Simone's Blog: Money Magnet

As the Director of Affiliate Relations at HomeFree-USA, I’ve always been fascinated with how people handle their money. Like everyone else, I’ve had my financial ups and downs. In fact, it took me 32 months to pay off $32,000 in credit card bills and build up a six-month emergency fund. While that was a very difficult period, I am grateful – and wiser -- for the experience.

Through my personal experiences and working at HomeFree-USA, I’ve gained a ton of insight that I feel compelled to share. You’ll find those lessons here. Feel free to take the thoughts and ideas that resonate with you most and put aside the rest for later. I look forward to sharing my journey.

Summertime Fine: Weight loss on a budget

It seems like when we pass a certain age everyone gets uber conscious of their body (men do it too, don't let them fool you). If I hear one more person say they're not drinking alcohol this week/month/year, have stopped eating..., or have signed up for some nutrition program, I may scream and throw myself out the window (especially because I do all of these).

Everyone wants to look their best (or they should), and since it's easy, convenient and inexpensive to eat terribly, you have to be extremely conscious if you want to lose weight. Here are some tried and true methods:

a)  Preparation is everything. Sometimes people just crave junk or fast food, but most times we eat it because we didn't meal prep at home. When you're busy it's extremely easy to give in to the temptation to eat out, but restaurants are typically far heavier on sodium than you would be. Cook enough for the week. Maybe even make a party out of it by grilling and inviting people over (with their own food, of course. They bring, you season and grill. A win-win).

b)  Drink free alcohol out, all else at home on the weekends. This is how I cut down without feeling like I was depriving myself. If I attend an open bar reception all bets are off, no matter the day. But since that doesn't occur regularly, I limit my weekly fix to weekends at home. I will have a happy hour cocktail with friends, but my schedule only allows that occasionally.

c)   Free bootcamps and fitness activities are everywhere. Many fitness stores do free pop-up workouts, and Meetup and other social networking sites offer several walking and running groups. Check out my post on working out on the cheap for other ideas.

d)  Buy in season. These fruits and veggies are plentiful and regularly on sale. If you want them extra fresh check out your local farmers market pop-up shops.

e)  Embrace the cheat. As long as it isn't on a regular basis, feel free to give yourself a day off from healthy eating. Some people stick to one cheat day a week, others don't keep their guilty pleasures in the house. Figure out how you can successfully embrace a new way of eating while not consistently feeling deprived.

f)    It's okay not to exercise for a while. 80% of health and weight loss is diet, not fitness. So depending on how radical you get with your food changes, you may be okay not working out for a while. As you get in touch with your body you'll start to see when your weight loss hits a plateau and it's time to hit the gym again. For the moment, focus primarily on changing your eating habits and move just enough to stay active. Over time you'll find that you have more energy and the desire to further your weight loss with exercise. All in due time, Money Magnets...

And so it is.