Working Out on the (really really) Cheap

I’ve been sitting on this for a few days because I was really worried it wouldn’t work. But it did! So here is another in the “make sure you know all your work benefits, kids” series. (And enough with the mystery; I’ll tell you what “it” is behind the jump.)

OK, so remember last year when I decided to go with the high deductible health plan and use the savings to pay for yoga classes so I could try to not totally break down at age 37?

Let’s backtrack 18 months to when I first started working for this university. I did actually look into yoga then, but the page I found on the gym’s website said that “faculty/staff” yoga only met once a week, and it was at a bad time for me. I did some looking into studios around town, but I didn’t find them very appealing: the classes were at bad times for me (I want to go either right before or right after work, not at 6 am or at 7:45-9:15), they were too long for right now (I wanted 60, not 90 minutes, at least to start with), and of course they were “expensive” ($12-15/class) at a time when I was pinching pennies. So I not very commendably gave up.

However, I made a whole vow and everything so I was just about to suck it up and commit to the 7:45-9:15 class for at least a month, when I got an email from the university gym about fitness classes for the semester and looked at it out of curiosity. And lo and behold, I looked at the wrong page last year. It turns out — duh — that they also offer tons of fitness classes that faculty/staff/students can all register for. Registration opened this morning at 7:30 am, so at 7:29 I was hovering over my computer ready to go and ten minutes later, I’d snagged twice-weekly yoga (60 minutes each time) plus a 60-minute barre class for a little variety and extra strength/stretchiness. This will get me through to the end of April (when the semester ends) for — drumroll please — a grand total of $145. I start tomorrow!

I am psyched. By the end of April I will have built up enough stamina to switch to summer classes at the studio in town, if I want, or I can just switch to biking around for exercise and stretching at home. But this is a ton of classes for virtually no money (as yoga goes) and it should really help me get going again on this practice. I cannot believe it took me this long to realize that this kind of thing was available to me. But now I know so look out world!

14 thoughts on “Working Out on the (really really) Cheap

  1. Tenley says:

    That’s terrific! Nice perk! Universities really know how to make the most of what they’ve got.

    I just canceled my gym membership because it made me really hate even thinking about exercise. Only one class I liked and it met at a bad time for me, and everything else just filled me with guilt and anxiety. So starting next week, the BF and I are going to do a 21-day bodyweight fitness plan, no equipment needed, and then see where we are. Maybe I’ll just take advantage of groupons at studios every so often?

    I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on the high-deductible plan. I just signed up for mine and I’m a bit panicky! (You probably already wrote about this — going to go search your archives. 🙂 )

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Yes, back when I was thinking about which plan to choose I did write about it in a few posts. Basically I’m crossing my fingers and hoping it works out 🙂 I’m almost always very healthy, aside from my eyes (which aren’t covered by health insurance), so I figured, I have insurance for cancer or broken bones, and in any given year those things are unlikely to crop up. I’ll be kind of screwed if one of them does happen this year, of course. But my max out of pocket is $5000-10000 (depending on in/out network status) so “the worst it could be” is actually not THAT bad.

      Good luck with the bodyweight plan! “no equipment” sounds pretty tempting. I might look into that for the summer after these classes findish…

      1. Tenley says:

        Unfortunately I have two prescriptions that are NOT gonna be cheap this year, and now that I’m in my 40s my health is a bit more … complicated? But fingers crossed, I can figure out the scripts and I can still save money. Helps that my employer is covering my premiums in full this year!

        The link to the bodyweight plan is here, just in case you’re interested:


  2. Mrs Lewis says:

    What a great deal! After moving to a different city, affordable gym memberships were nonexistant. What I wouldn’t give for $10 planet fitness so I can run indoors in the winter. My running schedule was great during summer but once the sun started setting at 5:30 pm I couldn’t get home fast enough from work to catch the daylight. Barre classes are extreme! I did them for 1 month on groupon once and let’s just say I was shaking even after I left class. good luck !

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Wow, that does sound intense! I’m kind of hoping mine is not quite that intense actually 🙂 I’ll find out on Tuesday I guess….

  3. Nice! I miss the cheap fitness classes I got when I was a student. Then again, I don’t do well with having to leave the house just to exercise. But since I’m still on Medicare (despite my other disability benefits going away) I have a plan that gets me into certain gyms for free. If I ever graduate from just doing stuff at home.

    I hope you enjoy your classes!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Yeah, I’m historically bad at basically all forms of exercise because I’m really lazy about leaving the house AND about doing stuff at home. Hee. But signing up for classes is usually good because I want to get my money’s worth, so I go….

  4. Autumn says:

    That’s a great deal! I only do yoga once a week, but I’m pretty sure it’s the one thing that keeps me sane(ish). I’d like to go twice a week, but not enough to be at the gym at 5:30 in the morning or 6:30 at night when the other classes are offered. I’ll just be happy with my once a week for now :).

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Yeah, I really want to go either right before work (I’d do a 7:30-8:30 class in a minute) or right after (5-ish.) The ones I signed up for are middle of the day, 12-1, which is ok since they’re only an hour. And once a week is totally fine! 🙂

  5. If you’re into doing an at home yoga practice, I cannot recommend the YouTube channel, Yoga with Adrienne, enough. I love her videos. I found them because I live in a rural area with no good yoga options, and they are awesome.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thanks for the tip! I love getting recommendations like that.

      1. Anne from E. says:

        A long time ago, I took a yoga class for a while. After some months, I knew the exercises by heart, left the class and continued to practice at home. I know exactly what to pay heed to and it is perfect for me: exercising at my own pace, as often and as long as I like, and when I’m not motivated, no problem: I don’t lose any money.

        1. thesingledollar says:

          I’d like to think that I can do yoga at home…but experience tells me I won’t do it unless I have some kind of commitment. I could try to find some friends that want to do the same thing I guess….

  6. I miss taking fitness classes. I really enjoyed taking Pilates and cardio-dance classes but after having kids and moving, the price tag on those type of classes increased too much. A local church has a really challenging cardio-strength interval class for $2 & free, amazing childcare. But it’s so intense that I recently threw my back out and have been afraid to return. So now it’s trying to do exercise DVDs from the library with two little people about to pounce on me mid-plank. Not ideal but better than nothing, I guess. Enjoy!

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