10 Ways to Slim Down on a Budget

Losing weight and getting healthy shouldn’t have to break your budget. But for many dieters, expensive gym memberships and elaborate meal plans create the impression that it must be difficult to slim down on a budget. With a little creativity and common sense, there are numerous ways to achieve the goal of a healthier you while keeping your financial goals intact.

Stock Up on Sales

Keep an eye out at local markets and wholesale stores for sales on healthy food items. Some items you can buy in bulk and portion out and freeze for use later. Buy produce by the bag, not individually and look for produce that is in season for the best prices. Shop store and generic brands and choose the cheaper items when nutritional quality and taste are similar.

Preportion Multiple Meals

Part of the allure of many diet plans that use prepackaged, expensive meals is their convenience. Make your own prepackaged meals by making a large batch of a healthy recipe and portioning them out into individual servings that can be stored or frozen for a quick meal later.

Make Your Own Lean Meat

You can make cheaper, fattier cuts of meat leaner by spending a little extra time before and during food preparation. Chicken breasts with skin on and bone in are much cheaper than boneless, skinless breasts but you can easily remove the skin yourself. Drain and rinse ground chuck with hot water to remove enough fat to make it equivalent to more expensive lean ground beef.

Replace Meat with Cheaper Protein Sources

Nuts, legumes and eggs are all great sources of protein that typically are much cheaper than meat sources. There are a great variety of recipes to implement these into your meal plans, and they add fiber and other nutrients to a dish that meat won’t.

Shop Farmer’s Markets

Local produce found at farmer’s markets and co-ops tends to be fresher and usually contain less pesticides and preservatives. There are great deals on produce that is in season.

Use Your Freezer

Frozen fruits and vegetables are often cheaper than fresh, last longer and are easier to store. Plus, they are just as nutritious as fresh. Keep pre-portioned snacks and meals on hand when you’re time crunched for a healthy meal.

Form Your Own Support Group

There is great power in accountability when undertaking a weight management program. However, paying for monthly or weekly weigh-ins can add up. More than likely, you can find others in your workplace, church or circle of friends that also want to slim down. Organize your own weigh-ins to create the same sense of accountability and support without paying any dues.

Free Forms of Exercise

While having a gym membership is beneficial, you can find ways to get adequate amounts of exercise without pricey equipment or monthly dues. Most public libraries have a widely varied collection of workout videos you can check out for free to try something new. A walk or run around the neighborhood costs you nothing. Used exercise equipment is a staple at many garage and estate sales.

Timing is Everything

One weight loss strategy that doesn’t cost you a dime has to do with the timing of your meals. Many dieters find that cutting out that bedtime snack and not eating 3 to 4 hours before bedtime is a successful way to slim down with little effort.

Nature’s Cheapest Health Drink

Of all the health drinks on the market with their widely advertised benefits, the drink with the most proven health benefits is free. You can’t underestimate the value of drinking at least 8 to 10 glasses of water every day to help you lose weight and improve nearly every function of your body.

About this Author

Laura W. Smith has worked as a freelance writer since 2007, producing content for eHow and LIVESTRONG. As a personal trainer, she specializes in health and fitness topics. Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Baptist Bible College and has studied journalism at Wayland Baptist University.