(NAPSA)—Will your commitment to lose weight shrink your wallet instead? Americans spend an estimated $33 billion to slim down each year. However, with the economy in a recession this year, and disposable income rapidly diminishing, people may have to find morecost-effective methods to reach their weight loss goals. “The same principles that help you manage your finances apply to successful weight management,” says Judy Lawrence, personal budget coach and author of The Budget Kit: The Common Cent$ Money Management Workbook and The Money Tracker. “You can make your weight loss dollar go a lot further if you simply plan ahead, set realistic goals and make educated choices.” Ms. Lawrenceoffers these easy tips to help you get started: * Develop a budget ahead of time. Be proactive and establish how much you'll need to cover each month’s general and weight management expenses before you get started. Begin by keeping a spending diary and review your expenses to start recognizing patterns and unnecessary incidental costs. Then set enough money aside each month to cover the costs and you'll be on the road to success. Start cooking at home. A helpful way to save money while managing your weightis to prepare sensible meals at homeor in the office. In addition to cost savings, it reduces yourcalorie intake by avoiding high-fat or supersized portions. Skip the fad diets and expensive weight loss programs. Some weight loss programs can cost from $150 to $500 for three months. A cost-effective alternative is the new Slim*Fast Easy Options Plan”. The plan offers convenient Meal Options”, like Slim*Fast Ready To Drink shakes and Meal On-The-Go bars, which cost about $1 for each meal. “The new SlimeFast Easy Options Plan is a flexible program that promotes a healthy lifestyle. Losing weight can cost less by making a few simple changes like exercising at home. It includes several eating occasions throughout the day, including healthy snacks, as well as exercise and plenty of water,” says Elizabeth Gurian, MS, RD, CDN, SlimeFast Foods Company. “With a simple change to your daily food intake, the Plan also supports people as they move from weight loss to weight managementfor longterm success.” Transform your TV into a personal gym. There are lots of effective, fun fitness videos that save time and money. Working out at home with exercise videos ($10 to $20 on average) instead ofjoining a gym could also save anywhere from $200 to $1,000 a year. Skip the bottled water. Invest in a waterfiltration system for your faucet or a filtration pitcher for your refrigerator. Before you workout, fill up a water bottle instead of paying $1 or morefor bottled water. In addition, you'll have cold, filtered water accessible in your refrigerator all day long. Line up support. Secure support of family and friends to offer encouragement. It’s important to have someoneto help keep you on track. For online support, log onto slim-fast.com and join the free club—it’s a convenient online resource that offers a buddy system for sharing motivational tips andinformation. For more information about SlimeFast, log onto slim-fast.com.