My husband and I gave up our gym membership when we started tightening the household budget several years ago. It was the first thing to go, as a matter of fact, because it was the most expensive item of spending that we had control over. It’s not as though we couldn’t work out still because we do have some exercise equipment at home that was given to us for Christmas. The home equipment is limiting, however, and without weights our home gym is pretty inadequate. We missed the gym membership a lot, and although it made us sad to let it go, it certainly helped toward paying off some debts.
As a side effect of the gym membership being terminated, our health levels went down. The expenses may have gotten lighter, but the body weights got heavier! Living in Alaska where extreme weather during much of the year prohibits us from just getting out exercise outdoors, gym access really is a necessity for us. We stopped eating as much healthy food when we were no longer going to the gym, and eventually used our home exercise machines less.
For our wedding anniversary present this year we got each other a gift: we reinstated our gym membership. It is quite expensive to our overall budget, I’ll admit, and that made it a very difficult decision that we pondered for quite some time. In time, reality hit and the facts had to be dealt with:
- Our bodies are our most precious resource
- Nothing is more important than our health
- We were not treating our bodies with respect by not keeping them in good shape
- We couldn’t be healthy when we were not following healthy habits
Sometimes expensive things can actually be quite frugal. For example, our mounting health neglect was leading to real health problems (high body fat, risk for heart disease and high blood pressure, lowered immune systems, difficulty being mobile, having a hard time participating in physical activities, and lack of energy). Health problems are not only bad for your body and your life, but are terribly expensive as well! Adding up the doctor visits, over the counter medicines to treat aches and pains, and the loss of opportunities to do activities with friends and family, it can be said that being out of shape and unhealthy is hard on your finances as well as your well-being.
Our gym membership may seem expensive each month when we pay the monthly fee. However, the benefits far outweigh the cost when it is put into perspective. Even though it kills me to write that check every month (it really does), I keep reminding myself that it is money well spent to have strong healthy bodies. It turns out that keeping ourselves healthy enough to avoid all the bad effects of poor health is quite frugal after all!
At times, something which seems expensive at the outset can save you money (or time or energy) and improve your quality of life when you weigh all the factors involved.
What about you – have you ever had a large expense that turned out to be frugal?