How to Save Money at the Gym

Remember that thing about it being really expensive to try to lose weight and stay in shape? Yeah. It doesn’t quite stop in the kitchen. Going to the gym can start to cut in the budget as well. Let’s be honest. Some gym memberships can be quite outrageous. Then the lifestyle of going to the gym can start to get expensive as well. With my desire to get back in shape and to stay within my budget, I have found some ways to cut down the cost of being a gym member.

1. Pick the best rate for what you need While some gyms can be low cost, watch out for contracts and cancellation fees.  Some gyms even charge a sign up cost (excuse me?!). First, look for a gym that does not have those ridiculous fees that are not part of the monthly membership. Second, it’s nice to have a pool, spa, classes, etc. But is it really that nice if you’re not going to use them ever? My boyfriend and I were looking for a gym and he wanted one that had a particular line of weight lifting equipment (former college football player problems) so we had to add that in our list of wants as well.

2. Be a bad gym customer This NPR article outlined it perfectly. Gyms make more money when you don’t use your membership. Even low-cost gyms turn a profit when you don’t go. I won’t lie though, my gym is definitely one of these fancy hotel-looking gyms. Before my 100-day challenge, I was going maybe like once a month just to say I went to the gym that month. If you’re going to pay for this membership, you sure as hell better go to the gym. I try to convince myself that I am getting the deal of the century the more I go because it reduces my monetary cost per workout. A $1.50 workout is a heck of a lot better sounding than a $35 workout.

3. Use your samples Ok, enough of membership logistics, here are my down and dirty tips. I use my samples. You know, those foil packets you get from Sephora and subscription boxes (I’m looking at your Birchbox). I just had them sitting all around my room forever and really had no use for them. FEAR NOT. I packed them all in a makeup bag and I pick out some face wash and shampoo/conditioner packages every time I head to the showers. It’s a great way to get rid of your samples–and finally test them out.

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4. Buy bulk instead of travel sizes So when you’re done using all your samples (the face washes went fast), the next thing to do is to buy tiny travel size bottles for the gym bag, right? I mean they fit right into your tiny makeup bag and they’re like only a dollar! WRONG WRONG WRONG it’s a cost that’s just going to ADD UP. Here is the thing. Go to Costco. For $17 you don’t get one, but TWO huge bottles of Cetaphil AND a tiny travel size bottle. When you’re done using the travel size, just fill it up again with one of your big bulk bottles. If Costco doesn’t have your desired products, you can just ball out and carry full size items to the shower. Maybe get a full size and a tiny bottle and keep refilling the tiny bottle. Whatever, just don’t keep buying tiny bottles, promise?

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5. Bring your own water bottle This kinda seems like a no-brainer, but it kinda annoys the crap out of me when someone buys a waterbottle just to go to the gym. Like a new Deer Park every time?? My boyfriend does this. It kills me. Gyms try to entice you with their fancy recovery drinks and electrolyte drinks. Don’t give into temptation! It’s really important to invest in a water bottle. I like my CamelBak because of the straw and I don’t have to unscrew a top like a Nalgene bottle. It’s important not to re-use disposable bottles because of the risk of bacteria growth.20131006-222512.jpg 6. Re-use an old gym bag For whatever reason, I was itching to get my hands on a new gym bag since being a bag lady at the gym was no longer a viable option (work clothes in this bag; toiletries in another tote…). Since I was still on a budget, I definitely could not justify going out and getting a big gym bag–not even at Marshall’s. Then I thought about all those years of high school sports. Ah, I have a big gym bag somewhere…back to my mom’s house to find one. Yup. With my 10-year reunion coming up, it’s considered vintage, amirite?

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While these are just a few tips to cut spending with going to the gym, there are definitely less costly options. I LOVED LOVED LOVED workout videos. I used to buy them all the time. SPOILER ALERT, they’re all on YouTube now. It’s a really nice option if you don’t have the funds for a gym membership or the means of travel to get to the gym. I do love my workout DVDs…That 30-day shred is basically my favorite. Someone borrowed it and never gave it back, so I was pretty excited to find it online.

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