidate you, you can still save a bundle by going with canned beans, just give them a good rinse to get the extra sodium off before cooking. Going partially vegetarian can be a huge boost to your health and add padding to your wallet, if done correctly.

3. Save on produce at the Farmer’s Market. Go to the farmer’s markets right before or at closing time. Frequently, the farmers just don’t want to pack up the unsold merchandise to carry home, and are interested in cutting deals. One farmer threw in a big pile of cucumbers last time after I paid, just because he didn’t want to take them home. (For more tips on saving on produce, check out this post.)

4. Seek out free accountability. Accountability is one of the secrets to Weight Watcher’s success. And while they are a great program, you might not be able to afford their fees. If you don’t have friends or family dedicated to making long-term healthy changes alongside you, there are plently of ways to get free accountability via social media (MyFitnessPal is great and you can friend people through it for encouragement), interacting with the weight loss blogging community, start your own weight loss blog to chronicle your journey, or join my Fit Friday link-ups on my blog, Little Progress Notes, where you can enter your weekly successes and failures in the the comments even if you don’t have your own blog.

5. Don’t buy soda. This is hard for a lot of people, but there is nothing beneficial they have to offer, even diet sodas. And they aren’t cheap! Spend that money on some good produce instead. Pop a slice of cucumber, a wedge of lemon, or some mint leaves into your glass of ice water and enjoy. It might take some time, but go without soda for a while and see if your taste buds don’t start craving water instead.

6. Grow your own veggies, or at the very least, your own herbs. You’ll burn calories working out in the yard, and get plenty of great, healthy cheap food.

7. Stop buying and eating red meat on a regular basis. It’s more expensive anyway, and numerous studies associate it with increased disease.

8. Make breakfast cereal at home with simple whole grain ingredients. I make granola in my crockpot {harder to burn that way}. Processed cereals are more expensive, and most have more sugar and preservatives than what you can make at home. I buy whole grains in bulk to use in my granola. You can find bulk bins at natural food stores, or even order them on Amazon. My most recent granola concoction is Maple Almond Quinoa Granola.

9. Earn money by making a Diet Bet. You don’t have to be on the Biggest Loser to enter a weight loss competition these days. DietBet is one of several online contests that allow you to wager some money (usually $10 to $50) that you will be able to lose 4% of your body weight over 4 weeks time. The number of people who enter each DietBet determine how big the pot is, and the pot is split only by the winners of the DietBet at the end (that’s everyone who lost 4%). My husband entered several of these and won most of them, and I entered one at the beginning of the year and won. They add another layer of motivation and score you a little cash. You can read my review post about Diet Bet here.

10. Become familiar with Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” lists, which are yearly updated rankings of produce with the most and the least amount of pesticide, according to testing. If you’re on a limited food budget, don’t stress over spending extra for organic. Any produce, even if not organic, is far better than no produce. Learn to wash your fruits and veggies well, peel them, etc. If you are worried about pesticides and can afford to spend a little more, just focus on buying organic versions of those fruits and veggies listed high in the EWG’s dirty dozen list. Don’t bother forking out the cash for an organic fruit or veggie that’s on the “clean fifteen” list, when the cheaper, conventional version probably doesn’t have much pesticide residue anyway.

These 10 steps can get you started toward a trimmer waist and a fatter wallet. One key to success I’ve found in my own weight loss process is to focus on one new goal at a time. Only when I’ve gotten a new habit down pat do I try to add on another. Too much, too soon, and you can get discouraged and give up quickly. You are in this for the long haul so just accept that change can take time. Quit searching for overnight results and focus on positive changes you can stick with.

Sarah Wells, MD spends most of her time at home with her two (soon to be 3!) young children, but she also volunteers as a physician in a Christian free clinic in her community. She treats patients living below the poverty line, some of whom are homeless, and often gives food and cooking advice to maximize the nutritional bang for their buck, working with patients to fight the obesity underlying many of their diseases. She also enjoys blogging about her own weight loss journey, running, healthy cooking, homemaking projects, and homeschooling at her blog Little Progress Notes.

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Do you struggle with weight loss while trying to also stick to a budget? How do you save money while trying to lose weight?

Save Money Lose Weight | Money Saving Weight Loss Tips | Diet on a Budget | Low Cost Diet | Eat Organic