Cheap Workouts: Staying Fit Without Busting the Budget

Many families have been forced to review their budgets over the past 18 months, carving out excess expenditures and tightening their financial belts. Unfortunately some unforeseen side effects to budget cuts have ramifications to our health and fitness.

Reuters recently reported that the price of fruits and vegetables is actually climbing faster than inflation, while junk food continues to get cheaper. Exacerbating this issue is the fact many gym memberships found themselves excused from recent budgets overhauls as well.

Saving money has become a priority to so many families, mine included. However it should not take priority over your health and fitness. The great news is staying in shape, eating right, and feeling good doesn’t mean spending more money. It just requires creating alternatives to visiting the local smoothie stand and health club.

As a long time runner, a good jogging program tops the list of my favorite ways to stay healthy. I have also included several more ways to stay trim, both in the belly and the wallet.

The Frugal Sport: Running

A true purists sport, running is free and can be done anytime and anywhere. The weather makes this is the perfect time of year to start a running program. While you’re running you may find a set of bleachers to replace the Stairmaster. Find a running or walking club in your area to help keep you motivated and accountable. Check out these tips for new runners.

Hit Craigslist for Cheap Workout Equipment

Stationary bikes, treadmills, and multi-station home gyms start out at $35 on craigslist. The treadmill I run on every week is perfect and can be purchased used for less than $100.

Try Netflix for Free Exercise Videos

A subscription DVD service, Netflix is about the least expensive way to get movies at home. There are thousands of exercise, aerobic, and yoga videos with free exercise videos for women and men you can do in your living room. A membership runs about $9 a month; and if you stick with your program you can throw in a new release too. I won’t tell. See PT’s review of Neflix.

Make Your Own Healthy Drinks

My spouse has a certified smoothie addiction. Living at Jamba Juice isn’t in the budget this year. For about $20 we stock up on organic frozen fruit at Costco and make our own. No special equipment necessary, just a blender.

Workout Like A Pro Running Back

Hershel Walker was a fantastic running back in the NFL for 12 years. I rode a bike alongside him a few years back for 75 miles and I can tell you he still looks awesome. His workout secret – there wasn’t one. He never lifted a weight but had an incredible routine of push ups, chin ups, and sit ups; that’s it. Sometimes the simplest exercises are the best. Check out the hundred push ups challenge.

Getting involved in a fitness routine creates a virtuous cycle. You start looking good, eating better, and that motivates you to find more ways to stay healthy. Some of the best fitness activities are free so grab some sunshine and make living healthy a top priority.

This is a guest post from Joe of A Place for the Every Runner. Check out Joe the Runner for daily running advice and training tips.

Last Edited: April 8, 2011 @ 10:14 pm The content of is for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Visitors to should not act upon the content or information without first seeking appropriate professional advice. In accordance with the latest FTC guidelines, we declare that we have a financial relationship with every company mentioned on this site.


  1. innocent says:

    Yes, i will say getting the fitness of your dream requires little or no money. They are several tips and also several exercises one can do.

  2. harvestwages says:

    it was a pleasure going through this site

  3. I’ll ride my bike. Not only do I get a low impact workout. I can often save gas as well.

  4. myfinancialobjectives says:

    I used to go to the gym for all my workouts, Now I only go I’d say about once a week, I do everything at home by doing exactly what you said, buying a few things for CHEAP on craigslist!

    Also Pull ups are quite possibly the best exercise ever and they are FREE!

  5. Great idea to look for a treadmill on Craigslist – I would love to be able to watch my tv while working out! I have also used Netflix for workout videos, it is great to be able to try things before you buy them, you can also use your OnDemand feature on your cable for free workouts if you have cable. Also, thanks for the shout out to Herschel, I went to UGA and he is one of our heroes.

  6. Running is a great free exercise. If you are near a beach or a lake, swimming is better. These free exercises not just make your body healthy but also your mind and soul for being near with nature – Earth and water.

  7. Victorin
    I love swimming in the great lakes but some of those inland lakes I don’t think I would jump in if I were on fire.