Think Outside The Box To Make Fitness More Frugal!


Think you need to cancel your gym membership to be more frugal? Think fitness is a luxury? Think again! Your physical and mental wellness is so important and I’m here to help you keep “gym” (or yoga, crossfit, spin class, whatever you like!) in your budget!

Don’t worry though, I’m not going to suggest you check Jane Fonda videos out of the library, take free walks around your neighborhood and use canned goods as weights! This isn’t your mama’s old and tired frugal fitness advice! πŸ˜‰ I hope you read on and find some new, creative, and outside the box ideas for making fitness more frugal!

I started 2016 on a mission to get financially fit, but I ended up on a more traditional fitness journey as well! I’m here to tell you that being fit and being frugal are not mutually exclusive! You CAN (and should!) do both! πŸ™‚

Creative Ways to Make Fitness More Frugal

make fitness more frugal

Use a Rewards Programs

My friends and family know I don’t like to spend a lot of money, and that I’m trying to get out of debt. So when they hear me utter a sentence that starts with “My personal trainer …” their jaws tend to drop! Then I hear “A personal trainer?! How much does that cost?” For me? $0!

My gym happens to use a rewards card. I scan it every. single. time. I go to the gym and earn 5 points. Those points can then be redeemed for a variety of things – a free bottle of water, a personal training session, 50% off a massage, etc.

“But Erin, my gym doesn’t have a rewards card …” Well then ask to speak with a manager and suggest they start using one! It doesn’t hurt to ask, and what do you have to lose? My gym uses a program called Belly.

Refer Your Friends

At my gym, if you refer a new member you receive a free month of membership in return! Whoop whoop! This is super easy if you really love and enjoy your gym. Bonus – you may have new workout buddies to keep you motivated!

No referral program at your favorite workout spot yet? Again, just suggest one! πŸ™‚

Take Advantage of Perks

Most gyms offer one free personal training session to new members – take advantage of it! Ask the staff what other perks there are that you could also enjoy! An additional perk of my gym membership is free entry to the local pool during the summer! Sometimes businesses don’t do a great job of promoting their own programs so be sure to get friendly with the staff and find out what else you might be entitled to.

Work – Work Study – or Volunteer!

I have seriously considered working in my gym’s daycare a few shifts a week. It would be fun, easy work for me. I have worked at two different gyms in the past (pre-kids) and the greatest perk of those jobs was a free membership (in addition to a paycheck!). Could you pick up a few hours at your local gym? If a paid job is not an option, could you volunteer in some way? Maybe your small local gym needs help stuffing envelopes, or cleaning locker rooms. Perhaps a little help could be exchanged for a discount!

My local yoga studios also have work study programs. A few hours of work (for no pay) in exchange for free classes! If I had more readily available babysitters, I’d love to do that!

Consider Bartering

(Throwing this creative frugal fitness tip out there cautiously – with a bit of a disclaimer at the end).

What skills do you have that others need? Have a friend who is an amazing personal trainer? Maybe they need your help designing a website, writing some blog posts for their new fitness blog, or tutoring their kid in math? In exchange they might design a workout program to help you reach your goals.

It doesn’t hurt to make an offer, just be respectful of the fact that fitness professionals are exactly that – professionals! – who deserve to be paid for their work.

Consign it!

If you’re more into at home workouts, you might need a creative solution for setting up your home gym. Check to see if your local consignment shops carry fitness equipment. I have even seen consignment shops that are exclusively fitness and sports related! You might also scour yard or garage sales, or find the used treadmill of your dreams on craiglist.

What do you think of my creative frugal fitness tips? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

make fitness more frugal

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  1. Great tips Erin especially the one about working or volunteering in exchange for a membership!
    Tori @ The Mama Nurse recently posted…Switching Your Baby From Breast to Bottle Feeding in Two Weeks or LessMy Profile

  2. These are great ideas! I really want to join our local gym, but it’s not in the budget right now. Maybe if I try some of these things it will be. πŸ™‚ I’m having to get creative now working out at home with the kids.
    Samantha @ Momma Wants Java recently posted…5 Life Lessons I Learned in My First Year of BloggingMy Profile

  3. Why did i never think about consignment? Def have to make a trips and see what I can grab

  4. Great tips! I am making it my goal to start getting healthier and these are awesome idea to keep it simple and low cost!
    Emily recently posted…The easiest way to paint outdoor furniture: how to use a paint sprayerMy Profile

  5. Thanks so much for taking the time to visit!!

  6. Great tips. I don’t know much about the gyms in our area.
    Mother of 3 recently posted…Anxiety and Sick KidsMy Profile

  7. Great tips for being frugal. One tip I always thought was helpful was using household items as weight like soup cans or water jugs filled with water.

  8. Thanks so much for sharing! I love all of these ideas!

  9. These are great tips to keeping cost down! Thank you!
    Emily recently posted…The easiest way to paint outdoor furniture: how to use a paint sprayerMy Profile

  10. I never thought about sourcing consignment shops for fitness gear. That is a smart idea!

  11. These are all great tips. I will have to see if I can work a few of them out!

  12. I love that you gave us a variety of options. No excuses to not go to the gym especially with these frugal tips in tow. Thank you!

  13. The rewards program is amazing, I didn’t even know that could be an option.
    Julie @ Fab Working Mom Life recently posted…How To Cook Healthier, Quicker Meals As A Working MomMy Profile

  14. wow that’s pretty cool that you can earn rewards at tour gym. That’s an awesome incentive
    laura londergan recently posted…DIY :: Be-YOU-tiful Framed ARTMy Profile

  15. Sweet deals, now I need to find some FREE time in my schedule to take up on those great ideas.

  16. I love the tips! I have to admit that I always thought that the gym is too expensive, didn’t even think about reward programs or things like that.
    Marina @ Parental Journey recently posted…50 Ways To β€œRuin” Your Toddler’s DayMy Profile

  17. My preferred exercise is just walking (which is probably why I need more exercise most days) or swimming. So my frugal win was that instead of paying for pool access we just used my in-law’s neighborhood pool.
    Emily @ JohnJaneDoe recently posted…How Much Do You Need to Spend on (Good Enough) Smartphones?My Profile

  18. As a frugal gal I love your tips, thanks!

  19. Oh, this is nice. I never thought that being fit can be frugal, if that so then it is a great news!

  20. I think those are all great suggestions. I have done Crossfit and now work with a personal trainer – Neither is CHEAP! But I consider them an investment in my health. Love your ways to be more frugal and still benefit. Thanks for sharing with #overthemoon

    • That’s so cool you have done Crossfit Cathy! I haven’t been brave enough to try it yet! πŸ˜‰ If you’ve ever blogged about your experience I’d love to read about it! πŸ™‚

  21. Love these creative tips! I’ve always loved the idea of joining a gym, but find it hard to justify the expense. These ideas are so helpful.
    Jamie @ Medium Sized Family recently posted…Tell Debt How You Really FeelMy Profile

    • We all have these things we spend on right Jamie? I know your budget is full of awesome stuff like the kids’ sports and all of your cute goats! πŸ˜‰ lol Fitness is all I have for now! πŸ™‚

  22. Your gym sounds awesome! Will have to see if we have one around here that does any of these programs. Wish I could pick up the odd shift, but like you said… There’s the whole issue my own children…
    FF @ Femme Frugality recently posted…Affordable Carpal Tunnel ReliefMy Profile

    • Yeah kids make it tough for parents to pick up side jobs like that! But man I wish I had known about the option when I was a childless (and broke) college student! πŸ™‚

  23. My old gym closed and it’s past time for me to find a new one. These are great tips I’ll make sure to use.

  24. That’s awesome that you can barter some work/volunteer hours for yoga classes!
    Mel @ brokeGIRLrich recently posted…Financially Savvy Saturdays #160My Profile

    • I know Mel, I thought that was so cool! Really easy work – greet people, sign people in, hand out props, and free classes?? Heck yes!

  25. I’d also recommend checking with your insurance company or corporate benefits department (or your significant other’s corporate benefits department), because often times you can get a discounted gym membership, or get it reimbursed.

    Also, YouTube has a wealth of free workouts! I’ve been doing the 30 day yoga challenge – totally free, and it makes my back feel amazing!
    Pia @ Mama Hustle recently posted…Mama Hustle: International Super SpyMy Profile

    • Checking your benefits is such an awesome tip Pia! Thanks for sharing that! πŸ™‚ I also absolutely love free workouts on YouTube! Yoga with Adriene and blogilates are some of my favorites! πŸ™‚

  26. Wonderful tips! I work on a farm and I do get more exercise than I want sometimes πŸ˜‰ Wouldn’t have it any other way though! Thanks for sharing at Funtastic Friday!

    • That’s awesome that your daily life includes lot’s of physical activity! And fresh air too I bet! πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading Angie!

  27. Erin, I love this! You are definitely someone who finds a way to get what she wants or needs. I would never have thought of these options. I am sure that this post will help many who want to use the gym to do it in a way that will help their financial bottom line as well as their physical bottom line. LOL Couldn’t resist! Shared so others can find your great ideas!
    Nikki Frank-Hamilton recently posted…Stunning Shots – HydrangeaMy Profile

  28. Some awesome tips here! Thanks so much for linking up to #FridayFrivolity πŸ™‚
    Jess Powell (Babi a Fi) recently posted…Wednesday Blog LinkiesMy Profile

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