10 simple methods to get match and get monetary savings

Almost half of all Americans have a longstanding tradition of making New Year’s resolutions. Promising to be healthier, exercise more, and lose weight are the top three personal promises many of us made just a few weeks ago, according to a Statistica survey.

As motivated as we are in January, the reality is that multiple studies suggest that nearly 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions will fail by February. The problem is that sticking with the promise of getting in shape and shedding pounds can quickly derail when you factor in the cost of equipment, meal plans, personal trainers, fitness apparel, and membership fees.

If you’ve made it your goal to get fit in the new year but worry that you’ll be eating into your budget along with your waistline, there are ways to cut spending and lose weight at the same time. Here are some tips that can help you successfully get fit while saving money. And remember, the key is creating healthy, low-cost habits that are sustainable.

Browse Gym Memberships: “Gyms often run enticing promotions in January to entice those who decide to get fit to join,” said Julie Ramhold, consumer savings expert at DealNews.com. “While some fitness centers offer specials year-round, January is the best time to look for discounted rates, waived registration fees, and bonus perks.”

Ramhold suggests going to a few different gyms before making a decision. Your preferred facility may be willing to price match a competitor’s membership fee. Also ask if there is a discount for students, families and seniors; Your local YMCA will likely offer a variety of fares. It’s always worth considering chains like Planet Fitness as well. You can join for $1 down payment and $10 per month and have access to facilities throughout the capital area.

Look for free alternatives to weight loss programs: US News and World Report named Weight Watchers the best weight loss diet for 2023. It’s popular, but you pay more than $20 a month for an online-only membership. There are free or very cheap programs you can download to your smartphone that will help you track food (similar to Weight Watchers), calories, and activity. Healthi, MyFitness Pal, Fooducate and Los It! are a few less expensive alternatives.

Stream videos: There’s no need to buy expensive DVDs if you’re a fan of at-home fitness (and who uses them anymore anyway?). These days, you can stream free workout videos — from yoga and tai chi to barre and cardio — online via YouTube, Roku, and Amazon Prime. If you have a stationary bike, you can also stream cycling sessions to YouTube.

Don’t waste money on clothes: Cheap fitness clothing can be just as stylish and functional as expensive counterparts from stores like Lululemon. To stay on budget, shop for discounted branded clothing at retailers like Marshalls and TJMaxx. Department and large stores like Kohl’s, JCPenney, Walmart, Old Navy, and Target carry their own line of tracksuits. Last year, Dick’s Sporting Goods opened a warehouse sale store in Crossgates Mall, where you’ll find shelves of clearance clothing and shelves of discounted shoes.

Search for used equipment: As previously mentioned, many Resolvers’ quests to improve their fitness fall flat in February, which means all those shiny, new workout gear they bought just after the holidays get the old punch. Look for discounted returns at local sporting goods stores or scroll through Facebook Marketplace to find deals on discarded gear.

Switch to Groupon:When Groupon first launched in 2008, the discount e-commerce marketplace only offered a single deal per day. Now you can find thousands of deals including hundreds of discounts on supplements, exercise equipment and local gym memberships. Right now, you can snag 10 sessions of yoga and strength conditioning for $41 at Good Karma Studio in Albany, a savings of almost $30. Or book three 30-minute personal training sessions at C-Suite Fitness in Albany for nearly half the price.

Buy your pantry: The US Department of Agriculture estimates that the average American family wastes $1,500 a year on uneaten food. So before you head to the supermarket, take stock of what you already have on hand. When it’s time to refill, opt for affordable dried legumes and grains that you can incorporate into a variety of healthy recipes.

Buy seasonal products: We’re well past harvest time here in the Northeast, but there are plenty of opportunities for healthy, affordable produce, says Ramhold. “Look for citrus fruits that are in season, especially lemons, oranges, and grapefruit,” she suggests. “But January is also good for root vegetables, including beets, turnips and celery roots. Aside from these items, look for great prices on seasonal cabbage, kale, collards, broccoli and cauliflower, as well as winter squash varieties.”

Planning, preparing and freezing future meals: Cooking meals for a week or a month for the freezer all at once can result in money-saving, stress-free portioned dinners. Compiling freezer-friendly recipes with items on sale will save you money. And by tossing leftovers in the freezer instead of in the bin, you’ll also save money by reducing food waste. Prepared meals can be as simple as portioning cooked poultry into portion packs. If you have the time and patience, you can prepare, pack, label, and freeze a week’s or month’s worth of nutritious meals in a single weekend. Visit the web for inspiration.

Avoid alcohol: Have you jumped on the “Dry January” bandwagon? If not, there’s still time. Launched in the UK 10 years ago, Dry January is a month that challenges you to voluntarily eliminate alcohol from your diet. More than 35 percent of adults who routinely drink alcohol participated in Dry January in 2022, according to CGA, a division of Nielsen Corp. that researches the food and beverage market. Eliminating alcohol, even if temporary, can improve overall health, help you sleep better, improve mood, curb snacking, reduce calories, and more. Your wallet will also thank you.

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