If you want to be financially independent, and no longer have to work, you’ll need to save at least 25 times your annual living expenses. For a great blog post explaining the logic behind this rule, I highly recommend this one from Mr. Money Mustache.
Now, if you’re a person of modest means, like me, you’ll really have to work on the expense side of the financial independence equation. For instance, if your annual living expenses are $50,000, you’ll have to save $1.25 million in order to achieve financial independence. If you can cut your expenses down to $37,500, you’ll need $937,500. If you can cut your expenses even further to $25,000, you’ll need $625,000.
One expense I wanted to economize on was a gym membership. Gyms are great. And I’m really intrigued with the CrossFit gyms that are popping up all over the place. But I would rather put the money it would cost to join a gym into my 401K. Financial independence is more important to me than having six-pack abs. So I gave myself a challenge: come up with a cheap way to stress my muscles two or three times a week.
I began my quest by researching bodyweight exercises. I figured if my gym was going to be cheap, it wasn’t going to have much if any equipment. Eventually one of my clicks brought me to an article on gymnastic rings. Apparently gymnastic rings are big in the CrossFit community. And even more importantly, I was happy to discover, they’re not expensive. So let’s see. The cool people of CrossFit love rings. Check. Rings don’t cost much. Check again. Hallelujah! I found the answer to my challenge.
Here, then, is how I set up my home gym.
- A pair of EXF gymnastic rings from Amazon ($74.95).
- Scrap 2x4s (maybe $3.00)
- I attached the ring straps to a ceiling joist in my garage. I put towels between the joist and the straps to reduce friction and keep the straps from fraying.
- I built a removal jam out of scrap 2x4s to support the joist. I think the joist can handle my weight, but I’m not taking any chances. Bringing down the garage roof would negate the frugality of my home gym.
- One pound of chalk costs about $11 on Amazon. It will last a lifetime. And it will come in handy. When your hands get sweaty, it will be impossible to hold the rings. Chalk solves that problem.