14 Cheap Ways to Lose Weight and Get in Shape

Let’s face it, weight loss isn’t just a challenge for most of us, it can be hard on the wallet, too! Thankfully, there are many cheap ways to lose weight if you need to penny-pinch and are hoping to shed the pounds and get in shape.

Here are 14 ways that you can lose weight without breaking the bank:

1. Choose water over sugary beverages

Instead of grabbing that glass of juice or a soda, reach for the water instead. There isn’t a beverage with fewer calories than water and there isn’t one that’s healthier for you or cheaper either. Water might not be the most exciting beverage, but when you consider that the average American consumes nearly 250 extra empty calories a day from soft drinks alone, suddenly drinking water doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

Cheap ways to lose weight helpful hint: add citrus slices or cucumber to your water to change the taste.

2. Reduce your screen time by an hour and use this time to exercise

Instead of watching that extra show or playing one more level of your favorite game, get up and move around. Use this time to do something active and preferably something outside to get some fresh air in a new environment (weather permitting). Go for a walk or a jog, ride a bike or go rollerblading. If the weather’s not cooperating, there are plenty of indoor exercises you can do like planks, squats, jumping jacks, lifting weights, stretches, and so on.

Cheap ways to lose weight helpful hint: Don’t forget that you can also perform many exercises while watching TV, too!

3. Throw out your “fat” clothes

Once you start losing weight, don’t hold on to the close that no longer fit you. Yes, you paid money for them and of course it will be costly to have to buy a whole new wardrobe if you should gain the weight back, but isn’t your goal to lose the weight and keep it off? Don’t give yourself any excuse to put back on the pounds you lose. Dump those clothes, because you don’t need them anymore. Plus, knowing how much it will cost you to have to re-buy a whole new wardrobe is great incentive to stay fit.

Cheap ways to lose weight helpful hint: Consider donating your clothes to charity. Doing something for a good cause will make you feel good, too.

4. Cook at home more

Cooking at home more and going out (or ordering in) less can save you hundreds of dollars in food a month. Not to mention, when you cook your food at home, you know exactly what ingredients are going into the recipes you make. You have control over how much salt, sugar, fat, etc. that you add to the meals and the snacks you prepare. Preparing your own meals gives you greater control over your calories and your portions, as well.

Cheap ways to lose weight helpful hint: Get into the habit of regarding eating out or getting take out as a treat, not a lifestyle.

5. Cook in bulk

Since you may not have the time or luxury to cook every day, whenever possible, cook in bulk. Making large quantities means fast and tasty leftovers. You can even make one day out of the week your cooking day where you create all the meals you’ll eat for the rest of the week. Spending a day cooking might not sound like fun, but you won’t be strapped to the kitchen all day, there are lots of things you can cook while you do other chores or look at your favorite TV shows.

Cheap ways to lose weight helpful hint: Soups are very easy to make and go a long way. You can make a giant pot and it can last you all week.

6. Plan your meals for the week

Know what you intend to make in advance. This will help you avoid microwaving pre-packed dinners at the last minute or ordering in take out when you find yourself tired, faced with little time or indecision. When you head to the supermarket, have a grocery list with you that includes all the items you want to buy and need for the meals and snacks you intend to have that week. Stick to your list and don’t shop hungry!

Cheap ways to lose weight helpful hint: plan your meals for the week around the sales at the supermarket. This can save you a lot of money in the long run.

7. Bulk up your meals with vegetables

You can eat twice as much at meals if the bulk of the meal is vegetables. Loaded with fiber, nutrients and other goodness, vegetables tend to be lower in calories and can satisfy your hunger before you overeat on carbs and fats. Also, many veggies contain a lot of water and are quite hydrating. Additionally, they can keep you regular and cut down on bloating.

Cheap ways to lose weight helpful hint: frozen vegetables last longer than fresh vegetables and are often cheaper, too. They are also just as nutritious.

8. Make the switch to traditional coffee

There’s certainly nothing wrong with enjoying a nice specialty coffee every now and again, but these fancy coffee drinks are loaded with calories due to the sugar, cream and syrups they contain. Not to mention, they’re also quite pricey. Traditional coffee is much cheaper and nicer to your waistline. If you like adding ingredients to your coffee, consider spicing things up with skim milk, nonfat powdered milk, a sprinkle of cinnamon, cocoa powder, fresh mint leaves and even cayenne pepper.

Cheap ways to lose weight helpful hint: Skip the pricey coffee house, buy yourself a nice travel mug, and brew your own coffee at home.

9. Turn up the heat

Want more flavor without overloading on fat and salt? Consider turning to salsa, hot sauce and Cajun seasonings to make your meals a little more interesting and tasty. Not only is this a great way to add some fun to your food without going crazy on the calories, but it can raise your temperature, triggering thermogenesis, and maybe even help you temporarily burn a few more calories while you’re at it.

Cheap ways to lose weight helpful hint: Assess your tolerance. Don’t be afraid to try different heats and spices to discover which one you like best.

10. Do a full body workout with only a towel

Don’t have the time or money to go to the gym or invest in expensive exercise equipment? No problem. You can get all the workout you need with a single towel (the thicker the better), a smooth non-carpeted surface, and a little creativity. You can perform lots of exercise with only a towel, including side lunges, push and pull chest presses, bicep curls, towel roll crunches and more.

Cheap ways to lose weight helpful hint: For inspiration, you can find lots of free towel workouts on YouTube.

11. Don’t eat when you’re not hungry

Food costs money and it also ups your calories. You can save on both by not eating when you’re not hungry. Once you have had your meals, especially after you’ve had dinner, make a habit of brushing your teeth. With a minty fresh mouth and clean teeth, you will feel less likely to munch on something. Find ways to distract your mind. For instance, call a friend, write in a diary, play a game with friends or your kids, go for a walk, etc.

Cheap ways to lose weight helpful hint: If you feel hungry after you’ve eaten, drink a glass of water to help encourage a feeling of fullness.

12. Go out of your way to walk

If you live close to where you work, walk or bike to work instead of taking your car. When you head out to the mall or any place with a large parking lot, park far away from the entrance to increase your walk time. Take the stairs whenever possible instead of taking an elevator or escalator. Don’t sit or stand when you can move. Find every excuse to walk.

Cheap ways to lose weight helpful hint: Get up and walk around for 5 minutes every 30 minutes to keep your metabolism moving. This is also good for your circulation!

13. Make your phone your fitness buddy

You don’t need to buy an expensive fitness tracker to monitor your exercise or calorie intake. As long as you’ve got a smartphone, you’ll find that there are plenty of fitness apps for both iOS and Android that can help you keep track of your steps, your calories and remind you of your fitness goals. There are both free and cheap apps available.

Cheap ways to lose weight helpful hint: If you like to play mobile games, you can find health and fitness apps designed as games, too.

14. Get a good night’s rest

There’s nothing more valuable and free than sleep. Getting quality shut-eye has major weight loss and health perks. Getting insufficient sleep causes levels of the hormone leptin to drop, leading to an increase in appetite. This appetite surge makes eating comfort foods more appealing and these are the foods that are often high in fat and calories. Try to get 6 – 8 hours of sleep per night regularly.

Cheap ways to lose weight helpful hint: Establish a sleep routine by making it a priority to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.