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How I Bought a Peloton and Paid Cash

If you’re wondering how much Peloton paid us to sponsor this post, we’ll tell you! $0. This isn’t a sponsored post. Sure, Peloton is cool. But you know what’s cooler than being cool? Buying one without stress, guilt, or added debt. ?

  • Name: Laura W.
  • Occupation: Support Specialist at YNAB
  • How Long You’ve Been Budgeting: YNAB user since 2017
  • Your Financial Situation: We’re comfortably uncomfortable (we can easily afford what we need (immediate obligations/true expenses), but we are always adjusting our “extra” $$$ to accommodate what we want). We are DINKs (double-income, no kids) but also have no debt.
  • What You Bought: A Peloton!
  • Price Tag: $2,452.67+ $39/month content subscription (we used a promo code and got all the accessories free)
The Peloton bike in its natural habitat

What’s the backstory behind your Peloton purchase?

One of my best friends invited me to a spin class in the summer of 2018. You could say it was my fitness rebirth. I’ve never been one for routine exercise. I get bored, I get lazy, I find excuses, but something about this spin class really resonated with me. Maybe it was the dark room and loud music that made me feel like no one was watching. Maybe it was the encouraging teachers and fellow classmates in the locker room. It most definitely was not the candle vigil in the middle of the toughest climb of the class though.

Whatever it was, I went back the next week by myself. And then twice the week after that. Sure, I tried a few other studios that didn’t cost as much over the next couple months. I even adjusted my work schedule so I could hit up the discounted lunch time class.

Without much reprioritizing, I made cycling classes work in my budget and would do 2-3 classes per week for a few months. Then my husband tried it…and loved it.

When did you decide you wanted a Peloton?

After my husband got hooked on spin too, we cruised through our discount class pack faster than a downhill sprint on the Tour de France. We thought there must be a more economical approach! Although “economical” might not be the first word you think of when you hear “Peloton,” once we saw the math stacked up next to our current rate of spend, it started to make a lot of sense.

How did you go about saving for a Peloton?

We found out we were moving across the country for a new job. That meant spin class wouldn’t be a reality for at least two months between moving, a road trip, finding somewhere to live, and settling in. So, we stopped funding our fitness category—where we usually budgeted $200 a month. We set up a new category, called it “Peloton,” and set a goal for $2500 for seven months out. Whenever we had leftover dollars from discretionary categories like dining out or fun money, those were moved into our Peloton category at the end of each month too.

When we settled into our new state, we had a solid start to funding the Peloton in cash. I was itching to just get it over with and sign up for their 0% financing option with a low monthly payment, but ultimately we decided that not having a debt looming over our heads was worth waiting to fund it in cash!

While we saved up, I found a new, much cheaper studio nearby (though much less fun) and started taking classes a few times a month there. My husband was so busy with his new job, he couldn’t take the time to go to a class (which also helped save more money).

I adjusted my goal in YNAB so I could stay on track as best I could. I was totally OK with slowing down my progress towards the purchase because I was able to keep working out—and that was important to me.

Two months into this setup, we got a small surprise bonus from my husband’s new job! It was almost enough to get us to our goal! At that point, we were so close. We made a decision to reprioritize some money and moved the remaining few hundred dollars from a European vacation category we’d been funding for a long time. We adjusted the European vacation category’s goal to refund in six more months. A week later, we had our bike!

Finally got the bike! Not scared at all!

What do you like about it?

I love the convenience! With studios, we were tied into a limited amount of instructors and class times. My favorite time to work out is around 1-2pm and my husband likes 7-8am. We made a lot of compromises when we were visiting studios.

There are a ton of classes offered with the Peloton. Not only are there thousands of spin classes to take, but also strength, yoga, meditation, running, and more all included in our monthly membership, which is pretty affordable considering the gyms in our area and the quality of classes offered. I wouldn’t have even dreamed of being able to take classes in all of those areas within my budget.

I look forward to working out more than ever and I’m doing it more frequently too! Even if I only have twenty minutes to spare one day, that’s twenty more minutes than I would have done without a bike at home. The challenges, progress tracking, and themed rides all keep me motivated to get on and ride.

Was this purchase viewed as something that will save you money over the long run or was it more a fun purchase?

This was absolutely a budget-motivated purchase. Yes, the upfront cost was high, but because now both my husband and I are addicted to cycling, studio classes for both of us would outpace the cost of the Peloton in six months (or maybe even faster considering how much more we get to work out now)! We also spend less for parking and gas (or public transit in our old city), which weren’t even factored into our fitness budget before. Oh and don’t forget the late/no show fees—they happen to the best of us.

We had another unexpected savings from our Peloton: time. A 45-minute class in a studio was almost a two-hour commitment between traveling, finding parking, and warm ups/cool downs. Now, my total time is 46 minutes (45-minute class plus 1 minute to pick a class and put on my shoes!). I can find ways to earn more money, but I cannot earn more time.

Hills or sprints?

Sprints! But hills have their very important place in my heart glutes.

Who’s your favorite instructor?

Jess King and Alex Toussaint really kick me into high gear. I love their energy! But if I’m just looking for a fun ride with some great early 2000s hits to bike dance to, Cody Rigsby is my dude.

What are you saving for next?

Well we’re still working on re-funding our European vacation fund and hope to take that this spring, but a new fitness tracker category has made an appearance. Mine just kicked the bucket a couple weeks ago!

Any other closing thoughts for those of us drooling over a Peloton?

What I practiced most with saving for the Peloton over the course of about six months was prioritizing. I learned just how important fitness has become in our lives and YNAB really helped guide our budget to reflect that.

Did you buy something that seemed unattainable thanks to your budget (and it made it totally stress and guilt-free)? We’d love to hear from you! Tell us about it to be considered for a future blog!

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