6 tips for staying fit without spending too much

We're halfway through beach season and if you still don't feel ready to hit the beach in your bathing suit it may be time to find a cheap gym membership to get back into shape. There are many ways to work your way around the rising costs of gym memberships and get back on the treadmill. Here are some tips to help you feel the burn in your muscles while working to eliminate it from your wallet.

1. Try heading back to school
Many schools offer gym memberships to alumni. Living On The Cheap did research and found alumni memberships ranging from $240 to $300 annually. At around $20 per month, a membership at your former school may offer huge savings over your local gym.

2. Scout out prices and ask for deals
Real Simple suggests scouting out the prices of a few gyms, and then ask your favorite club to match the lowest price. Even convincing the club to drop their joining fee will be enough to provide some tangible savings. When checking out these gyms you may even be able to swing a few trial periods - so that you can test out the equipment and services without yet paying.

3. Stop seeking the frills
Low-cost gym memberships may not provide you with child-care or free massages, but you will get access to workout equipment at prices roughly equivalent to that of a university alumni membership. Planet Fitness is even cheaper. According to Living On The Cheap, you can get a basic gym membership there for $10 - paying $20 will get privileges such as tanning and massages.

4. Will insurance cover it?
Check your health insurance plan as some will cover a gym membership. Blue Cross Blue Shield's Care First plan can cut your gym costs by 60 percent, according to Real Simple. If you pay $50 a year, you can save $360 a year by simply contacting your insurance company and doing some research. Additionally, if your insurance doesn't help you out check if your employer will - some offer discounts on local memberships.

5. The American Health and Fitness Association's passbook
The passbook, which serves locations in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston, provides hundreds of free passes to health clubs. The passbook costs only $75, but can provide you with countless visits to gyms all around the city. The passes, valid throughout the year, are good for a minimum of two visits per location, though some sites will allow for more. Included are passes for one-on-one weight training, saunas and classes on yoga, kickboxing, pilates, dance and more.

6. Go clubbing
Runners clubs exist all over the country and will provide you with motivation in addition to some social interaction during your workout. These will help you find races and provide you with a running community. A membership to the Road Runners Club of America costs $25 per year, much less expensive than a gym. Many other clubs are cheaper, or even free, so do your research and find a run club that works for you.

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