If you want to lose weight without breaking your budget, WW (formerly Weight Watchers) could be the right program for you.
In this article, I’m going to share five tips to help WW members save money.
Weight Watchers Review: Save Money While Losing Weight
Before I get to those strategies, I want to provide a review of my personal experience with the myWW program, formerly called WW Freestyle.
I first joined in early 2018 and began tracking SmartPoints instead of counting calories.
My first week I lost more than five pounds, but the weight loss settled at about a pound or two a week until I hit my goal weight a couple of months later.
Once I got below 170 pounds, I canceled my Weight Watchers membership.
Although I’ve managed to keep most of the weight off since then, I signed up for the rebranded WW again in 2019. This helped me lose a few vanity pounds and once again reach my goal weight.
I find that the list of zero SmartPoints foods motivates me to eat more fruits and vegetables. The WW app also makes it easy to track what I eat and how much I exercise.
I’m 5’10” and have reached my goal weight as of November 2019. This picture shows me at about the same weight:
Now that you have some of the background information, let’s get into the strategies to save money while you’re losing weight on the WW program.
1. Sign up for Weight Watchers when there’s a sale
WW almost always has a sale going on that new, returning and even existing members can take advantage of. When I signed up, the limited-time promo was $35.90 for a three-month WW Digital membership.
That works out to $12 per month, but the regular price is $20 a month.
To save the most money, you may want to start off with WW’s Digital membership. It’s one of three membership options:
- Workshop + Digital
- Personal Coaching + Digital
It’s common for WW to waive the starter fee and offer the first month free, especially if you commit to paying for three or six months. Sometimes they’ll even mail you a free cookbook.
For most of my time on WW, I’ve had the Digital membership. I’ve never paid for the workshops, which include in-person meetings.
I did test out the Personal Coaching + Digital membership option at one point, but I don’t think it’s worth it. This includes weekly phone calls with a WW coach and emails to motivate you. The coach is there to help you set goals, but mine never got really specific.
One thing I want to point out is that the prices you see on WW’s website are promotional. Once that period ends, you’ll be billed at the regular monthly rate. For Digital, that’s $19.95 per month.
However, I’ve successfully contacted customer service and gotten an extension of the lower rate by agreeing to lock in my membership for another three or six months. Existing members should call up WW near the end of their promotional period to ask for the latest offers.
2. Plan your menu around the list of ZeroPoint foods and your supermarket’s weekly circular
Many people may think that diet programs like myWW will increase their food costs, but you’re in control of what you buy with Weight Watchers.
With this program, you shop at any grocery store for whatever you want to eat.
The myWW Blue program (formerly WW Freestyle) has more than 200 ZeroPoint foods, which means that you don’t have to weigh, measure or track them. (I still track mine in the app anyway.)
Many of these foods with zero SmartPoints are grocery staples that go on sale regularly:
- Skinless chicken breasts
- Fish and seafood
- Most fruits and vegetables
I plan my meals around the list of Weight Watchers foods with zero points and whatever’s on sale at my grocery store that week.
If it’s a great special, I may buy in bulk and freeze some of the items to use down the road.
For example, beans are often cheaper per pound when you purchase a larger bag. That’s why I’ll wait for a sale and buy a 5-pound bag instead of a 1-pound bag.
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By planning your meals in advance, you’ll find ways to stretch your dollars by using the same ingredients (like chicken) for multiple recipes during that week.
3. Stick to a limited number of recipes at first
The WW Mobile app is where you track everything you eat, but it’s also a great place to find cheap Weight Watchers recipes with low SmartPoints values.
Members also frequently post recipes on Connect, a Facebook-like feature within the app.
These myWW recipes provide lots of inspiration, but you don’t want to run to the grocery store every day to buy 10 ingredients to make something you saw in your feed.
Try a few recipes at a time, plan them out and make a list of new recipes to try later on.
If you head to the supermarket whenever you see a good recipe, you’ll spend more money on groceries and some food will probably go to waste.
Experimenting in the kitchen is fun, but try to stick to the planning from the previous step.
4. Meal prep once or twice during the week to avoid the temptation to eat out
After you’ve finished your grocery shopping and have recipes to follow, prepare them in batches if you find that you’re short on time during the week.
By meal prepping on Sundays and Wednesdays, I never run out of healthy food to eat.
On my WW meal prep day, there are many times when I have tofu cooking in the oven, a soup in my Instant Pot and pasta on the stove.
Each meal prep session takes one or two hours, depending on my recipes for the week.
Meal prepping simplifies my life. I don’t have to worry about cooking after a long day of work or where to get takeout. Everything is done!
I just label my prepared meals and store them in the fridge until I need to heat them up.
5. Don’t rely on Smart Ones or other processed food items
If you’re serious about saving money while on Weight Watchers, prepare your own food as much as possible and don’t buy prepackaged diet foods.
Smart Ones meals only cost about $2 each, but other frozen entrees are $5 or more.
Here’s what I do: I keep two or three frozen meals in my freezer in case my WW meal prepping falls through, but I try not to rely on them.
I really think of the frozen meals as “in case of emergency foods.”
To be clear, I’m talking about processed frozen meals only. I think frozen vegetables and fruits are great to have on hand because they last longer than fresh items.
Also, the cost difference between fresh and frozen produce is often very little.
Although I’m not a nutritionist, I know from personal experience that focusing on whole foods (not processed) is key to losing weight and keeping it off.
How to cancel Weight Watchers
If you don’t get the results you want or would like to try keeping up the progress on your own, you can always cancel Weight Watchers online:
- Sign in to your account from a computer
- Select Account –> Settings
- Scroll to Account & Billing
- Click on Plan Enrolled and then View Cancellation Options
A faster way is to sign in to your account and follow this link. (You must be signed in!)
You can also cancel by calling WW and speaking to a live agent. The phone number for Weight Watchers is 1-800-651-6000.
I believe that the myWW program really does work! Tracking everything that I eat from the app (even foods with zero points) provides a daily report card on my eating habits.
I hope the advice that I’ve outlined will help you stick with the program and your budget.
The list is free and doesn’t require you to sign up for anything with WW. Read more here.
YOUR TURN: Have you tried the WW Freestyle program? Leave your review in the comments below and share any money-saving tips!