Who says you need to pay top dollar to get a trim body?
Follow these practical guidelines and you’ll never have to spend a bomb in your weight loss journey.
Set A Strict Budget
The first pivotal step toward saving money is to set a strict budget to limit your daily expenses. And to ensure that you stay on track, make all your purchases in cash so that you can keep an eye on your spending.
Separate your intended expenses into labelled envelopes, like groceries, entertainment, utilities, transport, and so on. Put a fixed amount of cash in each envelope and draw your spending from there. Once the envelope is empty, it means that you are not allowed to spend any more (unless in an emergency). This tactic can train you to stick to your budget and make things work.
Why use cash? Well, it may be super convenient to use your credit card to pay for everything these days but doing so can make you overspend really easily. You might end up buying unhealthy snacks like potato chips and ice cream at the grocery store! At the end of the day, it’s about accountability, so be mindful of how you are spending your money.
Buy Certain Foods In Bulk
Buying certain foods in bulk or whole can lead to long-term savings. For instance, instead of buying several packets of chicken fillets, get a whole chicken. You get to use different parts of the chicken across several different meals at home. When shopping for oatmeal, opt for the biggest container over the sugar-laden individual sachets. Ditto for bags of rice and frozen veggies, instead of individual packs.
Make Your Own Meals
Eating out may be convenient but it sure is not wallet-friendly. Think about it: why spend $15 on a grilled salmon at a restaurant when you can buy fresh salmon from the supermarket at half the price? It may sound like a hassle at first but once you get the hang of meal-prepping, you will find that it is actually pretty manageable. The best part about cooking your own meals is that you get to season it however you like and experiment with different recipes to suit your diet goals and preferences. To take it a step further, you can weigh your ingredients so that you are more aware of your portions.
And meal-prepping is not restricted to main meals. You can also concoct your own snacks so that you don’t have to rely on vending machines to feed midday munchies. Buy a big bag of almonds, portion them out into resealable bags, and bring a packet to work each day. The same can be done for fresh fruit like blueberries or vegetables such as celery and baby carrots. Aim to do all your meal-prepping on a Sunday so that you are well-stocked for the upcoming week.
Less Meat; More Beans
These days, meat can get rather expensive. Make it a habit to go meatless once a week to cut calories and save money. Instead of buying deli meat, get a can of chickpeas or beans, which are a cost-effective and low-fat option. Beans are also packed with protein and fibre, both of which can help you to feel satiated for longer. This can prevent you from overeating!
Less Idle Time
Hitting the gym for an hour at night is always a good thing, but if you remain sedentary throughout most of the day, you are not truly ‘active’. The goal is to keep your metabolic rate up, so avoid being sedentary for long periods of time, even when you are at home. While you are watching a television show at home, you can always multi-task by doing tricep dips on your couch or bodyweight squats during commercial breaks.
To amp up your cardio, you can also consider walking or cycling during a small part of your daily commute to and from work. Not only will you save on transport money but you can also burn more calories every day! In addition, you can incorporate more activity into your workday by taking short walks and climbing up the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Your increased activity levels will go a long way in helping you to shed pounds and get closer to your ideal physique.
Take Control Of Your Surroundings
Ever heard of the adage ‘out of sight, out of mind’?
You can apply this philosophy to help in your weight loss efforts too. While it’s almost impossible to completely avoid restaurants and stores, you can tweak your daily habits to help reduce the possibility of overspending and overeating. For instance, instead of placing snacks on your desk, keep them in another part of your office or home. These small adjustments can encourage you to take control of your environment and hence, your behaviour. And never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach, unless you’d like to be the proud owner of the chips and biscuit aisles.
Join A Health Rewards System
There are several apps available these days that reward you for buying healthy food and staying active. By earning points through daily healthy habits, you have the opportunity to claim vouchers, discounts and more. It’s a win-win situation!