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Not a Single Ab to Show for It

If I were any good with money, people looking to save a few bucks on a new mattress wouldn’t be the only ones visiting my blog. While I’m proud of my current financial situation, that wasn’t always the case. Though I’d like to say that I’ve drastically cut down on the number of idiotic financial decisions I’ve made over the years, I still find myself making purchases that aren’t just unnecessary, but completely useless.

A perfect example of these types of purchases presented itself just the other day while my wife and I were standing in the checkout line at a local grocery store. Somehow, a Pez dispenser featuring Gru from Despicable Me and three tubes of strawberry-flavored ChapStick made their way onto the conveyor belt. When I got home and unloaded the groceries, I was just as surprised as my wife was to find this odd assortment of items. It was as if some subconscious part of my mind said “Hey, you know what you could REALLY use right now? A dispenser full of colored sugar in the shape of a children’s movie character!

As much as I wish that was the height of my impulsive purchases, that wouldn’t be much of a story, now would it? We could point fingers all day about who put the Pez dispenser and the ChapStick on the conveyor belt (initial indications are me.), but our time would be better spent on discussing today’s disastrous money snafu – a $260/month gym membership.  

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From organized sports to club and corporate leagues to the self-proclaimed Greatest Backyard BBQ Athlete EVER (copyright pending) I have always maintained a certain level of physical activity. Can jam, horseshoes, lawn darts, bocce, cornhole, beer-pong, whiffle-ball, dominoes, slip ‘n slides, you name it – I’m your modern day Jim Thorpe.   

As you can imagine, maintaining this level of athletic excellence comes at a price – $260/month, to be exact. But, for what? I am no longer involved in competitive sports, I tend to skip a month or three of exercise at a time and I have ZERO abs to show for all the money I’ve spent.

I’ll admit it: the gym membership was overkill. As much as I tried to justify it to myself, all became clear when I ran through how much money I could have made if I had invested a single year of membership payments at a conservative 6% return over 25 years.  


That’s right. If I hadn’t been so impulsive with my purchase, I could have turned this into $13,930.71 by the time I retire. I don’t even want to think about what the numbers would be if I went back 5 or 10 years at this same monthly amount.  Do you have any idea how many t-shirts with abs printed on them I could have bought with that money???

The hardest part of the whole ordeal was holding myself accountable and accepting the reality of my financial situation. When you boil it down, there really are a lot of awesome gyms and free clubs and activities within the community that are equally as challenging and much more financially sound than a $260/month gym membership. 

Lesson Learned: At $10/month for a Planet Fitness membership and $250 of savings, the Greatest Backyard BBQ Athlete EVER is still a force to be reckoned with, Dadbod and all.

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Anyone else overdoing it with their gym membership?


Edited by Brianna Roney


  1. I really like this post: short, funny, and relatable. I don’t sign up for gyms because I know myself well enough to know that I’m not a gym person. I’ve tried the elliptical once and basically embarrassed myself on it. I’m a lot happier if I do natural exercise, like running outside. Doesn’t happen consistently, but it checks all the boxes for me: free, and makes me feel good.

    At one point my husband had two gym memberships: regular gym plus the YMCA. Well, once I came into the picture those were revisited immediately. He cut the YMCA and then he switched to a $10/month gym. Turns out the $10 gym was disgusting so he’s switched to an $80/month gym. He is super disciplined (as evidenced in his latest post), and goes 3-4 times per week no fail, and he feels good about it, so I’m alright about it. If he skipped on it a lot though, I’d definitely ask to revisit it.

    • We are all unique and have different approaches in life, right? So if we find happiness without over-doing it or (in this case – inflicting financial pain), then it must be right. Unlike Teddy Luxe, I was just not as disciplined. Feel the burn, Teddy!!

      Thanks for your thoughts, Luxe!

  2. I love weight lifting, but hate gyms. So I’ve had home gyms for the past 8 years or so. You can make a decent one with a treadmill/elliptical, yoga mat, pull-up bar, and resistance bands. Over time, it’s cheaper than a gym membership, and a huge-time saver.

    • I 100% agree and prefer weight-lifting as well. I love the home gym concept, but in a a 688 sq ft apartment, it is difficult. If I ever said to my wife, “I am going to go exercise in the other room for awhile”, I would still be in the same room that I just left. Small spaces here in NYC.

      A home gym is definitely something I will keep in mind when we make the move out to the ‘burbs.

  3. Aw, sorry about the opportunity cost there! Are you liking Planet Fitness? I am an utter and complete jellyfish when it comes to working out, so going to a physical location to work out is an obstacle for me. We’ve converted our bonus room into a home gym, where I can lift weights, run on the elliptical, and do pole fitness. We did have to buy equipment, but it’s still been cheaper and more convenient than leaving the house. 🙂

    • Planet Fitness is ok, doesn’t exactly have everything I like, but it gets the job done. They do have grape flavored tootsie-rolls at the check-in counter, so that is a plus (but negating the point of the workout).

      I like the home gym idea. Thanks for sharing, Mrs Picky Pincher!

  4. Hi Church,

    Thanks for that great post! I used to spend to much on the gym, too! I just spend 30€/month but I was actually doing only bodyweight exercises for 6 straight months! I haven’t used anything of the gym except the floor! I realized that after waking up from my ‘bill coma’. I just paid for stuff I wasn’t even using at all!

    I’m glad that you’ve found this money trap soon enough 🙂

    • Waking up from a bill coma is the worst. It’s not exactly true love and happily ever after. It’s tough love from the bill collector’s backhand across the face.

      God, I love a good financial fairy tale!

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