Happy New Year! Since 2011 has officially started, we wanted to talk a little bit about New Years resolutions. Everybody makes them, though it seems many don’t keep them. If you are like many people, your resolution may be losing weight and/or getting healthy. Since this is a very popular choice for a resolution (which it should be!), we thought we would discuss two of the key issues required: diet and exercise.

 

Diet

Whether your goal is losing weight or just eating healthier for a better life, diet is an important component. Unfortunately for your finances, eating healthy isn’t often cheap. Easy, fast, and cheap meals are often made with junk foods, though with a little research and planning, the potential costs for eating healthy can be eased.

 

Here are some ideas for planning a healthier diet:

 

  • Plan your meals – Spend some time planning out your meals for the week: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Not only will this help you to avoid eating junk food because you don’t have anything else planned, it will help you to plan the cost of the meals. You are much more likely to spend too much at the grocery store if you don’t know exactly what you’ll eat during the week.
  • Utilize weekly deals and coupons – Many grocers have weekly specials that show what is on sale for the week. You can use these while planning your meals. Also, make use of as many coupons as you can. A good place to find coupons is online. Google “grocery coupons” to find many resources that may help you while planning.
  • Shop at multiple grocers – If you live in an area where you have access to multiple grocery stores, you can utilize this by shopping different store’s deals. This will definitely require leg work, but if you’re willing to put the time in, it can save you money.

 

Exercise

Exercise is another key component to losing weight and getting healthy. People often make split second decisions on high cost supplements to help them lose weight. Before doing so, think about the following:

 

  • Joining a gym – Many people will join a gym at the beginning of the year to help them with their resolution. While there is nothing wrong with belonging to a gym (we both do ourselves), consider the following before signing anything:
    • Find a gym that requires no contract. Many gyms have all the bells and whistles a gym can offer, but you have to sign a contract for a certain length of time. So, if you decide after 6 months you no longer want to pay, you are locked in for the full time frame on the contract. Look for a gym that is a month to month payment that can be canceled at any time.
    • Be sure to visit several gyms before you sign up. You can usually visit a gym to try it at no cost for at least one visit. If you find several gyms that seem to be a good fit, be sure to exercise at each at least once to see where you want to sign up.
    • Ask if there are any deals. Gyms often run deals for signing up, so make sure you ask if there are any you can take advantage of or if there is one coming up that you could wait for.
  • Buying exercise equipment – If you decide that you would rather exercise at home instead of paying for a gym, be sure you know exactly what equipment you want to buy before doing so. Here are some things to think about:
    • Research the type of equipment you want. Go to the store and try it out. Decide whether you’d rather have a treadmill or an elliptical, or maybe something else you never considered. Exercise equipment is not cheap and not something that you can easily return (if at all), so be sure of your decision before making any purchases.
    • Consider what you need the equipment to do. Exercise equipment often have many different levels of features (and many different costs to go along with them). Don’t buy a $1,500 treadmill that goes up to 12 mph and has 50 different cardio workouts when all you want to use it for is walking daily at 3 mph and a $400 treadmill would have done.
    • Consider the space you have available in your home. If you have limited space to work with, you may have to buy a certain type of equipment because it’s all that fits. Also, make sure that you put it somewhere that makes to easy for you to use it. If you only plan on using it when you’re watching TV, make sure you have space in a room with a TV. Sounds simple, but you should definitely plan ahead to be sure that the equipment would even be functional in your home.
  • Consider low cost alternatives. Do some research online for exercises not requiring a gym or expensive equipment. Utilize some low cost exercise alternatives, such as free weight and resistance bands, and find a local neighborhood or park to walk. If you have the motivation, you can get a good workout without spending significant money.

 

Do you have any other tips about diet and exercise? Good luck with achieving your New Year’s resolutions, whatever they may be!

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