Losing Weight on a Budget
Like millions of Americans, you may have made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, but if you have made this resolution before, you probably know how hard it is to follow. Not only do you have to stay away from chocolate and find time to exercise but also not bust your budget. While celebrities who want to lose weight can hire personal trainers and chefs, the rest of us can ill afford that luxury. Even getting a gym membership or pre-packaged diet food can be pricey. However, there are many ways you can decrease your waist without expanding your costs.

Exercising is an important weight loss tool, but that does not mean you have to pony up the money to join a gym (which, in many parts of the country, can cost upwards of $50 a month). Why not try jogging or renting an exercise DVD from your library? If you have a bike collecting dust in the garage, why not take it out? Even if you need to buy one, that is likely more cost-effective than joining a gym. In fact, if you really want to use a treadmill or other machine typically found in a gym, you may be better off buying it yourself. For example, if you spent $600 on a treadmill and used it for 4 years, the monthly cost would only be $12.50, much less than most gym memberships.

What if you feel joining a gym is the key to your weight loss success? It does not necessarily have to cost you an arm and a leg. Contact all of the gyms in the area to see which one offers the best price, including often overlooked options, like the YMCA and colleges. Don’t be afraid to haggle over the membership fees – some may not budge, but it does not hurt to ask. Still, going with the cheapest gym is not always the best option since, typically, the cheaper the dues, the longer the contract you have to sign. That is not a problem if you faithfully go to the gym, but many people stop going after a few months. If you are not already a habitual exerciser, you may want to initially choose a gym with a shorter or no contract, even if it costs more.

Buying a diet food delivery plan can be a tempting option for those trying to lose weight. All of your meals are simply delivered to you, releasing you from the burden of having to decide what to eat. Unfortunately, these plans typically cost between $10-$40 a day. Food usually costs less at the supermarket, but one common pitfall of supermarket shopping is impulse buying – an enemy to both the budget and the diet. However, pre-planning meals and shopping with a list can help you resist the temptation to throw potato chips or chocolate into your cart. On the other side, practicing portion control is beneficial to both the wallet and the waist. Avoid buying food in bulk – you may be tempted to eat more – and decide your portion sizes when you are not hungry. Don’t be afraid to not eat everything on your plate, especially at restaurants. You can always eat the rest tomorrow.

Losing weight is not easy. However, not having hundreds of dollars to spend on exercise and diet food need not be an insurmountable obstacle. With a little bit of effort and resourcefulness, you can diet on a budget.