I come from a fairly frugal family and it is ingrained in my DNA to justify costs of things we buy. For example, I was just chatting with some friends about the cost of the Vitamix we bought and value of it. They couldn't get over the $400ish price tag. I explained that the ease of use and cleanup will save you time each time you use it. Since we use it 2-3 times per day and have had it for at least 3 years now, that's a lot of time saved. We all know time is one of the most valuable assets we have so BAM... Justified!!!
With workout equipment and programs I also see the value in owning the stuff I'm using rather than paying a membership fee to use someone else's equipment. I can justify spending money on that equipment based on what we save by buying home workout programs versus paying gym dues. I'll explain just how much we are able to save below.
When Laura and I first got married we were members at Lifetime Fitness which is an extremely nice gym in the Minneapolis area. We were paying around $130 per month I believe for both of us. After a year or so we couldn't justify paying that much so we joined our city community center and I think we were paying around $60-70 for the two of us per month. We then tried a another local gym after moving which cost us about $70-80 per month. The point being we did the gym thing for a while and we never really used it to the point that we saw results and also couldn't justify the cost with the frequency that we went.
I'm a bit of a numbers guy so I just wanted to breakout the costs of what we were doing versus what we pay now. We usually buy 2-3 new workout programs every year and those programs cost anywhere from $30-90. We will just say yearly between the two of us we spend $175 on our workout programs or $14.50 per month for both of us. We also both have access to Beachbody On Demand which costs us roughly $13/month. All in, we spend about $41 per month or $492 per year. Compare that to the lower end gym memberships that we once had at $70 per month or $840 yearly. We are saving $348 per year for the two of us!!! That is compared to the lower cost gyms too. I looked up the cost of some others like OrangeTheory and CorePower Yoga and you are looking at $139+ per month for unlimited use of those facilities. (EDIT: As of January 1, 2017 we now only pay $99 each per year for our All-Access Beachbody On Demand membership. This gives us access to every Beachbody program ever created and all new programs that come out in 2017.)
What could you do with an extra $348? Buy more organic groceries! We always here how people struggle justifying the cost of organic food! Food is the real driver behind health so that would be a good use of those funds. You could also buy some workout equipment! All the workout equipment pictured above probably cost us a little over $400. In one years time, with the money you save by working out at home, you could have nearly all the equipment you need.
I didn't even mention the value of working out alongside some of the best trainers in the country. Nothing beats a personalized plan. The next best thing would be to follow a generic plan/program that someone who knows what they are talking about created. I was guilty of thinking I knew what I was doing when I was at the gym. I knew what lifts worked certain muscle groups but there was no big picture plan. The value of a working with a trainer is huge and if you are gym goer, I highly recommend you use them so you know what you are doing is helping you get closer to your goals.
Also with all of the programs that we have purchased you get a nutrition plan! That's usually extra at a gym if it is even available. Oh and if you are one to purchase a program through Laura or I you get me as your personal nutrition coach, which I normally charge a minimum of $200 per month for with private clients.
Doing the at home workout thing is a lot like buying versus leasing car. There are certainly some people in the situation where leasing a car or workout equipment is the right way to go. There value in owning your stuff though. That's why I've become a big fan of slowly growing our home gym. My dream is to have a mini crossfit style gym at some point. I know with the money I save it will happen over time, one piece of equipment at a time!