8 Tips for Exercising on a Budget

December 16, 2019 · 6 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

8 Tips for Exercising on a Budget

Running two miles. Lifting 50 pounds over your head. Holding the downward dog pose for a full minute. All these exercises can be difficult, both physically and psychologically.

Your body and mind aren’t the only things working when you exercise, though—working out can also take a toll on your bank account.

Gyms can offer everything from group fitness classes to pools to saunas to racquetball courts, so it’s no wonder being a member can cost a pretty penny. When trying to save money, it’s all too easy for gym memberships to be one of the first expenses we say goodbye to.

But our health shouldn’t suffer just because we’re on a budget. There are plenty of inexpensive exercise strategies that will keep you in shape.

1. Get Outside

We all know that exercising is good for us, but so is being outside. Spending as little as 20 minutes outdoors can improve people’s feelings and overall life satisfaction . If we know that both exercising and being outside are good for us, why not kill two birds with one stone?

You could try speed-walking or running outside. In addition, working outside can be a major timesaver to simply step outside and start your workout, instead of driving 10 minutes (or more) to the gym, finding parking, working out, then driving home.

Hiking is another outdoor workout that might be more accessible than you think. Even if you live in a city, one Google search could reveal nearby hiking trails you never knew existed.

Parks can be great locations for yoga, pilates, and plyometrics. Use a park bench for dips, step-ups, and incline pushups.

2. Join a Meetup Fitness Group

Have you heard of ? You can join local groups that get together to eat brunch, go out for drinks, hold a book club, or tour local attractions.

You can probably find a club that’s interested in the type of exercise you’re after. Meetup groups range from the super intense,, to fitness-related ones that are really just excuses to be social,

If you’re someone who feeds off others for exercise motivation, Meetup could be the answer to your prayers about how to exercise on a budget. Oh, and joining the website is free, too.

3. Put Together a Sports Team

Much like joining a Meetup group, creating a local recreational sports team is a great way to be fit and social at the same time. Plenty of cities have websites dedicated to recreational sports leagues, and you can put together your own team or ask to be placed on a team.

Not sure where to start? Take a look at the recreational sports pages for Atlanta , Chicago , Memphis , and San Diego . Even if you don’t live near these cities, the websites could give you a good idea of what you can look for in your own area.

You’ll have to pay a fee to register a new team or to sign up as an individual. However, these fees should be lower than paying for a monthly gym membership.

Ready for a Better Banking Experience?

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account and start earning 1% APY on your cash!

4. Watch YouTube Videos

A little instruction can go a long way. There are numerous YouTube videos that teach viewers how to get fit at home.

5. Take Advantage of Free Gym Trials

Many gyms offer free trials for people trying to decide where they want to join. For example, Some gyms offer a free five-day guest pass.

Depending on how many gyms are in your area, this no-money exercise plan could be difficult to stick with long-term. It’s an ideal way to work out if you’re in the process of building your own gym at home, waiting for your next paycheck so you can join a gym permanently, or just wanting a brief change of pace from, say, jogging outside.

6. Search for a Cheaper Gym

Maybe it’s hot and humid outside, and you don’t want to go for a run or hike. Maybe you’re looking to get out of the house, so YouTube videos won’t cut it. Or perhaps the instability of hopping from gym to gym testing out free trials gives you anxiety.

Good news: You can still join a gym without breaking the bank.

Your options will vary depending on where you live, because even huge chains change their rates to match the cost of living from location to location. Plus, you may have access to locally owned gyms that offer more affordable packages.

Think about what you want in a gym. A health club with a pool might charge an arm and a leg, but you have no interest in swimming. Another gym may boast a huge weightlifting area, but you’re focused on cardio. There’s no need to pay for all the bells and whistles if they don’t matter to you.

7. Build a Home Gym

Creating your own home gym has the potential to be much cheaper than joining a gym—or much more expensive. It depends on what type of equipment you want.

Do you need a treadmill, stationary bike, sets of dumbbells ranging from five to 85 pounds, a bench, and a barbell? Be prepared to drop thousands.

Are you looking for sets of weights ranging from five to 20 pounds, a balance ball, a yoga mat, and a pull-up bar? These purchases might save you money in the long run.

A home gym can be especially useful if you already participate in one of the other money-saving workouts I’ve mentioned. For instance, you could go for a run, then come home to do pull-ups and bicep exercises with your dumbbells. Or you could follow along with a 30-minute yoga video on YouTube, then complete an ab routine on your balance ball.

8. Create an Exercise Budget

Let’s face it, whatever your approach to fitness on a budget may be, there’s still a chance you’ll spend some money.

Running shoes, yoga mats, sports bras—they all cost something. If you’re dedicated to being in shape, creating an exercise budget can help you manage your money.

You may choose to store money for your workouts in a separate account, like a SoFi checking and savings account. With this account, the Annual Percentage Yield is 4.20% APY and pay zero fees, which could result in more money to spend on running shoes or the joining fee at the affordable gym you found down the street.

All that said, it’s important to note here that while we work hard to give you high interest and charge zero account fees, our interest rate and fee structure is subject to change at any time. See our terms and conditions to learn more.

Find out more about the benefits of a SoFi Checking and Savings account. You can sign up online in less than a minute.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2022 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
SoFi Money® is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member
SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank.
SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.
SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 4.20% annual percentage yield (APY) interest on Savings account balances (including Vaults) and up to 1.20% APY on Checking account balances. There is no minimum direct deposit amount required to qualify for these rates. Members without direct deposit will earn 1.20% APY on all account balances in Checking and Savings (including Vaults). Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 4/25/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


All your finances.
All in one app.

SoFi QR code, Download now, scan this with your phone’s camera

All your finances.
All in one app.

App Store rating

SoFi iOS App, Download on the App Store
SoFi Android App, Get it on Google Play

TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender