Don't Sacrifice Your Wallet for Your Waistband

Learn how to get healthy and fit without getting broke.

The number one thing Americans resolve to do, year after year, is to lose weight and get healthy.

But if you've ever shopped the organic aisle at the grocery store, or gotten caught in a long-term gym membership contract, you know that getting healthy can be quite expensive.

It is possible, however, to adopt a healthier lifestyle and not end up with an emaciated bank account.

Gym memberships - If you're considering purchasing a gym membership, choose one that's conveniently located, and take a tour. Get the details about membership plans, and compare the costs. If you intend to stick with it, you may be able to negotiate a better monthly rate by signing up for a longer contract, but be aware of the cancellation procedures. Know that in most cases, you'll pay more for additional amenities like fitness classes and a swimming pool. If you're just looking for a cardio workout with the occasional weightlifting circuit, a less expensive gym like Planet Fitness might be just the ticket.

Healthy eating - Because the price for healthy options is often higher than their less-healthy counterparts, buy low-fat, sugar-free, organic and other healthful foods when they're on sale. And don't feel limited to things with healthy packaging. Produce, brown rice, oatmeal, whole wheat pasta and beans are all healthy food items, too.

Also, cut the junk. When you consider how much you're saving by not buying soda, cookies, chips, ice cream and other processed foods, you may find extra room in your budget for the organic goodies.

Daily deals - Check sites like Groupon and Living Social for fitness deals, which are especially prevalent this time of year. Find yoga classes, short-term gym memberships, personal training and more.

Fitness equipment sales - Retail stores have special pricing on "healthy new year" items, like free weights, activewear, treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes and other fitness gear.

DIY - Check with your cable provider to see if they offer networks like Discovery Fit & Health. Some cable providers even have On Demand channels with workout programming available 24/7.

You may also be able to use your gaming console to get some exercise. The Wii Fit board and Xbox Kinect have plenty of "games" to choose from that require you to get off the couch and get some activity.

Did you resolve to get healthy in 2013? How will you do it? Share your ideas in the comments.


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