Working out seems like a good idea — until you start to think about how much it will cost you to get back in shape.
Gym membership: $40 a month.
New shoes: $100
Fancy fitness tracker: $150
An entirely new workout wardrobe because it will help with ~motivation~ (or so we tell ourselves): I would say priceless, but I think the word we’re actually looking for is pricy.
But what is priceless is being able to take control of your health and your happiness through exercise — and truthfully, it doesn’t have to be all that expensive.
Get Back in Shape — For Less
First things first, let’s free up a little money from your exercise budget so you can use it where it counts (the wardrobe, obviously):
To save money while still crushing your fitness goals, find a gym that works for your lifestyle (and your budget), or skip the gym entirely and opt for these cheap or free workouts you can do on your own.
Then, take a look at these tips and tricks for finding great running shoes at discounted prices.
There: now we’ve freed up a little bit of money for that workout wardrobe.
And don’t tell me that spending money on workout clothes is unnecessary because 1) feeling confident while working out does wonders for your self-esteem and goes a long way in squashing that I-need-to-get-out-of-this-gym-and-go-home-ASAP feeling, 2) wearing clothes that perform properly will help your body stay cool and comfortable while you exercise and 3) sometimes bright and shiny new workout gear truly is the biggest motivator.
But with stores like Lululemon charging an outrageous amount for a pair of workout pants, how are you supposed to look like a seasoned gym rat while still making #gainz in your wallet?
By knowing where to shop.
And as one of those people who firmly believes that a new pair of stretchy pants will renew my motivation (although whether that means motivation to run 5 miles or go for a hard lounge on the couch remains to be seen), I’ve learned how to get my hands on some inexpensive workout clothes.
Where to Shop for Cheap Workout Clothes
Here are the best stores for finding cheap workout clothes so you can lift, squat, dance, kickbox, run, swim — and pretty much anything else — in style.
Old Navy and Gap
If you’ve never shopped for workout clothes at Old Navy or Gap, you’re missing out. For the price, the quality is excellent. Also, the options are cute and stylish, and while both retailers always have a sale section, occasionally these stores (and their slightly pricier counterpart, Athleta, all run by the same parent company) do an additional something-percent-off sale online.
H&M and Forever21
H&M and Forever21 get a bad rap for being a little too ~fast fashion~ (read: cheaply made), but both stores offer a pretty good selection of workout clothes. I mean, Forever21 probably isn’t the clothier of choice for a marathon runner, but the shorts, leggings, sports bras and tanks are sturdy (and cute) enough for the average gym rat.
Both stores usually have a pretty well-stocked sale section, and if you sign up for their email lists, you’ll receive notice of additional sale offers when they pop up.
TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Ross
T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Ross all operate in a similar fashion, offering deep discounts on name brand clothing. At these stores, you can often find Nike and other athletic brand shorts, leggings and sports bras for half(ish) the regular retail price.
Target has its own line of activewear. Before the great shakeup of ‘17, everyone’s favorite retailer housed a personalized collection called C9 by Champion.
This fall, however, Target rolled out a new line called JoyLab, which offers a wide array of relatively inexpensive, high-quality pieces. And lemme tell ya’, I’m already obsessed with more than a few items from this budget-friendly line.
True Penny Hoarders know that Walmart’s clothing section doesn’t necessarily deserve the bad reputation it carries. But my favorite thing to shop when I feel like braving the single open checkout lane on any given day is Walmart’s collaboration line with Danskin.
For the quality you receive from a trusted fitness brand like Danskin, the prices on this line of everything from running tights to sweat-wicking tees are unbeatable.
OK, so it’s no surprise Amazon made the list. I mean, when you’re trying to achieve total world domination, you have to figure out how to corner every market — athletic clothing included.
The best part about shopping Amazon’s inexpensive workout gear is that you can receive most of it with two-day Prime shipping, which means you can start pretending you’re going to get back on the workout wagon like a whole week earlier than usual.
Outdoor and Sporting Goods Stores
I know, I know — this one seems so obvious, and not necessarily like the cheapest option. But if you skulk the sale racks religiously enough, eventually you’ll find top-quality, name brand clothing at rock-bottom prices.
If you’re a hardcore Penny Hoarder, you already know that outlet malls aren’t always the bargain they promise to be.
Still, if you’re a Penny Hoarder who is also into sporting a brand name every once in awhile (and you’ll get no judgment from me on that!) then the outlet mall might be your new best friend. You’ll find brand names for a fraction of the original retail price — names like Nike, Adidas and Asics.
You know all those college T-shirts you have stuffed in a drawer? A goldmine. A musty, wrinkled goldmine, but a goldmine nonetheless. You can find ideas for upcycling your clothing here, including how to turn all your old t-shirts into workout wear — for free.
Grace Schweizer is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s a big believer in the motivational power of a good pair of stretchy pants.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, one of the largest personal finance websites. We help millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. In 2016, Inc. 500 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the No. 1 fastest-growing private media company in the U.S.
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