Cents and Sensibility

Budget-Friendly Bikini Season Solutions

For the last few weeks, I talked about serious, career-related things like job interviews and cover letters. But today is the first day of summer! So fie upon all things work-related. I hope you are planning to fill the next few weeks with pool parties, vacations, barbecues and lazy days at the beach. I know I am. I intend to show up to all the aforementioned events in breezy sundresses and cute swimsuits.

Of course, now I have to get ready to wear those breezy sundresses and cute swimsuits. Getting ready for bikini season is arguably the worst downside of summer. And I don’t know about you, but I feel like I have to start preparing myself for bikini season earlier each year. I’m inclined to blame global warming, but who can say for sure?

Al Gore can say for sure

(Image by stocklight / Shutterstock.com)

As much as I want to get fit, I don’t want to spend a ton of money in the process. What’s the point of getting bikini ready if you can’t even afford the bikini? So if you don’t want to spend a small fortune on fancy fitness classes, high-tech equipment or expensive gym memberships, here are a few very cost-effective ways to get ready for bikini season.

Walk it Out – Any personal ad writer will tell you that beaches were made for long walks. So head to the shore and get your body moving. Feel free to accessorize your fitness outfit with a summer fling or energetic dog of your choosing. (The dog is usually easier to maintain long-term.)

Overkill. With accessories, less is more.

(Image from Shutterstock)

Run – Running costs you approximately zero dollars. It’s also a great excuse to throw on your headphones and zone out to new and old summer jams. My current song on repeat: “Call Me Maybe.” I am not the least bit ashamed.

Hike – Take advantage of the cool, late twilights and go on a hike. Nature is gorgeous in the summertime and there are plenty of public parks nationwide that don’t cost anything to explore. Just be sure to bring your water bottle and wear plenty of sunscreen. Also it’s a good idea not to include chocolate-covered anything in your summer trail mix. Learned that one the hard way.

Swim– A pool is primarily for lounging with colorful cocktails. But when necessary, you can exercise in it, too. Swimming is a great full-body workout. If you or your friends don’t have access to a pool, community pools are usually free or very low-cost. And the best part is unlike other workouts, nobody can tell you are sweaty!

She didn't even break a sweat! Or did she...

(Image from testing / Shutterstock.com)

Browse YouTube – There are so many people on the World Wide Web willing to share their cat videos and fitness expertise with frugal fans like you. I find the latter to be very helpful during bikini season. It may take you some time to weed through the millions of options to find videos that work for you., but it’s worth it when you are trying to save. For starters, check out BodyRockTV, Pop Pilates and the New York City Ballet Workouts.

DVDs – Maybe you have a dial-up internet connection. Or perhaps you just appreciate high-quality production. Either way, if you prefer DVDs to YouTube vids, be careful with your spending. P90x, for example, will set you back anywhere from $40-110. But there are plenty of inexpensive, highly-reviewed options. I’m a big fan of Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred, which costs around $10, give or take. Planning a Hawaiian vacation? Check out Island Girl Workout’s Hula Abs and Buns. You’ll be fit and ready to shake it at the luau.

Mobile Apps – If you have a smartphone, there are a number of free mobile applications that offer helpful fitness tools, and sometimes even full workouts. One highly reviewed example is the Nike Training Club App. Based on your fitness level and goals, you can choose from up to 85 different workouts to do with your own music and a voice-over trainer. Nike then gives you “awards” to motivate you and make you feel like a champion. Moreover, you can unlock more workouts by using the app frequently. Jillian Michaels also has a free workout app. And there are a few pedometer apps for free. You are bound something that suits your needs without draining your wallet. (It’s totally going to drain your battery, though.)

Pinterest – Look, I don’t know who these people are that superimpose intense workouts on photos of buff women and throw them into the Pinterest mix. But they deserve a round of applause. While most of us are planning weddings to men who have yet to propose and pinning DIY home décor ideas we don’t actually have time to do, these kind people are putting together exercise regimens available to the public for free-ninety-nine! I mean sure, we have no idea where these come from or if they’re certified. And you’ll probably have to do some research to make sure you’ve got the right form down. But I guess you get what you pay for.

Oh like you've never pinned one of these!

(Image from Pinterest)

Discount/Community Classes – Try looking through your local parks and recreation brochures for inexpensive fitness or dance classes. They tend to fill up with sprightly senior citizens who are loads of fun. Also, many fitness studios offer a few “community classes” a week for a fraction of the usual cost. Browse their schedules and see how you can save.

Daily Deal Websites – If you’re dying to try the latest fitness craze (is piloxing still new, or am I behind the times?) scour daily deal websites like Groupon, LivingSocial and Bloomspot for discounts on classes in your area.

With so many options, you’ll find a few ways to get fit on a budget. And feel free to post some of your own suggestions in the comments. In the meantime, I’ll be hiking through Circle X in Malibu – and paying no money to do it. So maybe getting bikini ready isn’t so bad, after all.

Featured Image from Shutterstock

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