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Three Reasons Why You Can’t Afford a Gym Membership

Why you can't afford a gym membership.

There is that platitude, money cannot buy you happiness but in this decade, that saying may no longer carry the weight it once did. We all make a financial investment on items that bring us some form of happiness; whether that be a delicious burger, a limited release pale ale from your local brewery, or that sweet pair of pants from that boutique company that keeps re-targeting you on Instagram. But too often we are short sited with how we spend money and the happiness it truly brings us. We often settle for those cheaper purchases that bring us instant gratification and overlook the often higher priced investments that will bring us long-term satisfaction.  

Take a gym membership for example. Investing in a good gym, especially one that provides structured classes like Jiu Jitsu, Boxing, Kickboxing, and Circuit Training isn’t always cheap, but it does not mean that you can’t afford it. You probably can, but the way you spend money is preventing you from doing so. Don’t fret though, you’re not alone here. Many Americans struggle with making ancillary purchases that don’t yield any long-term benefit (which is why a lot of us are broke, out of shape and unhappy).

If you’re willing to ask yourself the hard questions, you may find there are areas of your life that you are prioritizing over others and are hindering you from making the investment in your body and health. And if you’re afraid to do the digging on your own, we’ve done some digging ourselves and found three reasons you may not be able to afford a gym membership (but also three reasons why you *can* afford a gym membership)

You Eat Out More Than You Should

The average American spend on food and alcohol according to Food Navigator and Brewbound was about $2942 per year.[A year in food: Survey reveals millennials’ eating and spending habits](https://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Article/2019/08/28/A-year-in-food-Survey-reveals-millennials-eating-and-spending-habits). [Survey Measures How Much Consumers Spend on Beer Annually | Brewbound](https://www.brewbound.com/news/survey-measures-how-much-consumers-spend-on-beer-annually) This breaks down to about $245 dollars per month (which is a lot!). To add a comparison, the average Kickboxing gym membership can run between $100 - $150 a month. The good news here is that you don’t have to opt out of dining out completely. A delicious burger and beer after a hard week of work and training isn’t a bad way to reward yourself. As a matter of fact, you should treat yourself once in a while! But don’t let these little luxuries take precedence over your physical and financial health. Maybe prioritize cooking at home instead of going out for 3-4 times a week. And if you don’t know how to cook, now is a great time to learn.  

You’re A Slave To Appearances

Re-targeting is a thing and marketing, especially through social media, seems to tug at our emotions more than ever. You’re thumbing through images and suddenly, an ad appears from that company with that influencer you follow wearing that cool sweater you’ve been wanting for the last month. You envision yourself on that beach in that sweater feeling the soft cotton against your arms. Without a second thought, you whip out your debit card and pull the trigger on that $60 sweater that will most likely be 50% off in another month.  

You’re not alone here. We all want to look good and often, we prioritize this over actually feeling good. We are probably boring you with average at this point but to add one more, the average American spends about $161 a month ([How Much Should I Spend on Clothing? Here’s the Budget to Use](https://financialbestlife.com/how-much-should-i-spend-on-clothing/) on clothing which comes out to $1932 a year (which again… is a lot!).  

Clothing is a necessity, (unless you’re an nudist. And if you are, a kickboxing or jiu jitsu gym may not be the place for you) but next time you decide to pull the trigger on a sweater or a new pair of kicks, ask yourself… do I really *need* them? Is it worth the $100 dollars to feel that false sense of bravado from that flannel that makes you look like your rugged-ass, war vet grandpa? Or could that money go towards actually learning how to box like your rugged-ass, war vet granpda?

You Don’t Make Enough Money

This a hard truth for some of us. Life is hard, bills are expensive, and a gym membership just ain’t in the budget. But this does not mean that the pursuit has to stop there. Where there is a will, there is a way. If you want it bad enough to where you need to take a second job, do it. Often times you can also work out a deal with the staff where the gym will subsidize part of your membership costs in exchange for a service like assisting with kids programs, content creation (if you have a camera, or a wordsmith, you can offer to help with their social media account, blogging, etc…) or see what type of flexibility they can offer with the monthly cost. 

Money itself is not the source of happiness, but it is a great catalyst to bring more fulfillment to your life and remember, it does not help to be short-sighted with it. If you want your investments to have a real impact in your life, consider playing the long game. The benefits you yield from paying for a good gym almost always outlast the more momentary purchases. Invest in your health well being instead of how you want to appear to society. You don’t need excess clothing and you don’t always need to treat your friends to a round of drinks.  

By Richard DeRobles - March 11, 2020
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