Getting fit does not have to cost you an arm and a leg. Here are 15 tips to teach you how to get fit on a budget.
Take a No Gym Approach
Gym memberships are not required to get fit. Get outside and run. Use the local track. Run stairs. Run hills. Go for a swim. Don’t forget the many bodyweight exercises you can do for strength training too. Here are 10 that I like with videos.
Buy in Bulk
Don’t be afraid to spend a little extra money when you’re shopping to buy in bulk. Many times you can save quite a bit of money by buying the family pack or some other bulk packaging. When you get home, throw what you aren’t going to eat for the week in the freezer.
Save the Leftovers
I’ve seen more food go in the trash than into my kids’ mouths – or so it seems at times. Put what you don’t eat into containers and save it for a convenient reheat-and-eat meal the next day. Do the same when you go out to eat. Get a to-go box and enjoy your leftovers at a later time.
Buy in Season
Buying your fresh produce in season is going to save you a few bucks. You can usually tell when certain foods are out of season, as their prices start to increase. As the seasons change, so should your diet if you’re trying to get fit on a budget.
Do Your Own Prep Work
While those pre-sliced fruits and veggies are convenient, you’re going to pay for that labor you didn’t do yourself. Time is money, but for some people, every little bit of savings helps.
Negotiate Gym Membership Fees
If you are set on using a gym, don’t accept the first price they give you. Gym membership fees are many times negotiable. Sign up with a friend, ask them to waive the signup fee, or sign a long-term membership to save money. Be careful with that last one – don’t lock yourself in unless you have to.
Pick Cheap Protein Sources
Protein is going to be the biggest expense for most people. Luckily, not all protein sources have to cost you a fortune. I went to my local grocery store and broke down the cost of several protein sources to see which were the cheapest. If you’re interested in the results, read – 10 cheap sources of protein for the budget conscious.
Divide and Conquer
While I hate to do it, shopping at two different stores has saved us lots of money. If you have the time and motivation, I’d suggest you get what you can at the cheaper store.
Use the Internet
Those workout DVDs are fun, and books are great to read, but you don’t need to open your wallet. The internet gives you everything you need. Reading fitness websites like this one is a great way to educate yourself for free. There are also many other websites that provide workouts for you to follow along to. And don’t forget to check out YouTube.com for exercise instruction videos.
For the most part, water is free. It’s certainly cheaper than other liquid beverages. Buy a water filter for your faucet if the tap water isn’t clean. Buy large 5 gallon jugs of water to save extra money.
Donate a Child
Your kids cost a fortune. They literally eat you out of house and home. From throwing away half their dinners to raiding the fridge when you’re not looking – the cost of children is enormous. And yes – that’s a joke. 😛
Check out the frozen food section when you’re shopping. Most of the stuff there is processed garbage, but sometimes you can find fruits and vegetables cheaper there than you can find them in the fresh produce section. Doesn’t hurt to look.
Combine Exercise and Transportation
We take our cars everywhere, but why not save a little gas money and take your bike or walk instead? Of course this isn’t practical for all situations, but when the weather is nice, why not get some fresh air with the added benefit of exercise?
Eat at Home
Avoid restaurants, fast food, delivery, and takeout. Eating this way is going to cost you much more money than eating at home. Eating at home also gives you complete control of everything that you put into your mouth.
Shop the Farmer’s Market
If you have a farmer’s market nearby, go out and support your local economy. Cutting out the middle man has the potential to save you some money, and it’s a fun experience too.