Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to get in shape and join a gym?

Ironically, you may have another resolution about getting your financial life together.  Joining a gym that costs $100/month and looks more like a luxury spa might not be conducive to that goal.

There are quite a few inexpensive gyms out there that cost a more reasonable $10-$30 per month, but what if you’re reallyyyyy broke?

If you’re living paycheck to paycheck or you’re digging yourself out of debt, you might not have any room in your budget for a gym membership.

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Many people would tell you to go for a run outside (even though it’s -20 degrees out) or create a home gym (like you have the money to buy exercise equipment or any space to fit a treadmill in your teeny tiny studio apartment).

But don’t worry!  Believe it or not, it IS possible to go to an actual gym for less than $5 per month. Here’s how!

Health Insurance Reimbursements

Many medical insurance companies offer gym membership reimbursements for people who visit the gym a certain number of times per month (for example, 12 times).  If you’re likely to hit up the gym at least three times per week, check out this option.

Find an affordable gym for $15 per month and if your insurance company offers a $15 per month reimbursement, voila!  Now you have a (mostly) free gym membership (keep in mind that you may still need to pay an annual fee for your membership).

On-Site Corporate Gyms

Here’s something to keep in mind when you’re looking for your next job opportunity.  More and more companies are offering extra perks in addition to the traditional benefit offerings like medical insurance and 401(k) plans.

One such perk is the on-site gym.  My husband and I both work for companies that offer free on-site gyms.

These gyms tend to be relatively small, but they often include treadmills, ellipticals, stationery bikes, and weight machines.  I can’t complain when it’s free!

An on-site gym is also quite convenient.  Work out before work, during your lunch break, or after work.  There’s no excuse not to work out when you have easy access to a free gym!

Work Perks 

Some companies that don’t have the resources to offer an on-site gym choose to offer free or discounted gym memberships instead.

My husband and I both have free gym memberships through my job.  We’ve used these memberships to attend several types of group fitness classes, including yoga, Zumba, PiYo, spin, and Pilates.

It’s probably unusual to have access to both an on-site gym and a free gym membership like I do.  I work for a fitness company, so a high value is placed on exercise and wellness.

When you’re looking for your next job, you could look at the corporate office of a fitness or health-related company if you’re interested in finding an organization that values wellness.

An alternative option would be to get a side gig working at a gym as a Group Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer, or Front Desk Associate.  Fitness centers typically offer free gym memberships to their employees.

Free Fitness Classes

Surprisingly, there are many ways to find free exercise classes.  Here are a few ways:

  • One week free trials of gyms or yoga studios.
  • Outdoor classes (to promote a studio or gym).
  • Donation-based classes offered by churches or nonprofit groups.

Related: 9 Ways to Find Free Yoga Classes

Finding free exercise classes is easier than you’d think!  I’ve found most of the ones I’ve attended through Facebook.

Working Out for Under $5

If you’re broke, you don’t have to limit yourself to exercising outside or at home.  You can go to the gym for just a few dollars per month.  The methods outlined above are just a few of my favorite ways.

Be kind to your body and your wallet this year!

How do you work out for cheap?  Share in the comments!

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