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Let’s face it – starting a fitness routine can be a serious financial drain. If you add up the cost of exercise classes, gym memberships, and fitness gear, you find yourself facing a serious monetary commitment. But regardless of what online ads and that one intense trainer at the gym tells you, you don’t need to plop down half your paycheck to follow a fitness plan. Here are a few hacks that can help you build a fit and healthy lifestyle without draining your savings.


Ditch the Gym

True, the readily-accessible equipment at the gym can be great, but is the ease worth the cost? Depending on the gym you sign up for, memberships can cost anywhere between $20 and $100 every month and take up a hefty portion of your monthly budget. But if you’re willing to be a little more creative with your exercises, you don’t need a brick-and-mortar gym! Instead, try using your local mall as a jogging course and push yourself by stepping up the escalators. Take the stairs whenever you can at work, and try parking a little further away from your destinations to give yourself a built-in walk during your daily routine.


Play With Your Kids

If you have kids, stop supervising from the sidelines and join in during play! Children tend to run around more than adults, so you might be surprised by the workout you can get through a simple game of tag.


Use What You Already Have

You don’t need to go out and buy all-new fitness accessories to get in shape. Try using household staples such as canned food and heavy bags of rice as hand weights, or utilize sturdy kitchen chairs as step training aids.


Do Home Exercises

Maybe you’d rather not pay for an expensive yoga class, but who’s to say you can’t follow along at home? Check your local library for exercise DVDs, or search online for free fitness podcasts and lessons! These can be acquired at little to no cost and offer similar benefits to pricy in-person classes.


Buddy Up

When in doubt, split the cost. If you want to buy handy fitness accessories such as fitness balls, free weights, jump ropes, or exercise DVDs but can’t afford to make the purchase, consider asking a friend to pool money with you. That way, you both enjoy the benefits of having your own exercise equipment at a lower price. Plus, buddying up has the added benefit of providing you with a built-in competitive motivation to work out.