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Six Tips for Losing Weight on a Budget

Guest Post by Andrea from MommySnacks

Losing weight is inevitably always on someone’s to-do list. I’ll admit, it’s been on mine since our first son was born 9 years ago! Weight loss can be done on the cheap and I’m a case study to prove it since I lost 35 pounds last year.

Here are a few ideas to help you lose the poundage and save your money, too:

Go Outside

Using the hard pavement is one of the best ways to save money! The road is the obvious choice, but a high school stadium can also be a great way to get your exercise in by not spending a dime. Some outdoor exercises I recommend: walking, running, and climbing bleachers (at the school).

Resistance Train

Your body can be the best piece of equipment! Doing resistance training will cost you nothing because you are using the best asset you have to work out with–you. Some great resistance exercises include: squats, lunges, push-ups, and tricep dips.

Browse the Internet

You may think this is the last place you can actually lose weight, but there are so many resources available online to help you be successful! I have found training suggestions, food journals, and supportive communities. Some of my favorite online fitness and weight-loss resources are:,, and

Borrow Equipment

When you start sharing your goal to lose weight and get healthy with others, you may find that someone has some equipment they can let you borrow. Right now, we are lending our Elliptical Machine to friends. It’s a gym quality one that we purchased several years ago. Our friends mentioned they wanted to try one, so I offered ours to borrow.

Buy Used

Many people use the new year or new season to de-clutter which means equipment that has been collecting dust is going out the door! Check your local Freecycle goup or, if you have a little bit of cash to spare, check out Craigslist or make a visit to your local second hand shop (Goodwill or Salvation Army) or even a second hand sports store (like Play it Again Sports) to see what equipment is available for purchase.

Eat Healthfully

Eating healthfully is one of the most important things when it comes to losing weight. And, despite what some might tell you, you can eat healthy on a budget.

I won’t give you advice on what to eat, but will do just that! You can set up a plan and it will offer you menus based on your daily caloric intake. It’s not complex and it can be simple stuff (frozen meals, deli meats, etc). Oh, and it’s free (that’s the best part). Getting the eating part down and within your budget will make the weight loss you meet each week even sweeter!

Of course, if you are just starting on your weight-loss journey, please consult your physician to ensure that the plan you follow is appropriate for you. I am not a medical expert but I am a mom of 3 who lost 35 pounds last year using these ideas. And, I haven’t spent a dime on anything other than my 5k registration fees and my food (a girl’s gotta eat)!

Andrea Deckard is a stay-at-home mommy with an amazing husband and three energetic boys. Stop by Mommy Snacks to get your fill of zero-calorie “snacks” to help you Save, Earn, Live and Learn!

What are your best frugal weight loss tips? Tell us in the comments.

photo credit: Thomas Hawk

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  • Mary says:

    My favorite thing is to rent work out dvd’s from the library. My local library carries a wide selection. If I find there is one I cannot do without then I buy.

  • Kristen says:

    Weight loss SHOULD be a goal in your life. It is the first step to being healthy! You just have to find the right diet for you. It should be a life change diet. Choose a diet that helps you turn into the forever healthy eater! NO fast crash diets! 🙂 It takes time to find the right diet for your body type. Good luck and think positive.

    • Anitra says:

      @Kristen, weight loss probably shouldn’t be the goal – a healthy lifestyle should be your goal instead.

      Personally, I’m not really happy with my weight, but I’ve realized that I can’t directly control the number on the scale. I can, however, control what I eat (and how much!) and how much I exercise.

  • Martha says:

    Eating several vegetarian meals a week can be a great way to reduce the grocery budget AND reduce the calories in your diet (it also often reduces your carbon footprint! winwinwin!)

  • ashley says:

    Ugh. I hate the word diet. It is really about changing your lifestyle – otherwise, you will regain it all back. My favorite tip: write down EVERYTHING you eat. I use It is an excellent website to enter calories, track your weight, and ask experts. Totally free, totally awesome site!

  • Zena says: is a great website, esp. for SAHM’s. It show you how to fit in mini exercise in the kitchen, at the park, etc. And it’ free!

  • Excellent tips!!! I made a fitness notebook out of all of the articles I’ve pulled out of magazines or printed off of the computer. It included recipes, fitness tips, work out plans, a chart to check off my progress etc. Having it all in one place is very helpful! Here’s how I made it:


  • blessed-with-3 says:

    Your son is already 9 YEARS old? Boy, they sure do grow quickly! 🙂

  • Crystal says:

    Great tips! We were able to buy our elliptical machine (a Nordic Track) off of Craigslist last fall for a fraction of what it would have cost new. We had to borrow a van and drive 45 minutes, but it’s in excellent condition. I haven’t been extremely disciplined about using it, but I know that I’ve worked in way more exercise on it that I ever did before, especially through the winter. My goal is to be fit and healthy, but I’m hoping a bit of weight loss will follow.

  • Sara Conley says:

    Hi! I too am a witness you can lose weight on the cheap. I started trying to lose the 20-25 pounds I had to go after giving birth to my son….three years ago (insert sheepish blushing cheeks here). So far I’ve lost 13 since the beginning of 2010 and have 10-12 to go. I’ve simply been counting calories and exercising. For whatever it’s worth here are some things I’ve done for cheap (not free in my case).

    – Exercise videos – teaching from a professional for way cheaper than signing up for a class! One I have was a Christmas gift six years ago and the other was used from a friend who was bored with it. However I’ve noticed that Goodwill and Half-Price-Books, a used bookstore chain at least in Texas, have TONS of exercise DVDs on the cheap.
    – Bought a $1 notebook. I wasn’t doing a good job food journaling on So I went through sparkpeople and wrote down the calorie count of about 100 items we often eat. Now I just quickly jot things in the notebook as I go. I only have to take the time to log online and look things up occasionally.
    – I did join a gym – Fitness 19. I’m not sure where all they are found, but they were running a special – a monthly tuition of $10 a month which included one free session with a trainer. It is by no means a fancy gym. It’s just a big room with weights and some cardio machines in it. No classes, no frills. But the payoff is it’s cheap. The free session with the trainer was great because he taught me soooo much about how to be more effective by burning calories first with strength training and then making the most of my cardio workouts by doing them second to burn fat.
    – I am NOT a runner. I have never run even a mile in my life! 🙂 However I am doing this training program and working toward it. I love the pacing!

    For those of you in the Central Texas area, my husband was given this book and we are taking advantage of it – 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of San Antonio and Austin and surrounding Hill Country. It’s great! There are so many free or cheap hikes in our area that are beautiful!

    Hope that helps someone else too! It’s hard work burning off these last pregnancy pounds, but I am loving the results.

  • momondealz says:

    We borrowed a treadmill from my parents to save money and we often check yard sales for weights and other excercise equipment. I love taking my 15 month old son on walks or runs outside when the weather allows, otherwise chasing him around the house certainly burns some calories too!

  • Laura says:

    For a few years, I battled a weight problem after being skinny for most of my life. I realized that this was partially due to health problems from an unhealthy diet and partially due to the unhealthy diet 😀 I thought back and realized, I was at my healthiest at a time when we could not afford any many processed foods. We are going back towards having very few processed foods. Surprise! My weight and my health are better.

  • I like to exercise at home because I can always fit it into our schedule! Invest in a couple great DVD’s like Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred..available at Target for $12, or watch when it goes on sale for $9.00!

  • kelly r. says:

    2 things:
    Regarding making weight loss a priority. The mind set should be healthy living. We know that less in & more out = weight loss. And by less in, I mean less processed, junk foods. Our home, I am finding out, relies too much on these nutrient empty foods & we need to make a change. I find it amazing that while trying to maintain a budget, it has been increasingly difficult to stay away from these foods. Eating more fruits & veggies along with wholesome organic food is expensive especially for the out of season foods. (I’m looking forward to my garden this summer!!) Diet should not become the way you look at food – I’ve found out this is how we become so easily discouraged.

    #2 Anyone know if the is the correct link? It took me to a email marketing website.

    • Sarah says:

      @kelly r., I’m doing the same thing! I’m planning a garden (though I don’t know a thing yet!), slowly trying to weed out high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oil, and cut way back on sugar. Looking into sweetener alternatives. Don’t know if I want to go the Sucanat or Turbinado route, or do more along the lines of honey or even agave nectar (though it’s 90% fructose, and I have a hard time buying that it’s all that much better for you than corn syrup or sugar). The problem with processed foods is that it’s filled with salt and HFCS, neither of which satiate hunger, both of which leave you craving more. It’s a vicious cycle. Fortunately, I live fairly close to some Amish and Mennonite areas, so I can go and stock up on their bulk products and do more homemade foods and fewer processed ones. Perhaps this blog is bad for me!! Processed foods are CHEAP (because they’re government subsidized due to HFCS, I believe). If you want to watch an amazing lecture about HFCS, watch Over my head chemistry-wise, but fascinating.

  • kelly r. says:

    Very strange – did a web search for the wefitfamily site & found it. Here it is – . If you add the www. at the beginning it takes you some place totally different.

    thanks for the link – I’ve never heard of it before!!

  • Trebor says:

    The word Diet is what we eat and if one is overweight than he or she should set weight loss goals, and change an unhealthy diet. I try to coach others in eating healthy and I am not for all of these Fad Diets. What I am for is setting goals and using the correct tools to achieve them. I am a P.E. instructor, and mom of 4, who has been able to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle through the years. I haven’t done it through Fad Diets, but rather through Balance of a healthy diet and exercise. It has been hard work to get there, but it has been worth it. This is my Journey To Wellness, and it is a life long journey. When helping train and coach others that is what I tell them. Why you are wanting to lose weight is just as important as how you plan to. Trying to lose a some pounds so you’ll look good in a bikini isn’t enough. And often when that is the goal, it is attained in an incorrect way. Losing weight quickly isn’t always a plus, if you are going to gain it back. Health begins on the inside and it has to become more than just about losing weight. It has to become a lifestyle, something you do not dread, but enjoy. It takes determination and commitment. Not “I’m determined to get into my skinny jeans” But rather “I’m determined to do this the right way”
    On my journey I strive to maintain a healthy balance. Balance has been the key. I don’t deprive myself, I balance. Running has been a great tool in my weight loss and overall health. I feel better, more energized and refreshed. Running doesn’t require equipment, just a good pair of running shoes and a body to fill them. And the best part is that anyone can do it. Getting started isn’t always easy, but it just takes that first step.

  • Minda says:

    I can’t say enough good things about Spark People. I’ve been using it faithfully since January 1 and have lost 10lbs. I don’t follow their diet plan but do follow their recommended daily calorie advice. It’s a wonderful free resource.

  • Vicki says:

    I ditto Minda’s comment. I have been using Spark People because I wanted to be able to figure out how many calories I was eating per day. I’m staying within their recommended goals and excercising 3-5 times a week. I have lost about 15 pounds in just a couple of months. I will say I have done fad diets and always gained the weight back. I am trying to make this a life style change. When you limit your caloric intake it also makes you think, “is this a healthy choice that I am putting into my body?”. Otherwise you can have low energy and feel bad.

  • Em says:

    Great post! My husband and I recently cancelled our gym membership, we had to ‘fess up and realize we weren’t actually using it! There is something so unmotivating about getting ready, and driving to the gym. We recently bought the videos, P90X, and love them! We are in our 5th week, and while it’s been extremely hard, it’s also extremely rewarding. P90X is associated with Beachbody, and they have many other workout videos to fit your lifestyle. Check them out at: Also, we use to log in our workouts. It keep us committed to a schedule, plus they randomly pick winners every day for a cash prize!

  • JMcCarrell says:

    Another tip: If you know anyone doing Weight Watchers you can have them by the “starter kit” for you. Its $20.00 and teaches you the whole Points system so it super easy to learn without a monthly fee. I also get the magazine (free from the deals this December) so I get lots of tips and recipes from there. I’m down to my goal weight and now keep my eyes out for deals on veggies and pass on all the frozen pizza and icecream deals!

  • Bliss says:

    I just dont have the finances or the time for gyms, workout videos etc but I do have about 30 minutes of my lunch hour to go for a brisk walk. Between cutting out most of the candy and the fast food out of my diet and walking 30 minutes during lunch, i have been able to loose 20lbs in 6 weeks. I havent cut out all of the candy or fast food because I will eventually fail and binge eat but I have learned to make healthier choices. Ie. I eat fruit popicles instead of a large bowl of ice cream, I eat Wendy’s chili and side salad instead of the bacon jr. cheeseburger and fries.

  • When I lived overseas, every 2 years (between trips to the US) I would usually drop 10-15 lbs without trying. I think it was from walking to and from work every day for 15 minutes each way, and also eating less processed foods. It’s so hard here in the US, though, for me to incorporate that “Daily walk” into my routine, but I need to again to lose this last 10 lbs of baby weight!

  • Jill Foley says:

    In addition to my own workout schedule, our family likes to do “active” things…hiking is a favorite. Our 5 and 3 year old girls are used to going on 3-5 miles hikes every weekend. Sometimes we have to carry them a little, but that makes it even more of a workout for my husband and I.

    Another thing we like to do is go for family walks…my husband and I will take turns running, a mile or so at a time, while the other walks more slowly with the kids. Fitness then becomes a family event which is good for all of us!

  • Suzanne says:

    Go to for loads of free online workouts. They have a great variety, they’re FREE, and lots of fun!

  • kristina says:

    I ditto the comments about . I discovered it about 16 days ago. I do not use their meal plans but as a previous poster posted, I do use their calorie recommendations. I also read the articles posted and learn quite a bit. I have been counting my steps and walking on the treadmill 5 times a week…. only .25 miles but at a very high incline. I also try to drink 8 cups of water a day (usually I make it to 4 cups a day) Drinking the water is a key for me because I was living on soft drinks and sweet tea. When spring rolls around we walk around our subdivision (1.2 miles). Hope this is some help. Thanx for the article.

  • Jackie says:

    I’ve been blessed by a small part-time job at a local gym where I receive a free membership (which includes a fitness center, indoor and outdoor pool use). I work two or three times a month in the evening around my family’s schedule. I save a whopping $84 a month plus earn a little $. Your local gym may not offer a free membership, but maybe a discount if you work there. It’s worth checking into! I used to do it at the YMCA too (years ago).

  • I think I know what Stefanie, who commented above, may have meant. Instead of having weight loss as my goal and doing whatever it takes to get there, or giving up in despair when I didn’t reach my numerical goals, I have regrouped and made developing Healthy Habits my goal. Of course, I hope that I will achieve a healthy weight in the process. To see an overview of my healthy habits, go here:

  • I pick up a variety of workout videos on the cheap at yard sales, and do a 20 minute session first thing in the morning, in addition to a brisk walk later in the day. Cost is minimal, and benefits are tremendous!

  • Another great tip I’ve found is to go to a gym and watch what personal trainers are doing with people of your same size, physical condition and gender.

    It won’t be a “personal” training session but I’m sure you can definitely pick up some great stuff just by watching for free!

  • Lara says:

    I just recently found free podcasts on iTunes for the Couch to 5k program – so far I really like them – and you can’t beat free!

  • Denise C. says:

    This is a wonderful post. I’ve been lazy in shedding my remaining pregnancy weight (my daughter will be 2 in May, and my son will be 4 in June).
    I recently took up running. I LOVE it!!! I am out of shape to begin with, so I am taking it slow (I still cannot run a full mile). I walk, run, walk, run when I go out. I get to do it daily, which also gives me some alone time, where I can turn off my “Mommy Mode.”

  • Bushra says: has a free weekly class online. They have great classes filmed in beautiful places and I don’t have to figure out where to send the kids while I fork over $15-$20 for a class at a yoga studio.

  • Anna says:

    Drink water! It is one of the least expensive things you can do, it helps to wash you clean from the inside out and hydration helps the body function better. It also helps to keep some water in your tummy to curb those snacking urges.

    Have a happy day!


  • These are such great tips 🙂 i love that they are natural and really beneficial for our health! I have been trying to drink only water during the day and more of it, along with eating whole foods and I take my daily Vidazorb chewable probiotic, which I have read can be helpful for so much including weight! Thanks for the great tips – need to get myself moving more LOL 😀

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