Sense & Centsibility Blog

Save Your Money and Get in Shape

If you're on social media, chances are you're seeing a plethora of 'get in shape by summer memes' like I am. They're kind of annoying, but that's only because I know I need to get more consistent with my workout routine again.

I did Crossfit last year, which I actually really enjoyed, but when I realized how much money I was forking over every month, I had to rethink that whole thing. Then I thought about joining a "regular" gym because it's a little cheaper, but I realized that Duluth, MN, already has a limited amount of nice weather. I didn't want to be forced to do indoor workouts or waste my money when I know I won't go to the gym when the temperature finally hits 70.

Instead of spending my hard-earned money, I opted to do my workouts at home and/or outside. That way, if I miss a few days here and there (which will inevitably happen), I won't feel guilty because I'm not out any money. If you currently pay for a gym membership and you find yourself not getting your money's worth OR if you just feel like you should/need to make a cut to give yourself a little more wiggle room in your monthly budget, here's my general workout plan — that I started yesterday morning. It's not going to cost me a dime and I'll change it around a little each week.

Woman doing push-ups outsideMonday: 30-45 minutes cardio of choice (kick boxing, other non-running cardio, or jogging outside)

Tuesday: 45-60 minutes yoga or pilates

Wednesday: Weights (arms, back, chest or legs) and ab workout

Thursday: 30 minutes cardio of choice and arms (weights/push-ups)

Friday: Weights (back, chest, or legs) and ab workout

Saturday: Household chores (Yes, they count when you're active!)

Sunday: Rest

I already have a set of 5-25 pound weights to use; you can always make your own out of used water bottles and sand though, for instance. Or, there are plenty of body weight workouts that don't require any weights at all. Resistance bands are also great; they won't cost a ton and would be a one-time expense.

With internet access, you can pull up videos on your phone, tablet, computer, or smart TV. YouTube has innumerable workout videos of all varieties. If you find a channel that you like, you can subscribe to it so you can find a workout faster. (One of my favorite channels for women is PopSugar Fitness, by the way.)

From experience, I encourage you to plan out what type of workout or which video you are going to use. Otherwise you'll spend 5-10 minutes just trying to find what you want to do, which can be demotivating or cut into your workout time if you're on a time crunch.

I try to get in at least 5 days/per week, though it may end up being 3-4... and that's okay.

Sometimes I'll exercise Monday through Friday; other weeks it might be Saturday through Wednesday. Think about early mornings, lunch breaks, or after work. If you can only fit in 15 minutes total or 15 minutes at a time, it still helps. Just do your best to fit exercise/activity in your schedule the best you can. 

The nice thing about YouTube is that you can find videos from 5-90 minutes of all kinds of workouts. The nice thing about video or no equipment workouts is that you can do them pretty much anywhere. So no need to skip a workout if you're traveling— you already have everything you need if you bring the right clothes.

And because of where I work, I'm always thinking about the financial piece. Think about what you can do with the money you're no longer paying each month for a gym membership. You could pay off debt, build up emergency savings, or save for a goal!

Author Elaina Johannessen is a Program Director with LSS Financial Counseling.