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5 Tips to Help You Start Losing Weight on a Budget

Posted by MoneyKey on May 5, 2019
A scale to track weight loss progress

Whether you’re trying to get into better shape for beach season or you’re just looking to start living a healthier lifestyle, step one on your priority list may be to start shedding a few pounds. But when you’re living paycheck to paycheck, losing weight on a budget may seem like an unrealistic goal. It doesn’t have to be though! With the right knowledge in hand and enough dedication, you can learn how to lose weight on a budget in a way that fits with your finances and your lifestyle.

1. Create a budget that suits your goals

Before being able to jump into whatever weight loss techniques you’re going to employ, you need to have an idea of what your specific weight-loss goals are. This starts with understanding why you’re looking to set these goals in the first place. You’re looking to start losing weight on a budget, but you need to consider a few things first:

  • What are the benefits of achieving these goals?
  • How are you going to feel when you’ve accomplished them?
  • What activities do you love to do and how can they help you accomplish your goals?
  • What obstacles will you face in making necessary changes to your life?

Make a budget to start losing weight economically

For example, you may love going to the gym, but between work, family, and the cost of an expensive gym membership, it may not be realistic to set a goal of going to the gym three times a week. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start losing weight on a budget by developing a home workout plan that satisfies your enjoyment of working out and also helps you achieve your ultimate goal.

Once your goals are set, you’ll need to determine what tools you’ll need to help you achieve them. Will you need some help creating an exercise routine? A personal trainer may be out of your budget, but there are a number of free fitness apps that can help you put together a routine suited to your weight loss goals.

Having a clear understanding of your goals and the tools you need to achieve them should help you stay on the right path, spend your money wisely, and continue the process of losing weight on a budget.

2. Fill your cupboards with healthy options

The term “superfood” is running rampant through the world of food blogs, but the nutrient-rich foods that typically fall into this category often come with a price tag that might be a little too expensive for someone who wants to be losing weight on a budget. But you don’t need to be eating chia seeds, goji berries, and bee pollen to start losing weight.

You can find plenty of everyday superfoods that fit into your budget like oatmeal, broccoli, oranges, cabbages, and more. Use these as the basis of your cheap healthy meal prep along with other weight-loss friendly foods that fit into your budget.

3. Consume protein that won’t break the bank

Eggs are an affordable source of protein to lose weight

If you’re looking to start losing weight on a budget, protein will likely need to become a regular part of your diet. It’s one of the most vital nutrients for weight loss, as it can help to reduce your appetite and boost your metabolism. Unfortunately, it might be tricky to regularly incorporate expensive meats into your diet if you’re looking to stick to a strict budget. But this doesn’t mean that there aren’t affordable sources of protein out there! To boost your protein intake on a budget, try things like:

  • Eggs – 5.7 grams of protein for a medium-sized egg
  • Quinoa – 8.14 grams of protein for one cup of cooked quinoa (185 g)
  • Lentils – 12 grams of protein for half a cup (125 ml) of cooked lentils
  • Tofu – 10.1 grams of protein for half a cup of raw firm tofu
  • Yogurt – 20 grams of protein for a 150-calorie serving of 2% Greek yogurt
  • Cottage cheese – 22 grams of protein for one cup of low-fat cottage cheese

If you’re looking for more vegetarian protein sources, take a look at this list. Your protein intake is important if you want to be losing weight on a budget, but this doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to buy expensive meats.

4. Always make a list before grocery shopping

Grocery list to stay within your budget

Walking in to the grocery without a thorough list is something you’ll want to avoid if you’re looking to put together weekly meal plans on a budget. Maybe you’re prone to overspending, or maybe the call of the snack aisle is too much to bear. Whatever your issue is, wandering through the store with only a vague notion of what you’re looking for is trouble, so go prepared.

Start the process of budget meal planning by seeking out some meal prep recipes for weight loss. Using these recipes as a basis for your grocery list will help guide your shopping trip and help to reduce the amount of food that goes to waste – and who can afford to waste food when you’re losing weight on a budget?

Another key to keeping your food purchases healthy AND within your budget is to remain flexible. Try to start classifying certain portions of your grocery list as categories instead of individual items. For example, instead of including raspberries and grapes on your list, include a general “fruit” portion and base these purchases on what’s in season or on sale. Shopping for what’s in season will typically help reduce the size of your produce bill and also yield the freshest fruits and vegetables.

If you’re looking for more ways to save on food, check out our guide on how to save at the grocery store. 

5. Create a home workout plan

The struggle of keeping up with a regular fitness routine can be a challenge when you’re juggling work, family, friends, and your regular weekly errands. It can be even more challenging when you’re living paycheck to paycheck and can’t fit the cost of a pricey gym membership into your budget. But not having the resources to hit the gym doesn’t mean you can’t have an effective workout!

Set up a workout space at home

Putting together a home workout plan may be one of the keys to your weight loss plan. Start by creating a designated workout space in your home. You don’t need an entire room devoted to exercise; all you need is enough space to comfortably move around and perform a basic workout routine.

Create a home workout space to start losing weight on a budget

Take advantage of free fitness apps

If losing weight on a budget is your goal, there’s likely a free fitness app out there to help you through the process. If you’re short on time, look for apps that can provide high-intensity interval training routines to keep things brief. Even if you’re looking for full-length routine, fitness apps can shorten the length of your workouts simply by eliminating the need to travel to and from the gym. They can help you avoid the need for a pricey gym membership or personal trainer, and can help you put together an effective home workout plan to start losing weight on a budget.

Don’t let your finances stop you from losing weight on a budget

It may seem like a challenge, but losing weight on a budget is within your grasp. Once you’ve identified your specific weight loss goals, you can begin to implement the healthy eating and exercise practices that are best suited to you. Part of this process is about maintaining flexibility and being open to making changes in your lifestyle. Things may not come easily all at once, but if you use this guide as a starting point, you may be able to start losing weight without breaking the bank!

Do you have any tips for losing weight on a budget that aren’t listed above? Share below!


Disclaimer: This article provides general information only and does not constitute financial, legal or other professional advice. For full details, see MoneyKey's Terms of Use.

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