Have a Tight Fist and Tighter Ass.

by Rachel on August 25, 2009

So, who isn’t poor these days? And even if you aren’t poor–by some act of God–you’re probably pretending to be poor, because no one really wants to hear how you just bought plane tickets to Europe, an iPhone, and three pairs Louboutins. Sorry if you just, like, invented Twitter and are doing really well for yourself. Bad timing. No one’s happy for you.

But the good news is, money and its absence provide great motivation when it comes to working out and being healthy!

Here are some ways to benefit both your bottom lines:

First, do the math on your gym. If you pay $50 a month for a gym membership and go five times a week, that’s $2.50 a session. If you only go three times a week, it jumps to $4.17 a session. Keep that in mind that every day you don’t go, your daily cost is increasing.

Then, get your money’s worth. Now, $4 is not a terrible amount to spend on your health and fitness, but if that’s the day rate, then you better be getting a lot of bang for your buck. You wouldn’t pay more money for a smaller latte at Starbucks, so the more your gym day “costs,” the harder you should work!

Invest wisely. Lately, I weigh every financial decision so carefully, I wish I had Suze Orman on speed dial. She helps you make good investments. Do not pay for something cheap you will not use. You know this is true–look at how many “OMG great sale!” items are still hanging in your closet with the tags on. Because a crushed velvet skirt, even at 70 percent off, is still a crushed velvet skirt. The same is true for fitness. If you could buy a DVD you kind of like for $10…or a DVD you love and will use every day for $20…get the more expensive one. You could spend $50 for the Windsor Pilates system, and it could sit unused for months or you could spend $60 for four months of Weight Watchers and it could totally change your life. You can definitely find affordable equipment, DVDs, classes, and gym memberships–but when comparison shopping, pick the thing that’s most accessible and useful for you.

And if you chose the pricier option, let that extra cost be your motivation! I belong to a gym that’s double the cost of the other one in town, but the classes, machines, steam room, track, locker room, and clientele make it worth it. When I think about skipping out on a class, I remind myself that that’s what I am paying for.

Take a gamble on yourself. Even if you don’t belong to a gym, you can devote a certain amount of your monthly income to a fitness goal. Go to the bank and take out that amount in singles–say, $40. Put it in a jar. Every time you achieve your goal (a run, a class, cooking dinner at home, not eating ice cream straight from the pint standing in front of the freezer, etc.) you can have $2 back. At the end of the month, whatever you’ve earned back is yours to spend on whatever you want. Whatever is still left in the jar goes to charity. If you earn it all back, that means you’ll have done your healthy thing 20 days out of the month. Not too shabby!

Last week I was dreading the Crim; I might have skipped it entirely if I hadn’t already paid $30 for it. But the fact is, most of us are cheaper than we are lazy. So be it. When it comes to health and fitness, pay up front and then get the most bang for your buck. And, like me, keep believing that eventually this philosophy will somehow lead me to becoming very rich and skinny.

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