Saving Pennies by the Pound: My Weight Watchers-Inspired Money Diet

By glblguy

This guest post is by Amanda Steinberg of DailyWorth offers daily personal finance tips for women by email.

I’m a Weight Watchers master. In 2003, I was 5’8″ and 160 pounds “” not exactly ideal for a 25-year-old single girl living in Manhattan. I spent three (!) years on Weight Watchers, and for two years, failed repeatedly. I obsessed over every drop of salad dressing and kernel of popcorn only to learn at my weekly meeting weigh-in that I’d gained half a pound. I quit multiple times, but would return months later with new resolve. Finally, in my third year, something clicked. I dropped thirty pounds in just six months.

To this day – and two babies later – I can still lose weight when I want to by altering certain habits. Here’s what I do, and how I’m now using the same rules to shave pounds off of my spending:

What I learned from Weight Watchers: How I’ve applied it to my money habits:
On Weight Watchers, you’re allotted a daily number of “points” (like calories). When you run out of points for a day, you have to resort to zero-point foods like carrots, or risk not losing weight.
Determine after fixed expenses (rent, phone, etc) how much spare cash you have per day. Plan for days when you know you’ll exceed your daily budget (night out at the movies) and spend less on other days.
Plan your meals every morning. Before you even make your breakfast, visualize each meal so that you don’t break for a cheese steak out of convenience. Plan your spending every morning. Today, I need to: meet Cristina for coffee, pick up dry-cleaning, buy a gift for baby-shower. Ask, can I make it work inside of my daily allotment? Adjust accordingly.
If you trip going down the stairs, get up and keep walking. Don’t throw yourself down the rest of the stairs. (This metaphor got me through many tough days on Weight Watchers) If you spend more than you budgeted, don’t burn your budget and go on spending. Acknowledge that you fell off the wagon, get back on, and proceed.
When eating out, order two appetizers, not an appetizer and an entree’. Two appetizers are generally more than enough food to qualify as a healthy meal. When eating out, order two appetizers. Save 30% on your meal!
Don’t totally deprive yourself, or you’ll binge. Don’t deny yourself small, frivolous gifts, as long as you buy them consciously.

I’ve learned that, for me, diets of any form work better when I can track progress in my head. That’s why I like simple rules I can repeat daily. If a system is too complicated to track, it’s not a good system.

6 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Saving Pennies by the Pound: My Weight Watchers-Inspired Money Diet”

  1. Kim Says:

    Nice! Good article, good comparisons and congrats on the weight loss.

  2. Sharon Says:

    What a great analogy! I’ve often considered the similarities between weight management and money management. I’d much prefer to be slim in weight and fat in money..

    I, too, have reached goal in ww, and I’m on my way to being financially fit too.

  3. Carla Cunningham Says:

    Hi! I wrote a book called “Alone in the Storm” which is an inspirational and heart warming story about an overweight British woman who travels to New Orleans and witnesses the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. The story was based on real life events.


    (I’m on Facebook, MySpace, and Bebo)

    Carla Cunningham
    Published Author of Alone in the Storm

  4. MITBeta @ Don't Feed the Alligators Says:

    This reminds me of a similar article that I wrote:

  5. Treme Says:

    howdy, I read all your articles, keep them coming.

  6. Nga Gravlin Says:

    Thank you very much for your helpful post!
    Men and woman usually wonder why they are not able to get rid of unwanted weight or get a better shape. The point is people seeking for a magic pill which brings them what they desire in a very short time meanwhile all they need to do is keep reading informative articles like this as well as implement the exercises.