Health and Fitness: Splurge vs. Save

Hi friends! How’s the morning going? Hope you’re having a great week so far! This week is flying by, and I love it. Liv also has the week off preschool, which is why my blogging schedule has been a bit more sporadic than usual. We’ve had a lot of fun adventures this week, but man. I’m tired. haha.

So today, I thought it would be fun to talk about where you splurge and where you save with health and fitness. Over time, I’ve learned that some things are worth spending extra money, while it’s easy and NBD to cut back on others. 

Health and Fitness Splurge vs Save

Here’s my own personal list:

FITNESS & HEALTH Splurge vs. Save:

Splurge: personal trainers

I think if you want to work with a personal trainer, you often get what you pay for. I’ve done the “special deal” at a big box gym (when I was in college) and it turns out that my “trainer” had zero certifications or credibility whatsoever. He also wanted me to eat 1000 calories a day. And I paid for that! Crazy pants. I’ve found that some of the best trainers are also the most expensive, but they also have a wealth of experience to share, and certifications/credentials that help to ensure that you’ll be trained safely for your personal needs. Fun fact: I just hired my first personal trainer since Ron trained me in Valdosta. It’s been a long time since I’ve had someone hold me accountable, and she’s going to really help me get back on the healthy eating train. When I birthed P, I also birthed a lot of my desire to eat vegetables. I start next week and will definitely keep you updated on how it’s going. 

Save: group fitness classes

Thanks to the beauty that is Class Pass, you can try out a variety of classes and fitness studios in your area. It’s not always advantageous to purchase a studio membership, unless it’s specialized (yoga or Pilates) or if you’re really in love with a particular workout. For example, I’ll always keep my Orangetheory membership because I love it so much, and it’s worth the cost (to me!). Yoga Six is another studio workout that I love dearly. Many studios offer class packs, so you don’t have to commit to a monthly fee. Another great option: online workouts! Some of my favorite boutique studios (like Physique 57, barre3, Ballet Beautiful) offer online workouts, and there are also platforms like Crunch LIVE, Grokker, Yoga Glo, and Beachbody.

Splurge: leggings

You don’t want those things to be see-through. 😉 Also, nicer fabric feels so much better for sweaty workouts. Sweaty legs + thick cotton = nightmare mode. 

Gina High Res 45

Save: tank tops

You can find cute athletic tank tops for a steal at spots like Old Navy and Forever 21. I’ve also found some really cute tanks on the cheap from Etsy.

Everything hurts

Splurge: sports bras

I’ve found it’s worth spending a little more for comfort and quality. I especially love the Victoria’s Secret Sport bras, lululemon ta-ta tamer, and this dreamy one from Lorna Jane

Save: fitness trackers

There is a variety of fitness tracker options to choose from, but I’ve found that the basic ones (like Fitbit Flex) work just as well as the fancier models with sleep data, etc. It depends on what insights you’re looking for, but in my case, I’ve found that if I have a tracker on my wrist, I feel motivated to be more active. Also, I don’t always like to see how much sleep I’m (not) getting. 😉

Save: meal prep

This is one of my favorite ways to save money on healthy eats. I can buy the ingredients in bulk, prep ahead, and am less likely to go out to eat if I know we have healthy options on hand. 

Meal prep 3

Splurge: organic produce

Over the years, I think organic produce has become much more affordable than it was. In the Valdosta days, I remember spending $5 for an organic avocado. I treasured that avocado haha. Thanks to farmer’s markets, Trader Joe’s and Costco, sometimes organic options can be similarly priced to conventional produce. Frozen organic produce is another way to save. Even if we do spend a little more on organic whenever possible, it’s worth it to know that we’re skipping out on the chemical pesticides. 

Save: acupuncture

I love to do acupuncture in a community setting! It’s way less expensive, and I feel like the benefits are equal. Then again, I’m not that weirded out about snoozing in a room with other people and tiny needles all over my limbs haha. My favorite spot in Tucson (Tucson Community Acupuncture- see Larry!) has a sliding scale, so you pay what you can afford. 

Save and splurge: sneakers

If you’re a runner, I highly recommend hitting up a local running shop to get your stride analyzed. Certain styles of shoes will support pronation or supination, and you’ll also find that certain styles feel better to your unique stride. While running shoes are definitely pricier, most of my favorite cross trainers are just under $100.

So tell me, friends: where do you splurge and where do you save on health and fitness?

Hope you have a wonderful day and I’ll see ya later on the Family page.



Healthy living on a budget

Meal prep!

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  1. queenoffitness on February 18, 2016 at 11:15 am

    Am I the first commenter? Fitness Splurges: sports bras (with a D cup, this a nonnegotiable), sneakers (although I do look for sales, a supportive shoe makes a world of difference especially if you have a higher arch), leggings because it’s not fun to have to constantly pull your pants up or mess with a wardrobe malfunction.

    Saves: Food – I buy and cook 95% of my meals. I prep food ahead to eat through the week and only eat out once a week. I live in an area that lacks healthy restaurant choices. Fitness tops (on board with you Gina, the top doesn’t matter, it’s the support underneath). I think depending on where you live can determine whether you save or splurge on a gym membership. The only place to take group exercise classes is the YM in my area and its rates are astronomical!! I get a corporate discount through work (it helps a little) but the Y charges EXTRA for everything on top of the basic membership. Group fitness is $50-60 extra and the schedule is awful. The times are extremely inconvenient but our Y director doesn’t care, doesn’t take valuable feedback from the members, takes extreme advantage of the instructors, and refuses to purchase equipment for group exercise. Most women are WAY beyond the 3-5 lb weights. Other than teaching Zumba, I exercise at home using Zuzka Light’s workouts, the Tone It Up girls, and other free stuff I can find on YouTube.

    Things that don’t matter to me: a trainer, a fitness tracker (I use a Polar Heart Rate Monitor for calories burned/etc, and that’s all that matters to me), acupuncture, Organic produce (I do splurge on the dirty dozen and save on the clean 15, however organic produce is not readily available where I live.)

    • Fitnessista on February 18, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      i wanted to ask you what your current fave zumba songs are! i’m teaching on sunday… after not teaching FOREVER and i have nothing! haha

      • queenoffitness on February 19, 2016 at 11:05 am

        My current faves (that I lead) are Dame Tu Amor from ZIN 59 (one on one version), La Gozadera (by Marc Anthony and Gente de Zona – I use a YouTube routine from Mo Diakite), and Dale Morena from ZIN 58 (live version). I am planning to learn a routine by live love party (YouTube) to DY’s song Vaiven. One of the girls I teach with does EL Tiki from 58 and Sola from 59. We exclusively use the ZIN volumes and mega mix music and supplement the remaining percentage with other stuff. We strictly adhere to the zumba formula. It works really well for us since we all work full time and we get all of our rhythms in because everyone learns something different.

        • Fitnessista on February 19, 2016 at 7:06 pm

          thank you- i will check out all of these! i quit my zin membership because they were so bad and i wasn’t teaching, so i was thinking of just calling it dance cardio and including a mix of genres. love that you team team- it’s so fun to do it that way

  2. Erin @ Her Heartland Soul on February 18, 2016 at 11:16 am

    I agree with all of these! I’ve never done acupuncture before though so I didn’t know it could be done in a group setting. Neat!

  3. Amanda on February 18, 2016 at 11:55 am

    I love this post!

    Saves: sports bras (I’m a small B-cup so I can get away with Target sports bras lol!), and definitely tank tops/tshirts

    Splurge: Membership to my amazing yoga studio, acupuncture/zero balancing (I don’t have a community option in my area), and local/organic/pasture raised meat and produce because it is such a high priority for me.

  4. Amanda @ Cheers to the Weekends on February 18, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Recently, I have begun to splurge on organic produce and also on free-range cage-free meats and eggs. I feel like these things actually mean something to me, so it is worth the extra cost (to me)! Always splurge on leggings… I have seen way more than I have paid for in many group fitness classes! 😉

    • Fitnessista on February 18, 2016 at 2:34 pm

      yes. i’m the same way with meats and eggs

  5. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on February 18, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    Nice tip on the acupuncture! I never even knew about that. For me, my splurges are definitely apparel, shoes and food. There are just too many funky ingredients in food now to mess with that. Having said that, I try to save by clipping coupons or going to Sprouts on Wednesday when they typically have sales and I can stock up on goodies.

    • Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on February 18, 2016 at 12:46 pm

      Oh and head phones! I have been through so many headphones and would not trade my Jaybird earbuds for any other brand!

      • Fitnessista on February 18, 2016 at 2:30 pm

        same! i have some bose headphones that i’ll always use

  6. Vicki on February 18, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    Love this list! spot on!

    • Fitnessista on February 18, 2016 at 2:29 pm


  7. Amy S on February 18, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    Saves: My gym membership (only $24 a month and it’s still a pretty decent gym!), workout socks (I love colorful ones from Target and get them on the cheap), cross-training shoes

    Splurges: Ballet classes at an amazing studio that I love, running shoes, workout pants and (sadly) workout tops. I should probably try to find some cheaper tops, but I’m always falling in love with more expensive ones!

    • Fitnessista on February 18, 2016 at 2:29 pm

      love that you take ballet! i miss it

  8. Deanna on February 18, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Splurge: yoga mats (made my practice so much more enjoyable when I switched from a $12 mat from TJ Max to my Manduka)

    Save: yoga towel. I my Target towel more than my yogi toes.

    Splurge: seasonal exercises aka paddle boarding. I just bought a paddle board (summer in New Zealand) and its been amazing! It’s inflatable so half the workout is blowing it up!

    Save: day to day workouts… Between you, Blogilates, YouTube, and some streaming services, I basically work out for free, but have a ton of options. I will admit I miss having class pass tremendously, but it doesn’t exist here.

    • Deanna on February 18, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      Oh, and acupuncture is definitely a save. I’ve found going to acupuncture schools is amazing! All of the students are overseen by trained practitioners, but the cost is significantly less. And the school I visited also did massages at a discount because they had a massage therapy program as well.

      • Fitnessista on February 18, 2016 at 2:28 pm

        oh that is a great idea!!

        • Rochelle on February 26, 2016 at 8:31 am

          Gina, Pacific college of oriental medicine offers student massage and acupuncture in San Diego, it is located in mission valley! It used to be w great deal but filled up fast, worth checking out though.

          • Fitnessista on February 26, 2016 at 10:39 am

            i definitely will! thank you!

    • Fitnessista on February 18, 2016 at 2:29 pm

      and YES on the manduka. lifechanging!
      that is so awesome you got a paddleboard. i REALLY want one, but it’s out last summer here, so i’ll be renting 🙂

  9. Bethany on February 18, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    Legging are a splurge for sure!
    Headbands are a save…..I don’t feel I need to spend $10-$20 on a headband.

  10. Erika S. on February 18, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    Great post and nice reminders. I def agree on splurging on activewear for the body parts where you need the most support. I love Old Navy compression capris and they always have some type of deal/coupon which is always a money saver…I’ll splurge on LuLulemon sports bras because they make the girls look nice (I have no boobs) and it makes me feel happier to work out.

    If you’re a runner (I’m such a novice but like to feel like I’m a pro) it’s also important to splurge on good socks (especially if you do long runs) and my fave are by Balega. They are super soft and I even wear them with my high heel boots for going out to ensure my feet feel nice at the end of the night.

  11. Roselie on February 18, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    I agree with almost everything you wrote, and this post actually made me realize I was already thinking in save/splurge categories absentmindedly and that it will be good to actually put those thoughts in action so thanks for that! 🙂

  12. Jodie on February 18, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    I splurge and save on workout clothes including sports bras but I splurge on sneakers! No debating there. I splurge on organic and save on different classes.

  13. Susan on February 18, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    I splurge on yoga classes and organic produce. I do have to say that the farmers markets in San Diego are definitely not cheaper than TJs or Costco’s produce. I’ve been to Hillcrest, Little Italy, Mira Mesa, Poway – my local one, haha-, Rancho Bernardo, Solana Beach – my favorite- and Encititas, and I’m strangely turned off by the amount of “stuff” v. fresh fruit and veggies. Maybe the Pt. Loma and OB ones are nicer? Anyway, I moved to Seattle few months ago and I’m anxiously waiting for market season!

    I save on workout clothes as I’m curly pregnant with #3…

  14. angie kilar on February 18, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    Since I have been on the fitness train since 1994..these are my splurges

    1. shoes- I love Nikes. they work for me, ive tried others and only ended up with shin splints
    2. Gym memberships…I STILL have my 24 hour fitness membership that I got in 1995. Ive paid the same price ($13 a month since then). Since I signed up soo long ago I was grandfathered over and can use any gym. Even though I am not near a 24 hour fitness right now, I use it when I am home in SD on leave. But since I retire next year I will be making full use of it.

    3. Sports watch- Ive tried cheap ones and they suck and end up dying within 6 months. So now I invest in the good ones (I have a Polar A300 and Fitbit charge HR)

    Things I don’t splurge on….

    1. Food…I tried to go organic and couldn’t. everytime I bought foods they went bad quicker. So I just make sure to check my fruits and veggies. I love to meal prep on sundays.

    2. Sports bras- i tend to buy the ones at Target (C9 champion). they are amazing

    3. Clothes- i like the stuff at Walmart/Target

    4. Personal trainers-I will pass entirely. I know what to do and how to do it. I am not going to pay someone to tell me what i already know. Plus nowadays “everyone” claims to be a trainer/coach, no thank you

    5. headphones-i go through them every 6 months so i tend to buy Skull candy’s (target)

  15. Joanna on February 19, 2016 at 4:06 am

    Thanks for the info about community acupuncture! I didn’t know you could do that so I will look up if my city has that. I have only been a few times to acupuncture, but it really does help me relax.

  16. Nicole on February 19, 2016 at 6:06 am

    Great post! Spot on. There is no need to spend a ton of money on warm weather work out clothes- tank tops are so easy to find at the places you mentioned. But high quality leggings for hot yoga- SO necessary for me (and the people behind me!).

    My only additional splurge, which comes from living in upstate NY and having many sub 20 degree running days, is high quality cold weather running gear. I.e, neck gaiters, down lulu jackets, etc. You probably don’t need to worry about that in San Diego:)

  17. Nicole on February 19, 2016 at 9:10 am

    I love the “Everything Hurts and I’m Dying” tank! Especially pictured with a kettlebell; kettlebell workouts always make me feel like that the next day!

    • Julie on February 19, 2016 at 11:10 am

      I was just going to leave the same comment. Hilarious! Must get!

  18. Jennifer on February 19, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    I love your clothing suggestions! Anyone that is cup size c and up should really spend the time to find a bra that fits perfectly. I like Moving Motion personally (I’m size D/DD FYI) and I’ve heard women who are breastfeeding tend to like them as well. But I am a stinky sweaty girl when I work out, so I find cheap cotton tanks work the best for me, but expensive leggings are super valuable, especially if you run during the winter.

  19. Missy Moore on February 19, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    Great post, Gina. Thanks for the tips.

  20. Justine Mckenzie on February 19, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    Where is that “everything hurts and Im dieing” tank from??? I needed it! Lol

  21. Victoria on February 20, 2016 at 4:14 am

    Love this! I think its time for me to splurge on some nice workout leggings…and I am dying to try acupuncture, I heard that the community option is less expensive and just as helpful, glad to hear you enjoy it as well!

  22. LJ on February 20, 2016 at 4:40 am

    I agree with your saves and splurges. Especially the bras, having one good fitting and supporting bra beats stacking two mediocre ones… I also save (mostly time) on working out at home, with just dumbbells and a routine from a winter (or summer) shape-up. In the twenty minutes it would take me to get to the gym I am halfway done! And when no one is watching I can wear the workout clothes that weren’t the best choices. White printed leggings, what was I thinking? (Maybe I wasn’t thinking at all…)

    A fitness tracker / sports watch seems to be a very personal issue. There are people who swear by the expensive models and are always showing me what I am missing with my cheap one. But I am happy with mine. I use it to track the length of my runs and not much else. I guess with fitness tracker the most important point is to find one that I do actually wear. With tiny wrists it is not always easy: many watches and trackers look hideous on me.

  23. Cassie T on February 20, 2016 at 6:38 am

    Great post! At the moment, I’m traveling full time, so I’m saving on a regular gym membership, but splurging for day passes any time I get a chance to take a class somewhere when traveling – it’s totally worth it to get out of a hotel gym and into the group environment. Many places offer day or week passes for free, so I save there. I used to save on all my workout clothes via Target, but splurged on lululemon awhile back on the Run for Days collection, so I can wear them multiple times between washes when traveling. Traveling full time also means that food is almost always a splurge (but a business expense) – totally worth splurging for healthy options though!

  24. Amelia Schultz on February 20, 2016 at 6:59 am

    Hey Gina, love your blog, I’ve been reading it for two years. This is my first comment. I love OTF as well, I have a membership up here in Minneapolis. You wouldn’t happen to work out at POWAY OTF do you? My VERY FAVORITE TEACHER ever, Aubrey, moved from Minnesota to San Diego 1.5 years ago and that’s where she teaches/head trainer. She’s AMAZING. I miss her every time I workout at OTF!

  25. adrianna on February 20, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    love this post Gina! couldn’t agree more with the splurges…shoes, tights, trainers, and gyms with workouts that matter to you. definitely save on tops and sports bras (IBTC over here), and food. i eat nearly every meal at home, so its a great way to eat healthy and still be able to pay bills and student loans!

  26. Megan Little on February 21, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    Splurge? Not sure. I am always looking for a bargain, I guess running shoes? Will you do a post on your favorite leggings? That would be a good place for me to start splurging…

  27. Marica Pook on February 24, 2016 at 9:54 am

    I love this because fitness and health does NOT need to be expensive.
    Splurges: the best physical therapists to get me through my latest knee surgery. I willingly pay out of pocket.
    Saves: sports bras (Target!), gym membership (the Y) and a home stationary bike that we bought on the cheap and keeps on working!
    Must have: decent food, but I am not an organic junkie. (

  28. Alicia on February 25, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    Two saves: (1) I love organic, but you don’t have to buy organic for anything that has a peel (that you won’t eat) or that isn’t on EWG’s dirty dozen list and (2) get your stride analyzed and get fit for shoes at a running store… and then buy all subsequent pairs (~ every 6 mos) on Amazon or on sale.

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