Living On A Budget: Staying Fit

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The beginning of the month always means one thing to me: paying bills and solidifying my budget. I’ve written posts about budgeting before. I’ve talked about how Dave Ramsey completely changed the way I look at money. The Dave Ramsey way – pay for everything in cash. If you have debts, sell your fancy cars and expensive stuff and live a very un-extravagant life until you’re caught up. Budgeting is the key to making it all work. While Kyle and I haven’t done this to the extreme to get our student loans and other debts paid off, we do practice strict budgeting and have a debt snowball set up.

I’ve heard many times how being healthy is expensive to do. To me, this is so untrue! To show how easily it can be done, I’m starting a mini-series to demonstrate what I do to keep a healthy and fit lifestyle while keeping a strict budget. For those of you who don’t know, I’m currently a graduate student working on my PhD, so budgeting is a must for me! I do have a stipend from working for the university, but I need to make sure all my money is going to the right places.

This series will consist of the following posts:

  1. How To Stay Fit On A Budget
  2. How To Eat Healthy On A Budget
  3. How To Have Fun On A Budget

The three most important parts to a healthy life!

Working Around The Gym Membership
Although having a personal trainer like all the celebrities would be fabulous, a trainer at an expensive gym isn’t the only way to get in shape and stay that way. There are plenty of other options out there for you. Here are a couple of my suggestions!

  • Make your own home gym. You can find a decent set of dumbbells at any department store like Target or Walmart. I have weights from 5 to 25 pounds at home that I spent about $80-100 putting together little by little. You can strengthen and tone any part of your body by strictly using dumbbells. You don’t need to join a gym to get the lifting machines to get in shape. Although, my dream is to someday save up to have a home gym complete with treadmill, mirrored walls, padded floors, and all the extra toys I want!
  • Find DVDs that you love. Finding a collection of workouts, or single discs that fit your workout goals are great. They are so easy too when you’re crunch on time. I typically work out in the morning, and have my disc and gym clothes ready to go in the morning so that I have less of an excuse to skip a workout when I don’t really feel like moving at 5 AM. In my opinion, the best place to find these is Amazon. Amazon typically has great deals on items, or you can buy them used for super cheap. I bought my ChaLean Extreme DVDs used, and they were in excellent condition! You can find more of the DVDs I use frequently here.

ChaLEAN Extreme – Burn up to 60% of your body fat

  • Search Groupon. Groupon is great for those of you who love group fitness classes. There are constantly yoga classes and boot camps on there. I’ve seen some personal training ones too. Just logging on this morning, two of the first ones I see are fitness related.
  • Check out Groupon.com for other deals like these

    • Find a crossfit box for free classes. I personally do not crossfit, but I’ve thought about trying it. I can’t afford a full membership at most of the boxes, but I know of several in the Dallas area that do free classes 1-2 times a week. These classes probably are a bit more crowded, but they are free! A quick Google search should bring these up in your area.
    • Grab a group of people and join a seasonal sports league. If you search around, you can find summer sports leagues that area affordable, especially considering that you will have the cost split among the team. For instance, this summer I’m joining a sand volley ball league with my sisters and a group of friends, which will be about $20/person for the entire summer.
    • Find a running club. The Dallas Running Club is only $30/year for you to join. While that might sound intimidating if you aren’t a runner yet, don’t worry! They are different levels of groups for every one. Try to find something like this in your city.
    • Remember, the world is your treadmill! This one is most likely blatantly obvious. Find walking trails in your city, or find a route close to home. Find a hilly route and speed walk. Run bleachers at a high school nearby. Take your dog for a walk. Walking is just as great of exercise as running!

    Fitness Apparel
    My love for buying new clothes is one of the harder things to work around being on a budget. It’s nice to feel fresh wearing a new outfit to the gym once in a while. Getting new fitness clothes isn’t always a want though, sometimes it is a need! You don’t have to break your wallet buying new gear.

    • Danskin brand workout apparel at Wal-Mart. Much of the shopping I do anymore is at Wal-Mart. They have very affordable, cute workout gear. (I have also gotten shoes, swim suits, and other clothing from there.) In my opinion, the Danskin clothing is really great quality, especially considering how affordable it is. I’ve bought capris, shorts, tanks, dry tees, and my latest purchase was a running jacket. Remember the one I wore for my half? That was under $13 at Wal-Mart. I love it. It has thumbholes too!

    • Up-cycle old t-shirts or cheap t-shirts into new tanks. I’ve seen tons of tutorials for making your own gym tanks. Here are a few that I like!
    • Ellie Fitness Apparel. Ellie is a new line of fitness apparel. When you sign up for their monthly Fit Fashionista Club, you get two pieces of clothing every month. They put out a new collection monthly to choose from. I have several Ellie pieces, and they are all good quality, super cute items! The price for the monthly membership is $49.95. You get free shipping for returns, and you can cancel your monthly membership whenever you want. No contracts. You can check it out, and get a discount, using the link below!


    • Look for blog giveaways. Ok, so this one is sometimes a bit of a long shot, but it is possible! I’ve won running socks, head bands, protein powder, and some other things from entering blog giveaways. Plus, its a great way to show your favorite blogs some love!
    • Start an ‘envelope’ for the things you can’t skimp on. The number one item that comes to mind here is proper training shoes. I think this is most important for runners. You can go and get fitted for the proper shoes at a running store, and then find them online cheaper. Take a small amount of money out of each paycheck, and stick it in an envelope for what you want to save for. Once you have enough money, go buy it!

    Other Fitness Related Items

    • Find free music. For me, music is a must if I a out on a run. No, I’m not promoting illegal downloads of music here. But, I use Pandora religiously, which is also free! There are ads played during the stations, but they are short and are only played every 3 songs or so, unless you start skipping around a lot. Spotify is another free streaming app, similar to Pandora with radio stations. However, Spotify has memberships where you can save playlists of any songs you want, and use on your mobile device. I think these start at $10/month.
    • Training apps for your smart phone. There are several iPhone apps I use religiously. I’ve already done a review on some of these, which include
      • Endomondo (free version, or $5 for upgrades)
      • iFitness (the app in this post is no longer free, I think it is $0.99)
      • MyFitnessPal (free)
      • Nike Training Club (I believe this one is free)

      This sums up all of the fitness related ways I have for keeping in a low budget. I hope that this helps any of you with budgets like me! If you have any other ideas, or any questions on ways to stay in your budget for something I missed, feel free to comment below or e-mail me at alysia@slimsanity.com!

Comments

  1. says

    I've been poking around and I happened to find this budget series, I'm in love!! As a grad student I feel your pain on the student debt (I'm living at home now but am anxious to move in with my BF as soon as I graduate/start working) and I'm always excited to see other's suggestions on how to stay healthy with little to no money. Another great resource for DVD's can be the local library and even some youtube channels have full length classes. Also if you have a college in your area their workout centers sometime have group fitness classes for cheap (or free!)

    • slimsanity says

      Yikes! There are definitely ways to reduce the costs of food without sacrificing healthy choices – I'm happy to try and help! :)

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