“I just can’t do it today…”

“I’m not going…”

“But damnit I have to.”


And so the day begins. After mustering up just enough strength to slide out of your warm, comfy bed, you quickly guzzle a cup of coffee (or two) on your way out the door before beginning the long, lonely commute to work.

As you travel, your mind starts to drift. Tom Joyner and ‘em are so crazy! That Fantastic Voyage sounds like it’s going to be off the chain tho'. The Mahi Mahi at Pancho’s Backyard in Cozumel is so good. Wait, did you forget to eat breakfast? No matter. Someone at the office has a stash of granola bars. You can just hit them up. Anyway, what were thinking about again? Oh yeah, Mary J. and Anthony Hamilton are going to tear it down. They are even doing a Straight Outta Compton Legends of Hip Hop set WITH Cube on board? Dre must think he’s too good. Oh well, you will have fun without him. You can already see yourself sipping mango margaritas with Tyrese and Taraji. The good life…

But you quickly snap back to reality when Sybil reminds you that the LEAST expensive cabins are going for around two stacks – per person! Damn, you need to get those student loans paid asap. That money could be used for something much better, like mango margaritas with Tyrese and Taraji! Anyway, you certainly can’t mess with that money. You could take a little from your rainy day fund. But what if that rainy day actually comes sooner than you expect? Too risky. Not worth it. You do have another small pot that you have started stacking, but that money is specifically for getting the equipment you need to start your business. Short-term fun versus long-term career goal? Stay on point. Wait, Dru Hill is performing too? Tell me what you wantTell me what you need. That’s your jam!

You now have what Kelly and Nelly would call a Dilemma. You really need to be on that ship. But all of your funds are already accounted for. Something has gots to give.

Where can you cut back on your spending so that you can comfortably “Party with a Purpose” without the guilt of having blown money you might truly need later? You can save a little by cutting take out or eating out altogether. I mean, you don’t HAVE to have sushi, right?  Besides cooking at home is healthier anyway. You could cut the (cable) cord. Really, how many of those 200 channels do you actually watch? Luke Cage is on NetFlix and Hulu has Scandal so you’re good. But you already know these things. Dave Ramsey has told you a thousand times already. Okay, that just means that it's time get serious about them. Fantasia needs you on that cruise.

What about hair appointments? You could skip…nah, who are we kidding? That is not going to happen.

What about the gym the membership? What is that costing you? Sixty bucks a month ($100 if you are in Charlotte)? If you figure in the initial sign-up fee, that is something like $800-$1200 a year. That’s half your trip right there. Hmm… Let’s think about this.

Though total membership is almost evenly split between men and women, women account for the larger share of the industry’s growth.  You may be among those today who are simply more health conscience than previous generations and truly value exercise. Or, maybe after a rough work day, working out and connecting with friends at the gym is the perfect way for you to unwind.  Or, maybe you just don’t want to let your homegirl outdo you. She’s been killing your newsfeed with her gym selfies, looking all sexy in that fly workout outfit. Hell, you may just want guns like Michelle. Or whatever.

Whatever your reason is, is really fine. However, should the gym cost you other opportunities to pursue your dreams? Should it mean the difference between whether or not you are cruising with R. Kelly? Okay maybe someone else on the cruise. You get the point.

Let me explain. In reality, very few of us actually get our money’s worth from our gym membership. In fact, a full two-thirds of gym membership owners, never visit the gym at all. And the gyms know this. It’s why they offer all of the cool stuff upfront…free sweatshirt, free gym bag, free swim lessons for the kids. They are counting on you not showing up much beyond that while they continue to siphon fees from your account. Also, on the flip-side of the gym industry’s growth is the fact that women are more likely to drop out of regular gym attendance within their first year of membership than are men.

But exercise is a necessity, you say. So if not the gym then what?

A quick Google search lead me to a Pinterest post titled, 1000+ ideas about No Gym Workouts. Some of these workouts include the Ryan Reynolds Deadpool workout. The Wake-Up Workout. 10 Minute Abs. 10 Minute Core. 10 Minutes replying to all of your friends on Facebook. You're right, that last one was not on the list. But it is a thing. Nonetheless, virtually all of those shown require very little to no equipment at all. Hence very little to no additional expense to achieve your exercise goals.

Look, I get it. The gym is your thing. And when used correctly, it's a solid personal investment. Not to mention that you can comfortably afford $60 a month. And that all may very well be true. But at what cost? Tyrese and Taraji? Think about it. All I'm suggesting is that you not let it kill your vibe.