Maybe I was being a little too frugal

photo by hlakhani

I think I went a little overboard with my frugality. I know, it’s hard to believe that’s possible, but hear me out.

Last week, I made the decision to join a gym. For the record, I went with the 12-month commitment at $20 a month. Because we were already paying for the membership, I didn’t want to put any extra money toward my exercise budget. Even though I was primarily jogging, I didn’t want to spend money on new sneakers. So I pulled out the old pair I’ve had for 9 years.

My feet were killing me after every work out. At first I chocked it up to being out of shape. You’re supposed to be sore at first, right?

It was particularly painful Thursday night, though. I found myself limping on my way home. When I finally took off my shoes — excuse me for being too graphic — I found that my ratty old sneakers had drawn blood. Ouch.

When Tony saw what had happened, he was angry with me. “I thought frugality was about making smart choices with your money, not depriving yourself to the point of physical pain.”

He’s right. The frugal choice would have been to shop around and find a good deal on a good pair of running shoes. I shouldn’t be spending hundreds of dollars on sneakers, but I also shouldn’t be working out with old shoes that tear up my feet and threaten damage to my knees and other joints because they don’t offer proper support.

Last night, Tony and I went to several shoe stores. We found a reasonably priced pair of running shoes on clearance for $40 and used some of the Christmas money that I was going to put toward my gym membership to pay for them.

I was concerned about investing too much in working out because I was afraid of not sticking to it. Tony made a good point, though. Even if I don’t stick to it, a good pair of sneakers is a good investment. Most importantly, it’s an investment we can afford right now.

12 thoughts on “Maybe I was being a little too frugal

  1. Ken

    I’m always astonished that people will join a gym to go jogging. After all, you can jog for free outside. To get the most out of your gym membership, use the gym to work on resistance training. To get the most out of your jogging, run outside.

    Also, if you take the time to learn proper running technique, like POSE Running or Chi Running, you won’t even need running shoes, and you wont have to worry about damaging your knees.

  2. Karen

    Ken – Thanks for your comments. I’m strength training and using the elliptical trainer, as well. I’m also taking advantage of my gym’s personal trainer.

    I want to be able to work out every day and make it habit. Outdoor jogging depends on the weather, and this time of year outdoor jogging usually isn’t an option.

    I also don’t live in the safest neighborhood, and I’m not comfortable jogging in the early morning and late evening hours when it’s dark. Those are the only times during the day when I’m not at work, so paying for a gym membership was the best option for me.

  3. Abigail

    Living in a place like Seattle, I have to agree that not everyone can jog in any weather. I certainly was never up for it, back when I jogged. It’s hard to get yourself up for a walk when it’s pouring, even when you have a good umbrella!

    But I’m glad your husband snapped you back to reality! You should never use old, worn out shoes! If you’re that worried about frugality, be sure your shoes are used only for workouts and allow 24 hours in between wearings. (This allows your shoes to dry out completely, which lessens breakdown.)

    I will caution though, when you say you’re ‘taking advantage’ of your gym’s personal trainer… Find out what the exact certifications are. Granted, you probably don’t have health conditions like I do, but I was horrified to find out how poorly trained most PTs are. I lucked into one at a gym that has actual degrees. Most PTs have Apex certification (a few hour class with a test afterwards) and not much else. Many gyms hire PTs who are more salesmen who know something about fitness than vice versa. I’ve found this to be true, even at really nice gyms. (I had a rather large friend who was training with someone. He had her cutting calories big time, including having just a yogurt for breakfast. At my urging her to be careful, she tested him and said, “Well, why even bother with the yogurt?” He basically told her great, if you can skip it, do.)

    Try to find someone who has a degree in sports medicine or kineiosology or something that tells you (s)he actually knows the body’s limits. I’ve learned a huge amount from my trainer, but that’s because he had a double major from a four-year university, plus some specialized training from a technical school.

    I’ll get off the soap box now, I just get really annoyed that these people charge (or give you a couple free sessions then nag for you to buy) such crazy prices when they often don’t know much more than you do. It’s great to get some guidance so you have the right form on strength training. Beyond that, seek out someone who definitely knows their stuff!

  4. Ken

    I agree that if you don’t feel safe running outside in your neighborhood, then that is a really good reason to run at the gym.

    Weather can be a good reason also. However, I live in the New England, and the only thing that prevents me from running outside is slick ice or a heavy snow storm. I would much rather deal with the elements, than deal with monotony of a treadmill. But I think I’m clearly in the minority on this point.

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  7. Kacie

    Ack! I’m glad you got some new shoes. In high school, I was on the track and cross country teams. Good running shoes were the one thing that money was no object on. I had to get a great pair or risk injury. My favorite brand is Brooks, and they’re typically in the $100s, but whatevers.

  8. Stephanie

    I so agree with Tony!! I started being frugal last year this time just so I could stop spending on food and shampoo and pay for a personal trainer- I have been paying alot of money for that, but it has been so worth it- no more high blood pressure, high blood sugar, or high cholesterol. It has been the best money I have spent. I too had to get some new running shoes- luckily I received a $60.00 rebate and they were on sale for $69.99. Keep up the good work!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Stephanie’s last blog post..Yankee Candles 75% Off!

  9. Funny about Money

    LOL! Bet you can’t beat this one: I kept on wearing the hiking shoes my puppy chewed up until after the dog died…at the age of 13. No one, but NO ONE, is that cheap! :-D

    I’m one of the types who can’t stand gyms…but our weather is mild here nine months a year, and the other three months, the pool is highly swimmable. If you live in a place where you have to deal with ice and snow, it would be well worth paying for access to indoor running and other exercise opportunities. Just remember to take those vitamin D supplements.

    Funny about Money’s last blog post..Win 6 months of the W. St. J.

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  11. Lori

    The cheapest workout you can get is “Less is more” it’s a workout on Exercise tv, cost is very cheap. You should give that a try, I use it often 3 times a week . It’s winter here in New Zealand and dame cold who would want to go to the gym? I did it from home, one of my friend’s said to me “wow your legs are amazing they look and feel strong!” I was glad to hear that after doing workouts at home and keeping warm also having nice shower after towards. :-)
    .-= Lori´s last blog ..Recovering from unhappy relationships =-.

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