3. Financial Fit Tip: Shop around and do your research. When you make purchases, know exactly what you need to buy to avoid impulse buys. Make lists--especially for the grocery store--and shop around for major purchases online to find the best deals before taking the plunge. When making large purchases like a house or car, look at interest rates and talk to various banks and financial advisers to negotiate the lowest rates you can get.
Apply it to Physical Fitness: As a consumer, you're powerful! So be picky when it comes to plunking down money on gadgets and gizmos that promise rock-hard abs in just minutes a day. Before making major fitness purchases like equipment or a treadmill, make sure you can test it out adequately, and try out different models before pulling out your credit card. If you're joining a gym, try a trial week so you can get a feel for the overall vibe of the place. You want to know if the place you plan to get your sweat on doesn't clean the locker rooms, or has dozens of out-of-order machines at a time. In addition, you wouldn't buy a house without having a home inspection or reading the contract, so why would you put the latest get-thin-quick supplement into your body without reading the fine print? If it sounds too good and too fast to be true, it probably is.
4. Financial Fit Tip: Keep track of it. Do you ever feel like you're just burning through money, despite consciously trying to spend less? If you're not tracking your purchases or following a budget, it's easy to forget about all those little expenditures--that is, until you start keeping track. Tracking every cent you earn, spend, or pay bills with can be very eye-opening. Using budget tracking software--or even just old-fashioned pen and paper--will help you see where your money goes and will help you plug any big leaks.
Apply it to Physical Fitness: Logging your meals, snacks and those tidbits of food stolen from the kids' dinner plates can serve as a huge eye-opener. It might even be able to explain surprise weight gain or a weight-loss plateau. Write down your intake or log it online, and you'll know for sure where those extra calories are hiding.
5. Financial Fit Tip: Make sacrifices. When you know you've got a big expense coming up--like that twice-yearly car insurance payment or an anniversary--you cut back on other areas to make up for it. You might nix a few lunches out with friends to pay for a fancy night out with the spouse, or you may skip buying those new shoes because you'd rather go see a Broadway show. Sacrificing one area makes room in another.