So you’ve made two New Year’s resolutions. One is the ever-popular vow to lose weight and the other is to trim your budget. Those may seem incompatible at first, but guess what? You really can do both at once.
One reason people don’t always mange to stick to a diet is that it can be expensive to eat right. By the time you get all those fresh fruits and veggies, lean meats, and diet colas to the cash register, the total price can make any budget howl with pain.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. With a little careful planning and creativity, you can cut the fat from both your body and your budget. Here are some tricks that will help.
Fresh Vegetables Aren’t Always Best
That’s a beautiful display at the produce counter, but the prices aren’t so pretty. Now take a stroll over to frozen foods. Don’t stop at the canned goods section, because those foods are loaded with sodium and will encourage your body to hold water weight. Go all the way across the store to where they keep the frozen fruits and vegetables.
You’ll get a better buy in this section of the store and avoid the sodium and the salty price. Stick to naked vegetables that don’t come dressed in cream sauce or accessorized with pasta. Finish your shopping in this cool part of the store by choosing some sugar-free frozen fruits.
The exception to this rule is salad greens and in season fruits and veggies. Most salad fixings aren’t available frozen and you can get some great bargains on produce that is currently being harvested. For example, buy fresh asparagus in the spring, tomatoes in the summer, and squash in the fall.
For even better deals, visit your local farmers market and experience fresh-picked deliciousness.
Kick the Cola Habit
Okay, you’ve given up sweetened sodas and adjusted to the diet version, but that’s still not good enough. Just like canned vegetables, diet soda is low in calories but high in sodium. Excess sodium fights your efforts to lose weight, and isn’t the battle hard enough already?
Drink water instead and not the expensive bottled kind. Get a filter for your tap and bottle your own. If plain water just doesn’t get if for you, add a couple slices of lemons, limes, or even cucumbers. Drop in a few frozen berries or grapes and you’ll feel like you’re drinking designer water at its best.
Now you don’t have to add soda to the shopping list anymore so you can cut that out of your grocery budget.
Don’t Renew Your Gym Membership
That’s not a joke or a stab at sabotaging your good intentions. It’s a way to save some serious dollars. Just because you don’t go to the gym doesn’t mean you can’t maintain a fitness routine.
Invest in a few inexpensive pieces of equipment for working out at home. Grab some dumbbells for strengthening exercises and a jump rope for cardio. Take a walk or put on your favorite CDs and dance the calories away.
If you’ve got the space, buy a second hand stationary bicycle or treadmill. You can find them at garage sales every day for a small fraction of the cost of new.
It may first appear that you have chosen two incompatible resolutions to tackle, but looks can be deceiving. With a little craftiness and some will power, both your body and your budget will be slim and trim.
Guest author George Gallagher is a health and wellness and finance blogger.