Putting Myself on a Health and Fitness Budget

I love to purchase exercise equipment, workout DVDs and specialty shakes and foods.  Last year, I spent an average of $155.00 per month on my health and fitness products.  I do not regret any of these purchases because I am healthy and even lost ten pounds last year.  I get bored easily and trying new products helps to keep me motivated to exercise and eat right.

I admit that spending $1860 last year on health and fitness products may seem high to some people.  In my defense, I am a tightwad in other areas of my life and I do not spend much on clothing, cell phone plans, fancy coffees, movies, eating out and I do not smoke or have any medications that I need to purchase.

Staying healthy will always be a high priority for me, but this year, I made a new financial savings goal.  I want to save $300.00 more per month than what I did last year.  I have Christmas funds, emergency funds and retirement funds that need more cash.  After reading, “Start Late, Finish Rich: A No-Fail Plan for Achieving Financial Freedom at any Age” by David Bach, I decided that his advice of saving an extra $10.00 per day is very doable for me.

After reviewing all household bills and expenses, I decided that my health and fitness spending is to get a budget reduction this year and these are the changes that I made: 

Saving Money on Specialty Health Foods

Shakes - I love drinking protein and meal replacement shakes in the morning.  For a few months last year, I was spending over $120.00 for a one month supply of a meal replacement shake.  I loved drinking it as it is loaded with healthy ingredients.  However, I admit that I did cringe each time that I deducted the $120.00 out of my check register.  I no longer purchase that product.  This year, I bought a huge bag of protein powder that has 75 servings for $50.00.  Granted, it may not contain all of the vitamins and healthy ingredients of the $120.00 shake mix, but I still get my vitamins from the foods that I eat and I take a vitamin pill each day.

Specialty Food Items – My kitchen cupboards are filled with bags of coconut flour, flaxseed, organic oats and quinoa.  These are all healthy foods, but since I do not like to cook, I do not use these products very often.  I have a history of throwing away a lot of my specialty foods because they expired.  This year, I have discovered the bulk foods section at my local supermarket.  Now, when a recipe calls for an ingredient that I don’t have, I check the bulk foods section first.  I just buy the amount that I need, whether it’s two tablespoons or 1 cup.  I am saving money and not wasting food.

Saving Money on Exercise

Workout DVDs – Last year I spent about $500.0Workout CollectionCredit: Diana Poisson0 on new workout programs.  I workout 5 days a week and I love to mix my workouts up so that I do not get bored.  But after taking inventory of all of my exercise programs that I have accumulated over the past 20 years, I could probably do a different workout every day for a year.  I can also supplement what I have with borrowing exercise DVDs from the library or by streaming workouts from the Internet.

Activity Monitors

For Christmas 2011, I received a BodyMedia armband so that I could track my physical activity and calorie burns.  I wore it constantly for the first few months of receiving it, but gradually as the year went on, I wore it less and less because it irritated my arm.  I loved reading my reports on how well I slept or how many calories I burned that day, but since I got to the point where I was hardly using it, I could no longer justify paying for the monthly subscription to access my data.  I cancelled that subscription and am saving $7.00 per month.  It doesn’t sound like much, but if I am not using it, I am wasting my money.

I know that there are other devices available that do not require a monthly charge and I may request one for my birthday.  However, for now, I can tell if I am getting good workout in by doing a 6 second pulse count or by other cues such as how sweaty I am or how sore my muscles are the next day.

I have met my goal to save $10.00 per day because I found other expenses that I was able to reduce or eliminate.  But I did not eliminate my health and fitness budget completely as I didn’t feel that was good for my well-being.  Along with my Christmas, emergency and retirement savings accounts, I now have a “Diana Personal” savings account.  I put $80.00 a month into it.  So, the next time I want to buy a $120.00 bag of shake mix, purchase a new exercise DVD or renew my BodyMedia subscription, I just check my personal savings account and if the funds are there, I can make the purchase knowing that I am still making my other savings goals.