Cutting down on your spending money may seem like a big sacrifice. In a consumer mindset, it’s easy to equate spending money with having fun. But I’ve found that reducing your spending does not have to equal reducing your fun. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be looking at common areas where it can be easy to overspend and provide some free alternatives that are just as fun and entertaining!

Sport and Exercise

Free classes in the community

This past weekend, I attended a free yoga class. Yep, FREE. As a society I believe we’re taught to be distrustful of free stuff. For example, when I told my barista that I’d just attended a free yoga class across the street, he replied, “Free? Nothing’s free, what’s in it for them?”

Thankfully, some companies understand the value of product exposure and good will. The class was hosted in their store an hour and a half before opening time. It cost the company a teacher for one hour and it cost me nothing! Yoga can be a very expensive pursuit and can easily cost you $8 – $15 per session. Take advantage of programs like this in your neighborhood and save some money.

Local community centers also often offer free “teaser” classes where you can try out a new activity or class.

Take advantage of low-cost or free sports

There are a lot of sports out there that cost little to no money to participate in. Taking up any of these sports will greatly cut down on your sporting expenditures while still providing the exercise and competition you desire. Tennis, for example, is essentially a free sport. Aside from the modest start up costs of a racquet and balls, court time is generally free.

If you’re looking for a partner to play with or looking for someone of similar skill level, sign up for Juump. Juump is a free service that allows you to meet other tennis players in your area. You can meet new friends, see who plays at your favorite court and invite people to play with you.

Almost any sport can be free or nearly free if you get enough people together. Some of the best games of ball hockey I’ve ever played have been casual games played in the depths of parking garages with my friends rather than on a regulation court! Ultimate Frisbee is another great social game that can be played in a large group and is accessible to people of all skill levels.

Exercise outside of the gym

In my opinion, paying for a gym membership is a waste of money for most people. Many exercises done at the gym can be done just as effectively at home. Craving the treadmill? Go for a run. Ready to pump iron? Invest in a resistance band. There are a lot of exercises that can be done right at home with minimal equipment as well. My first experience in a ‘gym-like’ environment was at a friend’s house in high school. Many of our exercises did not use equipment and instead, made use of common household items. Doing some dips? Kitchen counters are a great height!

Swimming is another great form of exercise that is also easily found for free.  In the summer, hit the beaches and free outdoor pools.  If you’re a student, you can usually swim for free year-round at certain hours during the day at your university’s pool.

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In the end, being active and living a healthy lifestyle does not need to cost a lot of money. Next week I’ll take a look at some free and fun entertainment options. Leave a comment or email me if you have a specific topic you’d like to see covered in the future.

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