If you’re like most people, you’ve probably heard countless times that exercise is excellent for your overall health. You might have even made the commitment to get in shape and go to the gym frequently New Year’s after New Year’s, vowing that this time will be different. But then you take a look at your bank account balance and can’t help but wonder: do I really have $80 per month spare cash to keep up with this healthy habit?

If you want to get in shape but are on a budget, what are your options?

I was sick of being overweight in March 2011. I realized that something needed to change when I winced from the knee pain every time I had to use the stairs at the subway station. Although I worked out occasionally, it wasn’t enough. So, I decided to make a budget-friendly fitness plan and alter my lifestyle for good this time around. This is how to get fit on a budget in one of America’s most expensive cities!

Karmic credit

Craigslist had a Yoga studio advertising for people to work the front desk in exchange for free yoga classes. Before moving to New York, I would never have thought of volunteering at a yoga studio, but since moving here during an economic recession, I was willing to try anything that wasn’t weird. I contacted the studio and began working Saturday mornings from 9-11 a.m.; now, I get healthy while having unlimited access to free yoga classes! If you’re looking to save some money and get goods or services in return, then bartering is the way to go. If there are no options near you, check out OurGoods. You might be able to find a yoga instructor (or personal trainer) who would be willing to exchange skill for skill with you.

Stream it

While we’re all distracted by watching amusing Riverdale episodes on Netflix, did you know that there are free workout videos available to stream on Youtube? If you have no idea where to start, Andia Winslow has an excellent series of workouts called “The Fit Cycle.” My personal favorite is the laundromat workout!


I never thought I’d say this, but because of Sworkit, I actually got up and worked out on my weekend getaway. If you think that’s unbelievable, trust me, I am just as surprised as you are. With Sworkit, all you need is a little bit of space to do a jumping jack and the app will create a custom workout for you in any time frame that you choose. Don’t have 20 minutes? No problem! The 7-minute workout is just as effective. Featured in the NYTimes, making this app part of your daily routine watch finally help tone those abs into shape.

City gyms and cheap gyms

For only $10 a month, you can join a gym and get fit. I’m not joking–this is a really great deal! You can choose from Planet Fitness, Blink, or your local recreation center. There’s an affordable option for everyone so what are you waiting for? Cut back on your daily Starbucks coffee habit and use that money to invest in getting healthy. Your heart will thank you!

Get creative

I used to live in a small town called Latham, NY, and I worked for a non-profit. Back then, I wasn’t sure how to make room in my schedule or budget for exercise; I didn’t enjoy working out AT ALL. One day though, instead of forcing myself to go on another run that I knew would hate,  I took some time to reflect on what activities were both fun *and* active that I enjoyed as a child… And then it hit me: Roller skating! I was lucky to have been living near my favorite childhood roller skating rink when I decided to start losing weight. The rink had weeknight specials which made it affordable for me to skate three times a week. In just three months, I lost 15 lbs!

Even if you don’t have a rollerskating rink across the street, I’m positive you have access to a computer, $10, and loads of courage. So take what you have and make something great happen!

How to become fit and healthy without breaking the bank?

If you’re looking for tips on getting fit, ask Anita Mirchandani!

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