Embarking on a healthy lifestyle can be expensive and confusing. There are new workout trends, organic diets and fancy gear to keep up with – and the fads seem to come and go all too quickly. Even though in an ideal world we all would be able to get the newest and greatest, sometimes other real life #adult responsibilities and expenses get in the way (at 26 I finally bought a vacuum – it’s scary what was probably on the floor of my previous apartments).
As I was creating my 2016 budget I started to make decisions about what I would feel great about spending a little extra money on, and what could take some cuts. Below find a spend-or-save guide for inspiration on how to make wellness choices more affordable and less intimidating in your life.
Spend: Gym or running shoes
As a runner I may be biased to this as a good running shoe can prevent injury and increase performance results, but a quality shoe is important for any athlete. With every step your foot has to absorb two to three times your body weight – that’s a lot of stress from hundreds of thousands exercises done on your feet!
Also, if you exercise on a regular basis you are likely using your gym shoes more often than any other pair in your closet, which in itself makes it a valid investment. For just a little bit more justification … If you work out five times a week, that’s 260 days a year. Depending on how often you need to replace your shoes and how many shoes you need to own for different activities (determined by a number of factors) that could be some sweet shoes (or even two pairs!) for around a dollar a day.
Save: New workout classes
As much fun as it is to check out the newest workout classes and be in on the top trends, it can get expensive really quick. Instead of spending a lot on classes you aren’t sure will be a good fit, I am a huge believer in two things:
- Free Classes
- Classes with perks.
The first is relatively easy to find: Asweatlife writer Kristin Geil filled us all in on a free workout class every day in Chicago which provides a well-rounded series of courses all throughout the city. Second, it is up to you to define what “perks” are most important, but I personally love networking and free goodies. This way, even if the class wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, I still leave feeling like my money went towards a positive experience. aSweatLife’s #sweatworking events always have both of those perks.
Spend: Reliable Gym Membership
Though I try not to spend a lot on new classes, I do think it is important to invest in a gym membership that you are really excited about using. If the facility has awesome classes and an environment that you feel comfortable in, it is much more likely that it’ll get put to use. I’ve had a couple of friends insist they didn’t enjoy working out, but when they finally quit their family’s gym membership and find a place of their own, they started going on a regular basis.
Take the time to shop around and experience the gym with a free trial to see what fits your personality and interests best – and don’t feel guilty if it doesn’t work and you have to turn the sales person down, finding what feels right for you is more important!
Save: Workout Clothes
I love Lululemon leggings like the best of ’em, but realistically I can’t justify (or afford) having the whole line-up of their offerings (unfortunately). I’ve recently taken an organizational cue from fellow writer Cass Gunderson and realized I don’t need unlimited workout gear in my closet.
Instead, I’ve figured out what type of classes I do most frequently and what corresponding workout gear I really need. This way I’m less tempted to go crazy and just buy a new top because it was on sale (though, as always, I still believe in the occasional treat yo’self moment). Also, there are a lot of stores with less “high-end” options that still fill my athletic-wear needs. For example, Target has some super cute sports bras for only $20! Since I just suggested keeping only the necessary items, I am seriously fighting the temptation to get that floral print bra …
Ultimately, it is about identifying what makes you feel your best and spending your money where it makes the biggest impact on your happiness. Share below for what tricks you have for fitting fitness into your busy and young adult life!