Was My Temporary Gym Membership ‘’Worth It’’?

Two months ago I decided to sign up for a gym membership under a discount my professional association offers. I was looking forward to working out again, beyond my normal walks. I was also looking to lose some weight and thought it would give me a little “me” time.

The membership followed my association’s fiscal year which was November to November. When I signed up in August I was only committing to three months. Enough time to try everything out, see if it would work with my schedule and if it would be worth investing in for the full year come November.

money free gym trial

I admit going into this trial period I had my doubts. I have a very tight schedule and the only time I can go to the gym would be when my daughter was in bed at night or when I could manage to get away on the weekends. I also had to factor in when my husband is away for work and if I’m being honest the nights I just can’t or simply don’t want to go (we all have them). In order to make it ‘’worth’’ my money I wanted to get to the gym a minimum of three times per week.

Getting to the gym three times per week was really difficult. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to, or wasn’t trying to I just found it hard. More nights than not, kiddo wouldn’t go to bed on time and by the time I finally got her down and was dressed to go it would be 9pm. Given that the gym starts it’s shut down at 945 and I have a 10 minute drive there, I wouldn’t go. Not only do I not want to be super rushed or pressed for time with my workout I don’t want to be full of energy come 10pm. It takes me a solid one to two hours to wind down after I workout.

And so, I have decided to not renew my membership. It found it to not be something conducive to my lifestyle right now. Though I really enjoy it when I’m there I can’t justify the money if I only get there one to two times per week.

I don’t consider it a total waste of money though. First I did lose weight. Though I account my eating to be most of the reason, working out certainly helped. The times I was able to get there allowed me to figure out what I like and what I don’t like. I enjoy cardio and though there are machines like over others I think I’m fine using the treadmill. We have a decent treadmill at home that I have come to accept will be my main cardio input when getting outside isn’t possible. I also discovered I really like the kettlebell. I have a few free weights and never paid much attention to the kettlebell but when I finally gave it a shot I really liked it. Given that I already own a treadmill and some free-weights I think instead of renewing my membership I will buy a kettlebell that I can use at home.

Sometimes we need to spend money to figure things out. Though I do enjoy going to a gym this isn’t the time in my life when it is worth the money. When our daughter is a little bit older and we’re not working so hard (to pay our debt off) I will invest in a membership again but for now my workouts will be at home.

The One, Terrible Factor That Can Mess Up Your Finances

how stress affects moneyStress is awful. It doesn’t feel good, and it gets the way of you accomplishing your goals. But that’s not all.

Stress is even worse for you – and your finances – than you would have ever imagined. But how can those bad feelings translate into a decreased bottomline? Here are three ways that stress can hurt your finances.

Memory Falls Apart

When you are stressed, your memory doesn’t function as well as it could. When your memory is malfunctioning, you can not multitask as effectively as you otherwise could, meaning that your side-hustle will be severely affected, as you struggle to complete your primary tasks.

Also, when you memory is working, you are likely to miss appointments, and that can translate into late fees, missed appointment fees and overdue fees for due dates that slipped your mind.

Work Slows Down

In addition to your memory troubles, stress affects you work. When you are caught up in stress, you can not work as efficiently as you could. As a result, you will not be promoted as quickly, and your boss might even wonder why you are not completing tasks as quickly as you did (when you were less stressed).

This could turn into your boss making negative assumptions about your work, and you could end up with negative reviews and a boss putting you on a watch-list. All of this, caused by stress, can frequently lead to additional stress – which in turn only makes work more difficult.

Health Complicates Your Schedule

When you are under the effects of stress, you are more likely to get sick. Burning up energy on stress, your body physically doesn’t have enough to put toward fighting germs, and you are more susceptible to illnesses.

As a result, you finances are affected by trips to the doctor and the pharmacist to pick up medicines. Not only must you pay for your doctor visit and your medicines, but you lose money on gas to get you there. You may even lose money to take time off from work to make these trips.

Relationships Go Downhill

In addition to illnesses, stress affects relationships. When stressed, people are less patient with coworkers, friends, and family members. As a result, relationships suffer. You are less happy interacting with others, and others are less happy interacting with you.

In turn, you become more aware of the negative social interactions and become increasingly stressed about your behavior.

Stress is awful. Not only does it feel bad, but it can negatively affect your finances by making it hard for your to multitask, remember important dates and information. It can keep you from appearing the way you want and functioning the way you would like the function at work.

It can make it easier for you to become sick and being a positive member of your family and social group. So remember the true effect of stress, not only on you, but on your finances.

What do you do to relieve stress, and have you found that when you are stressed, your finances are impacted?

3 Things Parents Should Stop Teaching Their Children About Finances

Parents teach their children some wonderful things. How to live, and how to love. But personal finance is one topic that lots of parents have been slacking on for too long.

When it comes to finances, sometimes parents say the wrong thing. Sometimes they say nothing – but children still hear messages coming through.

children teach money

So let’s put all that behind us and look directly at the 3 things that parents should stop teaching their children about finances.

Bad Lesson One: Don’t Talk About Money

It seems to be an unwritten rule that parents shouldn’t talk about money with their children.

While it’s true that children shouldn’t have to worry about money, it’s also true that the first time that a person encounters money should not be when they get their first paycheck when they’re in their mid-to-late teens.

By that point, it may be too late to stop some seriously negative habits from forming.

Talk about money in an age appropriate way with you children as soon as they seem capable of understanding what money is.

Children understand the concept of going to a store and leaving with something at a very young age – don’t let that opportunity go to waste, because it’s the perfect time to start talking about budgeting, getting things you want, and getting things you need.

Bad Lesson Two: Never Splurge

Trying to never splurge is like trying to never cheat on a diet. If you have in your mind that you can never-ever-ever-ever-ever have a bowl of ice cream again, and then you do one evening, what is likely to happen?

You are likely to throw your hands in the air, say that you failed, and go back for a second-pity-helping.

But if you acknowledge that there will be times when you want a reasonably sized bowl of ice cream, then it’s not the end of the world when it happens.

When it comes to budgeting, it seems that there is another unwritten rule that parents are supposed to encourage their children to save every-last-penny.

You don’t need to go to the movies! You don’t need to go on vacation!

Now, personal finance experts like Dave Ramsey recommend that you build ‘blow money’ into your budget. Blow money is money that you can blow on any sort of fun thing that you want.

This should be a small part of your budget, of course, but it should be there, so that when your buddies invite you to a concert or a movie, you can go for it without trashing your budget.

Bad Lesson Three: Don’t Spend Much Money on Clothes

Another unwritten rule of things to teach children is that people are wasteful if they spend too much money on their clothing.

There is, of course, a point at which spending crazy amounts of money on clothing probably isn’t healthy, but there’s also a point where being cheap when you buy your clothing can end up harming your overall success and happiness in life.

It doesn’t matter if you wear clothes that cost hundreds of dollars, but it does matter if what you’re wearing doesn’t flatter you, or if the fabric is so cheap that it will wear out after only wearing it a few times.

If you wear clothing that doesn’t look good on you, you probably won’t feel very good. That means that you probably won’t be a confident and happy as you could be.

Also, if you purchase clothes that are made out of cheat fabric, you’ll be back to the store spending your money on more clothes soon.

So prioritize purchasing clothes that flatter you and that will stand up to repeat wearing.

That being said, you don’t have to purchase hundreds of garments to have a complete, flattering, fully fleshed out wardrobe.There are many sites that can help you with that.

After taking these 3 tips out for a spin, tell me: how have improved financial communications, a blow fund, and an uncluttered wardrobe helped you?

Tips For Dealing With Contractors During Home Renovations

We renovated our first home rather extensively. There were multiple timelines to be met and we had never done it before. We had ‘’home renovation virgins’’ written all over our faces and if we had allowed it, people could have very easily taken advantage of us. Thankfully we had done some homework and knew signs to look out for, combine this with basic common sense and we were able to accomplish tens of thousands in renovations and live to tell the tale.

renos

Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up

This is your house after all. Though they are the experts but if they’re doing something you don’t like, or do like, speak up!They are working for YOU, not the other way around.

There were a few times when contractors offered their opinions about various things and we needed to be able to say ‘’thanks, but no thanks’’ many times. We were set on having hardwood floors in the kitchen yet our cabinet guy had more opinions to give than I’d like about the situation (he hated hardwood but wanted us to use bamboo or tile). It wasn’t until I finally reminded him that he was here to install the cabinets we bought and not the floor did his comments stop.

Shop Around and Negotiate

We redid our windows and siding with the house. There was a lot of selection and great variance in price for this job. We compared all the quotes and then looked up reviews on the various contractors, and when we finally made our decision we ended up with two different contractors, one to do windows, the other siding.

If you’ve ever done windows and siding reno, you can understand the convenience if having the same team doing both jobs so the timelines work out perfectly. Because they work in a weather permitting job, though they may have intentions of staring a certain day, if they are delayed on other jobs, chances are your home will be delayed slightly too. For this reason I really wanted to work with one team for the job.

I called one contractor we had decided to work with and simple asked if they would be willing to match the quote of the other company and not only did they meet it, they beat it by 5%. It never hurts to ask and definitely shop around. You need to have your homework done before trying to negotiate anything.

Stay on top of the project

Again, this is your house. Make sure you’re present regularly (without being overwhelming, they are there to work) and make sure things are getting done to your satisfaction. Mistakes do happen and if you’re not there often enough some are too late to fix.

I had a friend build a home where she paid extra to have the basement foundation raised to have extra-large windows installed, she didn’t see the concrete get poured and by the time she went over the structural framing had started, on her non- raised basement. They had to remove everything and come up with a compromise. Though it was technically their mistake she should have checked in. In the end, a solution was found but it wasn’t what my friend originally wanted.

Home renovations can be quite stressful; it’s your money and your home, so it is your responsibility to make sure things get executed as you want!

Have you ever dealt with home renos? How did it go?