Wondering if you should make room in your budget for a gym membership? Don't let finding the right gym keep you from working out now.

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When the New Year comes around or you set new fitness goals, often joining a gym is the first thing that comes to mind. But with rising membership costs and congested classes, is it really the way to go? You don’t need to join a gym to get fit this year—so don’t let it hold you back from making strides toward a healthier lifestyle.

“Many people make one of their New Year’s goals to live a healthier lifestyle and be more active, but don’t find the time to join a gym or—if they do—often don’t end up using it and waste unnecessary money,” shares Pedro Ast, a professional athlete and CEO of fitness app Bvddy. “One of the key things for people to be more active is finding a buddy to constantly do activities with to keep them motivated.”

That’s why Ast loves working on Bvddy, which helps connect people within their skill level and location to play sports with. Should you prefer to work out alone, you can still use the buddy system within your fitness tracker—Fitbit, Garmin and the Apple Watch all have the capability—to connect with friends and turn moving into a (friendly) competition.

You don’t have to stay indoors this winter to get a great workout in, and Ast suggests trying running, hiking or even ice skating as a way to enjoy the cool winter days. Should the chilly temps keep you near the heater, however, Ast has some suggestions for what to invest in to get in an effective workout at home.

“A yoga mat, TRX bands and a jump rope are three basic pieces of equipment that you should invest in,” he explains. “With this gear you can get in a number of workouts, including resistance training with exercises such as squats, push-ups, burpees and wall sits.”

Getting some basic equipment, partnering up and making use of online fitness classes—some even free on YouTube—makes it simple to start your fitness journey now—all without an expensive gym membership.