It almost always starts by poking that little bit of podge above your waistband and declaring that you’re going to lose weight. Or looking at your bank account towards the end of the month and thinking that next month you’ll do better.
We’ve all been there, but why not combine these two goals and find a way to lose weight while making money? You might just be surprised at what you could achieve!
How to get started?
Goals. Quite simply, your journey always starts with a goal, and despite what you may think – the smaller and more achievable the better. Hitting a goal gives you a great sense of achievement, showing you that progress is possible, and encouraging you to reach your next goal.
Your goal could be to lose half a kilogram or save £100, whatever seems realistic based on your situation. The last thing you want to do is set targets that will take years to achieve, if they’re possible at all. For example, don’t set your first goal as ‘I want to save enough to buy a house’ unless you’re financially in a place to do that. Starting small and building up may seem long-winded, but it could be the change you need to stick to your goals.
Top tips for losing weight and saving money
If this is your first foray into either the world of losing weight or saving money, here are a few tips that can help with both:
- Stay active – you need to take a stance and get involved, whether that’s going to the gym or opening a Stocks and Shares ISA. Weight loss and savings don’t just happen. You need to make it so.
- Be consistent – this is key for success as you’ll want to create good habits that you can stick to, rather than focusing on what you can do for quick, short term achievements. Think of it as a healthier lifestyle rather than crash-dieting.
- Read more – checking out the labels on your food can help you be more aware of what you’re eating, and reading financial blogs or guides could help you become better at managing your money.
- Cut back – reducing what you’re consuming, whether that’s eating or buying stuff, can help you save money and lose weight
- Exercise restraint – controlling your impulses to spend frivolously or scoff another Hobnob is good for your wallet and your waistline.
- Keep a list - lists are brilliant, they can let you easily keep track of what you eat and what you spend or save, making it much more clear when you reach your goals.
Linking weight loss with saving money
There’s no feeling quite like seeing one success directly contribute towards another. For example, if losing weight or going for a run is actively contributing towards your savings pot, then your motivation is effectively doubled.
So how can losing weight gain you pounds? Well, one solution could be to set yourself connected goals, for example for every 100 grams you lose (or 0.22 pounds if you use old money) you put £1 away. Use whatever goals work best for you, increase the financial incentive or the weight loss to suit your lifestyle.
Another option could be to set lifestyle targets – say no to buying to that lovely, delicious bar of Dairy Milk in the shop, and put that £1.50 straight into your savings instead. Didn’t have a takeaway on a Friday? Straight into your savings! Rode your bike to work instead of driving or taking public transport? Put what you would have spent on the trip into your savings. Making little changes like this could surprise you with how much you can save.
Using technology to your advantage
Doing all of this manually can make it easy to forget, or even just add another level of hassle that you can’t be bothered with. So why not consider using technology to make linking your weight loss with saving money even easier?
There’s a handy little app called If This Then That (ITTT) which, as the name suggests, uses rational logic to perform actions. So, for example, you could use it to set up flows that put money away each time you lose weight – providing you have a smart scales – or add a certain amount to your savings pot with each bike ride, run, or swim you go on.
You may also find some deals that you could benefit from when taking on this challenge. For example, some health and life cover providers offer discounts and rewards for achieving certain goals and maintaining an active lifestyle. While these may not always put money in your back pocket, they can be a useful way to reduce your regular expenses or even your health-related purchases!
Can losing weight save you money?
The other side of this coin is that there are things you can do in your weight-loss journey that will also help you to put away money. Earlier we touched on putting money that you would have spent on junk food into your savings, well, even if you don’t explicitly put this money away – if you’re not buying it you’re not spending it!
For example, say you treated yourself to a can of Coca-Cola every day to the tune of 85p. While your fizzy drink habit may not seem expensive on the face of it, it works out as £5.95 a week or £25.50 a month – over the space of a year that’s over £300. Then think about chocolate, that delicious bar of Dairy Milk would likely set you back £1.50 – if you’re having one of those three times a week then that’s £216 a year on a little bar of chocolate. Add the two together, and you could potentially save more than £500 a year just by cutting out your sugar fix – and that’s not even thinking about the 147kcal for each bar of chocolate or the health risks associated with Coke.
Then there are the savings that can be made by planning your meals. Just by not winging it and knowing what you’re going to buy before you step into the store could save you money. And don’t forget, if you want to save money, never do the food shop when you’re hungry as you’re likely to end up buying more.
Make pounds by losing pounds
Now, say you wanted to try and make money by losing weight. It’s impossible, right? Well, impossible might be a stretch too far. There’s a new type of company now that allows dieters to wager on their weight – the idea is simple, you decide how much weight you want to lose, the time frame you plan on doing it, and if you hit your goal you’ll get your money back and then some.
But of course, there are drawbacks to these types of companies. For a start, it’s gambling, which may not fit with your religious or ethical beliefs. Then you have to accept that you may never get that money back – for example, most available companies will keep your money if you don’t hit your health goal. And you’re likely to be tied in for the length of time you said you’d need to lose the weight.
If you were looking for a safer option, then you could pool money with your friends and turn it into a challenge with the biggest improvements getting the prize money. Or perhaps you could convince your work to set a regular challenge, with rewards for any employees who are actively engaging in their health.
That’s a lot to think about, so good luck!
Please remember that past performance is not a reliable indicator of your future results.
With investing, your capital is at risk, so the value of your investments can go down as well as up, which means you could get back less than you initially invested.