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On spending money and being frugal

I’m a pretty frugal person.

I don’t think I’m cheap (though maybe some people might think otherwise?) but there are some things that I know I don’t want to spend money than necessary on. It’s not about depriving myself, or getting the last cent shaved off, or trying to be a bargain hunter.

(Here’s an interlude to acknowledge that I’m definitely speaking from a place of privilege, to be even able to have choices to be frugal. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve had that kind of financial anxiety that only living paycheck to paycheck can gather, and now I can spend money without worrying too much.)

There are a few reasons why my spending habits are this way:

  1. I like being intentional with what I’m spending my money on, since there are other things I would rather spend my money on
  2. Having options with my money — bulking up my emergency savings, putting aside money for bigger ticket purchases like a new device or a vacation, or even just taking advantage of a bear market — brings me a sense of security
  3. I have a percentage in mind when it comes to my savings rate (and yes, this comes into the whole Financial Independence (and maybe Retire Early) thing, but the jury is still out on the latter)

And yet, in the past month, I found myself with a huge money decision to make: whether or not to sign up with a personal trainer so that I can really dial my fitness levels in. This is on top of the physiotherapy sessions I go to, because of my back betraying my body in general.

It’s not an insignificant sum of money: personal training would take up a huge percentage of my monthly expenses, and would set me back a bit of my target “retirement” age. It’s also a pretty huge cost upfront.

I’m doing it, though. As I’ve so rapidly found in the past couple of years, my health is worth more than the money I can afford to throw at it.

Believe me, it took a couple of days for me to come to this decision and reframe my position on it.

My initial thoughts: no way, I can just go to my cheap gym on my own, this is way too much, this is going to affect my spending by a whole lot.

Eventually, the combination of knowing exactly what my body fat percentage is right now (hint: way, way worse than I had always estimated) as well as wanting a professional to spot my form and fixing it where it’s hurting me won out.

Now, excuse me while I buy some gym shoes, because my Metcon 5s are literally breaking apart at the seams.

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