Exercising on a Budget: I Don’t Need Hand Weights to Exercise

Exercising is a must for a healthy lifestyle, but every ad and program will have you believing that you need expensive and costly equipment to start exercising properly. I almost convince myself that they are right. Exercising on a budget is more a mindset than anything else.  

How Do I Exercise on a Budget?

Exercising on a budget is more of a mindset than a collection of tips and tricks.

By cutting out all the noise in my head telling me, I need to do it perfectly, or else it is not worth doing it all!

I don’t need hand weights to exercise. I don’t need an expensive gym. Or a treadmill. Or an elliptical. Or pricey yoga and spin classes. This may seem obvious to you, but oftentimes at the moment, it’s tough to take these things to heart. I, like many others, need to exercise more. I don’t have a specific goal in mind or an amount of weight I need to lose, but I need to get more active and have exercise become a bigger part of my life. For my health. For my kids.

The problem is that I don’t really like to start exercising. So, whenever I think about exercising, I immediately go into a spiral of things I need to exercise effectively. I get all excited and think to myself: “I must start exercising. I will join a yoga class, and that will really get me into shape” or “I must buy a treadmill- that way I can jog even if it’s late at night or I don’t have a babysitter” or “I must do an exercise DVD. I just need hand weights, ankle weights, and a yoga mat. Oh, also new yoga pants and a sports bra.”

The problem with all these grand ideas is that:

1. They are just excuses to procrastinate

2. I don’t actually have the money to spend on these items.

I Need To Do My Exercising on a Budget

I live on a really tight budget because I have to. When you are poor, you really can’t make purchases based on something you will hopefully start doing. I need to really think about every purchase and purchasing hand weights in anticipation of me working out is just foolhardy.

Don’t spend money on the thing before you start doing the thing! 

This time around, I cut all that noise out of my head, and I started exercising. I haven’t done any real exercise in a while, and I decided it was about time I started again.

After a little soul-searching, I decided that I really did not need to spend money on a class to begin exercising. So I took out an old DVD (good thing my new laptop has a DVD player- many new laptops don’t!) and decided to start doing Jillian Michael’s 30-day shred instead. I already had it in my possession, so there was no way I was spending more money if I already owned it!

Of course, my mind started racing- I really should get a new DVD- this one is so old. I need new weights. I need a good yoga mat—a nice new water bottle. I can do this for hours- think of things I need to get started.

Have You Ever Spent Tons of Money on a New Hobby or Health Kick? I Am Tempted To Do It All the Time!

This time, I decided it would be different. I would use the old DVD. I would use my kid’s play-mat as a mat. I would pull out my old, too-tight leggings. And I would use water bottles as weights. Is it effective as real weights? Probably not- but sitting in front of the TV is not a great exercise yet. For some reason, I often think that if I am not going to do it perfectly, I probably shouldn’t do it at all.

That thinking wasn’t really doing me any favors, and I did really need to exercise. So I decided to start with what I have. And I did! I needed to exercise, and exercising on a budget was the only way I could, so I had to figure out how to make that work. Of course, I could also figure out a way to get paid while I exercise! 

Yes- it is not perfect, but it’s good enough!  The workout is plenty hard enough without my hand weights. There are also plenty of ways to be exercising on a budget. Taking a walk, jogging, etc., are all great ways to get exercise without spending money- you can even sometimes get paid to walk!

I decided that hand weights would be my reward for actually sticking to my exercise regime. Exercise regularly for two weeks, and I would buy myself hand weights. This was I would have a “reward” for sticking to my new routine, and I wouldn’t spend money for something that wouldn’t get used. I wanted to prove to myself that it would be money well spent before spending it.


When you are on a tight budget- every little amount adds up, and it would be a shame to spend it on something that wouldn’t get used. Having a reward to look forward to really helps keep me motivated and determined to succeed. I want those hand weights! Now I only have two more work-outs until I “earn” them! And I know I will!

Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.

3 thoughts on “Exercising on a Budget: I Don’t Need Hand Weights to Exercise”

  1. Running is fairly cheap, I’ve run tens of thousands of miles in my life and my wife and I are still running at 66. In fact she did a full marathon this year. My advice is if you decide to start running, do not cheap out on running shoes. You can’t run in sneakers and cross trainers are a poor choice. Get some real running shoes, which will cost from $80 if you are lucky, to $130 if you can’t find a clearance deal. Also if you run regularly it is best practice to replace your shoes every five months or 500 miles. The soles never wear out but the internal cushion and shoe structure wears out. Shoes may be kind of expensive but your feet, knees and hips are priceless.


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