Posted on 12/30/2011 16:33 EST
If your 2012 New Year's resolutions include getting in shape or losing weight, then this past week at Cheapism was all for you. We've found the best ways to amp up your fitness and diet routines without spending big bucks.
We just updated our buying guide to the top cheap treadmills
, and new to our list are the ProForm Performance 400 (starting at $599) and the Merit Fitness 725T Plus (starting at $400). The ProForm is compatible with iFit Live, which offers countless customized workouts (at an additional cost), and Nike + iPod. The Merit lacks such bells and whistles but delivers all the essential features and solid performance for a very low price.
Exercise Bike Deals.
January is one of the best times of year to score a deal on an exercise bike. Find the best in-store
and online deals on our exercise bikes deals
New Blog Posts.
Diet Deals Blog.
If "diet" is your least favorite four-letter
word, it may be time to call in the support team. Diet programs let you know when it's okay to splurge and when to put down the fork. We found the best deals on diet programs
, diet books, and diet apps to start you off on the right foot in the new year.
Cheap Indoor Workouts.
The weather outside is frightful, but that doesn't mean you have to veg out on the couch until spring. Save money on a costly gym membership by turning your home into a gym--for cheap. In addition to exercise equipment, good workout DVDs and fitness apps and websites keep you motivated while varying your routine. You won't have any excuses once you see how many cheap indoor workouts
Posted on 12/29/2011 16:42 EST
Losing weight is one of the most common New Year's resolutions, and each year there seems to be a new fad diet on the menu. With the onset of 2012, many of the best diets are cutting their prices so you can get a leg up on your weight loss plans. We've scoured the market and found several good non-fad diet deals that have already popped up.
Weight Watchers: Weight Watchers
has long been in the business of offering a New Year's promotion. This year you can sign on to the online program for just $56.85 (normally $86.80) for the first three months. The registration fee of $29.95 is waived from now through March 24, 2012. The same registration fee is also waived if you choose to join the in-person
meetings -- all you pay for is the meeting fee, which is $12 per week. Weight Watchers is a well-rounded
diet plan that tops Cheapism's cheap diet plans
Another best cheap diet plan
, eDiets, is offering 25 percent off its online diet plan
. The plan that normally costs $18.95 per month is now just $14.21 for the first month. You can also do the eDiets meals delivery
plan. Choose the five-day
plan ($139.95 per week) or the seven-day
plan ($169.95 per week) for three months and you'll realize a 25 percent saving by paying for three weeks and getting the fourth week free.
Diet Book Deals:
If you're looking to go it alone and think you have enough will power that you don't need to rely on a support program or a meal delivery plan you can always purchase a cheap diets book. As the countdown to and beyond 2012 continues, there are many cheap diets book deals to be had. The 17 Day Diet
is on sale at Amazon right now for just $14 (normally $25) and The Paleo Solution
is marked down to $15.81 from $24.95. Both cheap diets have websites that are helpful to people following the plan. The 17 Day Diet website
has a BMI calculator, a calorie calculator, a newsletter and recipes -- all for free -- while the Paleo Diet website
offers free nutritional tools, including a BMI calculator and information on sugars, carbs, the glycemic index, and more.
Many of the best diets have apps designed to support your weight loss efforts. For example, the South Beach Diet has a free iPhone
app, as does Weight Watchers
. Other diet apps are also available, such as Lose It!
for iPhone users and CalorieCounter
for Android phones -- both useful in tracking calories, exercise, and weight loss for free.
A word to the wise: Over the next few weeks even more cheap diets will go on sale as the need to lose gains momentum in the new year. Be on the lookout and if you find a deal for a diet that works for you, go for it -- chances are the deal won't be around long.
Posted on 12/28/2011 15:23 EST
For many people, the long winter months bring skiing, sledding, and other fun activities that go along with the white stuff. For others, winter puts an end to running and other outdoor fitness activities that keep the weight off. Going to the gym can prove an expensive substitute, so here are a few worthwhile ideas for affordable inside workouts.
Indoor Workouts on DVD.
There's a lot to be said for a small library of reliable exercise DVDs. They can easily keep you fit if you use them consistently, and a quick Amazon
search reveals thousands to choose from, spanning ab workouts, indoor cardio workouts, yoga, circuit training, and more. Granted, some are better than others. We consulted numerous user reviews to compile our list of the best cheap workout DVDs
To keep boredom at bay and work many muscle groups, try to find several DVDs of inside workouts that target different areas -- maybe a core workout, an upper-body workout, and a lower-body workout, plus a few indoor cardio workouts that you can add to the rotation. You can increase the variety and save even more money by borrowing exercise DVDs from your local library.
Inside Workouts on YouTube.
Another option for indoor workout inspiration is YouTube. Money Crashers
recommends searching YouTube for the term "workout" or searching for specific types of exercise programs, such as core workouts or indoor cardio workouts. When we searched YouTube for inside workouts, we found thousands of results -- some general, some very specific. Note that most YouTube workouts don't work quite like full-length
exercise DVDs. These are shorter clips that you can watch to learn an exercise or routine and then carry it out on your own ("Killer 550 Rep Workout
" is one example).
Venture even further into the 21st century with fitness apps for your smartphone or tablet. App stores are stocked with numerous cheap and free fitness apps. For Android users, these include a series of free workouts demonstrated by certified personal trainers, from Daily Ab Workout
to Daily Cardio Workout
. IPhone users can try the Jillian Michaels Slim Down Solution
or the Nike Training Club
, among other free apps.
Of course, you can always create your own home gym with low-cost
equipment that will come in handy for inside workouts. Later this week we'll be posting an update to our buying guide on cheap treadmills
. Cheap elliptical trainers
and cheap exercise bikes
can help you keep up indoor cardio workouts all winter.
While there is a relatively high initial cost with these pieces of equipment, they ultimately pay for themselves over months of letting you avoid shelling out a hefty gym-membership fee. Other smaller and less costly pieces of equipment can also help you stay fit. About.com recommends investing in a jump rope, kettlebells, free weights, and a balance ball if you're looking to enhance your inside workouts.
Posted on 12/23/2011 13:53 EST
In the midst of all the holiday excitement, there's even more to be happy about -- AFTER Christmas. With after-Christmas sales and New Year's following right behind, there's a lot to prepare.
Cheap LCD TVs.
It's cold outside in much of the country, so why not stay indoors and veg out in front of a cheap LCD TV
? The best of the low-cost
models deliver a sharp and crisp picture and good color. Some are also Internet-capable
, with widgets for apps such as Facebook, Netflix, Pandora, and Hulu. We found four cheap LCD TVs
that feature all the critical specs, meet consumers' expectations for performance, and cost less than $600.
Cheap White Wine.
A good cheap white wine
is not an oxymoron. Our research turned up nearly two dozen white wines, including three standouts, costing $10 or less. Some are best enjoyed with a meal and others can be sipped on their own; all should be served chilled. These wines are dry but still present flavors and aromas that are fruity and floral, sometimes a tad vegetal and sometimes a tad spicy. Our buying guide is organized by wine type and specific suggestions are provided for each.
New Blog Posts.
After Christmas Sales.
This week, we learned that after-Christmas sales
are definitely worth waiting for. Whether you're getting ready for the next semester at school, using your gift cards to buy exactly what you want, or returning a less-desirable
gift (thanks anyway, Aunt Mildred), vendors are vying for your attention with special hours, steep in-store
discounts, and money-saving
online deals. Read our after-Christmas sales
blog for the best tips on saving while spending during this post-holiday
Cheap Wine and Champagne.
We've added to our cheap champagne
and cheap red wine
buying guides with a new cheap white wine review
. No matter the preferences of your guests, you can have a variety of bottles on hand that won't further stress your bank account. Our cheap wine and champagne press release
has all the details.
Cheap and Free New Year's Eve Celebration Tips.
They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and if you're sticking to your budget this holiday season, you can still make New Year's Eve special. We found frugal alternatives to the typical fancy restaurant meal or bar celebration that will leave you with fond memories and a solvent start for 2012. Free neighborhood activities, progressive dinners, and hosting your own party are all fun strategies for enjoying a cheap or free New Year's
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Christmas hasn't even come and gone yet, but you may already be thinking ahead to New Year's Eve. For some people this means bidding farewell with a bang to one year and entering the next with an empty wallet and a slight hangover. You can avoid both unpleasant ends by ushering in 2012 in budget-savvy style.
Eat out early.
Dinner out is a popular way to celebrate New Year's Eve, but unfortunately it usually costs a pretty penny. US News
notes that you can get a good meal by dining before the rush, which on New Year's Eve ranges from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and sometimes later. If you go early enough, you might catch happy hour and enjoy up to half off on drinks and appetizers. Also try this: If dining as a couple, order an appetizer to split and a salad each. You'll have a low-cost
, healthy meal and still have cash and appetite for a few drinks.
Eat New Year's Eve dinner at home.
To really pinch some pennies, dine at home. You'll avoid high prices on food and drinks, and you can make it as classy or as low-key
as you want. Some fun ideas include fondue night or a meal featuring pork, which in many cultures is associated with progress and good fortune.
Host a New Year's Eve party.
While we're on the subject of dining at home, why not celebrate all of New Year's Eve at home? Gather some of your closest friends for a small New Year's Eve party at your place. You can put together a poker tournament and get some cheap appetizers and beverages to ring in the New Year. Don't forget to catch Dick Clark's New Years Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2012, featuring Lady Gaga and a host of other stars.
Plan a progressive dinner.
If you don't want to stay in on New Year's Eve but don't want to spend a wad either, organize a progressive dinner among neighborhood friends. Set up appetizers at the first house, a salad course at the second, the main course at the third, dessert at the fourth, and a champagne toast at the last house.
Go easy on the champagne.
It's no secret that champagne can cost upwards of $200 a bottle, but you can also get a decent bottle of bubbly for New Year's Eve for less than $20. Cheapism.com found several good cheap champagnes,
including Roederer Estate NV Brut ($20), Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut NV ($15), and Freixenet Cordon Negro Extra Dry ($10). Delish.com
recommends Segura Viudas NV Brut Reserva ($9), Gruet Brut NV ($14), Paul Cheneau "Lady of Spain" Cava ($15), Zonin Prosecco ($12), and Mionetto Prosecco Brut ($13).
Find free New Year's Eve activities in your neighborhood.
Many neighborhoods across the country offer free activities for families to celebrate New Year's Eve together. Columbus, Ohio, for example, sponsors First Night, which features 10 entertainment stations throughout downtown (within walking distance of each other) and more than 100 performers. There are also activity stations and fireworks at midnight. Check for similar and free events in your city.
Whatever you do to celebrate New Years Eve, make sure you do so responsibly. Cheers!