Do You Listen to Music While Exercising?

I have made a discovery recently: I like running without music. Before I started running, I visited a lot of online forums where other beginning runners congregated. I heard the same thing over and over: running is boring on its own, so you’ve got to have music to take your mind off it. Knowing that surely I too would find running boring, I brought my music with me on day one of my quest to become a runner. Over the following months, I changed up my playlist, deleting songs that didn’t inspire me to push harder and adding new songs as I found them. I had one criteria for picking songs for my play list: the song must build up to a climactic key change. I find that when the song is building up to the climax, it pushes me to run harder, and then when it gets to that climactic key change, it puts a huge smile on my face and I suddenly enjoy what I’m doing. I don’t think I have an explanation for that, everyone needs to find their own warm fuzzies, right? Since I’m a musical theatre nerd, I had a wealth of songs with climactic key changes to choose from. All was well… for a while.

It turned out the songs had a drawback. I knew that most songs on my play list were about 3 minutes long. That meant I was acutely aware of exactly how long I had been running for. When trying to run for even just half an hour, monitoring your progress in 3 minute increments makes it seem like an eternity. I switched up my playlist and only listened to really long songs, and that helped a bit, but I found myself getting bored of listening to the same song for 8 or 9 minutes. So I tried something revolutionary. I went for a run without my music.

I anticipated that I would get bored, that without music I’d hear my breathing get heavier and be too aware of how winded I was getting, that I’d look down at my GPS watch every minute willing time to pass more quickly. None of that happened. Instead, my mind wandered off to distant places. I thought about what I was going to make for dinner, pondered deep philosophical questions, thought about people I’d fallen out of touch with and wondered where their lives had taken them, all sorts of things. Before I knew it, I looked down at my watch and I’d already been running for 15 minutes!

I listened to music when I started running because all I heard from other beginning runners is that running is horribly boring and they’d never be able to do it if they weren’t listening to music. I went in with the wrong attitude. I expected it to be a chore that I’d need a crutch to struggle through, but found that freeing myself of the crutch allowed me to clear my mind and enjoy the experience so much more. I know that there are plenty of people out there who are the opposite of me, who have tried both and decided they prefer running with music. But I wonder how many beginning runners out there go in with the attitude that I did – that running is going to be so unenjoyable that they’ll only get through it if they bring their iPod. So I encourage everyone to always go into new things with a positive attitude, whether it be a new exercise routine or a new budgeting routine. If you go in with the expectation that it’s going to be unenjoyable, it probably will be.

Musings on Random Things

I haven’t been feeling very inspired so far this week. I’ve started a couple posts, but walked away from them halfway through because I just haven’t been able to put the right words together to convey what I set out to write about. So instead, I bring you the random ponderings I had last night when I couldn’t manage to fall asleep.

Imagine a person with no pain receptors. What is their life like? Do they even make it past infancy? Every bump to the head would necessitate a trip to the doctor to make sure there was no internal damage. And how often would they have to go to the doctor for thorough health evaluations? Monthly? Weekly? I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to go through life having to learn what behaviors to avoid without having the help of pain. Children are told “don’t touch that pan, it just came out of the oven,” but oh do children touch the pan anyway. But they have an immediate pain response, which reinforces what their mother told them and they learn to not touch pans that just came out of the oven. How much damage would a child do to himself before he’s old enough to understand that even though he can’t feel pain, he shouldn’t touch pans that just came out of the oven?

I Have a Personal Negotiator

I’m terrible at negotiating. Awful. I lack whatever gene gives people the ability to haggle. Fortunately, my fiance has the gene and employs it quite frequently. He has the magical ability to make sales reps give him whatever he wants. When one of the TV channels we like to watch disappeared one day, he called up DirecTV and got the channel back, and lowered our cable bill while he was at it. When he got rear-ended on the freeway, he managed to double the initial settlement offer he received from Geico. He manages the company phone plan with AT&T for his work, and has negotiated lower costs and often gets employees discounted device upgrades.
While I still leave all the negotiating to him, I have picked up several tidbits that could help others improve their negotiating skills.

Know What to Ask for
Do your research first. If you ask for too much, you might wind up with nothing, if you ask for too little, you’re selling yourself short. When he was negotiating with Geico for his medical/pain and suffering settlement, my fiance did a lot of research to find out how much was a reasonable amount to ask for. He visited a lot of forums online and asked his chiropractor for advice. By hearing how much other people were able to get for similar injuries and based on the recommendations of a licensed professional, he was armed with the knowledge he needed to enter negotiations. He knew he’d have to go through a few rounds of negotiations, so his first counter-offer was a little higher than the max he thought he’d be able to get. After a few rounds of negotiating he wound up with double Geico’s initial offer, and right in the ballpark of some of the higher settlements people reported online.

Be Prepared to Walk Away
My fiance’s first rule when it comes to negotiating is to always be prepared to walk away if you don’t get the offer you want. If you’ve done your research and know how much money you should be paying for something, why would you let a salesperson talk you into paying more? Salespeople want to sell you at the highest price possible, but they’d rather make a sale at a lower price point than wind up empty-handed. Make it clear to the salesperson that you have no attachment to the particular item, their brand, etc. and that you have no problem leaving the store without having purchased anything. That will get their attention.

Ask to Talk to a Manager
Very often, you might be negotiating with someone who doesn’t have the authority to give you the deal you want. Salespeople are generally given a certain amount of wiggle room for negotiations, but they’re not the ones who are going to be able to sign off on a big discount. And when it comes to things like dealing with claims adjusters for insurance companies or the call center for cable, phone or internet companies, you’re likely talking to a low-level salesperson who has very little flexibility. Their managers will always have more authority to give a bigger discount, so don’t waste your time talking to someone who isn’t able to give you what you want.

And finally, here’s a piece of advice from little ol’ me:

Bring Proof
If you looked up the car you want to buy on Kelley Blue Book, saw what other people paid for an item on a message board, or received advice from a licensed professional on how big your settlement should be, print it out and bring it with you, or if you’re negotiating over the phone, insist on emailing the documentation to them. Even if you’re as terrible at negotiating as I am, you can always point to the proof and say “this is how much you charged this other person last week. I want the same price.”

Get Fit on a Budget

Going to the gym can have many great benefits, but chances are you’d be just as successful with your fitness goals at home, and for a lot less money. Your gym has plenty of exercise equipment, and might even offer group classes, but is all that really necessary? Next time you go to the gym, take a look at the people working out with personal trainers. How much time do they spend using the fancy exercise equipment? Practically none. They spend the majority of their sessions using free weights, resistance bands, exercise balls, and step boxes. All things you can buy at your local sporting goods store,, eBay, or Craigs List. And then there are the classes. Part of your membership fee goes toward providing these classes, so if you’re not taking advantage of them, you’re paying for services you’re not using. And if you are taking classes, ask yourself what about the class motivates you. Is it the particular instructor? The group setting? The fact that it’s a recurring, scheduled routine? With just a little extra motivation, you can get all these things at home for a small cost, or even for free.

Free Forms of Exercise
There are a number of exercises you can do at home for absolutely no money. For cardio you can go for a run or a bike ride, put on a CD and dance around your house, or run up and down your stairs. To build muscle, do push ups, sit ups, planks, and squats. If you don’t own any weights, pick up a heavy book, a sturdy table lamp, anything at all!

Bring the Instructor Home
There are a ton of exercise videos out there, so it’s just a matter of finding a few that you like. If you have a Netflix account, you can get exercise videos through them. P90X and Insanity are very popular right now, so chances are you know someone who owns the DVDs and would be happy to burn a copy for you (that’s how my fiance and I got P90X for free). You won’t like every workout video or every instructor, so try out several until you find a few you enjoy doing. Another thing to note is that many videos will suggest that you buy a few pieces of exercise equipment. You may want to go out and get a couple dumbbells, but you usually don’t need everything they suggest. For instance, P90X suggests you buy this silly little push up stand that lets you get about an inch lower on your push ups, but it’s completely unnecessary in my opinion.

Find a Group
We all know that working out by yourself can be difficult. When the workout gets too hard, you’re tempted to quit because nobody’s there to push you to keep going. Find someone else who is committed to an exercise routine so you can’t skip a workout just because you don’t feel like it. If you’ve agreed that you’re working out every day from 7-8pm, there’s no backing out. If you like to run or bike, a lot of sporting goods stores organize weekly runs/bikes, which is a great way to meet new people who share your passion for exercise and will push you to improve. If you live near a park, pay attention to see if there are groups playing sports there. If you see a group, approach them and ask if you could join their game on a regular basis.

Keep Yourself Accountable
There are a number of online communities where you can find support and encouragement from others with the same goals as you, as well as set goals and track your progress. I belong to, which provides a number of tools for people trying to lose weight. I can set my daily calorie target and log calories eaten and calories burned through exercise. It has a vast database of foods, so you can just search for a food and it will fill in all the nutritional information. Similarly with exercise (but only for cardio as far as I can tell), you can enter what type of exercise you did, at what speed/intensity, and for how long, and it will estimate how many calories you burned. In addition to all that, there is a huge community where you can connect with others. On the message boards, you’ll find people asking and answering questions, sharing inspirational stories, organizing weekly check ins, and creating groups for people with similar goals. If you don’t have an exercise buddy or support network in the “real world,” an online community is a great option.

When a Deal is Not a Deal

If you’re like me, you love getting great deals and using coupons for all your purchases. But all too often, people end up spending more money by using coupons and taking advantage of deals. After all, if offering discounts and coupons didn’t make stores money, they wouldn’t do it! So how do you know if a deal is saving you money or costing you money? There really is just one golden rule that encompasses all the different “deals” I’ll talk about: if you weren’t already planning on purchasing the item, buying it with a coupon or discount is costing you money.

Pretty simple, isn’t it? The reason stores offer you deals is to get you in the door. They know that a lot of people only come in because they heard about the deal, and they know that many of those people will end up buying more items than just the one on sale. Keeping the golden rule in mind, here are a few other “deals” that should raise red flags:

Buy one, get one half off - were you already planning on buying even one of the item? If not, then why on earth would getting a second one for half off be a deal? And if you were planning on buying one, do you actually need a second one? If you only need one of an item, and there is a buy one, get one half off sale, DO NOT buy a second one!

$1 off when you buy 3 - I see this one at grocery stores a lot. I always have to chuckle a little bit when the item is priced at something like $5, so you would need to spend an extra $10 to get $1 off. Another rendition of this one is 10 for $10. These are like the buy one, get one half off deal on steroids. From my experience, it seems that these deals are usually offered on items that people often do buy several of at a time. They’re also typically for items with a very low price point. The combination of these two factors means that it’s incredibly easy to convince people to buy enough to get the deal. But the problem with these deals is that all too often they’re on perishable items, so if you buy more than you need, you’ll end up throwing some of them away when they go bad. If you can’t use 10 avocados before they go bad, forgo the deal and only buy what you can use (unless of course you only want, say 7 avocados for $1.50 each, in which case getting the extra 3 would save you $0.50; always do the math). These can be good deals on non-perishable items though, and you’ll sometimes see them for canned soup or veggies. If they won’t go bad and you know you’ll use them, go for it.

Get a 20% off coupon to use on your next purchase - this is the classic tactic to try and make you a regular visitor of the store. You usually don’t see these advertised (though I have a few times), rather they are typically given to you at checkout after you’ve just purchased something. The problem with these deals is that they often have an expiration date set in the very near future. If you just bought, say a pair of shoes, are you really going to need to buy another pair of shoes in the next month? While I’ve never tried this myself, you could always go back the next day, return the items you purchased, wait until they’re re-stocked, and then re-purchase them using your 20% off coupon. Now THAT’S the way to take advantage of a deal!

Engagement Party Etiquette

I’ll cut right to the chase with the thesis of this post: how do you invite people to an informal, no-gifts engagement party and convince them that you really mean informal and no-gifts?

My fiance and I are planning an engagement party for next month, and we would like it to be exactly that. No big hoopla, no gifts, don’t bother flying across the country for it, just if you happen to be in town and free that night, come hang out with us and celebrate. We’re trying to get invitations (evites) out this week, and we’ve run into so many problems.

After the jump, I need some advice from anyone who has had or been to a similar engagement party!

1) Can we invite people that may not be invited to the wedding?

Everything we read says that you should only invite people who will be invited to your wedding. But our wedding is still over a year away and we don’t know the venue yet, so we have no idea who is going to be on our guest list. Our rationale is that since the engagement party will be informal and we’re asking people to not bring gifts, we should be able to invite everyone.

2) Should we invite out-of-towners?

We are planning our engagement party to be so informal that it seems ludicrous to ask anyone to pay for a plane ticket to come. I don’t want an invitation to make our out-of-town relatives feel like they have any obligation to come, but I also don’t want to hurt their feelings by not inviting them. I think the right strategy here is to send them an invite, but make it abundantly clear that while we would love their company, we do not expect anyone to fly across the country for this. I’ve been mulling over how exactly to phrase that sentiment, and nothing sounds quite right to me.

3) Should we register somewhere even though we don’t want gifts?

Some of our friends told us that even though we stipulate no gifts, some people will want to bring gifts anyway, and out-of-towners will want to send gifts. (That’s another reason I’m hesitant to invite out-of-towners; I don’t want them to feel like if they can’t come, they should send a gift.) I don’t want the presence of a registry to cause anyone who would not otherwise have bought us a gift to buy us something. I worry that registering somewhere sends the message that we’re just trying to be polite by saying no gifts, but we really do want you to get us something.

Gift Giving Tips

With the holidays fast approaching, people are about to amp up spending. We give gifts for a few reasons. First, it feels great to give gifts to the people we love. We see the smiles on their faces when they open their presents and we know that we put those smiles there. But giving gifts has also become expected in our culture. Often we don’t buy gifts for the joy of giving something to a loved one, we buy them because we feel obligated to, because we’re afraid that not giving a gift will reflect poorly on us. And boy are there a lot of occasions where gift-giving has become obligatory. Christmas, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and graduations to name a few. But what do you do when you’re practicing a frugal lifestyle, or worse, trying to get out of debt? It’s my personal belief that if you’re in debt, you shouldn’t be giving anything more than a card, but I know very few people would heed that advice, so let’s try for some more practical advice.

After the jump, some occasion-specific tactics for gifting on a budget.

If your family or a group of friends usually exchanges gifts for Christmas, suggest doing Secret Santa. In a large group, you can save tons of money just buying a gift for one person instead of buying gifts for everyone. You can take it a step further by putting a cap on how much the gift can cost.

If you have a talent for baking, a tin of cookies is always an acceptable gift. In fact, it’s an acceptable gift for nearly any occasion on this list. If you don’t have a talent for baking, you probably know someone who does who would be happy to whip up a tin of cookies for the cost of the ingredients plus a few bucks.

You probably can’t swing a tin of cookies as a wedding gift, but you can certainly offer your talents as a wedding gift. If you’re a baker, you could offer to make a cake (even if you can’t do a wedding cake, a lot of people have a second cake, or a “groom’s cake” nowadays). If you’re a great photographer, you could offer to take the engagement photos. If you have a knack for design, you could create the centerpieces. My fiance and I are thinking of asking one of our friends to choreograph our first dance for us since we want to do something special.

If you’re already spending money on travel to get to the wedding, you can politely tell the bride and groom that you don’t have it in your budget to also get them a gift. Most brides and grooms should be understanding of this. But don’t forget to get them a card!

You and your partner should be on the same page when it comes to finances, and anniversary gifts are no exception. If you’re working to get out of debt or just saving every extra penny for the future, agree to a spending limit on anniversary gifts. Anniversaries are supposed to be about reflecting on the time you’ve spent with your partner and basking in each other’s love anyway, so as long as you can find a way to show your partner that you love him/her, that’s all that really matters. You could get a picture of the two of you framed, have a picnic somewhere romantic, visit the place you first met each other, something inexpensive that has special meaning to you. This is probably the occasion where people have the greatest desire to splurge, so if you really want to spend the money to do something extra special, treat it as you would any other big purchase – budget for it well in advance.

Here’s a rule of thumb inspired by a couple of my friends: if you’re still paying off the engagement ring by the time you get to your first anniversary, you may not buy her another piece of jewelry.

Depending on what the person is graduating from, there are plenty of inexpensive, but thoughtful, options. If it’s a high school graduate, they’ll be excited to get anything. Give them a $20 gift certificate to Applebee’s and they’ll probably be happy. For a college grad, you can get them something useful, like a book on how to ace an interview, or a simple cook book. In general, I don’t think most graduates see their graduation as a day to collect gifts, they’re just happy to be done with school and ready to move onto the next chapter of their lives. They’ll be happy to get nice gifts, but they won’t be upset if you get them something small, or even just a card.

If this just isn’t your style and you like going big on gifts, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that as long as you’re not in debt. But you absolutely must work your gifts into your budget. Make a separate savings account specifically for gift giving and put a little bit of money into it each month. You could sacrifice some of your wants for a few months to save up the extra money, but don’t sacrifice contributions to your emergency fund, retirement accounts, children’s college fund, or down payment fund. Those things are all more important than a gift.

Check-In and Carnival Mentions

I took yesterday off work and I feel like I fell off the face of the planet for weeks after a mere three days away from my computer. Is this what they refer to as addiction? Anyway, it’s the beginning of the third quarter of the year, so I thought I’d check in on my yearly goals now that the end is in sight.

Down Payment Fund – Reach $10k by the end of the year
Current value – $6502.04

Ouch, I don’t think I’m going to reach this goal. I’ll get to around $9000 by the end of the year, and won’t get over $10k until February 2013.

Other Taxable Accounts – Reach $13k by the end of the year
Current value – $10,962.25

I’m probably going to be about $1000 short on this goal too. And I’m counting the money in my money market account toward this goal right now, but I’ll probably end up using it to max out my IRA, so I’ll actually be a little further away from the goal.

Dividend Income – Earn $400 over the course of the year across all taxable accounts
Current earnings – $284.42

I’m going to make this goal! Hooray, something I’m going to achieve!

Retirement – Max out IRA, invest in a REIT
2012 contributions so far – $1987.50

My automated contributions will get me up to $3000 by the end of the year, and then I’m going to use the last $2000 to invest in a REIT. I’m looking at HCN and SNH as possibilities.

Health/Fitness – Get my body fat percentage down to 25%
Current status – I have no idea

I haven’t been able to measure my body fat percentage since my scale stopped working properly, but I know I haven’t been doing as well this past month. Time to get my butt in gear!

Many of these goals were best-case scenarios, so I can’t beat myself up too much over not meeting all of them. Life rarely goes according to the best-case, and that’s ok. It means you have to reevaluate your goals and prioritize, which is a good thing to do anyway. Maxing out the IRA is the number one goal, so if I have to sacrifice some others a bit to meet it, so be it.

Carnival Mentions

Tie the Money Knot hosted this week’s Carnival of Personal Finance and included my article on the importance of reevaluating your spending.

Young and Thrifty hosted this week’s Carnival of MoneyPros and included my article, How Did We Wind Up Here?

I Am 1 Percent hosted this week’s Yakezie Carnival and also included my article, How Did We Wind Up Here?

The Importance of Reevaluating

I still have my fair share of unfrugal habits. For instance, I watch (and pay for) TV, I drive 20 miles to and from work every day, and I sometimes go out for food because it’s more convenient than cooking. But these are conscious decisions I’ve made. For the past year or so, I’ve prided myself in my mastery of conscious spending. That is, until I realized yesterday that I missed something.

It all started on Tuesday when our weekly bundle of grocery store coupons came in the mail. My grocery store was running their “5 for $25″ special on meat, where you can get any 5 specially marked meats and pay $25, with each additional item being $5 as well. My fiance and I are huge meat lovers, so whenever they run this special, I go to the store as soon as the deal starts so I can have the best selection and of course choose the most expensive pieces of meat to get the best deal. (I scored a couple packages that were marked at over $9!)

The booklet had many other deals in it, including a coupon for a free bottle of Vo5 shampoo and conditioner. I was running low on shampoo and conditioner, and even though I don’t typically use Vo5, I wasn’t going to let a free bottle of shampoo and conditioner go unclaimed.

I’ve been using Pantene for at least 8 years. If you asked me why, I’d tell you it’s because I like how it makes my hair look and feel. But the truth is, I haven’t even tried most brands of shampoo and conditioner. When it comes right down to it, I buy Pantene out of habit, not because I’ve tried several brands and liked Pantene the best.

When I got to the hair care aisle, I went straight to the Vo5 and picked up a bottle of shampoo and a bottle of conditioner, paying no attention to price – it’s free after all, why should I care about price? As the check out woman scanned my items and I watched all the discounts ring up, I was feeling pretty good about myself… until the Vo5 rang up. $1.09 each was the original price. My initial reaction was a surprising one – “it figures they’d give you a coupon for the cheap stuff.” I caught myself. Here was an area that I hadn’t even considered before. I still had expensive taste in shampoo and conditioner.

I always buy the big bottles of Pantene, which are 25.4 oz and cost $6.99. The Vo5 bottles were 15 oz and cost only $1.09. That comes out to a difference of $0.20 per ounce. I haven’t tried the Vo5 products yet, and perhaps I’ll hate them and never buy them again. But what I will do is look for other options and break my habit of buying expensive hair products just because I’ve gotten used to them.

Moral of the story: once you think you’ve gotten control of your spending, don’t become complacent. There may be certain items you overlooked, certain things you think are important to you just because you’ve been using them for so long. You don’t have to give up all your unfrugal habits, but always look at the price of every single purchase you make, you may be surprised to discover how much money you could be saving.

My Wall of Shame

As I’ve hinted at in the past, my life pre-frugal revelation was spent buying way too much stuff. When you’re stuck in a consumerist mindset, it’s easy to justify purchases. It’s only once you’ve embraced frugality that you can look back and realize just how idiotic those justifications were. Looking back on some of my more egregious consumerist blunders is embarrassing, quite frankly. So what better to do with embarrassing personal anecdotes than share them on the internet for all to see, right? Just in case any of you were feeling down on yourselves for making stupid purchases, read on to instantaneously feel better about yourself!

Here it is, my Wall of Shame:

If you don’t recognize these shoes, that’s probably a good thing. They’re Manolo Blahniks. I got these soon after I started my job because I was so excited that I was earning money and wanted to buy myself something nice. My justification: really bad math. I wasn’t dumb enough to believe that I could fill up my closet with high-end designer shoes, but I thought that on my decent salary I should be able to treat myself to nice things every now and then. Of course that’s a slippery slope, and “every now and then” really turns into “whenever I feel like it.” I probably should have realized the error of my ways when the salesman told me that Jessica Alba had just bought a pair. This embarrassingly poor choice cost me around $650. After four years of sitting in my closet and being worn maybe three times, they’re currently for sale on eBay.

This purchase is only about two-and-a-half years old, and it’s another doozy. It’s a Marc Jacobs bag. My justification: I “needed” a purse that could cross-function as a carrying case for my brand new netbook. I had recently purchased a netbook that I wanted to carry around with me on a regular basis, but I didn’t want to have to deal with a separate carrying case, so I wanted to get a large purse with a center zip pocket for the netbook. I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for anywhere. I went to all the usual places a financially irresponsible person would look for a purse: Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and finally Nordstrom, where I finally found this beauty. And on sale, no less! 50% off, what a bargain! Except that the full price was $1600… you do the math. I used this bag for its intended purpose for a while, but I eventually got tired of carrying such a big bag around all the time and pretty much stopped using my netbook, so the bag has sat unused for about two years. It’s also up on eBay.
After a particularly bad breakup a few years ago, I needed a self esteem boost. I decided to join a gym and see a personal trainer. Joining the gym was fine, I got a one-club membership at 24 Hour Fitness that cost $25/month. But the personal trainer was the mistake. My justification: working out with a personal trainer was going to change my life. Wrong. All it did was cause me to stress about making my credit card payments each month while working out three times a week with a really attractive trainer and seeing only very minor results after six months. I’m not sure exactly how much this cost me, but I’d estimate around $3000 over six months. If you’re really serious about fitness and want to work out with a personal trainer, I would recommend doing a lot of research, don’t just accept whatever trainer 24 Hour Fitness assigns to you. Personal training sessions are incredibly expensive wherever you go, so if you’re willing to pay for it, make sure you work with a trainer who has a reputation for getting results.
Eventually I decided to leave 24 Hour Fitness because the location I was going to wasn’t clean – you never want to pick up a piece of exercise equipment and see a cockroach dart out from under it. I decided to join the incredibly expensive gym near my work. My justification: if it’s right next to my office, I won’t have any excuse not to go. My justification was actually spot on here, I went to the gym all the time. I started running and began to lose weight. The gym was well ventilated, clean, offered great classes, and had ample products in the shower area so I never had to bring my own stuff. I loved that gym. Except that it cost $145/month. I stayed there for a little over a year before I realized that I no longer needed the motivation of going to the gym to work out – I was happy to work out at home or go for a run around my neighborhood. I could have made that transition several months earlier and saved a bundle of money.
There, see? Your financial mistakes aren’t so bad. Don’t you feel better now?