23 Affordable Ways Frugal People Lose Weight

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Feet of an Asian woman on a weight scale

Penny-wise Weight Loss

The weight loss process can be a dreadful, notoriously expensive affair. But if done right and smart, you can get rid of those extra pounds without slimming your wallet. 

Here are 23 affordable ways frugal people lose weight.

Overhead Shot of an Anonymous Person's Hand Holding Vitamin D Pills

1. Ditch Weight-Loss Supplements

First, supplements that promise you to lose weight in 20 minutes cost a fortune and are nothing but a budget suck (the weight loss supplement industry was valued at $29.96 billion in 2023). 

Second, there is not enough research to back up their effectiveness. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), they can cause more harm than good to both your wallet and your body.

Red meat
LanaStock / iStock

2. Ditch Red Meat as Well

Research shows red meat ups your risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and premature death. It's also packed with calories and saturated fats, which won't help you shed those extra pounds. Plus, it's pricier than leaner proteins like chicken or turkey. And that's the beef with red meat.

Steamed rice and beans

3. Choose Whole Foods

There is a common misconception that buying whole foods is for the rich and famous, because they are expensive. But if you think about it, rice, lentils, and beans are whole foods, and they are cheap and nutritious.

Salmon and Meat Balls Meal Prep

4. Plan and Prep Your Meals

Meal prep reduces waste, keeps you from eating out, saves you a lot of time as well and it's great on your budget.

Bulk staple foods
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5. Bulk Buy Basics

  • Stock up on oats, rice, and beans — they’re cheap, filling, and healthy. Plus, they're versatile enough to combine in every meal.
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    6. Walk Everywhere

    Ditch the car, save gas money, and burn calories. Walking is the ultimate free workout, and every step counts. 

    Research shows that walking just 4,000 steps or 30 minutes a day reduces the risk of serious illnesses, stress, and body fat.

    Father and son cooking dinner at home

    7. Cook at Home

    Cooking at home lets you control ingredients and saves you a lot of cash. Plus, a study shows it can even help you live longer. So, how about that? 

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    8. Grow Your Own Veggies

    Growing your own produce, whether in your backyard or a community garden, takes a bit of effort, but the benefits are massive. Gardening is physical work that helps burn calories, you'll have fresh, non-toxic veggies, and you won't need to buy them. 

    Best Bike Trails in America

    9. Skip the Gym

    Gym memberships are notoriously expensive. Instead of being a hamster on the treadmill, ride a bike in nature. 

    drink water
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    10. Drink Water

    Our body often mistakes thirst for hunger, leading to unnecessary snacking. Drinking a glass of water before meals keeps you full and makes you eat less. 

    Water also aids in weight loss by flushing out toxins, allowing your liver to focus on burning fat. Best of all, it's cheap or free and has zero calories.

    Woman eating spaghetti bolognese

    11. Eat Slowly

    Eating slowly helps you feel full faster and eat less. A 2017 study found that people who chew slowly have better digestion and feel fuller sooner. 

    Eating fast sabotages weight loss by affecting leptin, the hormone that signals fullness, and it isn't released until 15-20 minutes after you start eating. 

    Carrot Sticks
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    12. Swap Snacks for Veggies

    Carrot sticks over chips any day. Keep a stash of cut-up vegetables like carrots, celery, and bell peppers in your fridge for quick, healthy snacks.

    Green Tea
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    13. Drink Green Tea

    Packed with antioxidants, green tea will increase your metabolic rate, making it easier to shed those extra pounds.  Plus, it comes with added health benefits like improved brain function and a lower risk of certain diseases. 

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    14. Limit Alcohol

    Empty calories add up quickly and alcohol is calorie-dense and expensive. Cutting back can help both your waistline and wallet.

    Healthy eating. Plate with vegan or vegetarian food in woman hands. Healthy plant based diet. Healthy dinner. Buddha bowl with fresh vegetables
    Daria Kulkova/istockphoto

    15. Replace Meat with Plants

    Plant-based proteins like legumes and mushrooms are a great option for losing weight on a budget because they are cheaper than meat and high in fiber and protein, which can help you feel full and eat less. 

    Workout at home
    Jacob Wackerhausen / iStock

    16. Work Out at Home

    Ditch the expensive gym membership that drains your wallet and turn your living room into a free gym. YouTube is packed with free fitness videos, from yoga and pilates to high-intensity interval training and dance workouts. You can also exercise at your own pace and schedule, all from the comfort of your home. 

    Homegrown produces on  farmer's market

    17. Buy Seasonal Produce

    Fruits and veggies in season are usually cheaper than out-of-season options, taste better, and are at their best in nutrients. 

    Outdoor yoga
    Peera_Sathawirawong / iStock

    18. Use Public Parks

    Turn your local park into a free gym and reap all the benefits — it's free, and according to research, it's more effective. 

    Research shows that "green exercise," or working out in nature, boosts motivation more than indoor workouts. Also, exercising in green spaces is more relaxing, reduces stress, and makes workouts feel less strenuous. And it's free! 

    Woman Taking Plate Of Leftover Food From The Fridge

    19. Use Leftovers

    Every frugal person knows that tossing leftovers is a cardinal sin: It's wasteful and doesn't do your wallet any favors. Instead, repurpose them into salads, soups, stews, stir-fries, or wraps. 

    Jar full of raspberry
    brizmaker / iStock

    20. Swap Desserts for Fruit

    Those with a sweet tooth know the struggle of giving up dopamine-boosting sweets. The good news is you can still satisfy your sugar cravings with fresh, delicious fruits that are cheaper and healthier than chocolate. 

    Cooking beet soup, borscht with organic vegetables

    21. Stay Away from Prepackaged Meals

    Prepackaged meals are often high in sodium, sugar, and unhealthy fats. Cooking from scratch is more nutritious and cost-effective.

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    22. Eat Before Shopping

    Before heading to the grocery store, grab an apple or have a healthy meal. Shopping on an empty stomach can lead to buying unhealthy, expensive snacks.

    Making chores more joyful

    23. Do Household Chores

    Doing house chores will not result only in a clean house, but you'll also be fitting in some exercise without even realizing it. Activities like vacuuming and mopping can significantly burn calories. For example, vacuuming burns around 100-200 calories per hour. So get to scrubbing that floor! 

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