With two little ones running and crawling circles around me, my free time is limited. At nearly 3 and 9 months old and already eating me out of house and home, my budget is limited. Growing like weeds on steroids…well, you get where I’m going with this. I’m broke and have no spare time. Period.
The two biggest things that seem to work against us the most are lack of time and lack of funding to exercise. During the holiday season, it’s even harder because even the most frugal still feel the urge, if not, the obligation to give both their time and their very hard earned cash to others. Is your wallet weeping as loudly as mine is? Or can you not hear it because the wind tunnel that is your empty bank account is too loud? Yep, I’m with you there too.
So what do we do when we want to get in shape, stay in shape and preserve our fleeting sanity? We work hard for our dollars and we want to make every second of every day count. I know I certainly don’t want to waste my time or my money on gimmicks, cheap crap that make empty promises or spend a small fortune on something that doesn’t even come close to living up to its price tag. I’ve had to be very selective in what I put my fitness budget toward because a lot of the time, I have to save the money over a period of months and it has to work with my schedule and the demands of being a mom with young kids who will be going back to work in a couple of months.
Here are a few of the fitness items I have invested in that have been worth every penny spent or, in some cases, every day of waiting for it to work its way to my doorstep.
1. Treadmill: This is something I have wanted for years. Not because I like treadmills because I absolutely can’t stand them. BUT, if it’s the difference between getting a couple of miles in at 10pm on a weekend while the kids sleep or not getting any miles in, the choice is (mostly) obvious. I was VERY fortunate in that my parents gifted me their old treadmill when my dad retired and they downsized their house considerably and just didn’t have the room for it. It took over a year to get it here but it was worth the wait. I would suggest looking for a used one. It’s one of the most popular home gym items and yet it is also the most neglected so even used, you’ll probably still be getting a great machine.
2. Decent workout shoes: This one will depend on your sport of choice but for me, it’s running shoes. I save my pennies and get exactly what I need for my feet. I’ve gone the cheaper is easier route before and have only ended up with injuries and set-backs. I’d much rather spend $150 for shoes, than $500 in rehabilitation that makes me crabby for so many reasons besides the cost.
3. Compression Socks: How I missed the boat on these gems for so long, I will never know. After the toughest of workouts, I can pop these babies on and go play with my kids and feel great. Fast recovery AND still able to bend my knees? Yes please.
4. Free Weights/Resistance Bands: I have slowly added to my collection over the years and it has served me very, very well. I can do a variety of exercises or a video from home using them and get a good workout. Again, these are things you can find second hand for much, much cheaper (I used gift cards for most of mine).
5. Gift Cards: Ok, so I don’t buy myself gift cards but I do ask specifically for them for birthdays and Christmas. If there’s an item I’ve been putting money aside for but still have a ways to go, a gift card is a great way to get those last dollars saved up. I find they’re fantastic because then my family can give toward something they know I really want and not break their own banks in the process. I most often use them to get new running shoes because that’s something I need to be in the store to try on.
6. The Internet: Yes…really. It’s a no-brainer item for most of you reading this but it’s something that we’ve debated on and off about getting rid of to save money. Ultimately, the amount of involuntary withdrawal twitching from me has kept the ‘net running strong in our house and I am eternally grateful. With it, I have access to free fitness tutorials, free advice from some amazing Twitter and Blogging friends, support, and a host of other things that have been encouraging and beneficial to me both mentally and physically over the years. Don’t even get me started on Pinterest…
Your Turn: what are some of the best fitness purchases you’ve made and how long did you have to wait to get them?