The $5 Workout

April 6, 2012

As I was reviewing my March goals, and staring at all the ones I failed at, I also saw a lot of success in the category of person well-being. Not only did I workout 18 times that month but I also read books for pleasure, which is something I haven’t given myself the time for since going back to school in July 2010.

Looking forward to April, I knew I was going to be thrown way out of my comfort zone by housesitting across town for 4 weeks, and that I might need some motivation to leave my cute dog and waterfront views for a gym I had never been to before.

So, in the spirit of being done with “no” goals, I decided to start a small project that would offer me a reward for doing something that some days I just don’t feel like doing: working out.

After spin class last Sunday, I grabbed $5 out of my wallet and put it in a jar. I did the same thing after my Tuesday morning workout and I just set aside another $5 for a workout I did this morning. I know I won’t have a chance to workout 18 times this month, but if I can even get 12 in I’ll have at least $60 saved up.

I can’t say I know exactly what I’m going to do with the cash yet but I think I’m going to continue to save until I need to start buying some new clothes. You know, for my soon-to-be new body? I’m already down one pant size and am starting to find that some of my shirts and sweaters look too big on me. Fortunately for my wallet, I do still have some clothes that used to fit me, so I don’t need to shop yet… but I will, one day.

I also can’t say that I came up with this idea entirely on my own. On Pinterest, I saw an image of a bunch of $1 USD bills in a jar with a caption that read: Put $1 in a jar every time you workout. When you reach $100, go shopping. But seriously… 100 workouts? That would take me 5-6 months! Sounds like I’d be setting myself up for failure again, with that one.

So, $5 per workout it is. Not only do I think it will keep me motivated to workout but I will be able to see results in just a few weeks.

Have you ever attempted a savings challenge like this?

  • munchkin April 6, 2012 at 8:03 am

    I actually used to save all my $5 bills. Whenever I got one I wouldn’t spend it. I put them all in a jar and had over $100 when some money mysteriously went missing (pretty sure it was my sister but she never confessed) and I stopped after that. I might start up something like that again, but hide it better, obviously.

    • Cait April 7, 2012 at 7:01 am

      Um yes, put them somewhere she would never look! Like an old shoe or jacket pocket in your closet. (Just don’t forget where you put them!)

  • Laura April 6, 2012 at 8:18 am

    This is a great idea, I might steel it!! Having to buy new clothes is so much fun after you’ve lost a bunch of weight :) Keep up the good work!!!!!

    • Cait April 7, 2012 at 7:01 am

      Thanks, Laura!

  • shopping2saving April 6, 2012 at 8:57 am

    This is awesome. I may be broke after the month since we work out so much :P Maybe I will buy some lululemon stuff after saving $5 after each work out. I know you just posted that article about women being brainwashed by lululemon, but I can’t help it. I love their stuff. =(

    • Cait April 7, 2012 at 7:01 am

      Haha, that’s fine silly! I would need to save for something I want, so save for something you want :)

  • Bridget (@moneyaftergrad) April 6, 2012 at 9:16 am

    No I’ve never tried it but I am 100% stealing this idea.

    I find it so hard to motivate myself to work out, it’s pathetic. But for a jar of money at the end? Sign me up!

    • Cait April 7, 2012 at 7:03 am

      Totally! Steal away!

  • myjampackedlife April 6, 2012 at 9:34 am

    im gonna start as well. I will start with a toonie since my budget is a little tight this month. i just really need some extra motivation this month and this may do it. i love your ideas and love that your motivating us all together.

    • Cait April 7, 2012 at 7:04 am

      Thanks! I think it’s just a tiny piece of the puzzle in making this community even closer. Good luck starting your jar!

  • Michelle April 6, 2012 at 10:22 am

    That’s a great idea! I’ve heard of people putting $5 in a jar for every time they eat in, so that when they eventually eat out, it pays for itself!

    • Cait April 7, 2012 at 7:05 am

      Oh I haven’t heard of that! Good thinking though, for people who like to eat out a lot.

  • LittleFrugalista April 6, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Love this idea Cait! Of course I’d have no money in my jar because I’m lazy as heck ;) Btw, was wondering why I wasn’t getting your posts emailed to me anymore only to see that I mysteriously got unsubscribed. Oh well, resubscribed!

    • Cait April 7, 2012 at 7:05 am

      Strange! Happy you resubscribed :)

  • thisaggiesaves April 6, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Wonderful idea! I’d be poor if I counted on the money I saved aside from working out though!

    • Cait April 7, 2012 at 7:09 am

      Ha! I know how you feel. I think what’s important with this is that I’m not necessarily “counting” on the money but it will be a nice bonus to start my new wardrobe.

  • Mommastar April 6, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    I think this is a fantastic idea! Funny, I just wrote about my fitness today. Since I’m heading back to gym regularly I think I’m going to apply this concept to it.

    • Cait April 7, 2012 at 7:10 am

      That’s awesome! I’ll go read your blog now.

  • Emily @ evolvingPF April 6, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    This is really creative! I’ll have to find a spin that works for me. I have been slacking on workouts.

    • Cait April 7, 2012 at 7:10 am

      Spin class is intense… can’t say I’ll go back anytime soon, haha. Or at least not to the same instructor.

  • eemusings April 6, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    What an innovative idea! And you’re killing two major birds (financial and fitness) with one stone. Keep us updated on your progress.

    • Cait April 7, 2012 at 7:11 am

      Will do :)

  • seedebtrun April 6, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    Love this!

    I was just telling my sister tonight that I need her to be my workout buddy. We both have babies so it’s hard to get together to work out frequently, so I just need her to call me every night and ask me if I worked out and then tell me to work out the next day. Simple. She also needs to come kick my butt when I say I hadn’t…that’s all. I’m easy.

    -Michelle (sorry if this is a duplicate comment…my computer hates me!)

    • Cait April 7, 2012 at 7:20 am

      Great idea! Although almost none of my real-life friends workout, so I’d have no one to push… but glad you and your sister have joined forces!

      And no worries. WordPress’ new comment options seem to be screwing a lot of stuff up!

  • Cait April 7, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Thanks! I know I’ll want new jeans, shorts and some cute summer tops… will try to keep that in mind, when I workout!

  • Melissa April 7, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    This is so awesome! I’m totally going to start doing this THIS WEEK!

    • Cait April 7, 2012 at 6:02 pm

      I expect some #pfworkout tweets to go along with it!

  • Money Pincher April 7, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Oh my goodness! This is a wonderful idea! I am trying to lose that last 5 pounds… just a little tummy fat that I accumulated over the winter. I think this $5 workout will definitely motivate me to workout more so I can go shopping! :D :D :D

    • Cait April 8, 2012 at 6:09 am

      Do it! And I want to hear about the shopping trip that follows! :)

  • legalb April 8, 2012 at 6:41 am

    Good luck with your challenge! Glad to hear you are a fan of spin – I am a spin instructor. As a triathlete I workout every day, sometimes 2-3 times a day so I would be more inclined to choose the $1/workout challenge haha. Keep up the great work.

    • Cait April 8, 2012 at 9:37 am

      Thank you so much! And yes, $1 per workout sounds great for you! :P

  • bogofdebt April 9, 2012 at 8:16 am

    This looks like a great idea–you’ll have to keep me updated. This would help me out getting the new clothes that I will need (or that I’m hopeful I’ll need!) so I will have to think about this and how I could implement it. Good luck to you!

    • Cait April 9, 2012 at 8:20 pm

      Thanks! I have $30 saved so far this month. Can’t wait to see how much I have, when I finally need new clothes!

  • Cassie April 9, 2012 at 10:08 am

    I’ve never done a savings challenge like this, but I like the sounds of it. Good luck with it!

    • Cait April 9, 2012 at 8:20 pm

      Thanks, Cassie!

  • wpaulbishop April 25, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Weight loss is hard for me. I don’t fit properly into machines at the gym, and I’ve done more damage to myself trying to push my body that way. I stopped going. There is a track outside my apartment which I walk occasionally. If I set aside a toonie for each time around the track (or the mall when it’s raining), I’d be able to save up for the smaller items like books I want.