Money saving tips for your diet - Northern Michigan's News Leader

Week 55

Money saving tips for your diet

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By Lisa Spodak (ResultsNotTypical@worldnow.com)
Provided by WorldNow

Week 55 Weigh In:

Change this week:  +.5 lbs
Change overall:  -76 lbs

I was neither surprised nor overly disappointed by my gain this week - it happens!  And I'm still below my 75-pound milestone, so I'm happy.  Onward!

One of the things I'm grappling with is how to lose weight on a budget.

For a while now, I haven't been paying too much attention to how much this lifestyle change is costing me.  I don't mean to be (too) melodramatic, but losing weight is the most important thing in my life right now and as a result I've largely ignored the mounting bills and waning bank account by rationalizing that you can't put a cost on being healthy.

But, as I continue into the second year and am happily incorporating lots of permanent changes, I know that I've got to look at some ways to make this lifestyle more cost effective.

Here are a handful of tips to get you started (if you've got some good ones, please email me at resultsnottypical@worldnow.com):

At the grocery store:

  • Make a list and stick to it. Impulse shopping is what will really add to the dollars on your receipt!
  • Don't shop hungry. If you're hungry when you go shopping, you'll be more likely to stray from your list and give in to the impulses.
  • Make your own portion controlled snacks. 100-calorie packs are everywhere these days and the convenience can't be beat; however, they are not necessarily the most cost effective snacks you can find. Buy regular boxes and bags of your favorite snacks and portion them out into small baggies yourself. Just make sure that, like the shopping, you're doing the packaging when you're full so you don't succumb to mindless snacking!
  • Don't be led astray by sales. Not every sale is a better deal. If you have to buy three heads of lettuce to get a special price and two will go bad before you can use them, that may not save any money. Pay attention to the "real" cost and consider if you'll be able to use everything you're buying.
  • Try store brands. Not every store brand will live up to your favorite specialty brand, but you won't know until you try it!
  • Buy in bulk for things that make sense. I buy things that I know I eat a lot and won't go bad by the case - either at a discount store or online (ie, Amazon.com).

Eating out (just a special note here, keep in mind that as you're saving yourself money, you don't want to penalize a helpful waiter - consider tipping above a standard percentage of your bill to make up for your cost-cutting):

  • Think about your next meal in addition to the current one. When you order your meal, ask the waiter to box half of it before serving it so you have a more reasonable portion now AND lunch for tomorrow. (Another trick I use often: I go to Subway for lunch and get a $5 foot-long sub eating half for lunch and saving half for dinner)
  • Drink water! It's the healthiest and cheapest thing you can drink at a restaurant.
  • Consider a special salad or an appetizer instead of an entrée. Again, this saves you money and cuts down on potentially huge portions.
  • Share an entrée with a friend. Even if there is a plate-sharing charge, chances are you'll end up saving money (and calories).
  • Eat a snack and drink a big glass of water before going to the restaurant. This will cut down on the chances that you'll order unreasonably due to immediate hunger.

Clothes shopping:

  • Think a few sizes ahead. I sometimes find great sales on clothes that won't fit me yet, but will in a few months. For example, when I find sales on the jeans that I like, I buy a pair in the next two smaller sizes I'm aiming for.
  • Consider discount and thrift stores. I want to wear clothes that fit me, but as I'm losing weight I know that I won't be wearing the same clothes for a very long time. Since the clothes I'm buying right now are transitional, I'm more worried about cost than high quality or trendiness. Basic staples to get me through can be found at discount department stores and sometimes even thrift stores.
  • Check out eBay for gently used clothes.
  • Skip shopping! Chances are you have friends with similar taste to yours. Host a clothing swap where all of your friends bring clothes that they no longer wear and are willing to give away. I have a friend who's smaller than me and losing weight -- when she said she was cleaning out her closet, I told her to save clothes for me that would fit in a few months and I'd buy her dinner in return!
  • Try a rental service.  A company like http://www.transitionalsizes.com will let you rent clothes temporarily while you go down in size.

You don't have to cut out everything that costs you money!  At this point, I'm not ready to give up my Weight Watchers online membership or my personal trainer.  But, making good choices where it doesn't matter as much will enable you to spend the money where you really want to.

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