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Free or Affordable Fitness

While living in Vegas I noticed a very large and ornate building going up on our side of town.  From the prestige and ornamentation of it I guessed it to be a courthouse or temple.  But as it neared completion it revealed itself to be a gym.  That’s right, a sweaty, smelly gym, except it wasn’t.  This was the gym to end all gyms, a gem of a gym.  It had a four story climbing wall and a specialized juice bar, not to mention the full spa and massage rooms.  I had thoughts like “Where can I buy a diamond studded sports bra?”  There was an open house of sorts and I stopped by to see the alluring club.  This gym was so nice I could instantly see how it would coax me into exercising, that is until I saw a price list.  A monthly membership was just about double my rent.  I stopped, dropped, and rolled out of there!  The good news is, keeping fit does not mean an emaciated wallet.  Here are some ways to keep your health up and keep cost down.

Exercises using your own body weight.  Don’t underestimate good old lunges, push-ups, or even dance. Who needs fancy equipment when you can just use what God gave you?!  In fact, using your own body weight for exercise not only lets you improve specific muscles, it works your overall body, meaning you’ll have better core strength and balance. Sometimes going back to the basics is better than any current fad or fancy fitness fluff.

Making your own equipment using household items.  Need weights to lift? Guess what? Your house is full of heavy stuff you can lift. Weight is weight, be it a fancy weight set or simple milk jugs filled with water or, if you’re feeling strong, sand. Use those annoying phone books they seem to keep printing (who uses those anyway?) for stair steps. With a little creativity, you’ll realize you’re living in a gym already (hopefully with less sweat and a better smell).

Use public parks, trails, and other free amenities. Next time, instead of heading to the gym, go to a public park. You’d be amazed at all the ways to work out with the things you’ll find there. Try doing pull ups on the monkey bars (but first make sure there aren’t any kids around, you don’t want to be embarrassed and it’s just creepy). Many parks have walking/jogging trails you can use. The possibilities are endless. These days, many cities are implementing the new idea of adult fitness parks geared specifically for grown people to use for working out.  Free, fresh air fitness!

Play sports with out equipment.  If you think about it, there are plenty of sports that require little or no equipment to fully enjoy. Running, kickball, yoga, touch football, soccer; all of these can be done with little more that yourself and maybe a few friends. So, get out and play around a little. It’s the most fun way to get in shape.

If you do want to join a gym or fitness club there are ways to save some dough.  Remember your neighborhood YMCA—tons of great facilities and classes at a reasonable price.  Look into smaller clubs or specialty gyms.   Maybe you don’t care if the place has rows upon rows of elliptical machines if all you really see yourself doing is swimming laps.  Often universities will allow non-students to use their gym, track, fields, courts, pools, and weight rooms for a small fee.  Many great fitness spots have family passes so everyone in your house can get in on the action and makes it cheaper overall.  Check any websites local gyms may have, they will advertise any special offers there.

What do you do to work out for pennies? Any other tips for saving money while spending calories?

Article publié pour la première fois le 28/01/2014

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Around the Interwebs – Week of August 2nd

7 Things I Learned Watching Honeymooner Re-Runs @ Saving Money Today

Should Unemployment Benefits Be Extended? @ The Digerati Life

The Best Things to Buy in August @ Lifehacker

Article publié pour la première fois le 07/08/2010

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The GREAT Coupon Experiment aims to solve a mystery as old as the Sunday insert itself: Is coupon cutting really a feasible way for people with lives and dogs and families to save money?  My mother would say, “yes”; I would say, “I don’t know, that’s why I’m doing this experiment.” 


My results from weeks 3 & 4 are, well, different.  Starting in week 3 I began to supplement my newspaper clipping with some printable coupons from couponmom.com (you have to sign up, but it’s free, including junk mail, so be careful).  Coupon Mom told me I could cut my grocery bill in half!  But I didn’t.  Yet.

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Article publié pour la première fois le 22/06/2010


3 Reasons Why We Keep & Buy Crap

Last week I told y’all how I’m helping the folks purge their closets, drawers, and cabinets of childhood “relics” that the sisters and I had left behind (either intentionally or unintentionally). 

Apart from some interesting finds – like my 5th grade autobiography/political manifesto (because of which I am now likely on some sort of government watch list; crazy crazy stuff) – most of my discoveries have been, as expected, crap. 

Some of the found items we could have never meant to leave behind, i.e. Hungry Hungry Hippos.  Many of the things, however, we simply couldn’t bring ourselves to throw away; but that didn’t mean we wanted them in our houses either.

So why do we keep junk?  Better yet, why do we buy it in the first place?


1. We are Delusional

I found 20 puzzles in one closet, several of which were unopened.  Did we delude ourselves into believing that we could be some sort of puzzle-doing maniacs?!  No one has ever done that many puzzles before, it’s impossible, which is perhaps why our puzzle goals were soon abandoned.

Puzzles left us with nothing but broken dreams and an incredibly cramped closet-space.

This is the type of crap that you buy because you envision it somehow changing/ enhancing your life in an unrealistic way and/or you overestimate how committed you will be to using it. 


If I buy this How to Learn Italian book, I will practice it every night.  Pretty soon, people will start recognizing how very cultured and fancy I am.  Then, Italians everywhere will embrace me as their own and give me free spaghetti. 

Anyone want to learn how to speak Italian?  I’ve got a book for ya.

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Article publié pour la première fois le 02/11/2010


The By the Numbers Collection


I like lists, bullet points, step-by-step guides, and all time-saving-type articles.  Sure, I could have called it “My Favorite Things” or something equally generic, but that didn’t seem like very much fun. 


15 Ways to Simplify Your Life



5 Things You Can Buy Refurbished



4 Bad Deals



6 Childish Lessons in Finance



5 Painful Ways to Save Money



5 Library Perks



5 Stupid Things You Can Do With Your Money


Article publié pour la première fois le 24/08/2010


What’s Better Than Ice Cream? Free Ice Cream!

As a high school student, my husband Matt took a job with Baskin Robbins and their famous 31 flavors, a job that was great for the wallet, bad for the waist. He told me the following tale of inventive frugality from his time there:

One hot Las Vegas summer day a customer walked into the store and asked for a free sample of Rocky Road.  After enjoying his free sample, he stopped and stared at the tiny pink spoon for a moment.  Then came the query, “Just how many free samples can I get?”

“Uh . . . I don’t know,” said Matt.

“Well can I have one of each flavor?”

“Umm,” Matt puzzled with that dumb look teenagers do so well, and a lazy shrug of the shoulders. “Sure, I guess it’s okay.”

“Well, how much is a waffle cone?”

“25 cents. “

“In that case, I’d like to buy a waffle cone and get a sample scoop of each of the 31 flavors.”

And with that Matt went to work.  When all was said and done, it actually ended up being about the equivalent of three scoops of ice cream. It took some time to get into every ice cream bucket in the display case but soon the customer walked out smiling from ear to ear with his impressive rainbow menagerie of ice cream, free ice cream.

Friends, there is an easier way to get free ice cream and a bunch of other freebies too. There are hundreds of companies out there, including some of your favorites, which offer free goodies to loyal customers.  I am guessing that you already buy their products, so why not take advantage of some extra rewards?  These are not subscriptions you have to pay for, or a scheme you get roped into.  They usually have no strings attached, no obligation.  Companies just want to get their product in the hands of the people and keep them coming back for more.

These rewards can sometimes be collected when you sign up for their loyalty programs, others on your birthday, or on a special day each year such as National Doughnut Day in June when Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’ Donuts offer freebies.   Sometimes the rewards may come on a significant day for the company—how about a free Slurpee from 7-Eleven on, you guessed it, July 11th?  Some companies, like Godiva Chocolates even have monthly rewards.  If you sign up for the IHOP email club you get a free meal when you sign up, another on your birthday and another on the anniversary of joining.  Three free meals!

In the category of ice cream, take your pick: Baskin Robins, Cold Stone Creamery, and Ben & Jerry’s all offer a free scoop for your birthday. Looking for something a little beefier for your b-day?  Red Robin offers a free birthday burger to club members.  Applebee’s and Chili’s have free desserts.  And for something a little faster and strictly causal, Burger King and McDonald both hand out happy birthday kids meals, even for adults!  Relive your childhood or rebel and get that cheeseburger mom never allowed.

Just think about which businesses, restaurants, or goodie shops are your favorites and sign up for their clubs.  Loyalty is worth a lot to these companies, so they are willing to give some of it away for free. Offers are posted in stores, on print ads, and certainly on the Internet.

So, my fellow freebie lovers, have you signed up for any loyalty programs? Do you use the rewards? What is the best free offer out there?  Do you find that companies make good on their promises in making your freebie dreams come true?


Article publié pour la première fois le 19/03/2012

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