This year, pull a Taylor Swift, and shake that misconception off. My present to you: tips on how not to spend a ton of money or put on the holiday pounds.
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It’s the holiday season and, for most of us, that means two things: (1) you’re going to spend a bunch of money and (2) you’re probably going to put on a bit of weight.

This year, pull a Taylor Swift, and shake that misconception off. My present to you: tips on how not to spend a ton of money or put on the holiday pounds.

Without further ado here are my 4 tips to save both your money and your waistline:

Host a Potluck

In the wise words of the Black Eyed Peas, “Let’s spend time, not money”. This holiday season, instead of going out to an expensive dinner or buying gifts, host a potluck dinner.

Potlucks are much more fun then sitting in a stuffy restaurant, not to mention significantly cheaper. Plus, since you’re preparing the food yourself, you’ll cut down on the calories as well.

When Traveling, Pack Snacks

We mentioned this point during our Thanksgiving travel tips article, but it bears repeating. Whether you’re going to visit family or making a trip to visit your friends over Christmas Break, save money by not stopping at fast food restaurants.

Pack your own snacks such as water, fruit, nuts, yogurt, and protein bars, to keep you nice and full on the road. In addition to saving money, this tip will ensure that you’re still be able to fit into that cocktail dress you bought for New Years Eve.

Festive Fitness

Everybody loves to get into the holiday spirit: why not make a holiday playlist to workout to? There’s no need to buy anything new on iTunes: there are millions of free Christmas songs online.

Maximize the spare time you have over break to workout by going for a quick run (read: walk). There’s no need to pay for an expensive week-long gym membership: a quick Google search returns hundreds of interval or circuit training workouts. Bonus: you don’t even have to change out of your Christmas jammies to work out.

Now you can have another piece of pie guilt-free and it won’t cost you a penny. Still can’t pry yourself away from your Neftflix binge? Remember that even 10-minute bursts of exercise through out your day can make a difference. Take a break from wrapping presents and do some crunches!

Portion Control

One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is the food. I mean, isn’t eating your body weight in pie on everyone’s wish list?

When diving into that pan of brownies, think, “portion control”. Cut food into bite-sized pieces to keep yourself from overeating.

If you’re hosting people for a holiday meal, consider putting dishes out “buffet style” away from the table. This way, you have to make a conscious decision to get up and eat more.

Even if you’re just bringing a dish with you, think of the people that you’re feeding. Cut dishes into smaller, pre-portioned morsels when bringing a dish so that people (including yourself) don’t eat as much. As an added bonus, you’ll be more aware of how many servings you’ll need and save on money by not buying enough food to feed a small village.

The most important part of the holiday season is to enjoy yourself. However, the easiest way to enjoy yourself is to make sure that you don’t hate yourself once you’re done ringing in the new year. This year, eat 20% of what you want (including eggnog, spiked or not) and 80% of healthier foods that are low in saturated fat , calories, and carbs.

Do you have any holiday dieting or savings tips of your own? Don’t be a Grinch! Share them with the rest of our community below!

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Posted 12.23.2014 - 04:32 pm EDT