Springtime is when many of us recommit to shedding extra pounds in order to be ready for those hot summer months. The thought of hitting the pool or going to the beach is causing us to pick back up our new years resolution.
Losing pounds and getting in shape can cost us quite a nice sum of money (over $600 a year, on average), so here are a few tips to help you get in shape without spending a fortune!
Gym memberships have become much more affordable over time, yet there are ways your membership can cost you more than intended, if you don’t pay close attention.
Make sure that you negotiate a “no contract” membership.
This will allow you to use the gym as long as needed, but will also provide you with the flexibility of “shopping around” or simply quitting. In order to recruit new members, gyms often run specials on month-to-month deals so be on the lookout! Many gyms will offer 24/7 access for a premium price, but do you really need that 24/7 access?
DO NOT use your debit card!
Gyms are notorious for drafting money from clients accounts, even after multiple requests for cancellation. In order to protect yourself from being overcharged, make sure you understand your cancellation policy. It will often require a 30-60 day notice in writing. Once you understand your cancellation policy, ask if you can pay with a check every month.
Many states require health clubs to accept checks as a form of payment, so make sure you know what your state’s requirements are before you commit to a payment plan.
If you cannot pay via check, use your credit card instead of your debit card. By doing so, you’ll be able to more effectively fight off those extra charges. Disputing debit charges is a more lengthy and difficult process.
Fresh air is FREE
Getting in shape does not have to cost you money. Spring time is a great season to get your tennis shoes on and go for a run or take a long walk. Check nearby parks and colleges in your area. Many of them will have running tracks or great trails for walking, running, or biking.
Your local YMCA may be a better and a cheaper solution to the traditional gym membership. You may not get the 24/7 access you can with most gyms nowadays, but you will get, in most cases, access to a swimming pool, gym equipment, as well as various classes. Since the YMCA will charge you based on your income, you may qualify for a deeper discount based on your financial situation. Local YMCA is also a great fitness option for the entire family so that you, your spouse, and your children may enjoy the facilities! That’s one benefit that your traditional gym most likely won’t offer. You can search for your local YMCA here!
Many community colleges offer inexpensive access to their gym and pool facilities, so make sure you check those out. Your hours will be somewhat limited due to class schedules, but the cost savings may be worth it.
You can find endless FREE workout plans and videos by simply using google, youtube, pinterest, etc. You can create your own workout routine and use your home as your personal gym! Maybe your neighbor would like to join you to help with accountability? How about making a 5am workout date with your spouse? Combine those free workout tools with a free online calorie counting app, like myfitnesspal, and you are set!
Go ahead and use springtime as your “back in shape” season… Do it on a dime… or for FREE!