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My One Black Friday Purchase


I had a fantastic time with my family last week in Texas. It was jam packed busy though. I completed all my normal work hours, cooked a huge Thanksgiving meal and participated in lots of family fun. And through it all, I knew something had to give.

I felt terrible. No, not COVID or ill, just not healthy. Lots of sodas, desserts, chips, ice cream sandwiches, all the bad choices. All jam packed into one week…which followed several weeks of occasionally sampling left over Halloween candy. Thank God, the candy is now all gone.

I was dragging, felt so sluggish, my back was hurting, my eyes were dry. And I knew I had to make a change! It is really time for me to making getting healthy a priority.

On our first day back, Princess and I jumped in the car and visited all the local gyms…there are 4 in this tiny town. I have no idea how it supports so many gyms. As we set out, I asked her what her needs were from a gym.

An hour later, we both had a different gym we wanted to join. (Yes, we ran through the gyms quickly because let’s face it, once you see one set of gym equipment, you’ve seen them all.)

And I joined a gym, just for me. And I am so committed to it.

Why I Chose This One

Here’s why I chose the one I did…

  1. It’s the closest one to my house and within easy walking distance. This was important to me for two reasons: car availability cannot be an excuse and adds another aspect to the workout if I walk there and back.
  2. It’s one of the three locally owned options. We have one chain here, and I want to support small businesses. Princess preferred the chain option which I will admit to being tempted by as they have lots of perks BUT they don’t do any classes and I need classes.
  3. This particular gym really focuses on community. They celebrate members accomplishment (lots of body builders but also other things.) And as isolated as I am, I thought it might be nice to maybe be a part of something like that.
  4. Competitive cost and offerings. With a waived enrollment fee, no contract commitment and a variety of classes, it has everything that was important to me financially and health-wise. (Their Black Friday special ran through Saturday so I was able to purchase it on my return to town.)

Paying Myself to Go

I’m going to have to adjust my budget a bit for the $24/monthly fee. But I’ve built in an incentive to make myself go. I’m going to pay myself $10 for every day I go to the gym.

Now, wait, hear me out before you jump down my throat. And remember the little games and challenges I do with my finances really keep me motivated and focused so I think this will help in this area as well.

I already have $400 a month budgeted for “personal/entertainment”. It’s eating out money, random fun or purchase money and sometimes “kid needs” money. It is also used to buy craft supplies, an occasional book, cleaning supplies and just a bunch of random.

Now, I have to earn that money. I am keeping $100, as there are essential items it supplies. But the other $300…I am going to have to earn the right to it, $10 of it every time I go to the gym. Otherwise, it goes into savings or debt payment…that day.

And the kids know it. So they will be helping keep me “motivated” because they know that we will be tightening our belts even more if I don’t go to the gym every day now. (We are starting the earning piece in January, giving myself December to figure out how it works into my schedule and making space for it.)

Yes, I know it’s silly. But when I’m not feeling like going…well, hopefully this will be the push that gets me there. Either way, my finances win so I’m not taking away from them.

I’ve set workout goals as well…but the first step is to actually get in the routine of going EVERY DAY.


  • Reply Shanna |

    Clever idea to “earn” your spending money! If you have not already, you may want to ask the gym how they will handle a COVID shut down? Will they put a hold on your membership so you don’t have to pay while they aren’t open? Gyms in CA are not allowed to operate any indoor activities currently.

  • Reply Cwaltz |

    I don’t wish to be mean but do you pay any attention to what the experts are saying regarding COVID? Gyms are high risk environments. Right now you should be using your neighborhood and home as a gym. Pick up a kettle ball and hand weights or ask Santa for them for Christmas and do some of this stuff at home. Schedule it like a gym visit on your calendar or buy a fitness journal(Michael’s has them and a mini one would be a great gift for one of the kids to get you). Set health goals for yourself and reward yourself for meeting them. Your kids need you to be safe.

    • Reply Drmaddog |

      Cwaltz, go back to Hopes ring the bell and Beks breaking up with Amazon posts and comments and you’ll get the gist of how they feel about the pandemic. It’s pretty much ‘I’m going to do what i want, potential consequences to myself and others be d@mned’

      • Reply Hope |

        That is not at all what either of has said. We have both stated we are following all recommended guidelines…social distancing, wearing masks, sanitizing, etc.

    • Reply Rrr |

      Obesity is actually more of a risk than going to a gym. Please educate yourself, Cwaltz. She’s doing the right thing.

      • Reply Lisa |

        No she’s not. Educate yourself on COVID risks. Obesity is better fixed through diet changes than exercise anyway.

        • Reply Hope |

          I’ve made dramatic improvements to my eating habits over the last few years as I’ve gotten my diabetes under control.
          Exercise, or increasing it and make it a regular habit is my next step to being healthier.

          • Marzy-d |

            Are you monitoring your A1C on a regular basis Hope? I’m sure you are aware that blood sugar monitoring is not a substitute for regular A1C testing. There is nothing more important to your financial future than making sure you are correctly managing your diabetes.

          • Hope |

            Yes, I was having it tested but have cut down to every 6 months now. If I continue to maintain this coming year, I will probably go to yearly testing in 2022.

        • Reply Rrr |

          Right!! Obesity is huge issue with Covid and everything else. I think that’s why its affecting Americans so badly. We are an unhealthy nation and this needs to be a wake up call. Kudos to anyone who wants to better themselves with a gym membership.

          • Cwaltz |

            You’re missing the point. A gym membership is an awful decision right now. The reality is that it is considered a high risk environment to contract the virus . It, in my opinion, would be way smarter for Hope to review her eating habits and set some goals. Additionally items like a kettle ball and hand weights could easily help her do some strength training and toning without risking contracting the virus. Cardio can be done by walking in your neighborhood and increasing intensity. The reality is if Hope is obese and has diabetes then she is at HIGH RISK of contracting A more severe form of COVID. NPR did an article back on July 5, 2020 entitled Are Gyms Safe Right Now? You might want to take the time to read it.

          • Drmaddog |

            Can obesity be eliminated today? No

            Can COVID be avoided today? Yes.

  • Reply Angie |

    COVID nightmare aside….

    You took away family spending money to encourage your own personal goal? You’re basically guilting the kids into nagging you to earn their family entertainment and household budget money back. I understand you thrive on challenges but this doesn’t make much sense. Why not just join something online like DietBet, RunBet, Stepbet, etc. where you put a nominal amount of money and could double it if you meet your goals? Thereby removing your dependency on the kids for success.

    • Reply Hope |

      I can’t win for losing, can I?
      Everyone is different. This is something that I know I can make work.
      And the kids all have their own spending money, I am not taking away anything from them. And if you think they don’t already nag me about being healthier, well at least Gymnast, this is definitely a way to make that productive.

      • Reply Angie |

        Hah. Good point.

        Best of luck starting a new routine. I’ve found I do better if I just frame it as “do anything physical everyday”. Rather than setting a month long or even week long goal where I could fail. Anything is better than nothing!

        • Reply Hope |

          I get that. And that was definitely the old me.
          But after several years of making healthier eating choices, getting my diabetes under control, it is time for the next step. And I felt terrible in Texas. No more.
          Ok, side note, my boyfriend is a workout-aholic. On some level, I am preparing for our life together. But really, truly, I am ready to feel better, to be healthier.

      • Reply Lisa |

        Unless the $400 was exclusively for your wants it kind if is taking away from them. You will have to go 30 days a month to “earn” that money back.

        • Reply Hope |

          It is my discretionary spending…as stated, I left the $100 because it is used for cleaning supplies, etc. But yes, the rest of it is money that I use at my discretion.

  • Reply Jen |

    Risk of going to a gym in this time aside…

    Starting an exercise program with a “WILL WORKOUT EVERYDAY” attitude is a dangerous one. You’re much more likely to succeed in if you commit to a lesser goal, like going to the gym 3 days a week, take a walk 3 days, and a dedicated rest day (no purposeful exercise). First of all, you are not accustomed physically or mentally to going to a gym (maybe even not exercising), and being so ambitious with that goal is almost a guarantee that you’ll injure yourself. In order to prevent overuse injuries, you need to work your way up to 6-7 days a week of exercise. In the mental aspect, your routines are going to have to change in order to accommodate a workout schedule. If you are going to a gym 3 days, it’s a lot easier to change around your schedule when a monkey wrench in thrown in your plans, you just go a different day. Whereas if you are going 6-7 days, you’re probably looking at getting up earlier or going to bed later.

    Even with the money incentive, it’s almost inevitable that you will miss a day because you’re sore, you’re tired, etc. Then the next day it’s very easy to go “well, I already blew my goal so no point”. It’s why so many people fail at New Year’s resolutions, they dive in expecting to make a 180-degree change in their behavior. Humans are creatures of habit and routine, the most painless way to make lasting changes to those things are to do them gradually.

    • Reply Hope |

      I already walk daily, every couple of hours in fact…thank you, dogs.
      So for this, I’m just committing to increasing and scheduling something I’m already doing and making it more comfortable (not outside in the cold).
      I’ve started with walking a mile in the morning and a mile in the afternoon.
      “Working out” like weights… I KNOW I won’t always do those, especially going alone. But walking, that I can definitely do.
      I’ll build up to the other.

  • Reply Anon Lawyer |

    That’s interesting since on Nov. 28 you wrote: “We are planning to hunker down for the winter, like we do every year. And with Christmas shopping done. The only reason I have to leave the house is a weekly or bi-weekly trip to the grocery store.”

    Quite the switch in 3 days. Guessing this blog is mostly fiction at this point.

    • Reply Hope |

      Hunkering down means we are not traveling or have entertainment plans.
      I have three dogs I walk every couple of hours.
      And yes, I will be going to a gym to increase my walking.

  • Reply csdx |

    Just another peanut gallery comment. Since in your comments it sounds like your already getting the reccomended exercise per week, gym work might be somewhat marginal improvements on that front. I’d say make sure that the time an effort in the gym isn’t causing you to take away time from preparing healthier meal options. As you alluded to early in the article, what you eat has a huge impact on how you feel/weigh, far more so than exercise. Don’t chase those pennies while throwing away dollars.

  • Reply Jennifer |

    Do you have a plan in place for your children’s’ care if you end up in the hospital with covid?

  • Reply Katie |

    I’m not clear on why you’re joining a gym rather than working out at home. There are a lot of workouts you can access via online video, which are cheap or free and don’t come with the covid risk. You said you want classes, and those are especially risky. Why don’t you just look up videos of classes and do those for now? You can join the gym and do in-person classes once the pandemic is over.

    • Reply Hope |

      Other than the fact that I know myself well enough to know that I won’t stick to something home based, we have absolutely 0 living space. We have no living room. Our only floor space in our house is our kitchen which is tiny as it is…so no real space to do a home workout.

      • Reply Katie |

        That’s confusing…in this post you wrote, “I will have a true living room again” after the twins moved out. https://www.bloggingawaydebt.com/2020/09/time-for-the-twins-to-fly/

        Can you explain?

        • Reply Hope |

          Yes, that lasted about a week. But due to some other issues, Beauty is now occupying what would have been our living room. And I continue to dream of having a living room.

        • Reply Hope |

          Yes, that lasted about a week. But due to some other issues, Beauty is now occupying what would have been our living room. And I continue to dream of having a living room.

        • Reply Hope |

          Yes, that lasted about a week. But due to some other issues, Beauty is now occupying what would have been our living room. And I continue to dream of having a living room.

      • Reply Emily N. |

        How do you have no living room? Didn’t you just regain that space when the twins moved out?

        • Reply Hope |

          Yes, that lasted about a week. But due to some other issues, Beauty is now occupying what would have been our living room. And I continue to dream of having a living room.

      • Reply Jen |

        I understand needing the reinforcement of a group to feel motivated. But the space thing I do not buy. All the space you *need* is a space approximately as large as a yoga mat. Roughly 6.5ft by 2ft. There are plenty of body weight fitness routines that can very easily be done in that space. Pilates, some kinds of yoga, barre, etc. Added bonus: those kinds of workouts usually require no equipment, but when they do it’s usually inexpensive (exercise bands), or easily modified to use things around the house (cans instead of light hand weights, balance using a wall or sturdy chair for barre).

    • Reply Drmaddog |

      Hence my aforementioned comment: ‘it’s pretty much ‘I’m going to do what I want, potential consequences to myself and others be d@amned’

  • Reply Katie |

    Ugh. I have two friends who got COVID at their gym. It’s a lot of heavy breathing. Please wear a mask and go at off hours.

    • Reply Hope |

      Most definitely. I go in the wee hours of the morning and have never seen more than 2 people there and no one comes within 50 feet of the treadmills which are right in front of the door I enter. I clean the treadmill, walk my mile+, clean the treadmill again, sanitize my hands and leave.

      • Reply jax |

        Cleaning your equipment is good etiquette, but we know now the virus is spread primarily through the air and not from touching surfaces. Please wear a mask while working out indoors, and if you are going to be near other people outdoors.

  • Reply Sarah |

    That is a fantastic idea! I’ve gone running a couple of times during COVID and have been wondering how to motivate myself to go more often. I have $60 in my monthly budget for personal care and “other.” (Eating out and household is covered elsewhere.) I think I’ll try earning my $60 in January by paying myself $5 every time I go running in December. Otherwise, it goes to debt repayment. Thank you so much!

  • Reply Ellen |

    If what you need is classes, there are plenty of fitness instructors that are doing FREE classes virtually. Get yourself a Twitch account and look up fitness classes. They have them all day long. No reason to once again leave the house in the middle of this pandemic.

    • Reply Cwaltz |

      3100 lives were lost yesterday and that number is expected to increase. I get that its hard to change habits and people want to get things back to where they once were. However, for 3100 people yesterday there was no “getting things back to where they once were” ever again. People need to take this seriously, if not for themselves or loved ones,it should be for the doctors and nurses who need us to sit still and stay home until things are better under control.

      • Reply Angie |

        Exactly. Even though a 99.7% survival rate sounds like the virus is minimal, the spread is the killer. if 80% of American’s catch it and the survival rate stays the same that means 780,000 Americans will die! That’s more American deaths than any wars we’ve been involved in. Currently, more people are dying PER DAY in America than died on 9/11. How tragic is it that we ourselves are causing these deaths and think nothing of it, yet we go up in arms over war and terrorist deaths? A percent of America is downplaying it just so they can “live their life” so we are effectively killing our own with no thought or remorse.

        For reference, the following are the American casualties for wars in the past.
        WW1 – 116,516 people (already double)
        WW2 – 405,395 (will pass if virus spreads to 80% of people)
        Vietnam – 58,209 (already at 5x this number of deaths)

        • Reply Kerry |

          Not just that—about 20% of patients are left with post viral symptoms, activation of autoimmune disorders, heart muscle damage, dental damage, blood clots, etc. Honestly, the chance of long term severe disability is scarier than dying of COVID 19, because of the US’s diminished social safety net and the Trump administration’s attempts to destroy the ACA.

      • Reply Deb |

        I’m sure she would feel differently if she saw the folks at work with covid on life support struggling with surviving. It gets tiring having to remind folks to do the right thing.

So, what do you think ?