Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Real Cost of Your Gym Membership

I love joining a gym! I think it's fun to go workout and I actually enjoy those monster kick-your-butt cardio machines, even the stairmaster. But last year I took a good hard look at our fitness expenses and decided in favor of canceling to replace with the physical labor of tending a garden, here's why:
  • The cost of our "family" membership was $75/month even though I was the only one working out.
  • We were spending about $3.50 round trip on gas for EACH visit to the gym (we live about 10 miles away)
  • We were spending an extra 45 minutes on travel time and signing in/out of the childcare for each visit
  • The REAL cost each month was more like $130

Once we replaced that time spent at the gym with working outside in our garden, this is what we found:
  • We were still getting a great workout, maybe better--try tilling all of that soil and shoveling two truckloads of dirt to fill your garden beds!
  • The cost of seeds, soil and even raised beds was still less than we were paying for our gym membership-plus the beds are a one-time purchase so this year there is hardly any expense at all.
  • We grew tons of fruits and vegetables, saving us hundreds of dollars! Strawberries alone, we picked $77 worth (based on the price at our local u-pick strawberry farm, we used their old buckets to measure) plus gas to get there and back (45 minutes away).
  • You can still grow food even if you don't know anything about gardening, just get some good dirt and throw some seeds in-you will be sure to get something!
  • Our kids have learned so much about planting and harvesting food, and it's been a great learning experience for them.

Considering the money we are no longer spending to go to the gym plus the money we've saved by growing some of our own food, I've calculated we are saving somewhere between $1,800-$2,200 this year alone. We did have the initial spending of $500 on 10 raised beds, but if you don't have sandy soil like we do then you may not need to make this purchase.

Now let's compare the difference over ten years. After ten years of having a gym membership I would have spent around $15,600 and have nothing to show for it. After ten years of gardening I will have SAVED about $20,000, served my family more fresh/organic fruits and veggies and will still have the garden beds, tools and knowledge learned over that time. I will also have given my kids two gifts: the skills to grow their own food and quality time spent working together as a team. (This past weekend we planted all 10 beds, 100 herb pots and built a mini-greenhouse and they were so excited to help shovel, carry, plant and now look for the sprouts to come up). If your goal is to get in shape, you will achieve this either way if you truly devote the same amount of time to working in your garden as you were to working out at the gym.

*Disclaimer: when my daughter was an infant, my son was 18 months and my husband was often out-of state on business trips, I NEEDED that gym membership for sanity reasons. More often than not, I would head to the sauna instead of the treadmill and take a short nap out of exhaustion and the desire to sit without anyone climbing on me. If you have small kids and your gym membership is your break time, please ignore everything I just said and go take a nap!

1 comment:

  1. With three little guys the gym is my haven!! Where else can I drop off my kids for 2 hours, burn 1000 calories and get an uninterrupted hot shower??!! That being said, we enjoy having a garden too. I can't wait to get it started this year and hope it does well, we've had soil problems before. Looks like your garden was great! Wish me luck.