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…)
Tax season is upon us, and the deadline to file is this Sunday. Yikes! How does it always sneak up?
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.
Your mailbox and email are probably stuffed full of gym flyers and ads promising the best deal on memberships to get you in shape for the New Year. While this time is probably the best time of year to get a screaming deal on a gym membership, you still want to be vigilent about making sure you know exactly what you’re signing up for so you aren’t hit with huge fees in a contract you can’t get out of later in the year.
You have more control over your membership and what you pay than you think, you just have to know what to ask for and what options are available to you. Bigger box gyms are usually locked into their membership rates, but have a lot of different membership options to choose from. Many gyms will have memberships with limited hours of access to the gym- like mid-day hours where it is less busy- for discounted prices. While this may mean you can only enter the facility during certain business hours, if it fits with your schedule, it’s worth discount. Don’t believe that the contract the membership sales person shows you is the best option for your situation. Ask for the cheapest most basic membership they offer, and work from there. Don’t forget to ask about senior options, military discounts, and student discounts if they apply to you.
Be sure to also ask about any specials they may be running as well. It’s New Years, which means most gyms will have some sort of special offer running. Whether it is zero enrollment fee, which can save you upwards of $100, or a few free months with a year contract, see what they can do for you.
There are many tools and techniques that people use to help them make life changes, especially when improving diet, increasing physical activity, and losing weight. The trick is to find the one that fits best for you. Just because one technique worked fabulously for your friend or coworker does not mean that you will find it as helpful. Different types of accountability will be effective for different personalities. Your personal motivation for life change will also impact what will work best for you.
Apps – Smartphone applications often work well for the busy, on the go individual. Apps can be informative, provide data tracking, and/or hold you accountable through reminders. If your phone is never far from you, a good app may be the easiest type of accountability for you to integrate.
Gear and Gadgets – There are a lot of options for the techy person who enjoys gadgets and toys. These often appeal to people who enjoy technology and value quality. The opportunity to use these gadgets or toys is the motivation to increase physical activity. Some gear worth considering includes Jawbone UP, a pedometer, a fancy bike, or a BodyBugg.
By Michelle Schoffro Cook for Care2.com
A whopping 20 percent of Canadians can’t afford their homes according to a study released this week and I’m sure this statistic is comparable in the U.S. and other developed countries right now. The report went on to state that these people frequently chose unhealthy food options because they believed them to be cheaper and felt they couldn’t afford to eat healthy. So in my effort to help everyone who is watching their money (isn’t that just about everyone these days?) I have compiled some of my favorite ways to eat healthier on a budget.
1. Double or triple your normal recipes and freeze the leftovers. You’ll dramatically cut down the cost of buying prepared and packaged foods. And, you’ll eat healthier when you’re tired or in a pinch for time.
2. Use seasonal produce as much as possible. When food is in season it is cheaper. Plus, you’ll be doing your part for the environment by eating more locally grown food.
3. Watch for sales. Plan your meals around some of the cheaper sale items you find.
By Ashley Watson
Budgeting for meals can be easier than you think if you remember that saving money will also encourage healthier eating habits. You already know that whole foods are more healthful than processed foods, but did you realize they were cheaper, as well?
Here are some tips to remember when creating your grocery budget and shopping lists:
Plan Your Meals
Planning your meals for the week may feel a little too ambitious, but it will save time and money in the end. Think about how long it takes to decide what you want to eat after a long day at work when you are already tired and hungry. You don’t have to sit down and write a detailed menu for every night of the week, but it’s a good idea to have a general sense of which meals you want to prepare.