10 Ways to Save Money and Stay Healthy and Fit

Rucuss staffOctober 7, 2011

If you’re on a budget, you may believe that attractive workout clothes, gym memberships and personal trainers are not something you can afford.

All these expenses can make it tempting to use tough economic times as an excuse for avoiding exercise. But truth be told, you can build a better body on a budget. Consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch says it can be done.

“As a young girl, I tagged along with my mom on shopping trips and learned that you don’t have to spend a lot to look good,” she explains to Fitness Magazine. Woroch herself ranks health as one of her top priorities (besides helping others save money), and loves bike riding, hiking, running, swimming and skiing—”anything and everything that gets me moving.”

Woroch put together a list of ways to stay healthy without going over budget. Check it out:

1. Subscribe. Group coupon emails offer deals for more than clothes shopping and restaurant meals! “Sites like LivingSocial and Dealery often offer discounts for health clubs, fitness studios and outdoor activities at up to 70 percent off,” Woroch says. Another plus? There’s no long-term commitment, so if you like, you can just continue trying new things based on what is offering a coupon!

2. Take advantage of free trials. “Request free or deeply discounted trial memberships from various gyms and fitness studios you’re thinking about joining,” Woroch suggests. This way you can find your favorite before getting locked in with a location that may not be your favorite.

3. Use technology. Online coupon sites like RetailMeNot and SmartSource offer a wide variety of discounts for online or in-store shopping at grocery, fitness specialty stores and more. Combine coupons you find online for stores like Whole Foods with what’s on special when you get to the store to score even bigger savings. Check out these Coupon Sherpa sites for printable coupons at common retailers:

4. Don’t pay retail. “Shop discount retailers like T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Ross for cheaper gym clothes,” Woroch says. “I know how looking and feeling good in the clothes I wear to workout in motivates me to push harder, so I also seek out sales at places like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Target.”

5. Enjoy the outdoors. Freeze your monthly gym membership during the summer and instead walk, run, bike or play outside.

6. Team up. A personal trainer doesn’t have to work with you solo. “Small group fitness training is much cheaper than personal training since you can split the costs, but you still get personalized attention. Plus you can make new friends to hang out with outside of the session!” Woroch says.

7. Buy in bulk. Find non-perishable staples online in bulk (like protein bars) to save 30 to 40 percent, Woroch recommends. You can also purchase any healthy foods in bulk and split them with a friend so nothing goes to waste.

8. Network. “Follow your favorite stores and brands on Facebook or Twitter to get exclusive coupon codes and learn about special promotions or deals,” Woroch says.

9. Train at home. A gym membership fee and the cost to travel there can add up. Follow these tips to build a home gym within your budget and find quick do-anywhere workouts here.

10. Get seasonal. In-season produce tastes better and costs less. Try a farmers market—they’re often cheaper than grocery stores. “You can also scope out end-of-season sales at sporting goods stores. Now is the time to buy fitness gear for next spring and summer, like a bike or swimsuit, at a huge discount,” Woroch says.

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