You don't have to choose between losing weight and getting rid of debt. Here are a few ideas on how to shed both at the same time.
You ate too much — and spent too much — over the holidays. And now you’re staring at a frustratingly large number on both your credit card statement and your bathroom scale.
Why not tackle both of them together? Here are 10 ways to reduce your credit card balance and your waistline at the same time.
1. Reward yourself with extra credit card payments instead of calories
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Repurpose the money you have been spending on fast food. Let’s say, for example, that you currently spend $6 every morning getting a latte and a muffin at Starbucks.
Obviously, that’s not food that you need. Depending on the size of the latte and what you put in it — and your choice of muffin — you could easily consume 600 calories with that little “snack” on your way to work. And the $6 has better uses as well.
A better choice: Make yourself a coffee at home and grab a piece of fruit that you can eat in the car. Even if your homemade coffee and snack costs you $1 (and it will probably cost less), that’s $5 or a day or $25 a week (and $100 a month) that you have saved that can be put toward paying off your credit card.
2. Workout at the local community center — or in your own living room
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You don’t need an expensive gym membership to work out.
Drop-in fees for working out at the gym at your local community center are often fairly inexpensive. They can get even cheaper if you buy monthly or quarterly passes.
Even better, you can work out at home using fitness videos to guide you. There are even producers of fitness videos that will pay you to watch them.
You then can take the money you didn’t spend on a gym membership — or earned from using exercise videos — and apply that to your credit card balance. And if you do work out at a community center, pay the drop-in fee in cash so that your credit card balance keeps dropping.
For more motivation and workout ideas, check out: “10 Free or Cheap Apps to Get Fit in 2017 Without a Gym.”
3. Look good, feel better, save money
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One of the tricks when losing weight is not to walk around in baggy clothes when you’ve lost your first 10, 15 or 20 pounds. You’ve done the hard work to look and feel better. You deserve clothes that show off your hard work.
But you also want to stay on track to getting rid of your financial holiday season baggage. The answer: Shop at the nearest Goodwill or other second-hand clothing stores to get “new to you” clothes that will look and feel good. It will also make it easier to part with these “new” clothes when you drop another size.
4. Work your way to a fitter you
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There are a lot of things that need to get done around the average house that could burn off calories and make you a bit of money. These jobs include mowing the lawn, raking the leaves, shoveling snow in winter or doing that big spring clean-out of the garage.
You no longer have to pay the kid next door to do any of those jobs for you. You can do them yourself, work up a sweat without having to pay anyone to do it for you — and use the money that you save to get your credit card balance back to zero faster.
5. Eat less, pay less
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Weigh and track what you eat: These are instructions you’ll get from pretty much every weight loss program, including the one that your doctor will give you when he or she tells you that you need to lose weight.
It may seem counterintuitive, but one great way to do this is to buy food in bulk — precisely because it is not pre-weighed or measured for you. It will force you to do the work of weighing and measuring everything you eat, while creating a level of “mindfulness” that you likely won’t have if you eat a lot of pre-measured and pre-packaged food.
Buying in bulk at a warehouse store like Sam’s Club will also save you money on top of what you save by eating less. Just make sure that you buy the right things in bulk, as some healthier foods tend to go off faster than their pre-processed counterparts.
6. Walk everywhere you can
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Cars, buses and taxis cost you money – and they don’t provide you with a whole lot of exercise.
If you can do a daily commute that gets you out of your car, involves a whole lot more walking and cuts back on your costs at the same time, you will reach both your financial and health goals a lot faster.
Just make sure you have good comfortable shoes before setting out on this journey.
Check out: “The 35 Most Walkable Cities in America.”
7. Take the stairs
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Once you get to work, avoid the elevator and take the stairs as often as you can. You can make it a game for yourself, seeing how far you can get into your day before you take the elevator for the first time.
Climbing stairs is a great cardio workout — and one that you can do at work or at home without needing to own or rent one of those expensive step machines.
8. Plan your meals
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Your best success in both losing weight and saving money will come from planning what you’re going to eat.
If you know in advance what you’re going to eat, you’ll be less tempted to give into pastries on coffee breaks.
9. Make some time to play
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Friends, kids or pets are often a whole lot more fun than even the most entertaining book or movie.
Plan for some energetic activity that involves family hikes, long dog walks or just a round of Frisbee tossing at the local park.
You will feel more energized by these activities than if you sit like a lump in front of a movie screen for two hours. You also won’t spend money on that bucket of buttery popcorn.
10. Take the frenzy out of your schedule
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Although this may be easier said than done, the simple act of decluttering your schedule will likely take some of the cost out of your harried life, as we often shell out extra money for the sake of convenience that we would not otherwise spend. Being less busy gives you more time to plan for success and reduce the rushed decisions that often result in poor food and financial choices.
Do you have tips that have helped you lose weight and reduce debt? Share them with the rest of us by commenting below or on our Facebook page.
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