There is this crazy idea running around that you can’t lose weight on a budget. That weight loss has to be super expensive and is only accessible for someone with lots of money to spend.
People often think that in order to be successful, you have to eat strictly organic, buy crazy supplements, and have an expensive gym membership.
Those things are nice maybe, but they aren’t necessary at all. I have been able to successfully lose my weight (and keep it off!) without having any of that.
There is no reason that weight loss has to be expensive. You can absolutely lose weight on a budget, and in this article, I’m going to share my favorite tips on how to do it.
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10 Simple Tips to Help You Lose Weight on a Budget
1.) Skip the Gym Membership
If you’re looking to lose weight on a budget, then you absolutely need to skip the gym membership and do home workouts. This is an easy way to cut back on expenses without sacrificing your weight loss progress.
Gym memberships can cost on average about $60 a month. That adds up to around $700 a year! And that’s not even the really nice gyms…
As a busy mom, home workouts have been even more convenient for me than trying to use a gym membership. I get a great workout before the kids wake up without having to worry about childcare or travel time.
You can use your own body weight for strength training exercises and just lace up some sneakers and hit your neighborhood for some cardio. If you find that you enjoy or get a better workout with equipment, you can read here about what you need to set up a good home gym on a budget.
2.) Eat at Home
My next tip for losing weight on a budget is to eat at home. Eating out is not only more expensive but also a lot less healthy for your body.
Eating out at restaurants typically costs 2-3 times more than it would cost you to prepare the exact same food at home for yourself. And this goes up even more when it comes to health food.
Eating out for my family of 5 usually runs us anywhere from $30-$60. And that’s assuming we aren’t even going anywhere nice. If I were to take that same $60 to the grocery store, I could easily serve my family 3 dinners that would be a lot healthier.
Cooking food at home also helps with weight loss because the food you eat will be healthier and better for your body. Food cooked in restaurants often has more preservatives, butter, salt, and other ingredients to help it last longer.
Even when you cook the same meals at home that you would find in a restaurant it’s going to be fresher and healthier because you have more control over the ingredients and what goes into the recipes.
Eating at home can go a long way toward improving your diet and helping with weight loss without your wallet having to suffer.
3.) Meal Planning on a Budget
Once you get comfortable eating at home regularly, you can start meal planning on a budget. Meal planning is a huge help for saving money AND for weight loss.
Here is why it works so well: meal planning allows you to be intentional about what you eat and how much money you spend buying food. When you plan out your meals ahead of time you will make healthier eating choices which leads to weight loss.
When you know what you’re going to eat for the week and you hit the store with a grocery list, you will spend less money. You will also make fewer random trips to the store for missing ingredients. (Which also saves you money.)
When I finally got the hang of meal planning, our grocery bill was almost cut in half. And when I applied this skill to planning healthy meals for myself and my family, it made a huge difference in my weight loss.
4.) Don’t Buy Prepackaged
Even with all that grocery shopping and eating at home, things can still get a little out of control if you aren’t careful. That’s why my next tip for losing weight on a budget is to skip the prepackaged meals.
Prepackaged meals are super convenient and they’re good in a pinch, but they definitely aren’t budget-friendly. What you should do instead is make your own recipes at home.
Instead of buying that bagged salad, grab a head of lettuce, a few tomatoes, some other veggies, and chop the salad up yourself. Instead of buying the prechopped fruit, cut it yourself.
It will take a little extra time, but it will save you lots of money in the long run. It will probably taste better too because the ingredients will be fresher and you get to personalize it to your specific tastes.
One of the things that definitely help make preparing meals at home easier is to meal prep for the week. If you’re new to meal prepping, check out my post How to Meal Prep in 4 Easy Steps.
5.) Eat Less Meat
My next tip for how to lose weight on a budget is to eat less meat. Meat is probably one of the most expensive items on your grocery list.
When cutting out unhealthy carbs and junk food, a lot of people start increasing their portions of meat. This can be a mistake if you’re on a tight budget.
Instead, look for less expensive forms of protein to add to your meals. Some good options are:
- Peanut Butter
- Canned Tuna
If you’re a total carnivore and not willing to cut back on meat in your diet, try buying in bulk when your grocery store has sales on your favorite types of meat. Then you can freeze the extra and use it when needed. (I go into more detail on this in step #9.)
6.) Buy Frozen or Seasonal Produce
Another tip that I have found to be super helpful to lose weight on a budget is to buy frozen or seasonal produce. Produce can be one of the bigger expenses when it comes to buying healthy food.
Fruit and vegetables that are out of season cost 2-3 times more and they can add up pretty quickly. With that being said, fruits and vegetables are still an important part of a healthy diet that leads to weight loss.
If you can, build your meal plans and recipes around fruits and vegetables that are in season. This is when they will taste the best and cost the least.
If you can’t buy in season, opt for frozen produce instead. Frozen fruits and vegetables are picked when they are ripe and in season and then frozen for later. This way they are still more affordable, but you still get all the taste and health benefits of fresh produce.
7.) Skip the Fancy Health Foods
My next tip to help you lose weight on a budget is to skip the fancy health foods. They are completely unnecessary for weight loss. Yes, “superfoods” are jam-packed with nutrients and some celebrity was probably talking about how great they are.
But they’re also super expensive and you can typically only find them at fancy healthy food stores.
That’s cool and all if you have money to burn, but when you’re on a budget you need to do what’s practical. The best thing to eat when you’re trying to lose weight are whole foods.
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean meats. That’s it! That’s all you need. If you can’t find it at your regular local grocery store, I’m giving you permission right now to leave it off your grocery list.
Keep your ingredient lists simple and it will go a long way to keeping your food costs well within your budget.
8.) Drink More Water
Another great thing you can do to help lose weight on a budget is to drink more water. Water is usually free and way healthier for you than any drinks, sodas, etc.
Very few people drink as much water as their body actually needs. Often low-level dehydration can cause your body to send out extra hunger signals which cause you to eat more than you need.
Also, most drinks are just empty calories that don’t actually fill you up. Drinking an 8oz cup of juice has as many calories as 2 slices of bread. Which at least if you ate the bread, it would actually satisfy some of your hunger.
Drinking more water will help reduce your hunger while also saving you money that you would be spending on other drinks.
9.) Your Freezer is Your Friend
When it comes to losing weight on a budget, the freezer is most definitely your friend. Using your freezer allows you to save money by buying in bulk.
When fruit, produce, or meat are on sale, you can take advantage of it and stock up. Then you freeze the extra and pull it out when you need it.
Your freezer will also help save you time because you can cook in bulk or meal prep. It doesn’t require any extra effort to double a recipe while you’re cooking.
Double batch your cooking for a few weeks, put the extras in the freezer, and you will have ready to go meals whenever you need them.
Using your freezer to store extra food will allow you to spend less money at the grocery store and save some extra time in the kitchen. This will make it easier to stick to a healthier diet which will help you with weight loss.
10.) Listen to Your Body’s Hunger Cues
My last tip on this list is probably the one that I have found to be the most useful when it comes to weight loss. It’s a method of intuitive eating that I have used to cut back on my portions and overeating and it’s completely free.
The whole idea is to eat according to your body’s hunger cues. Our bodies will naturally tell us when it needs food for energy and when it’s no longer hungry.
When we listen to these hunger cues, we can naturally maintain a healthy weight without having to count calories, points, or cut out all of our favorite foods.
However, it can be easy to miss these signals if you’ve developed some unhealthy eating habits.
How to recognize your body’s hunger cues
In order to practice intuitive eating, you need to listen to your body’s hunger cues. These will tell you when to eat for physical hunger and when to stop at satisfied, instead of full.
It can be easy to blow past satisfied and eat more than you need if you are distracted or in a rush. Here are some steps you can take to tune in and start listening to your body:
- Slow down when you eat.
- Eat without looking at your phone.
- Drink a glass of water before every meal.
- Before you decide to eat, ask yourself if you’re really hungry.
- Are you craving something specific or are you willing to eat something healthy?
Practicing these steps costs nothing, but will make a HUGE difference in your weight loss.
Thoughts on How to Lose Weight on a Budget?
So those are some of my best tried and true tips to help you lose weight on a budget. Weight loss doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
Follow these tips and the weight will be falling off while still keeping your wallet nice and happy. 😉
Do you have any great tips for losing weight on a budget? Let us know in the comments or email me at Candice@littlestepsbighappy.com. Follow me on Pinterest for more weight loss tips and advice.
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I’m a busy mom of 3 turned Health and Fitness Coach and Self Defense Instructor. I help inspire other moms to reach their health, fitness, and weight loss goals. You can usually find me chasing my kiddos around, training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or sneaking away to read romance novels. About Me