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Don't Sweat It

Budget stretching: Undo holiday damage to wallet and waistline -- without freezing your assets.

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Favorite summer fat-busters like wave-jumping in the ocean, playing tennis in the park, and Rollerblading to work are but distant memories for those who are been dutifully sweating it off in the gym this month. But there's hope for the alfresco exerciser who can't quite afford a weekend in Vail. Here, some ways to boost your spirits and your metabolism for $20 or less.

As any former horse-crazy teenager will tell you, trail riding can be a great workout if you keep a brisk pace with your butt off the saddle. At Prospect Park's Kensington Stables, it's cheap, too: Rides are $20 per hour (lessons start at $25).

For a vertiginous adventure without a Himalayan budget, scramble up the City Climbers Club's twenty-foot indoor rock-climbing walls (one's straight, one inclines, and one's got an overhang). Would-be spelunkers can sculpt their lats upside-down, hanging from the roof of Manhattan's only faux cave. For $15 a day, the club provides climbing shoes, a harness, and a locker. Beginners are welcome.

Or try a bracing midwinter dip in the Olympic-size indoor pool at Asphalt Green. A $15 plunge gets you a locker; a towel; and access to the lap lanes, the sauna, and the juice bar. The pool is open to nonmembers on weekday mornings and all day on weekends.

Believe it or not, even tennis can be cheap. For the best deal, make a lunch date at Midtown Tennis. On weekday afternoons, an hour will set you and a friend back $18 each. And if you can arrange for doubles, it's only $9 per person. They'll rent you a racket for an additional $7.

Kensington Stables, 51 Caton Place, Brooklyn (718-972-4588); City Climbers Club, 533 W. 59th St. (974-2250); Asphalt Green, 1750 York Ave., at 91st St. (369-8890); Midtown Tennis, 341 Eighth Ave., at 27th St. (989-8572).

Picks of the Week

Kristen Ashlyn Boutique is clearing out all its fashionable fall and winter styles for day and evening at 30 to 75 percent off the usual prices. Designers include Blumarine, Rebecca Dannenberg, Anna Molinari, and Daryl K at prices from $125 to $900. Sizes 2-12. 1122 Third Ave., near 65th St. (717-0907); A.E., M.C., V., checks; Mon.-Thurs. 11-7, Fri.-Sat. 11-5; 1/11-1/31.

Soho Picture Framing has a stash of about 1,000 picture and mirror frames on sale for 60 to 80 percent off retail, from $8 for a black metal poster frame to $85 for a huge maple style. Stock is in varying condition and sizes range from 8 by 10 inches to to 60 by 105 inches. 568 Broadway, at Prince St., Room 103B (431-5600); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Sat. noon-6; 1/11-1/20.

Joovay, a SoHo source for top European lingerie like La Perla and Lise Charmel, is putting most fall-winter styles on sale. Bras, were up to $120, now $50 each. Sleepwear is half off the original price: A Christies silk-and-lace chemise, was $170, now $85. 436 W. Broadway (431-6386); A.E., M.C., V.; daily, noon-7; 1/11-1/31.

Porthault, the famed French luxury-linens company, is clearing out a large selection of stock to make room for the new spring collection. Most items are now 40 to 50 percent off original prices: a queen sheet set with fleur-de-lis embroidery, was $620, now $375; a printed terry hand towel, was $64, now $32. 18 E. 69th St. (688-1660); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Fri. 10-5:30; 1/11-1/15.

ALWAYS A DEAL
Give Yourself a Lift

If you're dreaming of gstaad but your bank account's already seen an avalanche, gear up for the Scandinavian Ski Shop's more economical mountain escape. For $58, the store provides transportation to and from the Catskills' Hunter Mountain, as well as a lift ticket (equipment rental is an extra $13). Buses leave from the shop at 7 a.m. on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays and return the same evening. Trips are run every winter from Thanksgiving through March, and reservations are suggested. 40 W. 57th St. (757-8524).


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