February 04, 2016 | By: Alan McQuarrie

Working Out the Savings: Gym versus Home Exercise Equipment

I once heard a wise man say, “treadmills get you nowhere.”  As we enter the second month of the year, it’s time to check in on your New Year’s exercise resolution.  So ask yourself, “did I get anywhere with my decision to exercise regularly?”  Experts say that those of us who make New Year’s resolutions are more likely to keep them.

Unfortunately, many people do not look at the costs of their fitness resolutions and once the January bills start to arrive, stubborn debt problems can cling to you just as much as those extra unwanted pounds. 

So what is the best way to lose weight, shrink your debt, and keep moving to your goal of physical and financial fitness?  It depends on your own personal circumstances.  There are three options that most people consider for fitness:
  1. Purchase a membership at a gym or fitness club
  2. Purchase home exercise equipment
  3. Make lifestyle choices that require greater physical activity
By now, you may have made the decision to sign a contract to join a local gym.  Some national franchises require you to sign a year-long contract that can cost up to $50.00 per month.  That’s not a bad deal if you regularly use your membership for the entire year.  However, most people start off the year with a high utilization rate but as the weather improves, they tend to drop off.  By mid-summer, they may no longer have any interest in visiting the gym but the payments still come off month after month which can add to problems with credit card debt
The second option is to buy your own equipment.  For those people with the space in their home, this can be an appealing option.  There is no on-going obligation to pay a membership fee and the equipment can last you for many years.  But for many people, by mid-summer, they are using the equipment just to hang the wet clothes fresh out of the washer. 
The third option is the most cost effective and can be the most fulfilling.  There is no cost when you decide to walk instead of driving.  Using stairs instead of elevators, standing instead of sitting, skating instead of watching TV are all ways to invest in your health without paying a cent. 
You may want to choose a combination of all three.  By purchasing a day pass at a gym instead of a one year membership, you are getting a chance to experience the benefits without the locked in costs.  By purchasing used exercise equipment on Kijiji, several months into the spring, you are taking advantage of those who paid full price but gave up on their plan.  By getting in the habit of positive lifestyle choices, you pay nothing for an opportunity to dramatically improve your personal fitness.  
Staying physically and financially fit takes discipline, planning and an ability to do things differently.  If your credit card is groaning under the weight of payments for fitness, don’t despair.  Just imagine yourself enjoying your membership this summer when all the crowds have gone.  If you need help balancing your budget,  call us at Credit Canada or your local non-profit credit counselling agency.


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