This is a post from Make Love, Not Debt staff blogger, Abby.
Kanye has his workout plan, and I have mine. Guess which one involves spending as little money as possible? (Hint: Only one of us has only the vaguest idea what “bottle service” entails.) One of the (clearly) many areas in which I’m loathe to spend money is in my fitness. This isn’t because I don’t value it – I make a concerted effort to exercise a number of times a week, eat well, get my heart rate up, etc. – but rather because if I can find a way to do it cheaply or for free, I will choose that method every single time.
Now that I live in housing that has a gym in the basement (a hastily thrown-together gym with a few broken treadmills, but a gym nonetheless) it’s a little easier. If it’s cold or gross outside, I can head downstairs and log some time on the treadmill or stationary bike. Sometimes the TV down there even works! But even before I had that option, and sometimes in spite of it, I tried (and still do) to find ways to work out for free, or almost-free. When we lived in our last apartment (in the pre-free-housing days), I joined a gym for a few months, after which I couldn’t stomach the thought of spending money to work out when I knew I could suck it up and create a home exercise regimen that was totally sufficient. Instead, I went running outside when the weather permitted, and used a Jillian Michael’s video inside when it didn’t, always hoping that the downstairs neighbor wouldn’t hate me for doing all of those jumping jacks.
Even now, slightly more flush with cash and with some more time on my hands, I find it hard to justify spending money on exercise. There is an adorable, lovely yoga studio down the street that I pass by with some frequency. Looking in on the people in the downstairs tea shop, serenely sipping their Moroccan mint and chai following their workouts, I’ve thought to myself, “Self, you should take a yoga class!” And then I think to myself, “Self, you have a yoga video at home, and lots of tea, and you do not need to spend $15 on a class and then sit somewhere else drinking something just as good as what you have at home.” So I walk on home, do some sun salutations in my apartment, and drink some peppermint tea in my pajamas. Occasionally I look at the studio’s schedule, just to torture myself, and to reaffirm my inability to spend money on exercise.
This isn’t to say this method works for everyone. Some people need that motivation of cash spent in order to exercise. “The only way I can get myself off the couch and into some workout clothes is if I know I’m wasting $100 a month if I don’t,” they say. While I do think that these people need to reassess what it is that motivates them (because honestly, can you not train yourself to get off the couch for yourself, and not for potentially wasted money?), as the wife of someone who would literally rather stab out his own eyes than go for a run, I can understand that compulsion. I just don’t share it. I’m more of the “The only way I can get myself off the couch is through terrible quantities of guilt and the knowledge that I spent $12 on that Pilates video” variety.
What kind of budget do you have for exercise? Do you need to spend money in order to work out?
image: Maria Ly