Losing weight and saving money are math problems. To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit – eat fewer calories than what your body needs to maintain its current weight. To save money, you need to spend fewer dollars than you earn. Both cases can be boiled down to a case of simple arithmetic: dollars in vs. dollars out, calories in vs. calories out.
But then you throw in human behavior and it just all goes out the window! Many people understand that eating unhealthily and sitting all day will encourage weight gain, just as plenty of people understand that if you spend more than you make, you will run into debt. But as anyone as ever tried to lose weight or save money would tell you, it is one thing to know the math. It’s another thing to make the not-so-fun decisions (choosing an apple over a chocolate muffin, trading a loft apartment for room in someone else’s house) that will allow you to achieve the desired results.
Making a high income is important; it’s one side of the equation. But it’d be pretty darn difficult to earn enough money to support a life of indiscriminate spending. Focusing on earning without examining your expenses is akin to trying to lose weight while filling your diet with sugary drinks and fried foods.
What gets measured, gets done
If you want to lose weight, you need to measure what you are eating. If you want to save money, you need to measure how much you are spending. Trying to lose weight and save money means that you are by definition changing the status quo – so you have to do something differently in order to see results. Your current diet isn’t working. Your current spending isn’t working. Otherwise, you would have already gotten the results that you wanted.
Try a system that works
Willpower is a limited resource; in fact, studies have shown that when we expand willpower on certain things, other goals fall by the wayside. That means if you are trying hard to save money, you may be lackadaisical with eating healthy. That’s why it’s helpful to figure out a system that will help you make the right decisions, WITHOUT using your limited reservoir of self-discipline. When it comes to finances, it’s paying yourself first. When it comes to losing weight, it might be putting gym clothes in your car (check), stocking your fridge with low-calorie treats for when you get a sugar craving and making the decision NOT to go out to eat instead of relying on your self-discipline to order healthy meals.
In the end it will be worth it. Save money to enjoy a healthy life.