Connect with us

Published

on

Did you know that being overweight can actually cost you money? Let us explain…The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition reports that the annual cost for being an overweight woman is $524 and the cost for men is $432. And if you fall into the obese category, you’re looking at a cost of $2,646 as a man and $4,879 as a woman. They also report that less than 5% of adults get the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity every day.

When it comes to sticking to our daily fitness routine, we’re definitely not perfect either (trust us!). So we totally get that it’s not always that easy to stay motivated and absolutely know that many times the cost of cardio workouts, exercise equipment, or a personal trainer can be too high for many people’s budgets. That said, we came up with some ways to enjoy fitness for less and have a little fun while we’re at!

7 Ways to Enjoy Fitness on a Budget

1. Add some adventure

Spice up your fitness routine by skipping the treadmill. Sign up to do a glow run, color race or adventure race instead! This is one of the latest fitness trends popping up all over the country.  But, how do you save money? Well, there are  a few ways, including putting together a team so you can get the team discount, using your military or student ID, or doing a quick online search to find a promo code. Not to mention, many of these runs are featured on budget-friendly apps like Groupon or Living Social and often post discounts on social media when registration goes live.

2. Go bowling, or hiking, or biking…you get the drift.

Raise your hand if you love getting in a workout without feeling like you’re working out? When you join a team, league or group, you can get fit, make friends, and have fun simultaneously. There are seriously so many opportunities around the country that you can find online; you have to be willing to look. To get you started, here are two of our faves: meetup.com and eteamz.com All you have to do is type in your zip code to find active groups in your community.

3. Workplace fitness

Another new fitness trend that you can take advantage of is participating in or starting, a workplace fitness challenge at your office. A lot of employers are hosting fitness challenges, and some will even pay you to get fit—either in dollars or healthcare credits. If your employer isn’t offering a fitness challenge, be a fitness for less leader at your office and suggest starting a weekly or monthly challenge to improve overall employee well-being and/or get a group together to start an after-hours fitness sesh. And if you enjoy having an added mission for motivation purposes, consider finding a worthy cause or charity to give back while you get fit.

4. Find a free fitness program or class

Many communities are now offering free fitness classes. All you have to do is check your local listings to see what’s available in your area. For all of our New Yorkers out there, check out Shape Up NYC to find free fitness classes each week. And if you don’t live in NY, you’ll most likely be able to find a free class at your local YMCA or YWCA or on your local Parks & Recreation department’s calendar of events (simply Google “your town/city name + recreation” to find those calendars).

5. Free trials, friend passes and more

Gyms and fitness centers are in the business of finding new members every day. So why not use that to your advantage by taking them up on their free trial week or by tagging along with your friend to use their free buddy pass? If you’re not into the gym and are more of a yoga type – opt to purchase a class pack instead of paying the extra to drop in on a random class. It will force you to go more often and save you money in the long run.

Fitness on a Budget Analysis: If you already forked over the cash for a gym membership and aren’t sure if it’s worth the cost, do this quick analysis to figure out your actual cost per session, and compare that to the cost of doing a class instead.

Monthly fee + (initiation fee ÷ 12) ÷ (number of visits per month) = the true cost of each gym visit

6. Free workout videos and fitness plans

Instead of hiring a personal trainer, find a fitness routine that you can do from the comfort of your own home. There’s ton of options available, including online videos, apps, and websites that offer free workout plans and routines. Here are some of the top YouTube fitness channels to give you a taste:

And if your favorite fitness craze isn’t listed, you can look to buy or borrow workout videos from your local store, online shop or library. Or do a search via your cable provider and DVR your favorite fitness show so you can watch it on demand when you’re ready to sweat.

7. Start a fitness fund

Even with all of the free to low cost fitness opportunities out there, you may find that the fitness that works best for you, the fitness you wish you could be doing instead or an item that you’d love to add to your arsenal of fitness items (that could save you money in the long run), is just a bit out of your budget right now. Don’t fret fitness on a budget friend—we have a solution for everyone who falls in this category, too. We encourage you to start a fitness fund and begin saving for items on your fitness wish list.

The Fitness for Less Takeaway

Getting fit doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Skip the expensive exercise equipment and personal trainers and find a way to get moving without going broke. You don’t need fancy workout plans to get in shape. Try out a few different classes, teams or videos to see what you like and then stick with it to get results. Fitness on a budget really isn’t so bad when you know where to start.

Do you have any other fitness for less tips or fun workout routines that you can share? Post them in the comments below!

 

Ash Exantus aka Ash Cash is one of the nation’s top personal finance experts. Dubbed as the Financial Motivator, he uses a culturally responsive approach in teaching financial literacy. He is the Head of Financial Education at BankMobile and Editor-in-Chief at Paradigm Money. The views and opinions expressed are those of Ash Cash and not the views of BankMobile and/or its affiliates.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Dropping Digm (How-to)

5 Tips for Holiday Break

Published

on

Photo credit iStock by Getty Images

Like most students, you’re probably looking forward to spending time with family and friends over the holiday break. But before you relax, take a little time first to size up your finances for next semester. Here are a few tips to get you started: 

Review Your Spending from Last Semester

Not sure where all your money went? Now is a good time to examine your spending from last semester by reviewing your bank account statements, check register, credit card statements and receipts (if you saved them). One way to do this is to make two lists: one with all your unavoidable expenses, such as tuition, rent, basic food costs and insurance payments, and another with everything else—in other words, purchases you wanted at the time but did not necessarily need. Now take a look at that second list. Bet you’re surprised at how many things you spent money on that you could have done without, or don’t remember why you purchased in the first place! Make a pledge to cut back on some of those items and watch your savings grow.

Save Your Cash Gifts

Did you get some cash in your stocking? You might be tempted to blow it on those irresistible post-holiday sales, but take a moment to think about your needs for next semester. Will you have enough money for books, school supplies, gas and other school-related needs? At the very least, plan to save 10-20 percent of your extra cash for unexpected expenses like car repairs or medical emergencies. Knowing that you have a little nest egg set aside will give you some peace of mind and allow you to focus on your studies.

Budget Your Anticipated Financial Aid Refunds

If you will be receiving a refund from your financial aid award next term, keep in mind that a good portion, if not all, of these funds may be from student loans that you signed up for. These funds will have to be repaid when you graduate or leave school, so it is important to budget and spend them wisely, and make sure you have enough money to last the entire semester.

Re-apply for Financial Aid

Remember, you must re-apply for financial aid every year. You can submit the federal FAFSA form beginning January 1, 2015 for the 2015-16 academic year. Your state and school may also require you to re-apply or update your information, so be sure to visit with your school’s website or contact the financial aid office for information on deadlines and other requirements. Also, check out Mary’s article in the Huffington Post for more information and tips on applying.

Look for Part-time Job Opportunities

If you think you’ll be running low on money next semester, start looking for some part-time job opportunities or increasing your hours at your current job. The best place to start your job search is right on campus. There are lots of jobs available, from library clerk to food service worker—check with the employment office or website. You might also want to consider capitalizing on your own talents to make some extra cash by offering services such as tutoring, babysitting, dog walking, or repairing cars or electronics.

Following these tips will allow you to enjoy your much-needed break and put you on a path to financial peace of mind for next semester—so start today!

Continue Reading

Dropping Digm (How-to)

The Perfect Traveler: 10 Ways to Plan a Trip Like a Boss!

Published

on

Photo credit iStock by Getty Images

Abraham Lincoln once said, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” This is true in anything that you do in life. When the weather is nice, travel is an activity that experiences an immediate uptick. Whether it’s travel for business, pleasure, or both—know how to travel like a boss! Having the right travel plan will not only save you time, but also save you money as well. The following are 10 ways to become the perfect traveler:

1. Book online.

Many airlines charge fees for booking in person or on the phone, so avoid those costs by booking online. Be careful, though—even websites sometimes charge booking fees, often for certain types of tickets, such as those that include more than one carrier. Read the fine print before you click “Purchase.”

2. Choose your website.

All the airlines have their own websites for booking, and there are dozens of independent sites that let you check fares across all airlines (or almost all—Southwest doesn’t participate in third-party booking sites, so if you want to fly on Southwest, you have to go to Southwest.com). Good options for searching across multiple airlines are Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, Kayak, Hipmunk, Routehappy and Momondo. They all have their own feel and features, so shop around to see which one you like best. Once you have an idea of what your preferred flight costs on the aggregator sites, check the airline site to make sure you can’t get it cheaper.

3. Avoid high-traffic travel times.

The busiest (and most expensive) days to travel are Friday and Sunday, so consider flying on Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday. If you have a choice of flight time, pick the first flight of the morning (it’s usually the cheapest and least likely to be delayed), or the red-eye.

4. Book at the right time.

When you book makes a difference. There’s no magic formula and airline ticket prices are notoriously unpredictable, but good air travel deals are likely to appear in the morning, so set your alarm. Also, be sure to book well in advance of your trip—in general, the more last-minute the ticket, the more it’ll cost you. Again, there’s no one right answer, but those in the know say a good time to book is six weeks before your trip (or, if you believe the Airlines Reporting Corporation, which is owned by nine major airlines—57 days). Experts say you’ll find the best deals when you book on a Tuesday or Sunday.

5. Be spontaneous.

Several airlines let you sign up for last-minute deals that can save you a bundle. You’ll get an email early each week listing the available destinations for the coming weekend—all you have to do is book, pack a bag and go.

6. Be careful about baggage.

Airlines are increasingly adding fees for things that used to be free, including baggage. Each airline has their own charges and rules, so make sure you check with the airline before you book, because those charges (typically $25 for the first bag) add up fast.

7. Make friends with the airlines.

Some of them are experimenting with targeting Twitter followers or Facebook friends for special deals, so it’s worth adding them to your social circle. Not to mention, it takes two seconds to click that “Like” or “Follow” button.

8. Sign up for fare notifications.

Several sites, including Airfarewatchdog, FareCompare and Kayak will let you sign up to receive an alert if the fare for a flight you’re considering drops, so you don’t have to keep checking.

9. Be flexible.

Many travel booking sites let you search for fares over a range of dates rather than exact dates. Often, you’ll find that changing your travel dates by even one day can save you hundreds. Also, be sure to check alternate airports—Baltimore Washington instead of Washington Dulles or Reagan National, Long Beach or Burbank instead of LAX, Love Field instead of Dallas/Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale instead of Miami, etc. A few extra minutes of driving could mean significant savings.

10. Don’t make changes.

We know, things happen—but try to avoid making changes to your tickets once they’re booked. Most airlines charge at least $75 to change your flight, and some charge up to $450 for changes to international flights. But here’s a hot tip: If you must cancel your ticket, airlines are now required by the Department of Transportation to issue a full refund if you request it within 24 days of making your purchase, provided your departure date is more than a week away.

Continue Reading

Dropping Digm (How-to)

Your Easy No-Regrets Holiday Spending Plan

Published

on

Helloooooo ho ho, holiday season! Oh yeah, anddd guilt and regret. Well the guilt and regret part usually arrives after but, since we’re friends and all, we wanted to bring this to your attention today in case your financial rationale is already starting to diminish due to the effect that all of the holiday music you’re hearing everywhere is having on your brain.

You know, so you don’t do what you did last year around this time to wind up feeling like you did during the 1st week in January—when it finally dawned on you that maybe you should check your bank account and credit card statements during lunch at work [gasp]… Yup, we can already hear you saying, “Oh please let there be some leftover champagne from New Year’s when I get home (NO, scratch that… that bottle was $200 and the thought just makes me sick on multiple levels)!”

Here’s your reality check, my friend… Gifting your heart out is great and all, but not at the expense of all the nasty guilt you’ll feel IF you haven’t taken the time to get a No-Regrets Holiday Spending Plan together.

Cue the heavenly angel sounds as we provide you with a simple solution.

Holiday Spending Budget (Hold the Guilt and Regret)

Follow along…

1. Set a REALISTIC Spending Limit:

It’s simple. Just ask yourself, “When it comes to the amount that I have left over AFTER all of my expenses are taken care of, how much am I willing to put towards gifting?” (You may wish to consider cutting back on doing things for yourself this month, you know, in the spirit of giving to others!)

2. Create a “Naughty” and “Nice” List:

Seriously, get out that pen and paper or open up a new note on your phone—put your “realistic spending limit” at the top. Then create an “Important” section (i.e. immediate family, significant other, best friend—cap it at 5-7) and an “Everyone Else” section (all those people you care about on some level that didn’t make the important list).

3. Divvy Your List Like So:

FIRST, for the “Important” people on your list… Start divvying up that “realistic spending limit” among these folks—go ahead, write an amount next to each person. When done, add up all amounts under “Important” and make sure that total is less than or equal to your “realistic spending limit.” And for all you overachievers out there, start brainstorming the gifts for each person that fall into the amount next to their name. (Stuck for an idea? Google: “Gifts for _____ under $X”)

SECOND, for “Everyone Else” on your list… Don’t be a scrooge and totally forget about these peeps. Gift simple, gift cookies!

…About Those Cookies

Here’s a great no-bake cookie recipe that we love right now and don’t forget to put the delicious morsels in some festive packaging (save here by buying in bulk). Done, and done!

Have tips and tricks that you use to manage your spending during the holidays? Share them in the comments below. Happy Holiday Shopping!

Continue Reading

Trending