Working out and staying active is one of the best things you can do for your health. Exercising regularly can help reduce your risk of developing chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease. But getting in your steps can be expensive if you do it at a traditional gym.
Gym memberships cost an average of $58 per month. But if you live in an expensive city or want to go to a high-end gym, you may have to spend $100 to $200 per month on a membership, plus the cost of gas to get there.
I live in a rural area, so the nearest gym is about a 30-minute drive. The way gas costs are rising, it’s not sustainable to drive 30 miles every time I want to work out. But luckily I already have a home gym in my spare bedroom I can use anytime I want for free. Here’s how I’ve saved money by investing in exercise equipment.
I Spent Under $1,000 on My Whole Gym Setup
In the summer, it’s easy to stay active since I live out in the country. There are lots of trails and backroads I can explore on my bike to get some fresh air and exercise. But in the winter when it’s ten degrees outside and there’s two feet of snow on the ground, I have to work out indoors.
That’s why I decided to invest in a home gym setup instead of spending money on a gym membership. I spent $200 on a stationary bike for myself and $300 on a treadmill for my partner. I also purchased a punching bag, a kettlebell, and a few different sizes of weights. I bought everything from Amazon and spent under $1,000, so I’ll probably break even on my investment in under a year.
When exercise machines are this cheap, it doesn’t make sense to pay a gym to use their equipment. You’ll probably break even on the cost of the workout gear you buy in a year or two. After that, it’s pure savings!
Now I Don’t Need to Pay for a Gym Membership or Gas
As I mentioned above, the closest gym is about half an hour away from my house. If I didn’t have my home gym, I’d have to spend $40 per month on a membership, plus $8 in gas every time I wanted to work out. I usually exercise five times per week, so I’d have to pay a whopping $160 per month in gas just to exercise at the gym. To me, that seems like a waste.
With that being said, I’m a huge proponent of investing in your health. So if you like taking workout classes or exercising on different machines for variety, a gym membership may be worth spending your money on. But for me, there’s no difference between working out at the gym and sweating it out at home. So I decided to invest in an exercise bike (my machine of choice) and save the $200 per month I would’ve spent on a gym membership and gas.
I Don’t Spend Money on Workout Clothes
When I used to work out at a public gym, I felt pressure to look presentable and wear nice workout clothes. I bought a pair of Nike sneakers and shopped at Target for cute workout gear.
Now that I exercise at home where no one can see me, I don’t care about my appearance. I usually wear pajamas or whatever clothes I have lying around—after all, they’re just going to get sweaty. This is yet another way working out at home helps me save money.
I Work Out More Often
Back when I paid for a gym membership, I actually worked out less than I do now. Some people say investing in a gym membership motivates them to work out because they want to get their money’s worth. But I’ve found it’s easier to gather the motivation to work out when my exercise machine is located just a few steps away in my spare bedroom.
Having to drive to the gym at the end of a long day was inconvenient and tiring. So I often found myself making excuses for why I couldn’t go, such as bad weather.
From what I’ve heard, this is a pretty common experience. Many Americans purchase gym memberships and never go, or only work out infrequently. Studies have shown that 67% of gym memberships aren’t used at all, which is like throwing money down the drain.
I get more money and use out of my home gym setup than I ever got out of my monthly gym membership, so it was money well spent.
Do you work out at home or at the gym? How do you save money on workout costs? Let me know in the comments section below!
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Vicky Monroe is a freelance personal finance and lifestyle writer. When she’s not busy writing about her favorite money saving hacks or tinkering with her budget spreadsheets, she likes to travel, garden, and cook healthy vegetarian meals.