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Debt and Dieting: What Do They Have in Common?

Like good and bad types of cholesterol, there are also good and bad types of debt.

February 4, 2022

Some things in life may not be fun, but can help us accomplish our goals. While they may seem completely unrelated, dieting and paying down debt actually have a lot in common. Both endeavors require a lot of discipline and hard work, but can help us make valuable progress in our lives. Let’s look at some of the similarities between debt and dieting, how to accomplish your debt repayment goals and how it might be possible to make money by losing weight. 

What Dieting and Debt Have in Common

Not seeing the connection between debt and dieting? Let’s look at a few of the main similarities that occur when you manage both processes effectively.

Moderation is Key

Can you lose weight and still eat pizza or ice cream? Perhaps if you do so in a balanced way. Moderation also comes into play with debt reduction. Achieving both personal and financial wellness can be easier if you treat yourself from time to time. Being too rigid with a diet or budget can make the experience more stressful and can make it difficult to stick to your plan for the long term. The 50-30-20 budgeting strategy is a helpful way to budget because there is no deprivation associated with it. With this type of budget, you’ll spend 50% on needs, 30% on wants and 20% on savings. Leaving room in your budget for fun purchases can make it easier to stick to a budget long term. Paying down debt can take years, so you need to find a sustainable way to stay on track.   

Fads Don’t Work

Fad diets are notorious for not leading to long-term results, so don’t fall for debt repayment trends that promise fast and easy payoffs. Get-rich-quick schemes that promise you’ll make a ton of cash fast that you can put towards your debt are usually just as unreliable as trendy diets that promise unrealistic results. Again, sustainability is key with debt repayment.  

You Need to Set Goals and Create a Plan

The key to success with both dieting and paying down debt is to set clear goals, create a plan with action steps and make sure you stick to it. Creating a debt workout plan or spending diet of sorts will make it easier for you to visualize exactly what needs to be done to accomplish your financial goals. One way to make this easier is to identify which of your financial habits need improvement, just like you would identify what foods you need to cut back on when focusing on your health. If you can’t figure out what habits need to change or what your debt repayment plan should be, consider hiring a professional to help. Like working with a personal trainer or nutritionist when dieting, you can hire  a financial advisor to help you create a debt management plan.

How to Pay Down Your Debt 

If debt repayment is at the top of your goals list, check out these helpful debt repayment tips that are similar to healthy eating tips. 

Combine Your Goals

You can find ways to meet both goals, weight loss and debt payoff, at the same time. For example, dining out often leads to indulging in calorie-heavy meals. So why not cook at home and save money, while making healthier choices? The average American spends $232 each month by eating restaurant meals. Cooking at home and putting those savings towards your debt every month can help you reach both of your goals in one fell swoop. 

Embrace Good Debt

Like good and bad types of cholesterol, there are also good and bad types of debt. Setting aside any uneasiness about good forms of debt will help you focus on paying down the bad types of debt (aka debt that doesn’t help you meet your financial goals and typically has high interest rates). If you’re making your mortgage payments on time each month, you don’t need to beat yourself up about that debt because it's a tool you're using to meet a financial goal. Instead, focus on paying down credit card debt, payday loans or personal loans that aren’t being used to help you make progress in your life and might come with expensive interest payments and fees. 


Make Money By Losing Weight

If you want to shed some pounds and lighten your debt load at the same time, we have some good news for you. You may be able to make money by losing weight and putting those earnings towards paying off your debt. This may sound too good to be true, but there are companies that will pay you to lose weight. 

For example, HealthyWage is an app that encourages users to lose weight by wagering on their weight loss and participating in fitness challenges. Users who achieve a certain percentage of weight loss win a share of the prize money. 

Your employer may be willing to pay you to get fit as well. Some workplace wellness programs also offer financial incentives such as gift cards for being active, getting physicals and completing other tasks to prioritize health and wellness. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Dieting and paying off debt aren’t easy challenges to tackle, and there’s no reason you need to tackle either on your own. Share your goals with a trusted friend or family member so they can help hold you accountable or hire a financial advisor or debt counselor to help guide you through your debt repayment journey. 

Tally wants to help, too. We want you to pay down your debt without having to sacrifice the things that make you happy—like traveling or having a robust social life. To help you get out from under your debt, we can team up to make it easier and faster to pay it off. 

Learn more today about how Tally can help you meet your debt repayment goals!