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Between cheap, starchy meals and no time to exercise, losing weight on a budget can be really difficult. If you’re struggling to lose weight or stay healthy, we understand! We’ve been there too!
1. Make losing weight on a budget a fun experience.
Losing weight on a budget may seem discouraging especially when you first start, but it doesn’t have to be. If you make it fun, you’ll have a better time while you’re losing weight. Consider turning it into a game so you can have fun with it. Talk with friends or family and start a “biggest loser”-style challenge. There are endless ways losing weight can be fun without costing a dime!
2. Take advantage of a “free” gym.
So many people think they have to cough up the extra money for a gym membership. Even with the cheapest option available at $10 a month, gyms can really add up. The cost doesn’t even factor in the money you’ll spend getting to the gym! The best part about exercise is you can do it anywhere. Take a walk around your town, go on a scavenger hunt in your local park or even do an exercise video on YouTube. It’s all free!
3. Frozen may be your best option.
Fresh vegetables might be your best bet for nutrients, but they can be so expensive. If you can’t afford fresh vegetables or you simply don’t want to buy them, frozen veggies work just as well. Broccoli, green beans and carrots are just a few of the cheapest frozen vegetable options. Check the frozen section at your local grocery store, discount store or even the Dollar Tree for low prices.
4. Visit a farmer’s market.
As more and more people rely on food stamps to stay alive, more places are accepting them. Many farmers markets will now accept food stamps for cold food and other options they have available. Vegetable prices are often lower than they are at your local supermarket. Additionally, some farmers will bring their “seconds” for a much lower price than their regular fruits and vegetables. Seconds are great because they still taste the same, but may have minor blemishes that make it hard for farmers to get sell to grocery chains. Some farmer’s markets also offer double-your-money programs that give you twice as much produce for your money when you pay with EBT!
5. Don’t fall for fast food lies.
Grabbing a dollar burger from a fast food restaurant might seem like you’re getting a deal, but it’s not very nutritious. Fast food isn’t real food! It’s not nourishing and it won’t keep you full for a very long time. Plus, it’s actually more expensive than eating food you prepared when you look at the comparison. If you have kids or you find that you regularly get hungry while you’re driving, keep a bag with some snacks in it. Cheap options like pretzels and dried fruit are great for the car.
6. Water is your best friend.
If you haven’t stopped drinking soda, coffee and other beverages, now’s the time to do it. Not only will water help you lose weight but it’s also far cheaper than any other beverage you could enjoy. Even if you have to purchase a filter for your tap, you’ll still only be paying pennies per glass for the water. If you absolutely must have flavor, make your own tea or water infusion. It’s the cheapest and healthiest option (as long as you don’t load it down with sugar).
7. Be smart about the food choices you make.
Plan everything you’re going to eat throughout the day. Planning will prevent you from making unhealthy choices and will also prevent you from eating out. If you know what you’re going to have, you’ll be less likely to get off course. It may take some extra time to plan your meals, but make it something you do when you’re creating a grocery list each week. Look for healthy and cheap options like these rice recipes.
8. Celebrate small victories.
One thing most people who have been successful with weight loss have done is celebrate even the small victories. The biggest mistake you can make here, though, is celebrating with food. Don’t make food a reward. If you’re losing weight on a budget, you may not have the extra money to go out and buy yourself a new workout outfit. Instead, treat yourself to a $5 thrift store shopping trip. If you don’t even have the $5 to celebrate with, reward yourself with a really great book from the library or by taking the time to relax and listen to a free podcast online. You could also use your EBT card to score free admission to a museum or a live show (depending on where you live)!
9. Give yourself breaks.
You don’t need to be “on” all the time when you’re losing weight on a budget. By scheduling breaks in your healthy eating regime, you’ll actually make yourself better equipped to lose the weight. Plan your breaks out so you don’t end up turning a cheat day into a cheat week. Always make sure you’re taking the time to relax. If you don’t give yourself a break, you will be more susceptible to falling off the weight loss wagon.
10. Know when to shop for food.
When and where you shop for food has a huge impact on your weight and your budget. First, always remember to eat before you go grocery shopping. Next, consider the store that has the lowest prices and the best options. Third, shop early in the morning or late at night. Stores mark things down in the morning and night. During these times, there won’t be as many people in the store so you won’t feel as rushed. You’ll have time to shop around and compare prices.