The Tipping List
5 Ways to Save Money and Lose Weight
Is it really possible?
I ask myself, have I died and gone to heaven or discovered a secret wonder of the world? Every day I’m bombarded with ways to lose weight OR save money.
How come no one has thought of a way to combine the two?
Now, I’m not saying you are going to grow wealthy by implementing these tips – goodness knows I haven’t. But, all the same, it feels good to know I’m caring for myself and my bank account when I live in this manner. (And, okay, I also feel a little like I’m sticking it to the Man, and that satisfies the vengeful side of my heart.)
1. I no longer frequent Starbucks, Caribou or even my local coffee shop.
Although I am a devout coffee drinker, when I visit coffee shops, I tend to treat myself, even if it’s my fourth time that week. This means I go all out: double-caff, full-fat, white-chocolate, 600-extra-calories-I-don’t-want-to-know-about lattes. That is a lot of extra calories hitting my already thunderous thighs. And at $5 or $6 a pop (plus the tip I feel compelled to leave), that’s also a lot of money each week. Just by cutting out those visits, I have either an extra $100 at the end of the month in savings or I can actually afford to get my hair cut and colored. And I’m pretty sure my thighs aren’t sobbing over the missing cellulite.
2. I wake up 15 minutes earlier.
Not so I can squeeze in some last-minute abusive crunches in the morning (heaven help me!), but because when I feel less rushed in the morning, I’m more likely to survey my kitchen for snacks and other good things to get me through the day ahead. It means the difference between having an apple for my afternoon snack or something else (usually “something” means hitting the street vendors or the little café in the lobby of my building). An apple that I paid 15 cents for versus a fattening $3 treat? That adds up and subtracts, too – from your waistline!
3. I make my own lunch.
I know, everyone puts this on their money-saving list. But it’s for a reason – it works! If I eat out during the day, I am almost guaranteed to spend $8 to $10. Fifty dollars a week on just one daytime meal?! That’s almost my entire grocery budget for the week! So, instead, I plan lunch meals the same way I do dinner meals. Not only do I save money, but I also am assured that the meal I get is balanced, healthy and much lower in calories than that taco salad from the Mexican joint across the street. I estimate that a full lunch for me costs about $3 a day, and less if I’ve made a soup or something like that. I’m also consuming at least HALF THE CALORIES that I would if I ate out. That’s a big difference!
4. I canceled my gym membership.
Now, I realize this won’t work for anyone, but for me, it has made a big difference. The $60 a month I used to spend on the gym now goes straight into savings. I bought myself a set of free weights to use at home, and for my cardio, good old walking/running. I either take my dogs out twice a day for a good long hike, or I make it a point to get use my lunch hour to get some activity in. I’ve even been known to spend 45 minutes in the stairwell, climbing stairs! (I don’t need no stinking stair machine!) So, my money is saved and my day is compacted because I’ve used my workout time as multitasking time. Either way, I have to walk my dogs, so I might as well make that cardio time for me too. I have to take a lunch – why not spend it working out and save an hour on either end of my day when I’d normally go to the gym?
5. I shop once a week.
Unless I’m in dire straits, I only go to the grocery store once a week. I used to be very lax about this rule, but I’ve tightened it up in recent months, and it’s made a surprising difference both in how much I spend and the types of food I eat. At the beginning of each week, I make a meal plan that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. I make sure that these are well-balanced, healthy meals, and I still allow room for a little treat – which some weeks is coconut sorbet and others is a big ol’ pile of mangoes (which are usually prohibitively expensive). Sticking to my list at the store means I’m not coming home with a bunch of impulse buys, which, let’s be honest, most often include processed foods and junk. Only going to the store once a week means I’m less likely to cave in to my cravings for sweets, and means that I’m not spending extra money with each trip, because you know how running into the store for a bag of carrots somehow also includes a box of Krispy Kremes, a few magazines, that new soap … Nip those buys in the bud with the once-a-week plan and you’ll save – and lose – a bundle.