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Gym Membership

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I know this isn’t going to go over well with many of you, but I joined a gym.  Now before you think I’m suddenly being frivolous, let me explain how I am actually saving money.

As I’ve shared before, I love my yoga.  I only thought I loved doing yoga before my divorce…now I know that yoga is a critical part of my recovery.  (Side note:  Steve’s first ex-wife became a yoga instructor with millions of hours in training…I didn’t really understand her obsession but now I do).  I’m not some over the top yogi but doing yoga twice a week is very good for my temperament.  I am not good at being mentally still or quiet and yoga helps me practice that needed skill.  As things have been pretty chaotic over the last two months, I did not have a “yoga plan.”  The kids’ schedule changed dramatically with DS starting athletics at public school and DD surprising me by wanting to play sports with the church.  So as I’ve adjusted to their schedule, my schedule has taken a backseat.  Bottom line is I find that without yoga, I don’t maintain a very gentle demeanor!  Most of the time I can get away with this in my business.  I’m not saying that it is okay to be rude but I have a good job for getting out a little aggression!  But it can quickly go beyond that and I’m getting unnecessarily annoyed with people!  Yoga does the mind, body and spirit good and Claire needs yoga!

But yoga can be super expensive at the studios!  I wish I would do it at home, but I won’t.  I was using my spending money but it is still too pricey.  And I’m reluctant to buy a package b/c I end up losing some of the time I’ve paid for because I can’t get there.  So, enter a new gym by my house and office…LA Fitness.  Let me know if you’ve had a horrific experience with them.  They are new to SA.

I’m not a gym person and don’t know that I will stick with it but I do like their early morning classes.  My company gets me the $149 initiation fee waived and my monthly cost is $24.99.  There might be a way to get the company to help pay for the monthly cost too–I’m currently looking into that.   Either way, it is cheaper than dropping $15-$20 on a single one hour yoga class.

So, see? It’s a GOOD decision so long as I go!  They have a 5 day notice period to cancel your month-to-month membership.  The gym opens on Tuesday the 20th.  I’ll report back on my progress!

Claire

Born and raised in Texas.I've at least driven through every state in the US courtesy of a roadtrip loving Dad.

I'm single with two children and a good parenting relationship with their father.

I am a "life is just half full of funny" kinda gal.Humor is my saving grace and I am thankful for it every single day.I have a strong Catholic faith and am thankful for that foundation.
I read a lot for a living but still enjoy a good book.I love biographies but in recent years have found the need for fun fictional books--sadly, for a long time I just didn't enjoy fiction!
I love live theatre of any kind--from local productions to Broadway.
I love to scrapbook and pride myself in my kids' albums.
I love being a mom but also love my career.I'm blessed to have found a balance allowing me to be at everything my kids need and want me to be at--while also having a career.
Favorite Quotes:Well behaved women rarely make history.
Behold the turtle.He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out. -James Bryant Conant

Latest posts by Claire (see all)


59 Comments

  • Reply RB |

    Your ability to justify spending to yourself is truly epic. The amount of debt you have is a staggering emergency, and yet you can just tell yourself ‘I can’t and won’t work out at home’ and that is that. And I’m sorry but ‘I’m just so cranky without my yoga’ deal is ridiculous – it is exactly like someone deep in debt saying ‘I just can’t get by without my Starbucks in the morning’.

    I hate to be harsh but I have been reading this blog for years from my RSS feed, and ever since it was passed on to you, I have seen more and more posts like this one that just make my eyes bleed.

    • Reply Claire |

      No need to apologize RB! I anticipate this kind of response. I’m very comfortable with my handling of this so I don’t take offense. My post wasn’t at all justification for joining a gym. It was the truth. And if all I am doing is joining a gym at a rate that is less than what I was spending as I navigate this divorce, I am doing a-ok! Thanks for commenting.

    • Reply Claire |

      Oh and one more thing–I did not say I “can’t” work out at home. I said I “won’t.” I chose that word very intentionally. I take FULL responsibility for not working out at home. I just won’t do it. Call it being self-indulgent or spoiled or whatever you care to–but I’m honest.

      • Reply RB |

        I am sure you are comfortable with your decisions – again I don’t think I have ever read someone, especially on a personal finance/get out of debt blog with such an ability to justify their own bad decisions. And make no mistake, this entire post and your comments are a justification.

        And if this was the only time you had made a post like this or a decision like this, I never would have commented. This is the first time I have commented on this blog in the ~3-4 years I have been reading it. Anon below has it right and he said it alot more politely than me – there is absolutely zero in terms of details, and zero in terms of inspiration for the people reading this blog. The blog is basically a place where you air your grievances about your job, your personal life, and justify your spending habits. Which is totally fine, except that the people reading this came here for stories about personal growth and sacrifice pertaining to bettering their financial situations.

        Bottom line, I question your motivation for trying to get out of what is, again, a staggering emergency situation. You should view the amount of debt you have as akin to your house being on fire hundreds of miles from the nearest fire station. It is up to you to put it out, and in that situation I certainly hope you wouldn’t say ‘I won’t grab that bucket of water’ – you would find the fortitude to do WHATEVER it took.

        • Reply Mary |

          I’m a sporadic reader, but it seems to me what she’s “paid off” so far was the result of getting rid of her husband’s debt, not her own? Also, she’s a lawyer with the potential to make a good salary. I’d find it more interesting to read about someone paying off debt while unemployed or underemployed.

          I’d like to put forth a challenge to Claire – track your spending for a few weeks and let us know how you spend your salary. What is your weekly grocery bill – what did you buy with that money? How often does your family eat out? What extra-curricular activities for your kids do you pay for each month? What do you really spend on clothing, entertainment, general living expenses, and how much extra are you sending each month to pay off your debt???

          This blog mp longer holds my interest, I’m sorry to say. But I do wish Claire and her children the best of luck in the future. This will likely be my last day of reading along, because I’m here to be motivated, and I’m honestly not feeling it from her.

      • Reply margot |

        I laughed out loud at the idea that this wasn’t a justification! If you want a gym membership, get one. But it’s not financially sensible and it’s a product of American culture in which we all think we are entitled to luxury items we can’t afford.

        Think about how much privilege and entitlement is involved in saying I want or I deserve this luxury even though I’m in debt and/or don’t have the money for it. Yet Americans go through this justification process every day with so much crap.

        If all that matters is getting the exercise for your physical and mental health, you could do it at home. I know it’s not as easy. But exercise is free – running, walking, working in the yard, following aerobic or yoga routines at home from the internet, etc, etc, etc.

        You really do have a complicated justification process. And given how out of control your debt is (and other poor decisions, like the last person you married), I think it might be healthy to start undoing this process and stop justifying things that some part of your gut is saying aren’t the best choice.

    • Reply Yvette |

      You know, I was expecting that Claire would get some grief in the comments, but I don’t think I was expecting some self righteous person to jump in and make such a condescending remark. Number 1, $24.99/month is peanuts to pay for SANITY and HEALTH. That’s actually a pretty good price for a gym membership, especially a gym where yoga is available. Number 2, it’s great that you know yourself enough to know that you “won’t” work out at home. You are not alone in that one, for sure. I find it easier to make myself go to the gym when I know I’m going to take a class, as opposed to going to the gym to workout by myself. I don’t even try to fool myself into thinking that I would workout at home. Number 3, you need something to make yourself feel good and you need something that is just for you. Sure, you could make yourself feel good by going to the mall and buying clothes or whatever else you see that makes you feel good in that moment, but I see exercise as an investment in yourself. Not only are you in a better mood (I just went a week without going to the gym and could see a huge difference in my mood, and I only go 3 times a week), but you are better able to meet challenges and deal with your kids, other people, and life in general. Exercise is an amazing way to increase your self confidence, especially during a rough period in your life. Sure, Claire could get exercise elsewhere, but if she knows that she won’t be motivated to do something at home, or something other than yoga, then I see that $24.99/month as money well spent.

      I think my rant is over. I was going to comment anyway Claire, when I first read your post. I really wanted to say, good for you 🙂 Seeing that comment by RB really pissed me off, so I really felt like I had to say more than that.

      Who knows, you may end up using the gym for more than just yoga. I highly recommend spinning/cycling. It is VERY addictive and makes you feel like a million bucks. 🙂 Also, you may be able to generate additional revenue with your side business, just by networking with people in your yoga classes. I bet you could even end up covering most of, if not all of your membership.

    • Reply mildred lane |

      U took the words right out of my mouth. I’m sorry but it seems that u have learned nothing about getting out of debt.

  • Reply Liz |

    We pay a lot for our gym, but given my husband’s past medical history, it’s worth it to have a personal trainer watch him and make sure that he performs movements correctly and builds up the muscles to minimize risk of re-injury (same goes for me, but I’m at least way further out from my previous injuries). For that reason, I like yoga classes a lot more than doing yoga at home and completely understand where you’re coming from.

  • Reply Amanda |

    Some people just aren’t going to understand why exercise is important to others’ mental health, and why working out at home just doesn’t work for everyone. My home isn’t a suitable exercise environment, and I live in Wisconsin, so simply going outside isn’t always practical either. Even when I was unemployed, I kept my gym membership ($20/month). For you (and me), it’s a need. Ignore those who are only interested in judging you.

  • Reply Vicki |

    I am fortunate that we have a gym here at work, however, I don’t take advantage of it on a regular basis, and I really need to.

  • Reply Anonymous |

    At some point, you have to decide if you want to get out of debt or not. I agree 100% with RB. I am not sure you are ready to commit to paying off debt. There are so many rationalizations, so many “hidden” expenses and not coming clean. There really isn’t a lot of honesty or even honest communication surrounding the debt.

    Ultimately, it’s your debt. I haven’t really seen much of a change since you started this blog. When Beks posted, she was honest. Every month, she listed what she paid off and talked about any set backs during the month as well as successes. Bottom line, she was honest. We saw her and her husband working hard, trying to get the debt paid off, looking for alternatives, making sacrifices, etc. It was fun seeing the numbers go down every month and it was just as difficult when things didn’t go as planned for her and yet, we were all pulling for her and could relate. I just haven’t seen any of that here other than clipping a few coupons, etc. The whole clothing thing was a joke. First you needed new clothes and didn’t know how to put clothes together. Then once everyone chimed in, you went to second hand stores, etc. but ended up spending $500. Then the truth came out that you just wanted something new to wear. I was floored. It felt like such a con to get everyone involved and then you spend a ton of money when it’s just not in the budget. Trust me, I love clothes too but at some point, you have to decide if you want to get out of debt and you have to live “under” your means.

    With this blog, I find trying to dig each month to see what was paid, what was moved around, etc. exhausting as a reader. Yes, you can click on a drop down, etc. but really, we read the blog to see transformations, because that’s inspiring.

    I just don’t think you are ready for this blog yet, Claire. There isn’t anything wrong with not being ready but it’s kind of like reading a weight loss blog expecting someone to lose weight and instead they cheat on the diet, rationalizing every meal. In the end, it’s all about timing and wanting to change. I can’t predict if you’ll be ready or not and in the end, it’s not my business. But I do think it’s o.k. to say you aren’t ready too. I wish you luck.

    • Reply amy |

      I have to say that I also agree. I don’t really see any real, significant effort either. I keep hoping to find it, but the fire just isn’t there.

    • Reply SDB |

      I agree as well. I’ve been reading this blog for years, and I don’t enjoy it anymore as posts are very infrequent, and I don’t want to read about a divorce or real food. There is no commitment to debt reduction, and as a lawyer, a lot of very good rationalizations. I hope the owner of this blog reads the comments and realizes that he made a mistake, in which I believe he has, since he has been posting more and more here recently to make up for the lack of other information on the site. The last two bloggers would never have spent hundreds on clothes, yoga, phone bills, etc., and that lack of self-discipline is what makes others trying to be motivated on their journey rationalize their own spending.

      • Reply jeffrey |

        Debt reduction is a personal journey (just as personal finance is). This is Claire’s story. You have every right to comment and hold her accountable if you think she is not doing what she needs and praise her when you think she is doing things right (that is part of what this blog is about), but the last thing I wanted was for each blogger to be a carbon copy of the previous. Beks was very different from Tricia and Claire is very different from both. I think it’s a good thing — it shows that each of us approaches this journey in a different way. This is her debt story and I support her 100% in telling it.

        • Reply Claire |

          Thanks Jeffrey! I’ve been enjoying the debate between the readers on this one. I feel very little desire to defend myself because of exactly what you say here: this is my journey. The unexpected twist it has taken with my divorce has changed things far beyond where I expected. The only comment I have is what a few readers already said about the necessity of discretion as my legal proceedings are pending. I want more than anything to let everything be heard and I think we can all agree that to some extent my writing style has changed since Steve’s move out. I’ll get back there soon. I still haven’t heard from him so I presume we won’t be divorced on Monday (lol) but we do have the date of December 19 as pretty “drop dead.” 🙂

  • Reply Dylan |

    After reading your post & the comments, I’m torn. I think part of the issue for me is that just days ago, you posted that your cell phone bill was increasing by $40/month. And now here’s another $25 expense.

    I can appreciate that exercise is good for physical, mental & emotional health. That said, if I had 45K of debt, instead of spending money to go to a gym, I’d be doing yoga @ home and putting that $300/year towards debt repayment. You say you won’t do yoga at home. That’s a choice to spend money on a want, when there’s another (cheaper) option.

    I can see why people are questioning your commitment to paying off the debt. Like others have said, I find it difficult if not impossible to figure out the progress (success or failure) that’s been made from month to month. Beks gave a detailed report for her Debt Updates, which listed the amount paid off that month, money added or removed from the emergency fund, any added debt, total paid off and the remaining debt. It was clear, and easy to understand.

    Frankly, your debt is so big, it’s hard to see the progress since the big drop off – and even a basic explanation about that is non-existent. Instead we read about rationalizations, added expenses and there is a perceived lack of honest communication surrounding the debt. I think it’s the lack of clarity that is frustrating the readers.

    I really do wish you well, but I have to wonder if you’re just not ready for this.

  • Reply Alexandria |

    I am sure I said this before when people were ganging up on you – but I will say it again. Since you only have $45k of DEBT I think you are in an infinitely better spot than Beks, personally. (She never said specifically how much her mortgage was – not overly honest – and admitted the payment was more than her spouse’s income. She left this blog still $400k+ in debt). Let’s look at the big picture here!! Plus you dropped half that debt in just a few months. I say you are doing awesome!!

    As to the gym – I personally paid -0- for all that stuff for many years when we first had kids and our income is very low. I have since joined a $15/month gym and go to community center exercise classes ($2.50 per class). I am the type who needs this for my sanity. I’d go as far as to argue that I earn more money when I am well exercised. Because I am so stress-free and relaxed and my mind is more clear. Anyway, I personally felt DUMB for ruling out all exercise that cost money, for so many years. The $15/month would have been so worthwhile. It just never occurred to me that a gym membership could be so reasonable.

    Now, if you said you were paying $15 per class for zumba, like all my broke friends… 😉 I think this is a post that says you “get it.” I can assure you that most people deep in debt just don’t think that way. I think this is a positive sign. Kudos to you.

    As for your blog, obviously you have to be private and cautious during your divorce. IT’s fair enough that it hasn’t been an exciting blog in this time. I am willing to wait it out. 😉

    • Reply Lori |

      Claire is not in a better spot than Beks, IMO, because there is $45K of non-secured debt that is outstanding and no real strategy as to how to pay it off.

      As stated, Beks gave a detailed analysis each month of how she was paying down her debt. Every dollar was accounted for. As for the assertion that Beks had/has $400K in debt, I perused her blog again and found no such claim. She left this blog with no PERSONAL debt, e.g. credit cards, student loans, etc. Also, Beks stated she could not stay at home because of their mortgage, but nowhere did I see her state that it was more than her husband’s income.

      The fact is Claire is not nearly as open as Tricia or Beks, and this was true even before the divorce. That is why I frequent this blog– for an honest assessment of personal debt
      and the journey that ensues. That is not occurring now; rather it feels more like a Dear Abby column.

      • Reply Alexandria |

        Check out December 2011 “Save Money by Staying at Home?” post.

        This is less of a “it really matters reply” and more a “No wonder I feel like I was not reading the same blog as everyone else!?!” reply. Small details like over half of income going to mortgage payments…

  • Reply Diane |

    Wow, oh wow. Couldn’t resist, I had to add my 2 inflated cents worth to this discussion. Claire, you certainly got raked over the coals here by several of the commentors. Don’t come out saying you are a closet witch or you will be burned at the stake or tar and feathered by your commentors! Anywhooo…yep, there are lots of self-righteous folks on the planet that live in glass houses. But you know what is said about glass houses? Don’t throw stones….etc. How about this argument that we can present to your jurors for “judgement”… Your gym membership (which I think is a great price for your classes) can help stave off a very expensive health issues that even covered by health insurances, the co-pays and deductibles can be cost prohibitive. A gym membership at $24.99 is peanuts compared to adult onset diabetes (figure out how much those meds are RB?) How about cholesterol drugs when high cholesterol can’t be controlled by diet and is genetic? OK, ever price out high blood pressure drugs even having Medco? A lot more than a simple gym membership for yoga which has been proven by research to help the aforementioned categories. Claire, I say to you, many times folks who live in glass houses have not looked at thmselves in the mirror and I wish they would. These are the people who drive up the cost of health care with inadequate care and poor eating habits. Yes, overweight/obesity related chronic diseases can be prevented by a simple gym membership.
    Another point to be made is that debt can cause the release of cortisol into the bloodstream which has a debilitating effect on our bodies. Yoga can help stem off the negative and long term effects of cortisol damage. And that in the long term can create a “debt” that is medical related and costly in regards to dollars. Pay now or pay later? It is similar to I need to pay off my debt by eating every day at McDonalds’ $1.00 menu…This way I can pay off my 40,000 faster, make the Puritans who read my blog happy, and then join a gym at $24.99 to loose the weight that I gained on my “Supersize” me meal plan, along with the weight and health issues for DS and DD to pay off this debt because I am not “considered serious”. Ohhh, come on people in glass houses, get real before it all comes down around you…..

  • Reply Elizabeth |

    Claire, I guess you could say I’m straddling the fence between the views of your readers. I think maintaining a good strong physical/mental health should be your #1 priority. But is the $25/month really necessary. I know you say you won’t work out at home, but maybe try to get your kids involved and that will help give you the motivation you need. Or try a different free workout (like walking/jogging) combined with meditation. I do think you sometimes rationalize your ‘splurges’ before putting in 100% effort to find a cheaper or even free alternative. But with that said, I still give you kudos on the progress you’ve made so far! I know you can’t reveal everything, but maybe try to be a bit more transparent and up-front with debt reduction #’s so the readers don’t have to try and figure it out themselves. That’s one thing I do miss from the previous bloggers.

  • Reply Tonya |

    Let me just say that my family has some debt to pay off…not in the numbers Claire does, but debt is debt. Late last March my family made a huge move to Texas (clair we are between Austin and San Antonio)and that was a huge change for us. In May my father came to live with us. He has many medical issues and every day is a new adventure with him. We love having him here and having this time with him….but it is added stress to our housechold.
    I am trying to keep things on an even keel for my children as well as providing dad with consistency that makes his days go easier.
    So, about 3 months ago we decided to join a gym. It gives the kids opportunity and it helps me maintain my mental health/wellbeing. To be honest I’ve never been one to work out, but I’ve come to love those 3-5 times a week I go in and I’m alone, it’s JUST me, it’s JUST mine. It helps keep me sane in a time of insanity.
    There’s a yoga class I’ve been meaning to try out and now I inspired to make it happen.

    For those who say they see no change, growth….I disagree. What once would have been a norm for her spending without out though, has now become very thoughtful. She has changed her family’s eating habits and her grocery bill reflects that.

    This is a journey and we don’t all arrive at the same place at the same time.

  • Reply Meghan |

    I feel the same way. What Claire is doing isn’t unusual but it is unusual and uncomfortable to be as this is a bloggingawayDEBT blog. It isn’t a blog about moderation and doing what we can to pay down debt while still maintaining a decent lifestyle. Know what I mean? I used to read a blog that was hard core and the woman literally did a fast – didn’t buy anything unnecessary. I must say though that when she was walking around with drip coffee, she did have a gym membership. And I would not do yoga alone if I were new – you can really get hurt doing yoga incorrectly. The thing is that the other woman laid out what her needs were from the beginning but Claire is amending things as she goes along. It’s much harder to track and keep on track if you’re Claire this way. It’s also why there seem to me to be so many excuses and justifications. She saved on the phone bill overall I think – good move!
    I’m selling my house and am buying a new one when construction is finished. I’ll be able to pay of my credit card with the sale but still have a car loan. In reading this blog, I should be inspired to use the rest of the proceeds to pay down the car and go without couches or a new bedroom set until the car is paid off. I’m not getting that.
    My suggestion would to have guest bloggers supplement Claire’s blogging until her divorce is final and she can be more candid.

    • Reply RB |

      Sounds like the blogger you describe had something Claire doesn’t- credibility. Again if this was an atypical post about why fitness is important enough for physical and mental health that she was doing this and sacrificing in another specific way then that’s one thing and I’d never comment about it.

  • Reply Lara |

    I fully support your decision to join LA Fitness. I don’t think it’s an egregious waste of money. I see it as an investment, especially in your health. Mental health is included in that. As a single parent, the last thing you need is to get sick, in any way, shape or form.

    I don’t know if Claire has health benefits. If she doesn’t, then preventing a huge medical bill down the road for something that could be prevented with a lifestyle change is just good common sense. Even if she does have benefits, not putting more of a burden on insurance companies is a good thing. That way, they can very kindly (not) pass that burden on to their clients.

    Go for it, Claire. It’s an investment in yourself that will benefit everyone.

  • Reply Lara |

    BTW, Claire, I’m a member of LA Fitness, but I’ve never taken a yoga class. I’ve always wanted to, but now I’m going to. And you’re the inspiration!

    Woo hoo! WTG, Claire!

  • Reply T'Pol |

    I think there are more roads to arrive at one destination. Claire may have taken a different road then some people who would have taken another. People have different priorities and different life choices. I do not want to believe there is only one correct way of doing something. Of course, time will tell if she is really on a good track to get rid of her debt. I think with her profession she has a good chance of making more money than Tricia or Beks so she could be a little more relaxed yet still get out of debt. It is true that Tricia and Becks were posting more frequently and sharing more details. May be Claire is waiting for the divorce to finalize to do that.

  • Reply Meghan |

    Yeah I’m not ready to jump down her throat about it. I knew I wasn’t the ramen and bus to work 100% of the time type, which is why I am not blogging. I thought about it and set one up with the purpose of combining weight loss with debt loss. I, like Claire, have an income higher than some bloggers, and I think that’s an issue. Also like Claire, I didn’t want to put my salary out there, so we really don’t know if 40,000 is half her income or 1/3. I will say that I noticed that her rental house was pricey so I assume that she’s not making 75,000 a year or less. And though I didn’t blog, I’m down 35 pounds and as soon as my house sells (under contract), I’ll be down to a mortgage (when the new house is ready, a car payment, and a student loan payment. Mortgage is more but it’s new construction with a postage stamp yard, so the upkeep costs are about to drop (have spent 40k extra in this cheap house in 4 years and am going to get almost all back but still… It created some debt!!). Student loan is a 10 year forgiveness deal because of the work that I do, so I’m not trying to pay more than they tell me to. Car is the next target. After the car is paid off, I won’t get another one (my new place is much closer to work). After that it’s the mortgage. When I started thinking about blogging, I had 23,000 in credit card debt and 17,000 on the car. Part of my success is hard work and tracking but I played the move the money around game too. I even refinanced my car and took cash out to pay off a couple small cards. Now the car loan is 22,000. That’s about 22% of my gross income but I shouldn’t have it at all, and I should use the leftover proceeds from the house sale to pay that back down instead of buying a new bedroom set. Point is, I’m not perfect but have paid down 28,000 in 14 months. I am looking for inspiration (the blog I read was http://www.andthenwesaved.com and now that her debt is paid off, she lives her life more like Claire. The other commenter is right – we follow our own paths. Claire, I hope both the positive and negative feedback is inspirational to you. You will never be someone who can live on 15,000 a year happily and that’s okay. I’m the same way. However just like with my weight loss, for a while, you have to eat/spend less than your new reduced normal. If people who make 25,000 a year can get by with no debt, then we both should be able to do the same. Pray about needs versus wants and see where that leads you.
    Meghan

  • Reply Serious About My Debt |

    I enjoyed Beks alot – I even read the last lady. But seriously? I’m a little tired of reading all about poor you. I know – it’s a free country, stop reading. I would, except I like entering the $$ giveaways the moderator has been posting lately. I hope I win – I’d put the $100 toward my debt…or maybe I’ll go to a $25 yoga class. Oh, wait…I do yoga already at home and I use a $2.99 download from Amazon. Hmmm…

    To each his own, but I think you just like hearing yourself, um, blog – I don’t think you really want to conquer your debt.

  • Reply Barb |

    I don’t understand the “all or nothing” thinking of some people. Claire is paying off debt, but she is also living her life. Some people are willing to sacrifice more than others. To some people, the debt is not as pressing. As long as there is progress then Claire is accomplishing what this blog is about. Also, I’m thinking (hoping) that once the divorce is final, she can be more open about her finances.

  • Reply Phaedra |

    Claire you just have to chuckle at these angry critics! This is what I see. A woman who has taken her children out of private education (those of you without children won’t get what a big deal it is to switch your kids out of a school let along switching them to gasp….public schools), got rid of a new car, have the grocery bill down to an enviable amount, gave up cable, no longer frequent the salon except for a cut…oh and that little major life change of divorce…gosh I guess you are…what is the word. AMAZING. Ignore the silly critcisms from people who don’t understand how time management, eating right, being physically healthy or dealing with unhealthy relationships has anything to do with money. It must be so nice to have no issues in these areas. I am continually amazed by the grace you speak with despite the turmoil you are in. I also think you should be proud that you have frusterated someone so much that they feel the need to comment after reading this blog for three years. L O L!!!!!!! Girl you are my hero! And I know (just like you said) once your divorce is final you will be able to pick up momentum and get back at it. Congrats for not adding debt and for continuing to seek self-discovery. You will come out far ahead of those who criticize. As Dave Ramsey would describe it, you have a bigger shovel to get yourself out of debt due to your high income. (Gosh maybe that is where the anger is coming form……)
    And thank you to the site owner for quickly refuting the claims that you are remotely concerned with Claire’r progress. I think if anyone is reading this blog solely to get the $5.00 snowflake givewaways perhaps they could pick up bottles (maybe you don’t live in a state that gives you a return for bottles) or work an extra hour at a minumum wage job to get the same result. It certainly isn’t worth stressing yourself out! Keep it up Claire. You are doing it!

    • Reply Claire |

      Thank you Phaedra! In addition to readers needing to see this recap, I NEEDED to see the recap! I have absolutely made major changes in my life and I realize now that I was making those changes while facing very real resistance from my husband. He was often passive aggressive about it but looking back with the clarity I have now, I was in a battle. Honestly, right now as I look back, I can’t believe I got the changes made that I did get made! I feel like I’m a racehorse in the starting block (I don’t know horseracing so I don’t know the terminology) but I’m just waiting for that firing gun that tells me I am free to be me!!! Thanks for the chuckles too re: getting people to the boiling point. Of course that was not my intention but it does make me wonder about what is really happening in people’s lives that prompts them to spew so much venom. I’m standing strong and see each encounter as a chance to dig deeper and find more grace to carry on. Thanks again.

    • Reply Skrpune |

      Well said. The interwebs are filled with people quite willing to write disparaging things that they wouldn’t say to another person’s face, and I think that is a large portion of what’s happening here with all the venomous comments. Claire is putting herself out there for all to see (with some filtering for quite understandable personal privacy and legal reasons).
      If folks are concerned that she’s not being honest, then I don’t know what blog posts they’re reading – she’s been quite honest about her fiscal shortcomings and stumbles (c’mon, seriously, who’s perfect when it comes to frugality?!).
      And um…folks, let’s see what she’s done to change her finances just the past couple posts – she dropped her home phone, added a personal cell line to get herself off soon-to-be-ex’s plan (SMART), has reduced her workout costs at least eight-fold (using the twice a week yoga sessions as my conservative calculation base), and is looking into having her company pay the monthly gym fee. Overall, that is a WIN. No need to beat up Claire on each line item if the overall result is positive.
      Claire – keep on keepin’ on. No one is perfect, and I’m not expecting you to be (not sure why some other commenters apparently expect that of you though?). Thank you for sharing your story. We all have our own personal finance stumbles and challenges, and it’s inspiring to follow you as you navigate your journey. You’ve been keeping that chin up in a way that I admire. Continue to let all that negativity just roll of ya.

      • Reply Claire |

        Thanks so much Skrpune! This was a nice recap to remind me that I’m doing okay. One day at a time (sometimes one moment at a time) and all will be well in the end.

  • Reply kate |

    Oh Lord, Claire, I think you’re great. I am in a similar situation to you – about the same amount o debt with probably a similar income. You are a real inspiration to me because I identify with you so much more than past bloggers (not that I don’t respect what they were able to do). Just a note to say I think you’re great and if that $300 a year buys you some sanity then it’s a good investment.

    • Reply Claire |

      Thanks Kate! You will get there and I’m happy to have a kindred debt spirit out there! 😉

  • Reply Shannon |

    I don’t really understand everyone bashing you here. Divorce is HARD. Like HELL HARD. If you need yoga at $24 a week and work might pay for part of it, then by all means do it.

    I do wish that it was more clear what you paid every month. I personally like to see a breakdown, I paid X to this bill and Y to that one. It’s easier to compute. The graph on the side is nice and all but it’s not specific.
    Other than that, I think a lot of your changes have been MENTAL changes. And then you had all this craziness thrown at you. I think in a couple months you’ll be back on your feet and really plowing away at this.

    • Reply Claire |

      I think you are exactly right Shannon! The mental changes are locked in and I just have to get out of HELL and carry on. I plan on starting to share my regular spending via a post but need to figure out exactly how I want to do that. Thanks for reading.

  • Reply Nikki |

    Hi Claire!

    I think that you have really adjusted a lot in terms of your previous lifestyle to your current lifestyle due to your commitment toward debt reduction. I also really appreciate your willingness to share details about your personal and financial life. That isn’t always easy because you are going to be judged and honestly no matter what you do you are not going to be able to please everybody. I don’t agree with the “all or nothing” approach because i feel that quality of life is important and i highly commend you for focusing on your health and diet. I guess i just wanted to say that don’t let the naysayers get you down. You have changed a lot from where you started. I am reading your blog because i think that you are a likeable person.

  • Reply Mel |

    I found this post super timely. I just signed up for a gym too. Work pays for half of mine. I pay $35 for myself and my significant other. Due to health conditions that are exacerbated by a sedentary lifestyle and the fact we work at home together side by side a gym seemed like a good way to be healthier and get some time out of the house that wasn’t shopping or eating out. We have a small cc debt to pay off but I don’t live under a rock while I pay it off. It took a little bit of time to get used to you but your more laid back approach to taking on debt while dealing with major life issues has made you more relateable in some ways. I’ll keep reading. You’re much more devoted to conquering debt than a certain other debt blog I read.

    • Reply Claire |

      Thanks Mel! Way to go on the gym membership for you. It sounds like you are tackling the health issues and that’s to be commended. I hope to be super aggressive in my debt pay off as soon as things settle down!

  • Reply Jen from Boston |

    $25/mo for a gym membership seems like a really good deal to me! I think you have to find a balance between mindlessly spending and mindlessly cutting expenses, and I think a good route is to put some real thought into each expense. Yes, you’re still spending money, but you are putting real THOUGHT into it! I’ve learned myself over the years that thinking about each purchase and asking yourself, “Will I use this? Will it help me? Why am I buying this?” helps cut down on unnecessary spending, as well as refocus your attention on what’s important.

    • Reply Claire |

      Jen, You are SO right! I now think about my spending and that is a major lifestyle change in itself.

  • Reply Hannah |

    Give Claire a break everyone!

    Gym memberships are worth it if you use them. If she goes to yoga 12 times a month, essentially that is about $2 a class.

    I think you just need to evaluate the cost/use of this gym membership the next few months and if you find yourself not using the membership then cancel right away. That would be an instance where there shouldn’t be any excuses, either you use it or you don’t.

    I think you’re doing a great job so far Claire. I felt an instant attachment to you (you remind me of my mom – hardworking and super dedicated to her kids), but did notice your posts have been vague for obvious reasons.

    I just want to say please keep your eye on the prize (debt freedom) and continue moving forward.

    • Reply Claire |

      Thank you Hannah! I appreciate the accountability on the gym use. I promise to cancel it if I do not use it!

  • Reply Alex Heffron |

    Hi Claire,

    Have only recently come across your blog. You know what I think? That’s a pretty good deal for a yoga class! So long as you make use of it then it’s a bargain. Yeah I hear other people’s arguments, but I think as Jen says above it’s about striking a balance.

    I actually run a site that does free yoga videos you can do at home, but if it is a class you are looking for then this is a good deal IMO.

    • Reply Claire |

      Thanks Alex! I am all about trying to find balance in this life. That is why yoga is a must! It helps me practice the skill of finding balance.

  • Reply scarr |

    Claire – I think you are making a great decision for you and for your health. There are insurance companies that offer discounts for their members if they join a gym and can prove they regularly go. I don’t know if your does, but maybe check into it.

    I want you to know that I can see the changes you have made – in your spending habits, your eating choices and now your health. I can see your growth even when others want to focus on one expenditure.

    • Reply Claire |

      Thank you scarr. Glad to hear from you again. I appreciate the support in the midst of the mean people! 🙂

  • Reply Cathy C. |

    Claire, I know I’m a little late to this party, but I hope you see this comment. I see a lot of people commenting on here that simply don’t/can’t understand where you (and me) and others who are higher income earners are at in their personal debt payoff journeys. It simply doesn’t take as long to clean things up and I know I’m probably alone in this thinking, but I don’t see your cc debt as being an “emergency” or “OMG-the-house-is-burning-down”. In fact, sometimes I think I’d rather trade you your cc debt for my mortgages. I think you are much more free than I am,even though I have zero cc debt,to do what you want because you don’t have a mortgage hanging over your head in a market as volatile as this.

    I could have your cc debt cleaned up in about 12-18 months with minimal lifestyle adjustment as I imagine is your case. Most people will just not understand that. Keep plugging along and live your life. I, for one, am intrigued by the progress and lifestyle choices you’ve made as it’s inspired me to curb some spending and pay down these depreciating properties faster.

    • Reply RB |

      This is one of the most hilariously ignorant comments I have ever seen on a personal finance blog. We poor bastards can’t possibly understand our betters baffling financial decisions eh? Riiiight. For the record I am a ‘high income earner’ – you know what the phrase means? Almost nothing. Earning a high income does not make you wealthy – a concept that you apparently do not understand, which is too bad because the one thing a high income does do is make it a lot easier to become wealthy.

      • Reply Amy |

        For someone who claims to be really disappointed with this blog, you sure do check in with it a lot. Maybe you should take your vitriol somewhere else.

        • Reply RB |

          I guess you have never heard of comment tracking.

          And I guess I am the one with the vitriol, Cathy looking her nose down at people she assumes earn less money than her is not vitriolic at all, really.

          • Amy |

            I have heard of comment tracking, thank you. I just assumed that a week after the fact you might have let it go. And calling someone “ignorant” absolutely is vitriolic and mean spirited. I also find it interesting that you chide Cathy for “looking down her nose at people” after you’ve rebuked Claire for not handling her finances the way you deem fit. Pot, meet kettle.

      • Reply Cathy C. |

        Well, aren’t you a ray of sunshine? Glad I got under your skin with my comment. If you felt I was “looking down my nose” at you, you obviously truly aren’t a high income earner. I was responding to comments that I believe stem from the “class warfare” mentality that it so very prevalent today. All of these rabid people on here just foaming at the mouth to put Claire in her place and drive it home what a mess she’s in was making me nauseous.

        She’s making progress and handling things in her own way. If you want a Dave Ramsey gazelle, please go back to his forums. I have no doubt Claire will clean up her debt and be building “wealth” (as much as she can in the future with the taxation we’re about to be handed) in very little time.

  • Reply SR |

    I like this blog because you DO talk about various facets of your life – getting rid of debt, but also your relationships, job concerns, food choices, moments of financial weakness, etc. Sure, there are opportunities for change/improvement, but that’s the case for everyone. This is your journey to be debt free, but it’s also a journey of personal growth, and so it makes sense that you write about the things that are important to you (especially because these things have an influence on how you view and use money).

    Side note: $25/month for a gym membership, with yoga classes included in the price, seems like a fantastic deal. Yes, that’s an extra $300 per year – but maybe you could offset that somehow, if you’re so inclined. It’s also really nice that the gym offers a month-to-month membership. That way, if you find that you’re not getting your money’s worth, you can simply walk away.

  • Reply Virginia |

    For what it’s worth, I like hearing the personal tidbits about your life. They definately have an affect on your finances. I have been reading finance blogs for years and the same old stuff can get boring.

So, what do you think ?