Every year many of us take the decision to have a healthier lifestyle. However, an excuse we commonly hide behind is the additional cost of doing so. After all, gym memberships, sports equipment, classes and personal trainers all cost money. But with effective planning, you can manage to lose weight, stay healthy and not hurt your finances.



Plan your meals

The first thing you can do is start cooking at home. This is probably not the first time you are hearing this and for good reason. Eating out regularly costs money, therefore save by cooking at home and reduce your calorie intake. Plan your meals to include ones with more nutritional value. Look up healthy, delicious recipes on the internet and maybe invest in a cook book or two to help you get started. Make a shopping list and be sure not to go grocery shopping while you’re hungry because it is easier to give into your temptations. Include items such as whole grains and lentil which keep you full and don’t cost that much. Canned food such as veggies and tuna are also cheaper with almost the same nutritional value as fresh ones.

While planning your meals for the week, include pure vegetarian meals. Not only will it be a healthier option but reducing the amount of meat you have per week, can help you save, as meals with meat are more expensive. Planning will reduce the amount of food you waste, preventing you from spending money on excess groceries and including meals which can be easily eaten as leftovers will reduce the amount of wasted food.

Another way to save is by replacing expensive sugar based drinks which are bad for you with water. Water is cheaper than a milkshake you would guzzle down and is a healthier option. Similarly, instead of purchasing snacks from vending machines, get your own from home as machines and supermarkets charge more for packaged, portion controlled snacks.

Exercising on a budget

Paying for expensive Pilate’s class or gym memberships is not necessary to become fit. There are plenty of other affordable alternatives to explore when it comes to physical activity. To start with, try out simple activities such as a 30 minute brisk walk, cycling or roller blading around the area you live. If this becomes difficult for some during summer as temperatures soar in the Middle East, try out indoor activities from the comfort of your own home. Look for videos online which give you instructions on how to weight train at home or strength training. There is plenty of material you can download or watch for free, therefore costing you nothing to get those muscles into shape. The same can be done if you are looking for more fun activities or classes such as yoga or dance.

Besides setting a specific time out of your day for exercise, increase physical activity as part of your lifestyle in other ways. For example, take the stairs to your office instead of the lift. If your office is on a high floor than get off 5 floors below and use the stairs for the rest. If you live close to your local grocery store, walk to it instead of taking your car. This way, you not only get active but also save on gas.

Find a friend

If you are one of those people who need to be motivated to stick to a diet plan or exercise plan, than instead of paying a personal trainer, find a friend who will do it along with you. Personal trainers can really hurt your bank especially if you end up with minimal results. Instead convince a friend who either wants to lose a couple of pounds or is already big on living healthy. This way you may even enjoy your exercise regime as a friend lightens up the mood.

Losing weight is challenging let alone when you have to consider your finances along with it. However, with planning, positive thinking and change in habits, you can become healthier without breaking the bank.