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Frugal Exercise Routines

The following is a post from staff writer Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff, where she writes about finding the balance between paying your bills, saving for your future, and budgeting in the fun stuff along the way.

Are you looking for easy ways to get in shape and not spend a bunch of cash? You can drop those extra pounds or tone up affordably by working out on your own. Here are a few frugal exercise routines to keep in mind.

Exercise Option 1 – Cardio Routines

The key to any good weight loss program or health plan is cardiovascular activity. The good news is that you can fit in some cardio just about any place, at any time. One easy way is to start running, jogging, or power walking around your neighborhood or work place. A 30 minute daily routine will result in significant weight loss and will only cost you a pair of decent shoes.

Exercise Option 2 – Workout DVDs

A gym membership can be incredibly expensive thanks to that continuous monthly membership fee. On the other hand, a workout DVD is comparably cheap. Workout DVD programs typically range from $39 to $99 brand new. Some popular programs right now are the P90x, Tae Bo, and Boot Camp DVDs. You can perform these workout routines day after day, month after month. My coworker has lost 30 pounds in 3 months doing the P90x 3-5 times a week.

Exercise Option 3 – Strength Training

A set of dumbbells is perfect for the frugal workout enthusiast. They can be bought for under $50 very easily and can last your entire lifetime! A quick search of Houston Craigslist popped up with several sets listed at $25-$40. You can do presses, curls, rows, shrugs, and lifts. This will get your upper and lower body into shape in no time. Plus, muscle naturally helps burn fat so it is good for weight loss too!

Exercise Option 4 – Abdominal Exercises

Working out your abs has never been easier. You don’t have to buy expensive abdominal machine or electronic belts. All you need is a mat or padded floor in an area of the house to do some crunches. Take about 10 minutes to look around online for the best abdominal workout for you and just take off.

Exercise Option 5 – Balance Exercises

You can do balance exercises like Pilates and yoga in your own home. Stability balls, pillows, and balancing balls are very cheap and can be used to do a number of flexibility exercises as well. These exercises help improve agility and loosen up the entire body while also strengthening your core muscles.

My mother found that yoga helped lessen her back pain while she was pregnant with me and helped her lose the baby weight after I was born.

My Exercise Routine

My own personal exercise routine is very simply. I walk around the back parking lot at my job for 15-25 minutes 3-5 days a week as the weather will allow. I also walk our dogs occasionally in the evening. Other than that, the occasional short softball league at work is my only other nod to workouts. This new routine coupled with eating less calories and a more balanced diet via Weight Watchers Online, has helped me lose 20 pounds in the last 3 months!

What affordable exercise routines come to mind for you?



  1. I bicycle 4-5 times a week. It is a great stress reducer. You can buy a used bike for less than $100 and it can double as transportation to work or for fun. You get a twofer with a bike, you save gas money and become healthier.

  2. Congraatulations-That’s a great accomplishment. I do yoga, tae bo, walk, pushups and other exercise dvds. I just keep it up 4-5 days a week and watch what I eat, and I seem to be okay.

  3. Keep up the great work! Slow and steady progress wins in the end. I use to work out quite a bit but now I’m injured which is why I advocate going slowly (unlike myself.. and look at how I pay). I try it to eat good most of the time and walk at the very least. It seems to working as I don’t gain or lose. :)

    -Ravi Gupta

    • @Ravi Gupta, slow and steady is actually how I’m trying to do it too since I was very stagnant and don’t want to hurt myself by getting back into the swing of things too fast…

  4. Great progress, Crystal!

    When I first started running, I was afraid because I was never much of a runner and couldn’t go very far. A good starting program for running is couch to 5k. It gradually gets you from a combination of walking/running to running a full 5k.

  5. How do you feel about P90x? I have a friend, and several coworkers who swear by it. Im old fashioned and still think a gym membership is the way to go.

    • @MoneyIsTheRoot, I haven’t tried it but my coworker and one of my commenters swears by it. I like Weight Watchers myself, lol…no exercise required but I can earn points back by getting off my booty…

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