We all know that there are many ways that you can get in shape for free. Riding your bike outside, going for a run, or even doing a bodyweight workout at home don’t cost a thing. But these are all at-home workouts and lets face it—exercising at home doesn’t work for everyone. There are a lot of us who need to actually go someplace to work out.
Visiting a gym allows me to add variety to my workouts by using different equipment and attending different classes. In a single week I might try indoor cycling, Bodypump, yoga and Zumba. But a major downside to joining a gym or going to an exercise studio is the cost. Health club and exercise studio memberships certainly aren’t cheap, but there are definitely ways to make them more affordable (and even free!).
Here are five ways to trim some of the cost off of gym memberships and exercises classes:
Take Advantage of Trial Memberships at Gyms and Health Clubs
Many national health club chains like 24 Hour Fitness, Gold’s Gym and and Anytime Fitness offer free passes with no obligation and some can be used for an entire week! This is a great way to check out a gym before actually signing a contract (or go turbo for a week right before or after vacation). Additionally, most exercise studios that specialize in yoga, cycling, and more will comp your first class or give you a deeply discounted trial period. For example, Core Power yoga studios offer unlimited yoga for one week for new students! Also, be sure to check out the schedule at your local yoga studios: most offer at least one donation-based or free class each week.
If you thought your hard earned money was going somewhere worthwhile, think again. A recent report from the Institute of Medicine shows that roughly 30 cents of every dollar the government funnels toward health care is wasted on things like unnecessary care, paperwork and other areas of general waste.
What does this mean exactly? For starters, it means $750 billion goes down the drain annually while many are left uninsured and without care. This news comes at a peak time of interest as the presidential campaign is approaching its climax.
Wether you side with democratic or republican views on the health care issue, no one can deny that it’s an important topic that affects everyone in our country. However, this report – which comes from a panel comprised of 18 respected expert doctors, business people and public officials – suggests that perhaps we need to focus more on creating an efficient health care system rather than where we should ration and reallocate funds.
As reported by the Washington Post, the reported stated that “Health care in America presents a fundamental paradox. The past 50 years have seen an explosion in biomedical knowledge, dramatic innovation in therapies and surgical procedures, and management of conditions that previously were fatal…Yet, American health care is falling short on basic dimensions of quality, outcomes costs and equity.” (more…)
In addition to reminding you to get your finances in line, we also want to point out some of the commonly-overlooked health-related items you can write off on your taxes. Andrew Schrage of Money Crashers Personal Finance shares his expert insight on the topic.
In some select instances, health insurance premiums can be written off on your taxes. However, there are many exclusions, so you need to check the IRS website for a full list. But in the meantime, here is a list of things concerning your health you can safely write off on your taxes this year, as well as a few tips to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. (more…)
If you forgo the gym to get your workouts in at home, you know outfitting your home gym with a variety of equipment can be just as expensive as a gym membership itself. You don’t actually need to spend tons of cash on cardio machines, weights, kettlebells and resistance bands to get a varied workout- you may have everything you need already right in your kitchen.
The kitchen is usually a place you want to stay away from as much as possible when trying to lose weight, but if you use it right, it can be the home gym you’ve always dreamed of. By using items most people can already find in their kitchen or pantry, you can get in a great workout, and possibly be inspired to make a new healthy dish for dinner at the same time.
Soup cans can double as hand weights. Soup cans are very light, so if you are starting a fitness routine for the first time, these are easy to use because they are light and easy to hold. As you become stronger, you can use heavier objects like jars of coins or frozen water bottles, which have the added bonus of melting while you sweat so you can down some ice cold water after your workout.
Most everyone can agree that they want to eat healthy. Of course, there are exceptions to this but, in general, it can be assumed that eating healthy and feeling great are goals most people have for themselves. Yet, purchasing healthy foods isn’t always the cheapest. In fact, if you aren’t careful, you can end up spending a lot of money on health foods that either go bad before you get a chance to eat them, or later find that you don’t enjoy them at all and end up being unable to finish them.
Luckily, there are many ways to save a buck in the grocery store. In fact, money saving has almost become its own sport in America with couponing becoming more popular year after year. In fact, US consumers have redeemed 3.5 billion in coupons and saved approximately 4.6 billion in 2011 alone. This is a 12% increase since 2010; however, are these savings helping people eat their best or just save money?
Although couponing and eating healthy may seem like two totally separate topics, they actually work very well together. Of course, you have to know how to best use your coupons and be able to identify what foods are worth the savings.