We Bought a Home Gym – 3 Money Lessons

After months (maybe years) of talking about it, we finally opened our wallets and bought a home gym. Now, while this might seem like the least financially savvy thing to do, it was the right thing for us.  And like they say, personal finance is personal.

But I’m not telling you that we bought a home gym to brag, but rather share some money lessons from the process.  These lessons can be applied to any spending situation, big or small.

When it comes to spending money on something here are 3 money lessons to remember:

  • Aligning your spending with your values looks different for everyone
  • Shop around and look for discounts
  • Pay attention to the details

Aligning Your Spending With Your Values

I have a really hard time spending money on myself.  There is usually guilt involved and I have a tendency to want to save money rather than spend it.  This could be one of the reasons that we talked about buying a home gym for months (okay, years) before doing anything about it.

Hubby was shocked when I finally said, let’s just do it.  We worked hard this year and had an extra influx of income so it seemed like a good idea. We also haven’t travelled in a couple of years so had saved money in that spending category.

Also, with 2 kids now, it was getting harder and harder to physically go to a gym to work out.  And while I know that you can work out at home with minimal equipment.  The type of workouts that we both like to do requires equipment that we didn’t have.

Working out and being physically active are something that we highly value in our home.  But throughout the past couple of years, our actions haven’t matched that.  

Something had to change.

We want to role-model being physically active for our kids. So, that meant finding money (and space) to set up a home gym. So, we allocated our travel spending (another value of ours) towards the home gym for this year.

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Shop Around

But just because we had a chunk of money to spend on buying a home gym, didn’t mean that I wanted to spend everything we had saved.  If we could get what we wanted for a lower price – why not?

I admittedly spent more time than I should have to try to find “the best deal.”  (This isn’t the first time I’ve tried to overoptimize an expense).  Maybe it’s a bit of my scarcity mindset, or maybe it was a stall tactic because I still have issues spending money on myself and buying big-ticket items.

Whatever the reason, at the end of the day, I’m glad that I shopped around because we were able to buy our home gym for less than we had budgeted for.  And in the home gym space, there are so many options.

You have to shop around to get what you want without sacrificing quality.

We easily could have got something substantially cheaper but it probably won’t last as long or be as functional as our current setup.

One of the things we did that helped us shop around when we bought a home gym was to ask around for recommendations. I’m fortunate to work with a strength and conditioning coach, so I asked him for some places for equipment.

After all of our online shopping, we were very happy with our decision to buy the majority of our home gym equipment from Bells of Steel. (Side note – now that our home gym is all set up we could not be happier with the Bells of Steel equipment).

Crate and pallet of home gym equipment from Bells of Steel
Our Bells of Steel order

Pay Attention To the Details

It’s a running joke in our household that if there is an error to be found, I will find it.  No matter the professional we have worked with, 9 times out of 10 I’ve been able to find an error.  It pays to pay attention to the details.

When it came to buying our home gym, attention to detail saved us $$.

We had gone online and priced out our home gym package, but some of the equipment we wanted was out of stock. So after contacting Bells of Steel we were able to have our order manually put in.

But when they sent us the quote, one of the discounts wasn’t showing up on all of the equipment. The total that I was able to get wasn’t the same as the quote.  

When I contacted Bells of Steel to ask about the discrepancy, they were amazing at resolving it and ensuring that all of our equipment would be shipped out together and right away.

The few minutes it took for me to review everything and pay attention to the details saved us over $100; not a bad return on my time.

But Really How Bad of a Financial Decision Was It?

All in, we spent $3503.29 setting up our home gym. This includes all of our equipment and the flooring.  It doesn’t include the spin bike that we already had.  

There will be 2 of us using it, so that’s $1751.65 each.

We have a few local gyms that we could become members of.  Here is the breakdown of 3 of our local choices

Monthly Gym MembershipAnnual Cost*“Break even” (per person)
$16$2407.3 years 
$18$2706.5 years
$51$5523.2 years

*Some of the gyms have an annual fee or sign-up fee so that is why the annual cost is not just 12 times the monthly fee.

So, as long as we own and use our home gym for more than 3.2 – 7.3 years (depending on the membership option above), it will have been a good financial decision.

But not all decisions you make with your money have to be the best financial decisions ever (there is such a thing as over-optimization).

Maybe that’s the biggest money lesson of this experience. It’s okay to make emotional decisions with your money if you can afford them. We (especially me some days) need to remember that money is psychological.

And when it comes to our home gym the time savings of just being able to walk out to the garage instead of having to get into a car, are priceless for me.  

Home gym with spin bike, squat rack, dumbbells, and kettle bells
Our home gym set up

Final Thoughts

Maybe you think we are crazy for reorganizing our garage and budget to find room for our home gym. And that’s okay. I’m sure that there are things you spend money on that others think are crazy.

But when it comes down to it, what you spend your money on should align with your values. And we are trying to align our spending with ours. It doesn’t matter what it looks like to others, or what social media says you “should” be doing.

Since buying and setting up our home gym we have been much happier.  We are both finding time to work out and our kids are seeing their parents being physically active. This type of role modelling is important to us.

And so is saving money. That’s where shopping around, looking for discounts, and paying attention to the details helped us save hundreds of dollars on our new gym.

But, I know that some people need to physically go somewhere to make the time to work out. And yes, there are many distractions at home that monopolize my time away from our home gym. But I also know that without it, I wouldn’t work out as much as I’m able to now. So, I guess the cost of the gym will pay immeasurable dividends to my health. 

And in that way, maybe it was one of the best financial decisions I’ve made in a long time.

6 thoughts on “We Bought a Home Gym – 3 Money Lessons”

  1. Wow, really nice setup. I’m suprised all that was only $3,500—a good deal in today’s market.

    I totally agree with you that it’s not a dollars-and-cents decision. In my view, if buying workout equipment makes it just that more likely you’ll workout, it’s worth it in the end. Health, after all, is the most important thing :).

    1. You’re right AL, health is the most important thing.

      We were very happy with what we got for $3500. Originally, I thought that everything would be closer to $5000. It helped that we already had the spin bike and kettle bells.

  2. That’s a really nice home gym and also a nice breakdown of the cost and break even point. I feel the same about getting out of the house to do anything once you have kids—it’s not easy! Having a gym at home makes working out so much more accessible. Here’s to a healthier, stronger 2023 for you and your husband!

    1. You’re right Chrissy – kids are definitely a game changer. Here’s to a healthy and happy 2023 to you and your family:)

  3. Great setup. What I found was that I actually use it more. Which means I’m actually getting what I am paying for (health, fitness etc.). I don’t have the excuse of “it’s too late to go the gym” or “weather is no good Ill go tomorrow” etc etc

    1. Gareth – It’s definitely easier to pop into our home gym when the kids go to bed and hubby is working. Going to an actual gym wouldn’t be possible in that case. Our home gym is helping us get rid of excuses – haha.

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