This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.
I spend around $45 every month on a gym membership. This is one of the main “frivolous” things that I spend money on continuously (other than golf in the summer) and I would say that I really get my money’s worth. The main reason that I actually use my gym membership is that the gym is less than a two minute walk from my office (right across the road). I go there to lift heavy weights and sweat a bit, something I don’t do a whole lot of sitting a desk looking at numbers all day.
If I changed jobs I would probably drop my membership at the gym, as I know I wouldn’t find the time before or after work to make it to the gym. I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t have access to a gym and may want to get in better shape or lose some weight. So here are some things that I would do that are low cost to get in shape.
- Walk: Everyone would benefit from going for a walk. Take your spouse/kids/dog or put on your i-pod and walk for a half-hour or more. Walking is a good time to catch up with your spouse and gets you get some sun (very beneficial) and pretty much anyone at any weight should be able to do it for a little while. Personally, I find walking much easier on my joints and much more social than running. The other benefit of walking is that it is free other than the wear on your shoes.
- Body-weight exercises: Three simple exercises – squats, pushups and pull-ups (or modified versions) can provide enough of a basic workout to provide some benefit and doesn’t require any equipment (although a doorway chin-up bar would be nice since it is better than doing pull-ups while little kids are trying to climb on the jungle-gym).
- Kettlebells: If I didn’t have access to a gym, I would buy one of these. I would mostly use this to mix up my workouts and keep things interesting. These are kind of expensive (around $80 – $100 for the weight that I would need) but on a per-use cost it works out pretty low and they can be resold for basically the same price that you buy them for (not much wear and tear can happen to a big hunk of cast-iron).
So, that’s how I would stay in shape by not using a gym, at most I think it would cost about $150 to set up and would consist of a heavy hunk of metal and a bar that I would hang in my doorway. If my gym wasn’t so convenient and such a nice change of pace in the middle of my working day, I would save the $550 per year I’m currently spending to go somewhere else to lift heavy things.
Do you go to a gym? Do you have any frugal fitness methods?