Many of our goals revolve around saving money or losing weight. Lucky for you, many times, they come hand in hand. I personally had to change many of my food habits about a year ago and I’m in better shape now than I was in my twenties. There are lots of ways we can improve our financial and physical health simultaneously. Here are some of my top suggestions on how to save and cut-back on the calories:
Drink More Water
No doubt about it, drinking water is good for your health. Most juices and other drinks are packed with sugar. Most people think if they avoid soda, they are doing okay. While soda is one of the worst offenders, other drinks are hardly the epitome of health. Popular sports drinks, like Gatorade or Vitamin Water contain high amounts of sugar or artificial sweeteners. Even when they are marketed to appear as a healthy option, one bottle can often contain almost 40 grams!
Save money and shed some pounds by switching to good old H2O. There are pitfalls here as well. Bottled water can prove to be a pricey option over time. Investing in a good water filter for home use and a reusable bottle for when you’re on the go will prove beneficial for your wallet and health.
Stop Buying Junk Food
Not much to say here. Junk food is basically sugar in a box, provides zero nutritional value and is a drain on your wallet. Stop buying it, you'll be saving money and adding years to your life, period.
Brew Your Own Coffee
The morning cup of coffee (or four) is a fixture for most of us. Coffee itself is naturally low in calories and the caffeine can help boost your metabolism. The problem is what else is in it. Large coffee chains are constantly appealing to your sweet tooth. Most of what you’re drinking probably isn’t even coffee. Look up how many calories are in a grande double mocha chocha latte(that’s a thing right?) with an extra pump of flavor. I bet it’s a lot, and it probably cost you a few extra bucks too. Even if you get a run-of-the-mill actual coffee, you’re paying more than you would brewing at home. There are plenty of easy-to-use coffee machines that can be programmed to have a fresh pot ready the moment you wake up and will start saving money and some calories from day one.
Take A Walk
Instead of taking your car for a short trip, trying walking. Yes, it may take a bit longer, but you’ll be saving some wear and tear on the car, plus gas. Walking also has obvious health benefits. As an added bonus you’ll be helping the environment too! If you don’t want to walk, invest in a bike - this will slow down the money saving initially, but will be worth the investment in the long term.
Nothing, and I mean nothing, baffles me more than watching someone light up a cigarette. With all the health issues we know they cause, it’s beyond me why anyone even tries them anymore. And if you’re a longtime smoker, I don’t get how quitting isn’t the number one thing on your to-do list. Beyond the health risks, think about how expensive it is too. The average pack of cigarettes in NJ is $7.85 and many can cost up to $10. To put this in perspective, a low-level smoker (less than one pack a week) spends about $8 a week, which adds up to $416 a year on this wasteful habit.
Stop Going To An Expensive Gym
Expensive gyms, and the key word here is expensive, are a waste of money for most of us. Does your gym have a pool, sauna, weights, cardio, classes, tennis, and more? That’s great, but how much of that do you actually take advantage of? One, maybe two of those amenities? They are all baked into that pricey gym membership. Gyms that cost $70, $80, $100 a month just aren’t worth it for most of us. There are plenty of cheaper alternatives that can meet your needs and save money. If you really want to get serious, switch to at-home workouts, take up running, walking or other free methods of exercise. If you don’t like working out alone, there are lots of ways to find local fitness groups online. You can even download free fitness apps to track your progress.
Start Cooking At Home
Restaurants are fun and can be an enjoyable change of pace, but they can also be a giant detriment to your budget and physique. Think about how and what you eat at home vs. a restaurant. When eating out you’re likely to order apps, alcoholic drinks\soda, a main course and probably dessert. Not to mention the portion sizes are normally much larger and we never leave left overs there. All of this adds up to a lot of calories (including a lot more sugar you don’t realize) and even more dollars. One meal out will likely amount to more than a full day’s worth of calories and cost 5 times more than a homemade meal. Cutting back on the number of nights out will rapidly result in pounds lost and you'll be saving a lot of money.
Seems obvious, but still worth mentioning. The idea is simple, if you’re eating less, the food you have will last longer and you won’t have to buy as many groceries, therefore saving money on food overall. There are lots of ways you can do this. Eliminate or cut-back on the snacks or reduce the portion size. Eat smaller meals or eat foods that will keep you fuller for longer. These are just a few ideas, find what works for you and see the savings add up and the pounds go down.
These are just a few ideas and I’m sure there are many, many more. What’s your favorite way to save money while being healthy? Leave your best tips in the comments!