15 Ways on How to Lose Weight on a Budget

by Ahmed Zayed, MD on March 11, 2020
Last updated on May 23, 2021

Losing weight doesn’t require you to spend a great deal of money. There are many ways for you to shed off those pounds without spending a lot of expensive foods, supplements, or medical procedures. Sometimes, you can even achieve your weight-loss goals without any costs. Well, here are the ways on how to lose weight on a budget:

woman exercising indoors

Give up beef

Most diets require you to eat great amounts of fruits and vegetables. This is because these foods are high in nutrients your body needs, plus they are good for your entire well-being, especially if your goal is to lose weight. Not only that, but you can also save money if you ditch the beef because it is usually expensive than fruits and vegetables.  

Look for substitutes for meat such as mushrooms and beans. Eating these kinds of food can promote your health. This lifestyle is also perfect if you are one of those animal advocates or environmentalists, who want to save animals and mother earth. These are just a few reasons why giving up meat can make a difference (1)

If you buy healthy foods, buy in bulk

Although buying bulk requires you to pay more, it can be a good way to budget your money not just for weight loss, but also for long-term savings. If you also store healthy foods at home, there is no way you will be out of stock. You will not be compelled to buy fast foods and other unhealthy foods because, in the first place, you already have healthy foods at home. 

You can also save more time because you no longer need to go back and forth to the grocery store. But then, make sure that these foods do not spoil easily so that you can eat them within a specific period (2). For instance, if you buy a whole chicken, you can use it in your steam veggies during lunch, and you can top it in your salad during dinner. 

Reduce food waste

Do you know that a profound amount of foods are being wasted? Just come to imagine that one-third of all foodstuffs in the US is thrown away. And that is $160 billion worth and around 60 million tons of produce annually (3). A family of four wastes around $1,500 worth of foods annually. 

But if you reduce food waste, you can save more than $100 a month. You can buy foods that can be repurposed for various meals all through the week. For instance, hard-boiled eggs can be eaten as a snack on the first week and as a salad topper on the second week. A quarter of an avocado can be topped in an omelet, and the rest can be made as a smoothie (4).

Choose budget-friendly protein sources

We already advised you to get rid of meat in your diet. Instead of eating meat, you can opt for protein meals such as eggs, lentils, and beans. These foods are not only rich in protein, but they also contain fiber. The nutrients that you can get from these foods are worth it. If you are a vegetarian, you can include cottage cheese, yogurt, quinoa, tofu, and teff in your diet.

Protein is a very important nutrient for your diet because it promotes weight loss and increases your muscle mass. Although most protein sources might be expensive, you can find something which can suit your preference, diet, and budget. Choosing a budget-friendly food can be a great way for you to boost your protein consumption (5)

Physical activities don’t need you to be in the gym

You don’t need to go to a gym to engage in physical activities. Simply walking or jogging within your backyard or maybe within your village could help you shed off those pounds. And if you are on your way to work or school, you can walk instead of commuting or using your car, if possible. 

Maybe, you can park in a place where you have a chance to walk, even for a small distance. Instead of using the elevator or the escalator, you opt to use the stairs. It was even shown that the most effective method to get in shape without going to the gym is walking as it burns a huge amount of calories compared to intense forms of cardio such as running (6)

Consider canned vegetables

Not all canned foods are bad for your health. There are those which contain the same nutrients, but different in price. Just like frozen veggies, canned vegetables offer the same nutrients. They also have a longer shelf life compared to fresh ones (7).

Although canned and frozen vegetables are not as nutritious as fresh vegetables, they are also low in calories, which means that they can help you lose weight. Sometimes, these are also uniquely prepared, so it will be easier for you to incorporate these vegetables in your meals. This will make you eat more vegetables, especially if you are too busy to allocate more time for food preparation.

Add beans to your diet

Beans may not be attractive, but it is healthy and perhaps, one of the cheapest items that you can find in grocery stores. Beans are good sources of B vitamins and fiber. It usually serves as a substitute for meat, especially for vegetarians. 

Beans and legumes offer a wider array of health benefits such as decreasing your blood sugar level, reducing your cholesterol, and increasing your healthy gut bacteria (9). A study has shown that eating one serving of beans a day can help you lose up to 0.75 pounds (10).  

Beans are a low-fat, cost-effective, and highly nutritious food that you can include in your meals. It can help prevent overeating because it makes you feel fuller for a longer period. Chickpeas, lentils, peas, kidney beans, black beans, soybeans, pinto beans, navy beans, and peanuts are just a few selections of healthy beans and lentils that are easily available in the market (11).   

Sometimes, you can skip organic

Organic products may be good for your health, especially for losing weight, but it might be expensive. Sometimes, you can skip organic products and choose conventional fruits and vegetables. If you find organic products expensive, you don’t have to buy them just to be healthy or to lose weight.

Whether or not fruits and vegetables are organic, they provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber that are perfect for your diet. Anyway, if you have the chance to buy fruits and vegetables from farmer’s markets, you might save a lot. Although it doesn’t guarantee they offer organic products, most of their products are grown organically (3)

Always prefer water above any other beverages

Many studies show that water can help you lose weight. This is mainly because water helps in hydrating your body. It also plays a role in your muscle function and digestion. Water can take a large space in your stomach, which makes you fuller. Water is a natural and inexpensive appetite suppressant that can help you trim off those fats (12).

Do you know that exercise is not the only means of burning calories? Water can help in burning calories. A study has shown that those who drink water maximized their energy expenditure. These people burned about 3 percent of calories than usual. This can be explained by the increase of the resting energy expenditure of the body (13)

Eat more slowly

People tend to eat carelessly and quickly, especially when hungry. This can make you gain weight and develop other health problems. But if you eat more slowly, the chances of gaining weight are low. A study has shown that the chances of getting fat for eating quickly are 115 percent. This can make you gain a lot of weight through time (14).

Moreover, if you eat more slowly, you can increase your fullness hormones. You will not be tempted to overeat because your brain signals your body not to eat because you are full. And if you don’t eat more, your calorie intake will be low. If you are used to eating slowly, you can enjoy food, improve digestion, better absorb nutrients, and reduce stress levels (15).

Shop with a list

Before you head to the grocery store, you need to prepare a list of the things you need to buy. In doing this, you need to plan what you will eat for a week. This can help you make a wise shopping list. If you have a shopping list, you can stick with your budget and your healthy meal plan. 

If you know what you will buy, you don’t need to go back and forth because your buying list is already fixed. You will not be compelled to get unhealthy foods, which is not favorable for your diet. It will not only make you gain weight, but it will also be a factor of various health diseases. 

Prepare your foods at home

Dining out can cost you a lot of money. But if you prepare your food at home, you can save more, plus you will be sure of the ingredients. If you want to lose weight, and if you are following a certain diet, it is safe to prepare foods personally. 

A study has shown that those who cook their foods at home choose to eat nutritious foods with fewer calories than those who eat out. To maximize your time, money, and effort, you need to determine your food for the week so that in case you get hungry, you will choose healthy low-calorie foods (16)

Skip processed foods

Processed foods are those which are modified from their original form. Canning, pasteurizing, heating, and drying are forms of processing. But not all processed foods are unhealthy. Some processed foods provide the same nutrients with fresh ones (17). But then, in general, we highly discourage the consumption of processed foods. 

Ultra-processed foods are major causes of various health problems such as cancer and obesity. Yes, we already know how processed foods are bad for our health. That is the reason why it is advisable just to prepare and cook your foods at home because eating out can make you eat fast foods which can be detrimental for your entire well-being.   

Find your group

It is always fun to lose weight with your family or friends. If you have a support group, you will more likely engage in your plan to lose weight. If you have exercise groups, you will be more compelled to work out, compared when you are alone. Your group will make you accountable to exercise. If you are consistent with losing weight, then you will most likely achieve it (18)

Be creative with leftovers

As already mentioned earlier, you can save a lot of money if you reduce your food waste. If you have leftovers, don’t throw it right away. Be creative with scraps and leftovers. For instance, fruits are about to go bad. You don’t have to throw them, and you can make smoothies instead. 


Losing weight is not as expensive as you think. There are many ways for you to trim off those fats without spending a lot of money. Try to give up beef, reduce food waste, add beans in your diet, and even buy healthy foods in bulk. These are just a few ways for you to lose weight on a budget. 


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