If you don't know much about me, here's a brief introduction. I'm Jordann, Michelle's staff writer. I blog over at My Alternate Life about personal finance and the plight of millennials. I'm in the process of paying off almost $38,000 in debt, and because of this, I've slashed all of my expenses almost to the bone.
This process of slashing expenses is how I came to live in a 400 sq. ft. cottage with my fiance, in the middle of nowhere. We live here because we're in a quasi house sitting situation, where we pay only $100 for rent plus utilities. Considering we used to live in one of the largest cities in Atlantic Canada, and paid around $1,100 per month for a one bedroom apartment, this is a huge savings.
The savings in rent goes towards my debt repayment, as does most of my other money. I don't spend money on a gym membership, or yoga classes, or much of anything these days.
That doesn't mean that I don't want to stay healthy though. I love running, and doing yoga, and I don't want to give those things up. Unfortunately, now that I'm on a tight budget and can't just skip over to my neighbourhood yoga studio or gym, I've had to get creative and find ways to exercise on the cheap with limited square footage.
Become a Road Runner
I ran on the roads when I lived in the city too, but out here in the country, running on the road is the cheapest form of exercise available to me. This is a good option for about 8 months of the year, after that the weather becomes too unruly to maintain a consistent schedule. The rest of the time, I have to find alternatives.
Scope Out Treadmills
The closest gym to me is a 30 minute drive away (I told you, middle of nowhere!) so joining a gym in the winter time isn't really an option. Even if it was, I doubt I'd want to spend the money. Instead, I've found a few treadmills closer to home that I can use. My office has one, left behind by an old employee, I use that during my lunch hour. My fiance's sister lives right down the road from us, and they also have a workout room. In exchange for sharing my Netflix subscription and the occasional babysitting gig, I use their treadmill a few times a week.
Get Active in Your Living Room
I used to love doing yoga in a studio, there's nothing quite like it. Unfortunately, studio yoga is expensive, and not really in the cards for me right now. Instead, I've started doing yoga in my living room, using the website yogadownload.com. For the cost of two yoga classes, I can have a Premier six month subscription, allowing me to download and stream a variety of classes. I've even managed to rope my fiance into practicing with me, so I don't have to banish him to the bedroom for an hour at a time.
Make a Portable Home Gym
I have a portable home gym in my yoga bag. In it, you'll find my yoga mat, a foam block, and some weights. You'll find Jillian Michaels' 30-day shred DVD in there as well. By keeping everything neat and tidy in this bag, and I can pull it out for a quick circuit workout in my bedroom, without having to have a dedicated space.
Working out in my situation isn't easy. There have been countless times in the middle of winter when I've wished for my own treadmill, or the cash to go to a hot yoga class. There are lots of times when the last thing I've wanted to do on my lunch break was use the office treadmill, but I did because I knew I wouldn't have been able to work out that day otherwise.
Right now, living in a small space, and not spending money on lifestyle inflation is helping me get my debt paid off quickly. Some day I hope to be able to spend more money on exercising, but until that day, I'll keep looking for ways to exercise with no space and no money.
How do you manage to exercise on the cheap?
Join the free Master Your Money course!
Join the free email course and finally learn how to manage your money better, pay off debt, save more money, and reach financial freedom.