My sister and I attended our first boot camp class on Saturday. (We've since been taking the stairs very, very slowly.) We found the class, run by a personal trainer, on Meetup.com. The best part: It's free all summer.
And if we wanted to hike, bike or play tennis with a pro, we could also score that at no cost too. There are lots of freebies available to you if you're looking to get beach-ready on a budget.
If you're a solo exerciser, then podcasts and online videos are ideal. Woman's Health Magazine Online ( womenshealthmag.com/fitness/ipod-workouts) has an incredible mix of free podcast and video workouts. You can "boost your booty" and learn how to "look great naked" without leaving your living room. The other great tool on the site is that you can customize the fitness training program to meet your personal goals.
If you'd like to incorporate yoga into your routine, sites such as YogaToday.com provide one free class video every week and lots of how-to series to do on your own. If running is your thing, consider meeting up with local running groups. On Wednesday and Sunday evenings, Running Rooms (runningroom.com/hm) across the country provide hold group runs. Plus there's usually a trainer there to answer questions and set the course.
Spring and summer are good seasons to forgo gym memberships (especially ones that are collecting dust) and take advantage of the weather outside - and the freebies at your fingertips.
Angela Self is one of the founders of the Smart Cookies money group. Read her weekly column on managing debt and saving money at globeinvestor.com.