If you want to lose weight without breaking your budget, WW Freestyle (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 Freestyle review: Save money while losing weight
Before I get to those strategies, I want to provide a review of my personal experience with the Weight Watchers Freestyle program.
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 to jumpstart my New Year’s fitness goals.
I find that the list of zero SmartPoints foods motivates me to eat more fruits and vegetables.
For some context, my diet is vegan/vegetarian. I stopped eating meat in mid-2017 to lower my cholesterol without medication.
I’m 5’10” and currently weigh about 170-175 pounds. Here’s a picture from 2018:
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 Freestyle program…
1. Sign up for Weight Watchers through Swagbucks
Weight Watchers always has a sale for new members. 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.
Once you’re signed in, type “Weight Watchers” into the search bar to get the coupon:
- Sign up for a Swagbucks account (welcome bonus)
- Find the search bar in the upper-left corner of the screen
- Use the dropdown menu to switch from “WEB” to “SHOP”
- Type Weight Watchers and click search
- Click “SHOP NOW” to be redirected to WW’s website
Swagbucks coupons and deals change frequently, but I think it’s still worth checking in case the $7.50 cash back offer is still available.
You can redeem Swagbucks for Amazon gift cards, PayPal cash and more.
2. Plan your menu around the list of ZeroPoint foods and your supermarket’s weekly circular
Many people may think that diet programs like WW Freestyle 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 WW Freestyle program 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 WW Freestyle 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 Freestyle 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 Freestyle 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 WW Freestyle 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.
If Weight Watchers is too expensive for you right now, at least check out the list of 200+ foods with zero points and try to eat more of them.
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!