By Jené Luciani

You signed up for that pricey gym membership, swearing you'd go every day. Suddenly, months have gone by and you've barely broken a sweat. Unfortunately, the damage is already done when it comes to your wallet. According to the authors of Freakonomics, people who purchase gym memberships overestimate their attendance by 70 percent. As a result, more than $500 of the average annual cost is simply lining the pockets of gym owners-and doing absolutely nothing for your waistline.

If you struggle with getting to the gym every day, try getting fit at home for a fraction of the cost.

"Though you may not have the fancy equipment offered by athletic clubs, you can still meet your fitness goals at home," says consumer expert Andrea Woroch. And that doesn't mean just popping in an exercise DVD. Here's how!

Use Your Body

Squats, pushups, triceps dips, and many other moves are all great ways to work out without the added cost of equipment.

"You can also get creative with items around your house. A chair is a great tool for step ups, triceps dips, and decline pushups, while water bottles or cans of soup can be used in place of small hand weights."

And for cardio? Grab a jump rope! Just 10 minutes of jumping rope can provide the same calorie burn as 30 minutes on the treadmill.

Buy Used

Fitness equipment is definitely one of those items best purchased used.

"In addition to scanning Craigslist and hitting up local garage sales, you can also look for remanufactured options online at," Woroch says. "When buying from a private seller, be sure to research the brand and test the equipment before agreeing to purchase it."

Check Your Policy

Like most Americans, you likely pay a lot for your health insurance premiums.

"[Being a] healthy policy holder means less risk for pricey doctor's bills, and select health insurance providers offer incentives for fitness programs," Woroch says. "Check with your provider for fitness programs that offer discounts on activewear, fitness rentals, and equipment purchases," she suggests.

Buy from Gyms

"Gyms undergoing renovations-or simply making upgrades to their fitness equipment-usually sell off their old stuff at killer prices," Woroch says. She suggests calling around to find out if any local fitness centers are selling old treadmills, stationary bikes, or weight benches.

Get Suspended

Suspension training systems-which use a series of straps in addition to body weight-are a popular way to intensify home workouts without bulky or expensive fitness equipment.

"TRX is likely the most well-known system but requires a significant investment. GoFit's Gravity Bar and straps offers an affordable alternative and also travels easily for when you hit the road," Woroch says.

Shop for Gear Online

You can often find great deals on fitness clothing and accessories online.

"Compare promotions and avoid delivery costs with such sites as, which offers discounts from popular sporting goods stores. For example, you can save $10 on orders of $60 or more with a Finish Line coupon," Woroch says.

Use Technology

There's an app for that! "Get free workout tips on your phone with apps like GymGoal ABC, which features 280 animated exercises and 52 workout routines that are adjustable to four levels of expertise. You can also find free personal training videos online at sites like BodyRock. If you pay for cable TV, take advantage of the morning fitness videos available on Discovery Fit & Health."

Go Discount

Discount retailers are great resources for basic fitness accessories like DVDs, yoga mats, stability balls, fitness clothing, and more.

"For example, a friend of mine recently found yoga blocks at TJMaxx for $5 each. Similar blocks at REI cost $15 each, over 60 percent of what she paid for them," Woroch says.

Avoid Fitness Fads

Shake Weight, anyone? "Products boasting quick weight loss with minimal effort are usually too good to be true. No pain, no gain, remember? Don't fall for the hype and read reviews before buying the latest and greatest DVD set or fitness system," Woroch says.

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