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How to Find the Best Gym Membership Deal for the New Year

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.


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Choosing the Right Accountability Tool for Your Personality

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.

AppsSmartphone 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.


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13 Ways to Eat Healthier on a Budget

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.


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Save a Buck While You Shape Your Butt

By Tanisha Williams

Staying in shape and looking great has become a staple in most women’s lives today. Whether it’s keeping the weight off, losing that stubborn baby weight or just staying fit and healthy to keep up your daily routine,  I want to show you how to save a buck while you shape your butt.

We know it’s not easy – or cheap – to stay in shape. Gym membership costs have soared in some areas and then there are the many exercise crazes we want to try – Pilates, Zumba, spin classes, kickboxing and boot camps … how do we choose without going broke?

Let your fingers do the walking …through the Internet. With the explosion of coupon and daily deal sites, some specifically geared toward exercise, you have no excuse for paying full price for any workout ever again.

Sign up for Groupon, Livingsocial and Bloomspot and indicate you’re looking for exercise and healthy living deals. The savings will land right in your inbox.


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Budgeting For Better, Healthier Meals

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.


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