Tracking Your Health Without Breaking the Bank

03.20.2018

Let’s see if this scenario sounds familiar. You plop down on the couch with your laptop or phone—debit card in hand—ready to invest in that new fitness tracker you read about on your favorite wellness blog. There’s just one problem. That sucker costs way more than you expected. Yeah, on second thought, no thanks.

It’s easy to get excited about the latest wellness technology. But, unfortunately, all those cutting-edge solutions typically come with an overweight price tag. That may be fine if your name is Richie Rich or you have the extra bucks to spend, but for the rest of us, shelling out a few hundred bucks on something we don’t technically need may seem a tad impractical or even financially irresponsible.

That doesn’t mean those of us on a budget are completely out of luck. With each new generation of wellness technology that emerges, a new batch of apps and devices becomes more affordable. Here are some of the best wellness trackers on the market for those on a budget.

Misfit Flare ($59.99): The Misfit Flare is an excellent all-around choice, tracking pretty much everything you could ask for: steps, calories burned, sleep quality and duration, and additional activities like cycling, swimming, and more. It syncs with many popular health and fitness apps and includes a Bluetooth-enabled button that allows you to control connected household devices—so you can play and pause music while you exercise. It also includes a replaceable battery which lasts about four months—so no more recharging.

Amazfit Equator ($79.99): If you’re looking to make a fashion statement, you may want to take a look at the Amazfit Equator. As with the other trackers on this list, the device will provide insight on your steps, distance, and sleep. But what makes the Equator unique is the minimalist design, light weight, and the option to customize the appearance with a selection of different bands. You can even purchase an accessory and wear it as a necklace, which is perfect if you already have a nice watch or some bling you want to sport on your wrist.

4x3razor Digital Pedometer ($15.20 - $19.95): Counting steps and distance is fine and good, but if you’re training for a 5K, marathon, or other event, you’re probably more interested in tracking your pace rather than your daily step goal. Designed for high-performance athletes, the 4x3razor is designed to work in any orientation, meaning you can wear it any way you like and still bank on accurate results. It won’t sync with your phone, but it has the unique ability to calculate your current speed and exercise time. It’s also one of the least expensive options on this list.

Fitbit Zip ($59.95): Fitbit is one of the most recognized names in fitness wearables for a reason. Their devices are well-designed, reliable, and easy to use. If you’re sold on getting a Fitbit, but you don’t want to spring for one of the more expensive options, the Fitbit Zip may be right for you. This small clip-on device can be worn discreetly, and can track your steps, distance, and calories burned. Thanks to the built-in barcode scanner, it can even help track your nutrition. It’s easy to use too. Just tap the screen to cycle through your daily stats, then sync up with your laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Your Smartphone (prices vary): Perhaps the cheapest option out there is to just use your phone. Sure, it may not look as cool or high-tech as some shiny new wearable device, but it gets the job done. There are a ton of free apps out there to help you track your activity (Apple Health or Google Fit), nutrition, sleep, and more. Many of these apps work on a freemium model, with basic features free to use and optional premium features available at an additional cost.

Tracking your progress is one of the most effective ways to stay focused and motivated on your wellness goals. But you shouldn’t have to break the bank to get in on the fun. While there are many low-cost new and used products out there for you to explore, hopefully this list gives you a good starting point as you research which device or app is best for you.

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