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Watch Your Wallet – Saving money and losing weight

We all know that with the expansion and bloom of the fast food industry there has been an increase waistlines and decrease in money in our wallets. Some how and for some reason we’ve decided to accept that fast food bills are a necessary expense.

We tend to believe that we have to incur these expenses and some of us have even given up on eating better or going a diet.  Fast foods, lack of self control, laziness and lack of exercise are just part of the reasons obesity rates are rising in the US.

Two Differences of Opinions on the Subject

According to Barbara O’Neill, co-author of “Small Steps to Health and Wealth”, if a half-portion dinner has 240 calories instead of 480, you could also lose 20 pounds in a year by eating half a food portion. Whereas, Jay Zagorsky, economist at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, who has studied the relationship between weight loss and wealth, points out that “smaller portions do not always save individuals money”, negates O’Neill’s view that you might lose weight eating only in the finest restaurants because the portions are small, but you won’t end up saving money this way.

Money and Calories How They Add Up

If you can’t learn to manage your money and your calories you can’t find a solution. It’s a proven fact that losing weight can improve your physical and emotional well-being. 

According to the National Institute of Health, $75-$125 billion is spent on indirect and direct costs due to obesity-related diseases.

By keeping your weight under control, you can avoid doctor’s bills and medication.  However, it is important to note that the effect of a poor diet may not show up until many years into the future. So, people should understand that losing weight may not result in savings right away.

You should know that a lot of people tend to waste several hundred dollars per month on junk food.  Let’s look at some things we can do to eliminate gaining a larger waistline while stuffing our wallets/purses with more money.

Just Find Healthier Activities To Do

Instead of going to the cinema to watch a movie and munch down all those high-calorie snacks why not go to the park instead? It’s healthier to get some exercise into your system and guess what?  For the most part its free if you count having to drive but then hopefully you can walk or ride your bike there.

Nowadays seems like we would just rather to do things the easy more costly way.  Walk more, take the stairs, go for a bike ride instead of driving.  Go to the beach instead of being on the Ipad and sitting on the couch.  Instead of meeting for lunch meet for a walk in the park.

Don’t Stop Just Drive Past the Fast Food Chains

Drive really fast when you pass by a fast food place, (nah just playing don’t go getting a ticket or into an accident). Seriously though with so many fast food chains you really have to avoid them at all costs.  A lot of people will say I will just stop and get a little something.  That may work for a while but in the end you fall back into the same trap.

It is highly likely that after a while you will get tired of just getting a salad or one burger. Then comes the problem of ordering those meals that we tend to eat all of even when we get it SUPER SIZED!!!  Usually we end up eating everything they give us in a restaurant just because we don’t want to waste money.

Cut down on the sodas

Half of Americans daily sip sugary drinks.  I know this because I was one of those people who seems to always be drinking something other than water.  When we order any soft drink, we are getting water mostly combined with a lot of sugar and a flavor. But that sugary taste is usually cheaper corn syrup, consisting of 45 percent glucose and 55 percent fructose.

Just one soda can a day can cause 15 pounds of weight gain per year. Drink water!  A lot of water and you will save money by not wasting it on buying empty calories.  Besides water is the healthiest option we’ve got.

Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time. – Mark Twain

Ward Off Temptations

Willpower isn’t something that comes easy and even when you have it, it sometimes will fail you. The sad part is that studies have shown that when we increase willpower on some things, other goals get neglected. In this case, if we are focused on saving money it is not likely we pay attention to staying on a healthy diet. I know it sucks right?

For this reason you should set up a system that will help you make the right decisions, without having to trust your willpower. When it comes to losing weight, throw out your fat pants and when it comes to the fridge stock it with low-calorie treats for when you get a sugar craving. Make the decision not to go out to eat (yes, even throw out the menus to order from home too!), by eating at home you’ll save money too.

Don’t Spend a Lot on One Meal

There are a lot of great meals you can make for $5 dollars. Sure you want to make something great for the family, your guests or maybe just your significant other.  But be mindful of how much you are spending on just one meal.  When you planning we tend to go a little overboard to try and makes things “very special”, and not only does it being very special end up costing an arm and leg but it also tend to be high in calorie.

Think long and hard about buying all those ingredients that you are only going to use for just that one meal.  And to you need all the wine, desserts, and bread that people tend to make.  They can all be things that can add the calories and pounds to your waist while draining the wallet.

Do Your Own Freaking Chores

Don’t ask someone else to do your work. Sure you are busy tired or whatever else but you can get a lot of exercise doing work at home.  Calories burned doing household chores can be a big part of trimming down your waistline. Hell they say you burn a lot of calories making love to your partner, would you outsource that?

Scrubbing the bathroom for 20 minutes will easily burn 200 calories and 30 minutes of digging in yard burns down 300 calories. So you see simple chores are a great way of exercising and you don’t even have to pay.  That or just have sex more often!!!

Start Walking More

Walking is a perfect low-impact exercise and with my bad back its about the only thing that I can do that doesn’t cause issues.  Walk to the grocery store instead of taking out your car if its close.  Park farther away from the store or your job and walk. You save up on the fuel costs instead of driving around the parking lot looking for the closest spot.  Walking is great for your health and also a way to get some fresh air.

Keep Your Eye on the Prize

Determination is the key to lose calories and save up money. Write down your goals and make them time bound. For example, my goal is to lose 15 pounds and $2000 online in two months.  Make goals and work towards them!!  You can set goals any way you want to but remember what’s realistic to you may not be realistic to everyone. Don’t lose sight of what you what to accomplish.

How have you been able to save money and lose weight at the same time?  Have you found that when you are losing weight you automatically save?  Sometimes it can be reversed as well.  Be healthier can cost more such as gym membership higher cost of healthier food.  But that’s a post for a later date.

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  1. I really like your post. Especially the part of cutting down the sodas. I have started this habit already and increasing my water consumption had given me immediate results. Like what you said on your post it does help out with weight control and It made me feel more healthier

    • Soda was killing me softly SuburbanFinance. That and alcohol but now its strictly water and fattening up the wallet. Sometimes its getting back to the basics that help the most. Thanks for stopping through!

  2. I have been tempted to grab a McDonald’s hamburger a few times in the last couple weeks because it’s so fast and so darn cheap. But I managed to resist because I started thinking about all the fat and calories in it. I’m strength training for my scuba diving certification so I gotta stick to the healthy stuff!

    • How is that scuba certification coming along? That dollar menus will be America’s downfall. And they put those apple pies to 2 for $1. Thats just wrong if you ask me. Don’t stop or you might be tempted to get something. Those little things pack the calories in and I know I used to eat about 3 at a time. What a waste! Thanks for commenting Sydney!

  3. Great goal Thomas! We saw a big change when we started running every other day, I personally lost 8lbs (since then we’ve fallen off the wagon, but we are planning for a Sept Running challenge). Running is great exercise and very frugal. Good luck with your goal!

    • GYF thanks! I’m trying to get on it. August has been so busy my head is spinning. 8lbs is great and running every other day is something I dream of right now. I have the time but the body is not working. I know I need to cut the weight. I usually get back pains when I gain weight. Thanks for commenting and stopping by!

  4. These are all great tips…and so true! Calories and money do add up quick if you don’t pay attention to what you’re spending/eating!

    • You are right Holly. It sad that its seems to be easier to gain weight and lose money rather than lose weight and earn more money. If I can just turn that around. Thanks for commenting.

  5. I am naturally pretty thin and would never try to lose weight intentionally. BUT over the past couple months I stopped eating out everday for lunch and instead have been bringing my own food. I have saved about $40 a week and lost 7 pounds.

    Me losing weight is crazy because I don’t have much to lose. I think that goes to show just how fattening fast food really is. I have lost weight and saved a lot of money.

    • Alexa the eating out at work use to be the wifey weight loss and purse devil. Those lunches at PF Chang’s and Panera bread add on the pounds and drain the wallet. Fast food is mostly all fats. But the are quick to point out those salads. Like people are going to get them. I’ll have a super sized coke, fries, triple cheeseburger oh yeah and a side salad.

  6. Great tips! I also recommend not being tempted to buy a dessert just because it’s on sale. Just don’t buy it at all! It’s so easy to buy things like Entenmann’s danish when the price is marked down but it sure isn’t good for the body. Even if it’s only $2.50, I’d rather spend that $2.50 on a nice cup of coffee at a cute coffee shop with a friend than on some cheese danish I eat by myself.

    • Dang it Tara you hit the sweet spot!! Those Entenmanns are always on sale at Publix. They sure taste good but looking in the mirror and knowing I wasted a few dollars is not a good thing. This month I have also cut back on the sweets. Thanks for stopping by Tara! Make sure you get rid of that neighbor who likes to throw trash outside.

  7. Soda is a huge contributor to weight gain. I have a friend who was a bit overweight, he was addicted to mountain dew, I mean addicted! Just by cutting that out, he lost 30 lbs, not to mention how he has improved his overall health!

    • Jim you are so right! Funny that they will easily say only 100 calories per serving. But remember a lot of them are 3-4 serving per can depend on the drink. Wasted calories. Wow 30 lbs that a lot just from cutting soda. How many was he drinking on a daily?

  8. Great tips Thomas! Fast food places are tempting because they’re cheap and quick, but definitely unhealthy. I try to avoid them for the most part. I also don’t drink soda anymore, well at least rarely. I like your comment about doing your freaking chores…you kill two birds with one stone. Clean up your house and burn calories (and save money if you usually pay someone else to do it.)

    • Andrew cleaning sure does give you a workout especially when you have a newborn. You have to clean in between naps plus be quiet at the same time. $5 dollars at McD’s will get you fries, 2 burgers, large tea and a 2 apple pies. All unhealthy but cheap and quick. When I pass the chains by my house there are always lines wrapped about the drive thru.

      • Oh the drive thru lines are my pet peeve. I often see a line at the drive thru but not much of a line inside the restaurant. People are too lazy to even get out of their car to walk inside to avoid the line! Drives me nuts!

  9. These are some great tips, but unfortunately I don’t think I can give up my daily soda :/ I have tried in the past and failed. With that being said, I try to eat fairly healthy day in and day out and go to the gym 3-5 times a week. So far it’s worked out, but we’ll see how long I can keep up the pizza, pop, sweets, etc. until it catches up to me ;)

    • DC I guess in all things in moderation and if you have it under control and it works for you keep it going. I just tend to drink it just because I see it. Half the time I am not even thirsty. Working out and cutting out pizza and sweets are great ways to stay in shape and save money. Do you pay for gym membership though?

  10. Great article! I have been trying to eat healthier lately. Fast food makes me feel like such a cow.

    • Debt and the Girl fast food burgers don’t even hold a candle to home grilled burgers but we are so use to getting things quickly. Glad you liked the post. Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Great ideas. I gave up soda a few months ago. It’s one of the best things I did, for myself and for my wallet. Water all the way for me now! :)

  12. Those are all good recommendations. Fast Food is nonsense…though I will admit that once or twice a month, I will break down and buy a burger from In & Out or Carls Jr. A tip I’ve found that helps is to throw out any coupons I get in the mail. Keeping them around taps into my frugality in a bad way, and nudges me towards a purchase…

    • In and Out Burger don’t think I have been to one of those in awhile though. I agree tend to through out the mailers and even now get rid of the menus we have to call up for pickup or delivery. They just cause my wallet and waistlines to be on bad terms with one another. Nice post on real estate on your site!

  13. Healthy people are more wealthy and more successful and the only simple reason is their health which supports them to work and perform better. That’s why it is called ‘Health is Wealth’ . Of course having proper diet food and giving up junk fast food saves a good amount money but more then accumulating wealth, it also makes fit and sturdy so that you can earn more and enjoy your wealth. Also having meals at proper time and a good sleep are equally important to stay fit. There is no point in chasing wealth at cost of health, you can enjoy your wealth only if you are healthy, sturdy and fit. Nice post Thomas

    • Hey Sam thanks for stopping by and commenting. I guess it just depends on what you consider being wealthy. I know a lot of friends who are in great shape but money wise they are not doing to well. I say take care of your body and wallet and be smart.

  14. When I am really on top of my game living healthy, it is actually a bit expensive because of food prices but I do not count the gym as a bad expense because when I am on a serious routine I give up things like beer, paying to get into clubs and such stuff which costs more monthly than the gym.

    • Demaish I agree that sometimes being healthy can also be more expensive depending on how you handle things. If everything you buy is natural/organic and you pay to go to the gym or crossfit you could easily be spending more money. Glad to hear you are on top of your game with that. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Great tips! I gave up soda for Lent a few years ago and have never looked back!

    • Thanks Lisa glad you like the tips and thanks for stopping by! Its amazing what you can give up for lent…I remember one year giving up meat, sweets, alcohol, sodas, dairy etc. That was a long lent.

  16. Sometimes living healthy can drain the wallet, fresh produce, natural whole foods, etc.

    But it’s a price worth paying.

    Sodas? Is there anything nutritionally redemptive about a soda? At all?

    • No Waste I agree with you. Its not always savings and being healthy. Some people value their health more than just savings and the balance is what works for them. I dont think soda provides anything we need. But we sure do spend a lot on it and consume tons yearly as a country. Is there a way to the get natural whole foods for cheap?

  17. Yes, sodas are such a terrible choice! They are unhealthy and packed with sugar.

    • Monica sugar, calories and wasted money. Even gatorade is on my not to drink list and people say drink it. Its sugary and has a lot of calories as well unless you pick up the gatorade or vitamin water zero.

  18. Great suggestions! I gave up drinking sodas a few years ago and do not miss it. They actually made me feel quite bloated. And we did use to visit fast food joints such as DQ where I would get chicken fingers but they were super high in salt. I’ve never had a fast food burger in my life. Now, if we dine out for lunch we grab a sandwich at Subway. Otherwise we try to eat at home.

  19. Hey Sicorra thanks for stopping by and so glad you like my suggestions. Wow a few years and I thought I was doing good for 1 month. I cant wait to make it a least 6 months by then they say you have developed a habit. What do you drink instead? Never a fast food burger ever? You are truly an anomaly.

  20. Thomas,
    I know when my wife and our two kids do not go out to eat at Macdonalds or Wendy’s we save a lot of money.You get groceries and you can literally make a meal for a family of 4 for $4 for dinner. Two small kids of course ;)

    That saves a lot of money over time considering when we eat out at Mickey D’s it comes out to well over $15 when all is said and done.

    Of course, by not going out and eating junk calories at these places there is a positive impact on our health and our weight control. .

    I do think eating healthy in of itself will properly give you the nutrition to think better and make better decisions including financial ones :)


    • Hey Robert – thanks for dropping by!! I completely agree with the buying groceries instead. Even if you get things off the dollar menu when you add up getting food for the entire family you can easily spend $20. There is a lot you can get at the grocery store at that price. I think we mostly go there because we are lazy and its cheap an fast. Not to mention you save on all those damn calories.

  21. Thomas,

    Good stuff. I think this stuff is all about lifestyle. If you can get in the habit of cooking meals at home instead of eating out and buying mainly foods that are good for you and plenty of fresh produce, then I think you’ll work your way to a healthy place and stay there. But if you’re always needing to eat out because you don’t have time or energy to do things in a healthy way, that is a problem.

    It’s a mindset shift in my opinion. Once you value staying out of the restaurant or fast food place and instead value having meals with your family and/or friends at home instead, you’re going to be in good shape financially and physically.

    Take care,

    • Kraig its amazing how much of our life is based on our mindset towards life in general. From money, moods, to lifestyle and weight loss we control how we think and act. We have to get into the habit of doing things and sometimes that means going against the grain from what we did for so long. I like the idea of being in both financial and physical shape. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

  22. This is an awesome and comprehensive list, and a lot of great ideas! I agree that it’s the positive and healthy changes today that accumulate in the long-term (just as bad habits can accumulate negatively, as well). I definitely think there’s a correlation between caloric and fiscal responsibility, and when I’m on track with one, it motivates me to be on track with the other. Awesome post, Thomas!

    • Thanks Anna glad you found this post helpful. I guess its what people what to focus on is the bigger question. Like you stated you can develop healthy or negative habits but in the end you are responsible for you. Whatever you decide is the path you are going to take. I am glad to hear that you are on track and I appreciate you stopping through as always.

  23. As I workout a ton (I actually like it), I eat a lot. The biggest thing for me is preparing as many healthy meals as possible ahead of time. This saves me from the, “Well, I’ll just run and grab something,” mentality. Also, if I prep my own meals, I reassure my success at not eating crap. I save a lot of money buy buying produce at farmers markets or at these stores called Sprouts out here in Colorado. There are always options. It’s just a matter of whether people want to take those options or just be lazy. Unfortunately, that’s how a lot of people, including me, have fallen into debt at times. Laziness.

    Great ideas to spread in today’s post.

    The Warrior

    • Warrior gotta say really digging the gravatar! Reminds me of the movie 300, this is Sparta. Preparation can really be a life saver. Much like planning your meals if you make a plan on how you are going to spend money you save a lot on bad judgment calls. Laziness is such a bad thing but I know at some point we all have fallen victim to it. Its what you do after the proves who you truly are made of. Thanks for stopping by, reading and sharing.

  24. I’ll take sex over chores 100 times! I am not doing mine but swim every day and run every other day so I am pretty active and we eat very healthy. Most meals are made from scratch. I believe smaller portions only save money if you made them yourself, the cost of ready meals is exorbitant, but if you want to lose weight you could buy small meals in ready portions so you don’t cook too much and end up eating more.

    • LOL – I’m with you on that one Pauline! I mean c’mon is that even comparable? You seem very active. I remember the post of you outside in the heat making sure the guy was actually clearing the land for the amount of hours he was being paid. No way to say that’s lazy. Small portions is key but have you seen the size of some of the portions they give at restaurants here in the US? Thanks for stopping by!

  25. LOVE this, Thomas! I might add too, that for every positive choice you make in this area, it makes it easier to make another positive choice the next time. You are building good habits when you choose, even once, to follow the rules above. And every dime/every calorie really does add up, for better or for worse.

    • Laurie I am glad you love this post! Every time I see your piggy I laugh. Reminds me of my daughters piggy bank. I agree 100% the more smarter choices you make the easier it is to make more of them. Repetition. Good or bad little things always add up. Might as well make them count for the better I say. Thanks for coming by my little neck of the woods.

  26. Lots of good advice here on simple habits that can go a long way. On a small tangent, I think that all of the focus in our society on weight loss is really harmful. Weight is only a part of what makes a person healthy, and the reality is that different people will be completely healthy at vastly different weights. Even BMI is a pretty lousy indicator for many people. Focusing on healthy habits, such as moderate exercise and eating full portions of nutritious food, is much better than focusing on arbitrarily cutting weight.

    • Hey Matt – Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment. I agree that weight loss is only part of what makes you healthy, however this was more so about how we tend to spend money on things that make us gain weight and lose money. I think it you do as you mentioned and exercise and eat a good portion of healthy food people would be better off. However getting fast food isn’t healthy at all, causes you to gain weight and is more expensive then just buying and cooking your own food.

  27. Portion sizes and snacking are being cut around this house! My kids are growing boys so I understand they need to eat, but they ‘habit snack’ whether they’re hungry or not. If it’s 3 o’clock, it must be time for a snack. We’ve cut that down a lot. We’ve also implemented 30 days of home cooked meals where we’re not allowing ourselves the option of eating out.

    • Missy I think our house is on the same mission. These boys think simply because they pass the fridge they need to eat something. Couple that with the no school and being home all day its a mess. I never heard of “habit snack” but I feel the same way. Please let me know how the 30 day no-eating out challenge goes for you guys. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

  28. As someone in my 40’s, it pains me to see how people in their 20’s and 30’s sometimes eat and don’t get exercise (although I live in an area where people are generally fit). They don’t realize that all that crap they put in their bodies will eventually catch up and cost MORE in long run. Preventative medicine is so key, even if it costs a bit more upfront. All in all, everything you wrote was spot on!

    • BudgetandtheBeach were are you located? Here in south Fl for the most part its hit or miss. There are a lot of people in shape but when you see how the lines are at the drive thru’s you’d be amazed. Seems to be short term thinking. Its quick and cheap but how much will it cost you in the long run. Thanks for stopping by and reading.

  29. I don’t really like fast food as such but I have often given in to temptation at the supermarket! Chocolate and crisps are my downfall (sigh). I am trying however to buy less of that stuff and more fresh fruit and veg. But I’m not sure I’m any better off financially as I end up spending more money on the healthy stuff! I manage to get out walking a few times every day with my dog which is a huge help in keeping me active.

    • DebtFreeoneDay I had a love affair with apple fritter and ferrero rocher chocolates. We buy a lot more healthy foods and fruits as well. I was spending too much money on so called healthy foods. I just starting buying more good quality foods and things I could eat. I found fruits got wasted. Walking the dog is a great way to get some exercise in. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  30. There was one point in my life where I was really freaking broke and the dollar menu was insanely tempting. I fell for it. 50 cent biscuits at KFC were some of my best friends. Thank god that didn’t last too long.
    I seriously dropped 10 pounds in a month and a half just by stopping drinking soda. Great tip—it really works!

    • Those biscuits at KFC, Popeyes, and Red Lobster will get you. But the dollar menu can be great for the wallet at times but killer on the weight gain. Nice job dropping the 10lbs and the soda. Thanks for stopping by Femmefrugality!

  31. The one that really helped me out a number of years ago was cutting the pop and soda consumption. Now, I rarely touch the stuff. I ended up replacing it with coffee and tea. One might argue those are more expensive but I hardly go out to drink. A bag of coffee runs me less than $10 and lasts me more than 2 weeks. A 24 pack of pop is more than $10 and might last me one week. No empty calories and some money saved.

  32. It’s surprisingly easy to form habits like not drinking soda and driving past the fast food chains. At first it may be difficult but it’s worth it to stick to your guns. Eventually you wont’ even notice them!