If one of your New Years Resolutions is to drop a few extra pounds and get in shape, you’re not alone. Getting fit and losing weight are consistently two of the most popular pledges that people make to themselves each year. Of course, by the time February has arrived, most people have given up on their dreams of being more healthy and more fit, at least until next January rolls around.
There are a lot of reasons why people don’t achieve their New Years Resolution to lose weight, but one of the big reasons is that getting healthy seems really expensive. From workout clothes to gym memberships to specialized diet supplements, getting fit can sometimes seem as expensive as any big-ticket item.
It doesn’t have to be, though. There are plenty of ways to get healthy without feeling compelled to raid your savings account.
Get started setting your financial goals!
Ideas for Getting Fit on a Tight Budget
Explore these free and low cost options for getting healthy and in shape when your budget is tight. These are also great options for you if you are just getting started on improving your physical health.
Going for a Walk is Free
If you’re trying to figure out how to start exercising again in the new year, you could do a lot worse than take some time to go for a walk. Walking gets you moving, gives you a chance to take a break from your day, and you don’t need to pay anything to do it.
In order to get yourself in the habit of walking, pick a location where you know you’ll enjoy walking around. This might be downtown Broadway, the Apache Mall, or Cascade Lake. If you have a fitness tracker, give yourself a goal of how many steps you want to get in each day, and if you achieve that goal you can set a higher goal for yourself the next week.
Look for Free Workout Programs
If you’re not sure how to workout, do yourself a favor and go to YouTube. There, you’ll find thousands of workout videos, from intense hourlong workouts to 15-minute low-impact exercise routines. You’ll also be able to find different styles of workouts, including:
- Low-impact cardio
- High intensity interval training
One of the biggest advantages of looking for the best free workout programs on YouTube is that you know how long the workouts will take to complete. When you know that, you’ll be able to fit it into your schedule that much easier.
Save Money on Fitness Equipment
While some people’s idea of a fun way to exercise involves having the latest and greatest fitness equipment, the truth is that you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on a punching bag or a weight bench.
You can usually get some great deals on second-hand fitness equipment by looking through sites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and ebay. You can also get some cheap, multi-purpose workout gear, such as fitness bands, to improve your workouts.
If you’re feeling innovative, you can even use household objects as fitness equipment. You can load up a backpack with bricks to make squats more challenging, for instance, and you can use chairs to give your pushups a boost. Use water bottles or soup cans for lite weights, use whatever you have around the house.
Prepare Your Own Meals
An essential part of getting healthy is eating healthy. The best way to eat healthy? Plan out your meals each week and cook them yourself.
As it turns out, cooking meals yourself is also a good way to save money. Even better, you can buy raw materials, like chicken and rice, in bulk to make your meals even cheaper. You will also have more control over your calorie intake.
Understand Your Insurance Benefits
One of the newer programs offered by health insurance companies everywhere is the health savings account. Using this program, health insurance companies let you put pre-tax dollars into a special savings account to pay for medical expenses. This has several advantages, but the biggest one is that you should have more flexibility in deciding how to use your money to pay for medical expenses, as long as they qualify.
You can use this to your advantage when getting healthy. If your doctor has recommended you work out regularly, for instance, you may be able to use the funds in your health savings account to pay for fitness equipment or even a gym membership.
Before you do this, though, reach out to your healthcare provider. Ask them under what circumstances fitness expenses can qualify as medically necessary. If the answer is “yes,” ask what kind of documentation you’ll have to provide.
If you can’t use your health savings account to pay for your fitness expenses, check with your employer. Many companies offer fitness incentives to their employees, such as gym reimbursement plans, membership discounts or even partially contribute to your gym membership fee.
Got questions about health savings accounts? Ask us!
Get Healthy With First Alliance Credit Union
If you’re New Years Resolution involves getting healthier, you should know it’s possible to do without spending a lot of money. Cooking your own meals instead of eating out can save you a lot of money, and you can find some great free workouts online. You might even be able to get financial help from your employer or healthcare provider to get fit.
While becoming a member of First Alliance Credit Union won’t help you get fit the way becoming a member of a gym would, it can help you finance your fitness journey. You can use Direct Deposit to put money from your paycheck into a separate account that you can use to pay your gym membership, and our Resource page has guides that will let you create a budget that includes fitness expenses. You can even use our electronic BillPay service’s automation feature so you’re never late with your gym membership.