Get in Shape in 2012 Without Breaking the Bank

by Tim on December 28, 2011

You can often buy used weights for $0.50 per pound.

This phrase usually makes its way onto New Year’s resolution lists every January:  “Get in shape.”  Another common one is “get rid of debt.”  The problem with these two goals is that, if not approached the right way, you could end up getting in even more debt and staying in the same shape that you were in on December 31!

Here’s what I mean.  How many people sign up for gym memberships each year and stop going after a few months?  A lot.  According to Medical News Today, 80% of the 40 million Americans who have gym memberships are not using them.  That’s a lot of wasted money.

If you’re motivated by going to a gym and will actually use the facilities, a gym membership might be a good idea.  But it’s not the only option if you want to get into shape – especially if you’re on a budget and want to pay down debt this year.

P90X at Home

You’ve probably seen the infomercials at night showing the at home workout videos called P90X.  They’re not a joke – it’s one of the best workouts I’ve done.  You can buy the videos for about $129 and go through the program in 90 days.  If you stick to it, you will see incredible results without the monthly cost of going to the gym.  There’s even a nutrition guide to help you reach your goals faster.  For the cost of a 3 month gym membership, P90X can save you money and your health.

Workout Plans on Your Phone

If you have a smartphone, you probably carry it with you everywhere, including the gym.  Why not use it as a personal trainer?  If you need motivation for a good workout routine or just want to change things up, give these apps a try: iPushup ($0.99); Nike + GPS ($1.99); P90X ($4.99).  *Note, the P90X app is a way to track your workouts, which can be watched through the DVDs.  The app isn’t a full substitute for the program, but it does give you the workout chart so you could essentially do the workout without watching the DVDs.

Buy Used Weights on Craigslist

Get on Craigslist fast because a lot of like-minded people are looking for cheap exercise equipment to start the year off right.  I’ve seen expensive equipment go for a fraction of the store price and often times it’s in excellent condition.   You can also find great deals on free-weights and can expect to pay about 50 cents per pound.  (i.e. a 25lb dumbbell might cost about $10-$12 on craigslist)

Check Our Your Alma Mater

If you live close to the college you attended, you might get a discount on the gym.  For the time I lived in my old college’s town, I could get an annual gym membership for about $100 a year.  That’s much better than the $49 a month you might spend for a gym membership.

If ‘getting in shape’ is on your list of goals for 2012, I hope you’re able to achieve it with one of these low cost strategies.

What do you think is a good amount to spend each month to maintain a good physical condition?  Another way to ask it – what’s it worth to you to be in shape?

Tim is a personal finance writer at Faith and Finance a Christian financial help blog that provides financial insights for individuals, businesses, and churches. Outside of finance, Tim enjoys spending time with his wife, playing the saxophone, reading economics books, and a good game of RISK or Catan. Find him on Twitter and Facebook and subscribe to the Faith and Finance RSS feed.

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