1 Tinkerbell Half Marathon Registration — $199 (early bird pricing)
1 new pair of running shoes — $110
1 new sports bra — $60
1 plane ticket from Detroit to Orlando — $288
Hotel (2 nights) — $300
Food, drinks, and souvenirs while in Florida — $150
Running your dream half marathon — priceless….maybe….But if you had to put a price on it, closer to to $1107.
I don’t know about you but those numbers are steep to me. Like can’t stomach it steep. I’d love to do a Disney marathon someday, but until then here is how I afford my fitness pursuits.
- Budget, budget, budget. Budgets are not sexy or fun. They are boring and to quote my sister “mean”. But they are great tools to save and reach your financial goals! (If you’ve never made a budget before check out this guide to budgeting from Dave Ramsey.) Which is really great! Create a category in your budget for fitness. Look back at your previous spending for a few months or a year and try to come up with a reasonable amount to spend on fitness activities. Include space for gym memberships, fitness dvds, equipment, running shoes, and workout clothes in your budget. Then set a monthly amount you want to spend on fitness pursuits.
- Lucy is a 24 year old office manager. She lives alone and has a gym membership at a local 24 hour gym. She likes running when it’s warm and wants to complete one half marathon and and 3-5 5Ks during the spring and summer. Her gym costs 19.99 a month. Her race fees would be $50 (local half marathon early entry), and $100 (four $25 local or fun races). Add in the cost of new running shoes at $100 and maybe a couple random fitness or yoga studio classes for $30. So her budget for Fitness would be $35 a month total. She could use a sinking fund, envelope system, or just save the excess month to month to pay for bigger purchases.
- Jenny is a mom to two young children ages 1 and 3. She is a stay at home mom who works out at home with fitness dvds and in her neighborhood, running and walking. She likes to use Beachbody Challenge packs and workout programs when they go on sale. Her budget would look like: 2 Challenge packs a year (at $140 a piece), running shoes ($110), and 3 local races of varying distances ($100). Her monthly budget would be $40.
- Kara is a working mom and a Crossfit junkie. She goes to “the box” 3-4 times a week. She pays $90 a month for her membership. She also enjoys recreational hiking on the weekends and taking her kids on family bike rides. For this reason we’ll include a pair of trail shoes ($75) and assume she already has a bike/helmet. Let’s round her monthly budget and call it an even $100.
There is nothing wrong with spending more or less on your fitness budget. As long as you’re not defaulting on your loan payments to make it to the barre studio, it’s okay if you have fitness as a higher budget category based on your priorities and income. But just being aware of how much and what you want to spend your money on is key!
2. Save money using these tips:
- Early bird discounts are one of the best ways to save on race fees. Decide early and pay less!
- Once you’ve been properly fitted for a running or sport shoe, you can shop around online and in person for the best deal on your favorite brand.
- Get to know your local running store sales cycles. Mine always has a big sidewalk sale in February and it’s a great time to get awesome shoes at a lower price!
- Barter and trade services to get discounted or free fitness classes and gym memberships. Some gyms or classes may be looking for help with childcare, laundry, or other assistant duties in exchange for discounted rates. Don’t be afraid to ask!
- Use local resources like the library to checkout fitness dvds and your local Rec Center for low price fitness classes.
- Try a free class before committing to a full package. Be sure the class jives with you before you plunk down your hard cash for a bigger commitment.
3. Ask for fitness related gifts! There is a reason I make all those awesome gift guides for fitness fanatics…I LIKE receiving fitness clothes, shoes, gadgets, and accessories for my birthday, Christmas, Mother’s Day…basically anytime a present is appropriate.
4. Package your big fitness experiences with vacations. Last year I was in St. Louis for a family vacation on the same day as one of their big half marathons! I was kicking myself for not doing a little more research and getting to run such an awesome city! While the Run Disney example above may seem high for “just a race” you could easily make it a family or personal vacation. Just plan to stay longer after the race(or come earlier) and enjoy some sights, fun, and relaxation post racing.
5. Pair up! A gym membership for a family or couple generally costs less per person than if you pay the individual price. So it’s worth it to try and get your spouse on board! In the same way travel costs go down if you carpool and you and a friend or family member can share a fitness dvd program. If you have a workout buddy you are also less likely to flake on your fitness goals which ultimately means you don’t waste your money on classes, memberships or programs that you quit within a few weeks time. Truly the buddy system is an invaluable tool to keep your fitness goals and finances in check.
With a little bit of effort affordable fitness is not out of reach! There are ways to make your dollars stretch within your financial goals and resources.
How do you save money on your fitness goals and activities? What do you splurge on?