6 ways to shrink your debt and your waistline

A recent study out of the University of Ohio found that women who lost a significant amount of weight also increased their wealth. Here’s how to shed pounds and save money

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financial literacy

1. Learn to be financially literate

Just as you don’t need to eat just apples and lettuce to maintain a healthy weight, you don’t need a huge income to get free of debt. Part of financial literacy is simply to realise you need to spend less than you earn.

Ayala Farrell, who had credit card debts and weight issues for a decade, is a firm believer that weight and money are linked. She came to this conclusion while saving the deposit for her home; after a year she had her house – and had dropped more than 17 lbs.

“I developed hobbies that didn’t involve spending, such as knitting, reading, jogging,” says Ayala. “I cooked for friends instead of going out. And the year I spent saving for my house deposit was the lightest I’ve been in my life.”

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determine reward

2. Determine your reward

Nutritionists, personal trainers and financial advisers agree on one thing: goal-setting is crucial if you want to lose weight or save money.

Says behavioural psychologist Michael Burge, “Whatever the habit you’re trying to break or change, you need a compelling goal to keep you moving forward.” You’re more likely to reach your goals if you’re enthused about the reward.

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set goal

3. Set a goal

Whether you want to lose a couple of pounds or much more, save for a dress or put down a house deposit, you need to work backwards from the goal. And the best way of doing that is by writing down the steps you’ll need to get there. Peter Walsh, author of Does this Clutter Make My Bitt Look Fat? (Simon & Schuster, $11.68) says he’s had so much success helping people clear their clutter because he focuses on clarity of purpose. “The first step is to define the life you want. If you can do that, you’re halfway to getting it.”

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clean clutter

4. Focus on quality, not quantity

Chances are, you spend lots of cash on items you don’t need. Go through your house with a bunch of garbage bags to collect the products you never use. Have a garage sale, sell items on eBay, give them to friends, family or charity. Then limit future shopping to the things you truly want and can savour.

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challenge yourself

5. Build in incentives

Psychologist Michael Burge suggests you “dispute yourself” if you find you’re sabotaging your own goals. And think positively. “Ask yourself, What’s useful here? And what is the most beneficial decision for me? It will help enormously if you build in incentives or rewards on a weekly and monthly basis for dieting and debt-control goals.”

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less is more

6. Less is more

As is the case with many of life’s problems, the key to wealth and health is obvious and simple: spend less than you earn; eat less than you burn.

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