Reduce Your Waste, Reduce Your Costs

The other day I was mindlessly scrolling through my news feed. For the first time, I’m kind of grateful for the vice, as I would never have seen an article titled “43 Cheap Fitness Products with Rave Reviews”. I clicked, because yeah, I love reducing my waste and my waist, but I really love reducing costs for fitness. What I found in the article was jaw-dropping. Not in how amazing these products were, but how similar they were to products from my second book, Reuse, Recycle, Reduce Your Waist.


I know I *should* promote some of my books more than I do. I’m working on it, but this article really opened my eyes to how remarkable my book really could be to fitness enthusiasts, or beginners looking to create an at-home gym while reducing costs. The article’s products that I also create totalled over $95 when bought on Amazon. $95! My own homemade products, even with supplied, and including the cost of the book itself?  $32. 

Reduce Your Dependency on Amazon

There are quite a few reasons to dislike Amazon. Maybe I’m a tad OCD about improving my impact on the planet, but Amazon…well, they’re a huge corporation doing huge corporation-like activities. For instance, they are driving local bookstores and local shoppes out of business. And not in the “well, it’s healthy competition” type of way. That was reason enough for me to cut ties with the corporate giant, but it goes deeper, and more environmental than that

Many products shipped from Amazon are not coming from the U.S.of A. What’s somewhat frustrating is often a US company will fulfill an order through Amazon, and it still comes from China, or another country. There’s nothing ethically or morally wrong with getting goods from China, but it’s the environmental cost of shipping all these products overseas. Every day. 

And we haven’t even scratched the surface of their environmental impact with packaging. The number of times I’ve ordered a few different items and received a separate box for each item is beyond comprehension. And the plastic use is abysmal. 

Yes, I am an Anti-Amazon buyer. But I totally understand and even empathize with those who use it for their shopping and product needs. I recently did a Zoo-Notable on a fun little book called Land Beavers, Orange Weasels, and Other Things You Hear at the Zoo. The author, Andy Oram-Lewis resides in England. He self-published the book and is sending the royalties to zoos in his region. So, of course, I wanted to support him. But in order to get a copy, I had to do it through Amazon. It was the only way to buy an international self-published book. (By the way, since this is the only way to get this book in the US, and I want to help promote his amazing good-hearted project, here’s the RARE instance I share an Amazon link: Go get your copy of Land Beavers.)

Amazon is like plastic-waste. And palm oil. And all the other issues we struggle to eliminate to reduce our waste and protect the planet. We’re not going to avoid it perfectly. But if you can get the products locally, support small businesses, and reduce our impact, I say go for that first.

Reduce Your Waste, and Your Waist

So, if you want another simple, fun, and impactful way to avoid Amazon products, let me once again refer you to my book Reuse, Recycle, Reduce Your Waist($15 here on my site). This book was so much fun to create (not sure my husband agrees with me, he had to take all the photos and format the book). It all started when I was a zookeeper, and living on a budget. I just didn’t have the money for expensive workout equipment. So, I used the broken rake handles for dowel rods. I discovered I could make my own medicine ball for like a 1/4 of the cost of a new medicine ball in a sports store. And from there my ideas grew.

What I loved about making my own equipment is I used items that would normally get thrown away, couldn’t get recycled, and weren’t accepted at thrift stores. In order to reduce my waste, I decided to let these items help me in my quest to reduce my waist. I made sandbags out of plastic bags from the store and a torn pair of jeans. Tofu containers made excellent agility cones. Old postcards became my exercise cards to create fun workouts and even track progress (keep score).

But I never truly realized how much I was saving with my homemade gym project. I was content with saving the planet, keeping items out of the landfill, and creating a more dynamic element for my workouts. Sure, I knew I was saving money, I just never thought to compare it.

Until this article showed up on my news feed.

Save Money While Saving the Planet

There were six main items in the article that caught my eye. These six were items you can make from Reuse, Recycle, Reduce Your Waist. I’m not going to link the items in my blog. If you want to fact-check me, by all means, go for it, but I won’t help you get to Amazon’s site. 

Yoga Blocks

Amazon: $9.99  vs. Reduce Your Waist: $5

My Yoga blocks are actually “dumbbells” made from almond milk containers (or cartons with similar products), duct tape, and sand/dirt. So, they aren’t just cheaper, they serve a dual purpose. Fill the container with sand, and then cover it with duct tape to make it more appealing and help you grip it better.

Ab Mat

Amazon: $15  vs.  Reduce Your Waist: $7

Ab Mats often are thought to have a singular purpose– to help with ab exercises. My ab mat reduces the cost and can be used for almost anything. Heck, it can be used outside of exercise, to help your knees while you’re gardening. I use a pillow, duct tape, and kitchen drawer liner to create my favorite workout cushion.

Foam Roller

Amazon: $11  vs Reduce Your Waist: Free

I use a rolling pin as a roller for soothing achy muscles after a workout, or even when I’ve been sitting at my computer for too long. Works like a charm, and doesn’t cost me a cent (you could buy a rolling pin specifically as your foam roller. I got some extras from a thrift store for $2-$3)

Agility Ladder and Agility Cone Set

Amazon: $23.97 vs. Reduce Your Waist: Free

The only thing I don’t provide for you with my version of the agility ladder is agility drill workouts. But in the book, I do provide some agility exercises. Tofu containers are way more versatile than they appear, and it’s amazing what you can do with some plastic lids and shoestring.

Weighted Ball (Medicine Ball)

Amazon: $13.97- $50+ vs. $5-$10

Weighted balls vary in cost depending on their size. My medicine balls, while you cannot slam them, you can do everything else, and make the PERFECT workout equipment. You only need a deflated sports ball (basketball or soccer), some sand, and some duct tape. 

Workout Dice

Amazon $10.99 vs. Reduce Your Waist: Free

This one sent me over the edge. Seriously, people? You’re going to pay $11 for something you can get completely free, and does the EXACT SAME THING? In fact, using your own die is so much better. Because you get to CHOOSE your exercises, and choose how many you want to do of those exercises. 

Here’s my freebie for all of you- it’s not in the book, but I didn’t really think it HAD to be. Get a die. Think of 6 exercises. Write them down next to number 1-6. Roll die once, that’s your exercise. Roll the die a 2nd time, that tells you how many to do, or how many seconds (multiple by 10). Or just commit to do 10 reps for each exercise. There you go! FREE WORKOUT DICE! YOU’RE WELCOME!


More Ways to Reduce Your Costs and Your Waist

There were plenty of other items in that article that either inspired me to create homemade versions (working on a cordless jump rope right now) or made me smack my head. Really? You need to spend $8 on a strap for stretching? Use a belt, or a towel. This isn’t hard, people!

Again, this isn’t just about saving money, either. It’s saving shipping costs, environmental impact, and cuts down on waste filling our landfills. Or worse, trash ending up in the ocean. Let’s stay creative, think outside the Amazon box, and reuse, recycle, reduce your waist.

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1 Comment

  1. Love it! We’ve changed our lives and bodies with this equipment and I love the ingenuity that we bring to every single object we throw away. We always ask. How can we use it to get better? Before tossing it.


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