Budget Buzzz: Exercise

It may be the holiday season, but many people are already thinking about their New Year’s resolutions ready, including a favorite resolution – getting in shape. However, you don’t have to spend a fortune on gym memberships, personal trainers, and new gym clothes. There are many budget-friendly ways to add more exercise into your daily schedule in the upcoming year.

  • Create your own home gym in your kitchen, bedroom, living room or elsewhere, and exercise whenever you want. Gather free workouts from YouTube, Pinterest, and blogs. Be sure to mix it up and focus on all areas of your body by including different types of workouts. You can also purchase DVD workouts and equipment, such as weights and yoga mats. The one-time purchase of the items will pay off in the long run, compared to the price of annual gym memberships.
  • Look for free fitness classes in the community and at organizations, such as the YMCA and YWCA. Throughout the year, different types of classes and events will be offered at no fee. A simple Google search will help show what events are available in your city. Also, contact the local organizations and gyms to see if they are offering anything.
  • Get outdoors to exercise. Take a walk in a park or through downtown, go on a hike or a bike ride. It costs little to nothing to be active outside with family and friends while still enjoying nature.
  • Sometimes exercising by yourself can be hard. There is no one to hold you accountable for your goals, so it might be easy to fall back into bad habits like, for example, spending money on unnecessary junk food. Try exercising with a friend or in a team. This will allow you to stay on track, without spending money on a whim.
  • In addition to joining teams, one way to save money is to participate in a community-led sports team. This cost-efficient exercise has weekly practices and games to keep you in shape. Lean towards more intramural teams that don’t cost much in equipment, but still give you a good workout, while being affordable and, most importantly, fun.
  • There is an app for everything on your phone, so why not use a fitness app? However, you need to make sure it is free. Some free fitness apps include Gym Goal, Couch to 5k, Sworkit, and Fitness Buddy.
  • A gym membership can be expensive, but the good news is that it’s a lower price to join in the summer. This is because of the fewer new members registering for membership. Gyms are trying to maintain their high participation numbers and hope lowering their prices will attract people to join. Another time to look for gym promotions is in January, right when people start working on their New Year’s resolutions.
  • Also, when it comes to gym prices, there is room for negotiation. Many gym chains are willing to set your membership fee based on what you will be allowed to access. For example, a lower price will mean you’ll have limited access to certain areas of the gym. To negotiate the best way possible, you need to first do your homework and arm yourself with information and knowledge for your meeting with the gym employee. Also, you should shop at the end of the month and in the middle of a weekday (membership salesmen have a quota to meet), and always ask for a trial period.
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and limiting your alcohol consumption will cut down on your spending and add money to your wallet. Stick with your grocery list for healthy foods and don’t head towards the junk food. Also, you can save money by taking your lunch to work and trying frozen fruits and vegetables instead of fresh. In the long run, you may also save on doctors’ bills by not getting sick.