About one in three Americans are obese, and around half of them are trying to lose weight.
Dieters are typically motivated by health concerns and the desire to look better; usually, the issue of cost doesn’t even come into things — whether reaching a lower weight saves money or whether the efforts to get there cost more money.
Ultimately, how much you save or spend depends on your unique situation as well as your approach to health. Although you might spend less money on some things, that money may well go toward other costs, resulting in everything canceling out.
Save on Groceries
Thereâs substantial debate regarding whether eating healthy costs more than not doing so. Actually, it can actually go either way, depending on what you buy and how you shop.
Many convenience foods, like frozen burritos, are relatively inexpensive, but they arenât particularly healthy. However, making your own also doesnât have to cost a fortune, as long as you are smart about how you shop.
If you want to eat healthier meals while keeping costs low, then shopping sales is the best approach. Leading grocery stores often use loss leaders, which products discounted below the storeâs actual cost, to attract shoppers.
In many cases, staple foods, including meat, produce, and dairy, make appearances on the loss leader list on a regular cycle.
By learning to identify loss leaders, you can save a substantial sum — regardless of what you weigh.
When a preferred meat goes on deep discount, stock up and then freeze all of the portions you wonât eat right away. If a fresh produce item goes on sale, design your meals to feature that fruit or vegetable.
If you pay attention to sales, you can make the cost of eating healthy more affordable. Plus, as you lose weight, you can typically decrease your portion sizes.
When it comes to meat, donât assume that a single piece from the package is the right size for you. In many cases, you can cut these in half, letting something become two meals instead of one.
Similarly, by making your meals heavier on produce heavy — such as by eating a salad at every meal — you can further reduce costs. Typically, greens are fairly inexpensive, so making them the bulk of your plate makes saving money easier.
Save on Medical Costs
Losing weight can really save you money on health care. Obesity increases a personâs risk for conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain forms of cancer. Treating serious, and often chronic, conditions is pretty expensive, so losing weight can reduce your medical expenses.
The average savings: $1,429 annually — that’s the difference between medical costs for the obese and people at a healthy weight.
If you keep the weight off, then the savings on health care really add up. If you maintain a healthy weight for 20 years, youâd save $28,580, based on the average above.
Now, this doesnât mean you should forgo regular doctorâs visits to help save money. By getting your annual physical, your doctor can spot potential issues early, potentially lowering the overall cost of treatment.
Spend More on Fitness
Many people who lose weight decide to invest in exercise equipment or gym memberships. In many cases, these come at a substantial cost; depending on the average cost of living where you reside, monthly dues can easily cost $50 to $200 a month or more.
Another way to save money: Purchase exercise classes in video format, including live-streaming services like Class Pass Live.
Free Fitness Alternatives
You can also find fitness videos for free on YouTube — typically posted by instructors who are trying to promote an offline business.
You can also forgo pricey equipment altogether, even when strength training. Body weight exercises like push-ups are incredibly effective, and you donât have to spend a dime on gear to do them.
New Shoes and Apparel
One expense that should be shouldered when you start an exercise routine is a quality pair of shoes. Having the right shoes for your activities helps reduce the chance of injury, decreasing the odds that youâll incur an unexpected medical expense.
You donât necessarily have to spend hundreds of dollars to get good shoes. If you shop sales or use discount retailers, you can save a bundle while still getting a high-quality pair.
When you a substantial amount of weight, your clothing size is going to shrink right along with your waistline. Typically, this means youâll need to refresh your wardrobe. Otherwise, your current clothes may appear to swallow you up, hanging baggy on your smaller frame.
The cost of acquiring a new wardrobe can vary dramatically. If you are open to shopping at thrift stores or consignment shops, you can get yourself set up pretty cheaply.
This approach is incredibly beneficial if you are still losing weight. Since you may need to pass through several sizes during your weight loss journey, avoid splurges until you reach your goal.
Tailoring After You Lose Weight
Similarly, getting larger clothes tailored to fit your new frame could give you an opportunity to save. Whether this is an option depends on the quality and structure of your existing clothes, as well as how far they need to be taken in. But, if you have items you love, itâs worth exploring.
If you prefer high-end department stores or fancy boutiques and are opposed to buying used, clothing expenses can be significant. However, you can lessen the cost by focusing on sales or seeking out your favorite brands at discount retailers.
However, you might be able to recoup some of the costs by selling the clothes you no longer wear, although it might take time to achieve.
After You Lose Weight…
Ultimately, by losing weight, you can save money over the long-term. However, you have to be a smart shopper, such as by focusing on loss leaders and sales, to make it work.
Additionally, you need to be willing to invest in the right areas to improve your health. Otherwise, you could end up spending more money than you saved in the first place.Â s.
Readers, what kind of experience have you had with weight loss — and how did your finances change afterward?
Looking for more great articles about diet and fitness? Give these a try:
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