5 Tips for Working Out Without Breaking the Bank

*Original post date 2016, updated May 2019*

When you think of getting fit and healthy, you don’t have to also see lots of dollar signs. There are ways to be healthy, get fit, and reach your goals without breaking the bank. You only have one body, so it needs to be a priority when it comes to the money you spend in your budget. Check out my 5 tips below for help:

1.) Really do some thinking about your gym membership.

If you go to your gym 4 times a week and use multiple pieces of equipment, the pool, the childcare, etc. then you should probably stick with it. But, if you go to the gym 3 times a month, or only use it for the treadmill, then maybe you should consider alternative means of exercise. If you only go to the gym for a treadmill, consider buying one for your home. You can find used ones on craigslist, or at a second hand fitness equipment store. If you lift lighter hand weights, maybe buy a set or two of lighter and heavier weights and a resistance band (We have had luck on Facebook Marketplace). If you love yoga but cringe at the thought of forking over a high amount for a month at a studio, maybe buy a mat and download some free yoga videos from the internet.

The FASTer Way to Fat Loss has a “home” version of workouts, so if you join one of my rounds, you can workout at home with just dumbells and lose fat!

2.) Set a budget for races and make finding good/cheaper ones a game.

Let’s face it, racing, especially destination racing, can be pricey! One option is to set a yearly or quarterly racing budget that includes not just entry fees but also what you would spend at a hotel or on transportation, food etc. as well. A lot of times, you can find fun races that aren’t publicized on the big race websites if you do a little digging (hello Google!)  Trying to fit races into your budget is like putting together a puzzle, and can be fun if you are a planner like me. Also, try to find things to help your budget, like run a destination race close to where your aunt lives, and ask if you can spend the night at her house to save money on a hotel. Yes, you may end up sleeping on her couch with a cat on your face, but it’s better than forking out 150+ dollars for a hotel room. Maybe you can find a friend online running the same race as you and share a hotel, or a cab from the airport. Every little bit helps!


3.) Think of things around your house that could be considered cross training.

Look around you, there are plenty of things you could probably do or that NEED to be done that would work up a sweat and be considered cross training. Some things to do are work in the flowerbeds pulling weeds, scrubbing wood floors on your hands and knees, raking leaves, wiping down baseboards, painting your dining room, scrubbing the shelves in your refrigerator, vacuum/mop, walk the dog, stain the deck (no…I am not listing all the things I need to do…yeah…of course not). Not only will you work up a sweat, but your house will look awesome! Put on some music and maybe add in some lunges or squats as you go.


Painting a fence counts, too!

4.) Be Social and know your city.

If you did a little research, you may find a hiking trail you didn’t know about or a walking club for moms that meets every Tuesday morning. Being in the know will help you to make decisions that are right for you and your family. Do you know an elderly lady with a big dog that needs some exercise? Volunteer your time to get to know her and her dog and then take it (the dog, not the old lady) for a run. Introduce yourself to the neighbor who just moved in and ask if they want to go on a walk around downtown with you and you can point out things like the best stores, restaurants, etc. as you go to help them learn their new town. Join a local mom’s Facebook group and start your own running or walking club! Getting exercise but also helping out someone else makes you feel good. Bonus points!


I found a trail!

5.) Don’t spend a fortune on fitness gear.

This one is hard for me because I love cute running gear! Wait for sales or free shipping for online products. Hit up the outlet mall. Sometimes you can find affiliates who are offering discounts on products you love online. Buy the model that is not in production anymore and they are usually cheaper (for shoes at Runningwarehouse.com). I also take good care of my fitness gear. I wash it every time I sweat in it (totally can’t imagine re wearing sweaty workout gear. ew.) I hang dry everything, and it lasts a long time. Also, when people ask what to get me for Christmas/Birthday, I often tell them running gear,  or a running store gift card.


QOTD: What is your best fitness on a budget tip?

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  1. I’m totally with you on Target for workout clothes. I save a lot of $ by not belonging to a gym, but I have a free small gym at my office. I think a big way to save is using on-demand (through cable or instant netflix or exercisetv.com) workout videos.

  2. Also buying groupons to get deals on Yoga studios, boot camp classes, and trial gym memberships!

  3. Cute post! For us, the gym membership is hard. We only use the pool and treadmill. We could buy a treadmill, and we swim in the lake June-September but what to do the rest of the year? Once we win the lottery, we’ll buy an endless pool 🙂

    We spent SO much money on racing last year. This year, our priorities are different so I’m not allowing myself to do any races “for fun”. It adds up!

  4. Great ideas! Lat’s nights fitblog was really interesting. My budget ideas are to get the clothes that work not the clothes that are cool (I own nothing from Lululemon because of this rule…nothing against them but I run the same in my Lands End running tights and they were $40 cheaper) and to use at home DVDs for yoga because classes are pricey!!!

  5. Such a fabulous post! I really need to”cross-train clean”. My house needs it! Haha. I agree with absolutely everything. I don’t belong to a gym. I shop at target (well, except for that pesky running skirt addiction…but out of my whole collection, I think I only paid full price for one skirt!) and look for deals. I guess I’m not social, my thanks to mr.garmin, I usually just go where my legs take me, not a set route.

    Moms, dust off the jogger and take the kids out too!

  6. Julie (A Case of the Runs) says

    Target workout gear = great. I also rely on outlet stores if I want the higher-end stuff.

    A gym is nice, but I found I was able to keep in just as good shape without one. It does take the proper set-up and willpower, though!

    • outlet stores is a great idea.
      I used to have a gym, and dont have one now and am doing ok, but I am using my parents workout equipment. I may join the Y when we move.

  7. Shop gyms. Mine is simple, with no pool or spinning classes, etc. But, I really only need treadmills and weights, and good childcare. If you belong to an expensive gym, take note of the amenities you use, and if you aren’t using any of the “perks”, find a cheaper, simple gym.

    • I agree, that is a great idea. the gym I used to belong to was only 20 bucks a month for hubby and 18 for me (as the second person) and it had no classes or childcare, just the equipment and showers!

  8. Disney_Casey says

    I agree with so much of your post. I get most of my running gear at walmart or Target. I shop sales for shoes or use discounts. I just got my first running skirt today, already so in love, I got it in their outlet for $20. I also do zumba, weights, and other workouts at home through dvd or online videos

    • yay glad you got one of the sale skirts! I would imagine more will go on sale next month or March when their spring line comes on so subscribe to their newsletter so you will be alerted by email!

      • Disney_Casey says

        I am hoping more go on sale in the next month or two because I will defiantly get one! I put myself on the list for their newsletter! I can already see this becoming an addiction. I already want one of the princess running skirts!

  9. It does get pricey but I think for a good cause! You offer some GREAT suggestions though. Do tell about the skirts on sale….I bought one so far but not on sale. What fit blog are you referring to>

  10. I swear by PowerBlocks. They are these cool adjustable dumbbells that are from 3-24lbs and you just adjust them as you need to. It’s super easy to do during a workout and you can change weights in seconds rather than having a ton of little dumbbells all over the place. They are a little pricey (I think like $150 on Amazon) but they are completely worth it in my opinion. I had a few sets of dumbbells at home (just like 3-8lbs) and then I got my PowerBlocks I realized that I could lift MUCH heavier than I had been. It’s been amazing. I do home workouts though, no gym. The website I use has like 500 free workout videos and they use the PowerBlocks.

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