Author Topic: I pay myself to exercise, and it works!  (Read 5512 times)

jeastith

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I pay myself to exercise, and it works!
« on: June 26, 2014, 11:17:12 PM »
I always feel better when I'm getting some intentional exercise in, but getting it to stick has been really tough.  However, I am great at saving money.   I LOVE saving money.  So I decided to set a 30 day goal for myself.  Each time I workout (I don't even call it that, I call it "exercise for renewed energy") I pay myself $25 in a little list I make on my phone in the "notes" app. 

In one month, my goal is to save an extra $500 and when I reach that goal, I can invest that money in my Vanguard account.  I began on June 10, and I'm halfway there, having earned $250 so far.  And I keep it pretty loose - if I walk my daughter to the playground and back (a little under 2 miles roundtrip) that counts.  Shorter walks don't.  If I go to a yoga class, that counts.  If I do an exercise video, that counts.  It's definitely helping me to carve out some time for exercise on a daily basis, and I just love seeing that money rack up! 

On July 10, I'll invest my $500 in addition to what I'm already investing automatically.  Then, we are going on vacation so I am going to take a week off.  Then I'll start another savings goal when I get home.  Extra $$$ in investments and my thighs are getting nice and toned too.  WIN WIN!
« Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 11:25:43 PM by jeastith »

Nudelkopf

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Re: I pay myself to exercise, and it works!
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2014, 12:12:48 AM »
Cool! I love this idea! I hope it works out for you :)

I like to write down my exercise onto a poster on my wall - it's awesome to see it add up. And if it gets to the end of the week and I've only got 350 minutes, then I'll make sure that I do extra just to get to the 420 minute mark :D

Mrs. PoP

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Re: I pay myself to exercise, and it works!
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2014, 03:12:46 AM »
I use gympact, so earn a little bit of money - but the bigger motivator is that if I don't exercise, they get to charge me... and I'm not all about spending money on that, so I make sure I get my exercise in. 

arebelspy

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Re: I pay myself to exercise, and it works!
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2014, 11:09:27 AM »
If you didn't exercise, what would you be doing with that money?

In other words, it's not free money, it's coming from your paycheck.  Would you not save it anyways?

I'm not quite understanding.
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ginklord

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Re: I pay myself to exercise, and it works!
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2014, 11:21:44 AM »
You just gave me an idea! My wife and I allocate "blow money" every month and take it out as cash, but I'm going to talk with her tonight about "earning" it instead.

Thanks!

ambimammular

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Re: I pay myself to exercise, and it works!
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2014, 08:50:55 PM »
Ha Ha!  I did this too! It worked for a while, but I was pretty stingy and only paid myself 5 bucks a session. Though I could earn a multiplier if I hit 5 days a week. 

Arebelspy, normally that money would fall into the emergency fund, but exercise money got tacked onto my Vanguard retirement savings for the month.  It's just psychological.  "Earning money" motivates me to get off the couch.   

jeastith

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Re: I pay myself to exercise, and it works!
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2014, 09:53:25 AM »
I would save it anyway, but its just a way to get my butt moving.  And so far, its working.  I realize that its all a mind game, but I'm fine with that :)


If you didn't exercise, what would you be doing with that money?

In other words, it's not free money, it's coming from your paycheck.  Would you not save it anyways?

I'm not quite understanding.

arebelspy

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Re: I pay myself to exercise, and it works!
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2014, 10:02:41 AM »
Hah, okay. :)

I do like the multiplier idea ambi posted.

I don't have good ways to "reward" myself, so I just tend to do things I want to do, and often don't do things I "should" do.
I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about me, this Business Insider profile tells the story pretty well.
I (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out the Now page to see what I'm up to currently.

libertarian4321

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Re: I pay myself to exercise, and it works!
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2014, 04:04:50 AM »
I always feel better when I'm getting some intentional exercise in, but getting it to stick has been really tough.  However, I am great at saving money.   I LOVE saving money.  So I decided to set a 30 day goal for myself.  Each time I workout (I don't even call it that, I call it "exercise for renewed energy") I pay myself $25 in a little list I make on my phone in the "notes" app. 

In one month, my goal is to save an extra $500 and when I reach that goal, I can invest that money in my Vanguard account.  I began on June 10, and I'm halfway there, having earned $250 so far.  And I keep it pretty loose - if I walk my daughter to the playground and back (a little under 2 miles roundtrip) that counts.  Shorter walks don't.  If I go to a yoga class, that counts.  If I do an exercise video, that counts.  It's definitely helping me to carve out some time for exercise on a daily basis, and I just love seeing that money rack up! 

On July 10, I'll invest my $500 in addition to what I'm already investing automatically.  Then, we are going on vacation so I am going to take a week off.  Then I'll start another savings goal when I get home.  Extra $$$ in investments and my thighs are getting nice and toned too.  WIN WIN!

But wouldn't you be saving the money even if you weren't exercising?

I don't get it.

Am I missing something here?

Would you be spending all the money on Haagen Dazs if you weren't exercising?

Johna11

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Re: I pay myself to exercise, and it works!
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2014, 05:34:12 PM »
I pay myself to clean the car. It used to cost me $29 to get it cleaned by a valet service. Now I do it myself and each time I do it, I transfer $29 to my savings :-)

This is a real saving because the money is not going out any more.

lpep

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Re: I pay myself to exercise, and it works!
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2014, 05:49:23 PM »
I use gympact, so earn a little bit of money - but the bigger motivator is that if I don't exercise, they get to charge me... and I'm not all about spending money on that, so I make sure I get my exercise in.

This is so cool! I'm really interested in trying this - can you tell me more about your experience with Gympact? I feel like if every mustachian knew about it, we would all be completely ripped... :)

Frugal Father

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Re: I pay myself to exercise, and it works!
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2014, 10:58:18 AM »
I use gympact, so earn a little bit of money - but the bigger motivator is that if I don't exercise, they get to charge me... and I'm not all about spending money on that, so I make sure I get my exercise in.

This is so cool! I'm really interested in trying this - can you tell me more about your experience with Gympact? I feel like if every mustachian knew about it, we would all be completely ripped... :)
I'd be interested in hearing more, too. Their website doesn't exactly go into detail beyond the earning money from those that don't workout.

Mrs. PoP

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Re: I pay myself to exercise, and it works!
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2014, 09:25:57 AM »
sorry for the late reply....

Gympact is now called "Pact" and I've been using it for almost 2 years now. 

Here's the basics.   You enter your credit card info and make a weekly promise to do x healthy living items (workouts, eating fruit/veg, or recording your meals) per week.  Then each time you do one, you use your smart phone to "check in" with it.  Check-ins are limited to one per day on workouts and recording your meals (I think), but I haven't seen a limit on the fruit/veg.  At the end of the week, everyone who missed a check-in gets charged on their credit card (min is $5 per missed check-in).  For the ones that completed their entire pacts, the money that was generated by charging those that missed (minus I think ~15% held for the company) is distributed to everyone else based on how many activities they had promised and completed.   

It sounds complicated, but really isn't once you get used to it.  I hate recording food and taking pictures of what I eat, so I only do the work-out pacts.  Here's how it goes. 

I have mine set so it's $5/missed check-in (the minimum) and my pact is 5 work-outs per week. 
Then I use RunKeeper (which you can link with Gympact) to record all my runs and bike rides for the week.  Every run or bike ride (or even walk!) over 30 minutes counts as a work-out if you record it in runkeeper.  You just need to open the pact app once or twice per week to make sure the Runkeeper info is syncing properly. 
There are other check-in options for workouts:
- you can physically go to a gym and check-in via GPS (less Mustachian since home gyms don't count)
- you can use the at home option that uses the accelerometer to record motion as your check-in through the Pact app.
All of the workout check-ins must be 30 minutes or more. 

When I travel, sometimes I "pause" my pact or sometimes lower it depending on how much I think I'll be able to get in.  And when I'm sick, walking around the neighborhood counts as a workout - anything above 2mph and 30 minutes in Runkeeper will be recorded as a workout in Pact.  So if I'm not feeling well enough to run or bike much, it's usually a good incentive to get me some fresh air with a slow walk around the neighborhood in the evening. 

Payouts:
They vary. Lately I've been getting between $1.20 and $1.60/week for 5 workouts.  So that's ~$0.24 - $0.32 per workout.  I've seen higher payouts at other times, as much as $0.50 per workout, but those days seem to be pretty rare - mostly holiday weeks or when there's a huge snowstorm up north.  =) 

Veggie Pact:
I tried this - basically you commit to eating fruits or vegs and have to take pictures and upload them to prove it.  The pictures get voted on by other people to confirm that you get credit for it.  Payout was really low (maybe $0.08 - $0.10 per picture?) but you can do more than one per day. 
I thought this system was pretty glitch-prone and often had problems uploading pictures unless I was on a strong wifi signal.  Even then, glitch-prone.  In the end, it was a lot of hassle for <$.30 per week so I stopped it. 

Charges and Reporting Problems:
I've never actually been charged for missing a workout or veggie.  You do have to open the Pact app and make sure that Runkeeper is syncing if that's what you're using for your check-ins.  If it's not syncing, you report a problem though the in-app reporting system and I've had a pretty good response on them correcting that within a day or two. 
The most annoying thing is that it ALL requires your smartphone.  So when I lost my phone there was no way for me to login online via a computer and pause my pact.  I had to email their customer service directly, and they were good about pausing it.  But that was annoying. 

Withdrawing the $$:
You can leave the money in your gympact account and let it grow or withdraw it to paypal.  I think paypal might have some fees, but I can't remember.  Withdrawing it was really easy the time I tried that, but I've left it in the account for a while now and I have over $100 built up that I plan on cashing in when I feel the need to justify a fancy exercise purchase. 

Hope that helps!  I'll try and remember to check the thread again if anyone has any questions.  Gympact (aka Pact) is one of those things that sounds totally weird, but once you get used to using it is really easy and takes virtually no effort. 


Donovan

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Re: I pay myself to exercise, and it works!
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2014, 09:42:39 AM »
I've been curious about Gympact before, but the last time I looked into it it was useless to me because it did not allow you to use gyms at home OR work, aka the only two places I workout now.  It seems they are starting to fix that restriction at least.

I may have to research it again and see how well the accelerometer option works.  I tend to stick to heavy weight lifting, which would register as little to no movement to my phone despite the fact that I'm somewhere near max effort the entire time. It also comes with a lot of nice, leisurely breaks between sets that would probably not "count".

Mrs. PoP

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Re: I pay myself to exercise, and it works!
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2014, 11:13:13 AM »
I've been curious about Gympact before, but the last time I looked into it it was useless to me because it did not allow you to use gyms at home OR work, aka the only two places I workout now.  It seems they are starting to fix that restriction at least.

I may have to research it again and see how well the accelerometer option works.  I tend to stick to heavy weight lifting, which would register as little to no movement to my phone despite the fact that I'm somewhere near max effort the entire time. It also comes with a lot of nice, leisurely breaks between sets that would probably not "count".

The accelerometer has a pretty low bar for movement, actually.  How it works is each 60 second interval you have to move the phone enough to make the bar for that minute surpass a given height.  Several large movements are more than enough to pass that, or if your movements are smaller, you need more of them. 
When I've used it at hotel gyms I've just kindof made it a point to swing my arms a few times or hop on the ground and do a few crunches between sets if I haven't heard the "ding" that indicates you met the minimum movement threshold for that minute.  Either one of those will definitely top you off for movement for that minute. 
That said, if you don't register movement for one of your intervals, it's not a big deal.   You have 2 hours to record 30 minutes of movement before you check out and the screen will show you how many you've done so far.  I'm pretty sure doing basic chores around the house for an hour or so with an armband on would easily register more than enough movement. 

The one weird thing about the accelerometer function - it doesn't let you activate this unless you are either in a location with cellular or wifi connection.  But once you start it, you can workout where there isn't a connection, and return to where there is one to complete it.  I figured this out when I didn't have any cellular connection in Australia and the hotel gym was out of the common wifi zone.  So I had to start/end the workout from our room's wifi even though I could go downstairs and workout in the hotel gym (or even go out for a run in the city with the accelerometer feature on) in the middle.  A little weird, but it worked and something to be aware of if your home/work gyms are in basements or elsewhere without cellular or wifi connections.