Jan. 6, 2006— -- Many people want to lose weight, but some diets come with a big price tag. "Savings Mom" Stephanie Nelson has some tips from her book, "Secrets of the Coupon Mom," on how to lose weight and save money:
Check out diet Web sites and look for special deals and promotions. Sign up for an e-mail newsletter to get the deals sent to you automatically. Plus, many Web sites offer free diet tools such as trackers and calorie counters, and free trials of online diet programs.
You can find free diet program resources on women's magazine Web sites, food manufacturers Web sites and health insurance Web sites. For example, find interactive tracking tools and free menu plans at kraftfoods.com, slimfast.com, specialk.com, goodhousekeeping.com and glamour.com.
Some health insurers cover diet plans, especially if your doctor has told you to lose weight. Many companies offer free workout classes and incentives to shed pounds. Many insurance companies and employers have deals with diet plans, usually for gym memberships, which could significantly lower the price.
Plans may advertise low weekly rates, but you'll have to pay for a long-term commitment. For example, the ad will read $5 per week, but that's based on a 13-week commitment. What if you find out that the diet doesn't work for you after six weeks? Not all plans give refunds.
At this time of year, food manufacturers are promoting healthy and diet foods, so look for deals in your grocery store circular. January is one of the biggest months for coupons all year; the Sunday papers will have twice as many coupons as usual. You can get big savings when you combine grocery coupons with store sale items. Don't forget to go to the healthy and diet food companies' Web sites and get on those mailing lists for coupons.