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Before you read the post, I just want to clarify that I want Mr. FAF to be physically fit and healthy (being sexy doesn’t hurt either).
I would never discourage him from working out or investing in his health, but it needs to be within reason.
And let me explain to you why I don’t think Mr. FAF spending $400/year on gym membership is a good idea.
Before we started dating, Mr. FAF told me he worked out twice or three times a week.
After we decided to give relationships a shot, Mr. FAF started getting more proactive about staying fit by going to the gym every day.
A long episode of hip, leg, and back pain put his regimen on hold.
But overall, Mr. FAF has become increasingly aware of how important it is to stay healthy, especially since he’s in his mid 30s.
He said that it can save us lots of money that would otherwise be spent on doctor visits and medical expenses.
(Fun fact: I know Mr. FAF is jealous of other men when he takes his workout up a notch.
He wants to show me that he’s physically strong enough to protect me and be with me (his logic).
One time Mr. FAF was slacking off on his workout.
However, once I showed him my new photoshopped profile picture on Facebook, he said that he needed to keep fit and decided to stay at the gym for two hours that day.)
When Mr. FAF was in grad school, he would go to the gym at his school for free (or it was already included in the annual activity fees whether he went or not).
Now that Mr. FAF works full time, he usually leaves the house at 5:45 AM, drive to work, works out for 1.5 hours or so at the gym in his office building, takes a shower, studies, does his work, and drives home. That gym comes free of charge since it’s for his company’s employees.
Mr. FAF gets the daily workout he needs without having to pay extra for a gym near our house. We also save money on water since Mr. FAF now showers at home only on the weekends.
Mr. FAF’s workplace is a 50-minute drive from our house one way (1 hour 40 minutes both ways).
He can work out in his office building on weekdays, but it’s out of the question on the weekends.
His solution so far has been not working out at all on Saturdays and Sundays.
Sometimes Mr. FAF would drive 25 minutes to his friend’s apartment complex to work out and catch up with him.
It’s kind of funny to me that he would drive almost an hour just to run on the treadmill.
I’ve suggested he run around the neighborhood or buy some light-weight gym equipment to work out at home, but he said that he only wants to run on the treadmill. I suggested we buy a treadmill, but Mr. FAF brushed that idea aside.
He had thought about going to the gym nearby (LA Fitness) but gave up on the idea because it was too expensive.
The initiation fee is $99, and he will need to pay $24.99/mo or $398.88 in total for the first year. And he will only use the gym on the weekends or 8 days/mo on average.
However, an incident happened last week that really pushed us to rethink that expensive gym membership.
Related: How To Be Lazy, Frugal & Happy
A change of plan
Mr. FAF happened to eat too much last weekend (we had Korean BBQ) and decided to shed some weight. He drove 25 minutes to his friend’s apartment complex but couldn’t find any parking spot.
A one-hour drive and some frustration later, Mr. FAF told me he wanted to join the gym and asked me what I thought. I have to admit I was not fond of the idea. But I didn’t want him to think I was penny-pinching either, so I said yes and let him decide for himself.
After doing some research on the fee and other gyms, he became hesitant again.
Getting impatient and not wanting him to burn gas unnecessarily on the weekends, I went on Amazon, searched ‘treadmill’ and found some decent ones for roughly $200. I sent Mr. FAF the links and waited for his response.
I also sent him a picture of a home-made gym set up by Joel at FI180. Mr. FAF was stoked.
But the dilemma didn’t end there. Our house is just tiny. We made the mistake of accumulating and buying too much free and used furniture that our rooms are just packed.
The seemingly beautiful nightstands can’t contain too many items and just take up space. The $400 L-shaped desk takes up one third of Mr. FAF’s study room, a space we wanted to put the treadmill.
Our stuff has officially owned us and dictated our decision on whether to buy something that we really need – a treadmill.
Mr. FAF did more research and found an Planet Fitness center within a 15-minute drive from our house. The monthly fee is $10 (or $120/year). It’s a saving of $280/year by switching from LA Fitness to Planet Fitness!
Thinking about this whole situation, I realized how easy it was for us to fall into the convenience trap.
Buying gym membership only for the weekends was easy. All we had to do was swipe our card and have Mr. FAF show up at a nice-looking gym only two days a week.
However, facing an expensive decision and not fully believing in its necessity forced us to take a step back and consider cheaper alternatives.
I know many of us like going to the gym because of the atmosphere and the companionship, and that’s a totally different story.
But knowing that Mr. FAF is not so keen on making new friends at at gym or anywhere and hearing that his only need is a treadmill, I felt that we should go for a cheaper solution than $400 gym membership.
We found a solution that works for us. And I’m glad Mr. FAF stayed open minded and did his due diligence to find a much cheaper gym for $10/mo (although I still prefer that he jogged around the neighborhood for free instead).