6 Simple Tricks for Saving Money Without Tipping the Scale


These days, your wallet sure feels slimmer, but what about your waistline? Stress over your bank account and mortgage payments may make you want to reach for a big bowl of gooey mac 'n' cheese, but a faltering economy doesn't have to derail your diet. When times are tough, people want high-calorie comfort foods. When the craving hits, try my favorite tricks first: take a bath, do some stretching, or take some deep breaths. But if you still feel the urge, be sure to invest your calories wisely. Here are some of my figure-friendly comfort foods.

  • High-volume, low-calorie foods like soups and stews fill you up fast. Add potatoes, veggies, and low-sodium broth, and you have a week's worth of meals for only a few bucks. Plus, studies show that dieters are less likely to overindulge if they start their meal with a low-fat soup.
  • Eggs are easy on your diet and your budget. Two large eggs have around 150 calories. Combine with a sprinkle of low-fat cheese and whatever veggies are on sale, and you have a gooey treat that won't break your calorie bank.
  • Frozen veggies can bulk up your dinner while slashing your supermarket bill. Add them to a hearty pasta dish for minimal calories but maximum satisfaction.
  • Don't fret if you find yourself reaching for less expensive cuts of darker meat. They may be fattier than what you're used to, so just scale back on portion size.
  • Hit up bulk stores with a group—but be sure to bring only your healthy-minded friends along. It's hard to beat prices at retailers like Costco and BJ's Wholesale, but few families can go through a big bushel of bananas before they go bad. You won't feel guilty loading up on your favorite fresh produce if you're splitting the cost. But steer clear of processed-food aisles: Just because there's a deal on an economy-size box of Oreos doesn't mean you should fork over the cash.
  • Nix that expensive Starbucks habit. Instead of ordering a $4 cappuccino, make yourself a cup of coffee at home. Use a whisk to whip up some steamed skim milk on your stove top, and add a dash of cinnamon. Spices like cinnamon are low-cal and low-cost, plus they're full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, making them a great investment for your long-term health.

Use your scaled-down budget to focus on healthy foods you really enjoy, instead of masking your anxieties with handfuls of M&Ms. Even if your bank account is in bad shape, that doesn't mean your body has to be too.