The Fit and Frugal Challenge Week 2

Week 2’s challenge is upon us!

After Week One’s Challenge, who is already feeling stronger? Were you able to start working on your financial budget? Didn’t get around to it yet?

We hear you – the new year is challenging to start something brand new.

If you’ve been on board with us for a while, you know how important strength training is for runners. As runners, we sometimes think that an extra 5 minutes of running is more beneficial than a quick full-body strength training routine. We can’t stress enough – even 10 minutes of pushups and planks can add such an improvement to your running and functional fitness.

Podcast episodes that helped us find financial solid ground
The podcast episode that helped move us toward being financially savvy

And if you know us, you know just how important being financially fit is. Planning financially for both the future and for the present takes hard work, discipline, and focus. Sounds a lot like running, huh? Both strength work and having a strong financial groundwork will pay huge dividends in future activities: both with running and planning for the future.

If you haven’t started on our Fitness & Frugal Challenge, you’ll want to start here and then go here.

Need a good app to use? We started with the “Envelope Method” (Dave Ramsey explains it pretty well here) and moved to an app called GoodBudget.

Stayed with us through Week 1 and you’re ready to go on? Great!

Now that you have your budget ready to go and you’ve charted how much money you have coming in and how much you spend on your fixed payments, you should know how much you have left over to use for the month.

As a side note, these fixed payments can be investigated further to see if you can trim down any of them – phone bill and cable/internet, we’re looking at you. Our primary fixed income items include:

  • Mortgage
  • 2 car payments (ouch)
  • Utilities
  • Phone
  • Internet (no cable, we cut the cord nearly 2 years ago)

We know and aren’t trying to hide this: we aren’t the first people in the world to talk about using a budget.

We all gain by helping each other
We all gain by helping each other

We’ve become so captivated with financial bloggers and podcasts discussing finances in the past 2 years that we hoped our story would resonate with other people. And if our posts makes one or two people more fit or financial savvy, then it has all been worth it. We are sharing and hoping to create a community where everyone shares and lifts each other up with fitness and financial tips. We are all in this together!

Back Story

When Carly was debating going back to work or potentially staying home after having our daughter, we listened to this podcast by Tim Ferriss. He had this guy on called Mr. Money Mustache. This episode pretty much opened our eyes to a whole new world that we didn’t know existed.

We really, REALLY hope you listen to it and go down the same Mr. Money Mustache rabbit hole that we did. But, our story is not of FIRE, that is, Financial Independence, which is what MMM is all about. However, what it did create was a mindset change.

Week 2: Fit and Frugal Challenge
Week 2: Fit and Frugal Challenge

Marc and I have always been on the frugal/saving side but we did fall into the trap every now and again. For example, after our engagement, we shopped for wedding rings. The jeweler attempted to upsell us by saying, “most people change their engagement band setting, about every five years.” We were surprised at first but then I started to rationalize this. I thought, presumably, in the future we will both be making more money and therefore could afford such an expenditure. I thought to myself, I would deserve that.

However, after listening to the MMM & Tim Ferriss podcast episode, our minds were blown. How could we have ever thought we’d do something like buy another engagement ring or wedding band?

We didn’t have Joneses. Or so we thought. But after listening to this episode and then reading lots of blog posts by MMM, we felt more and more sure that our spending wouldn’t define who we became.

We now try to be more intentional with what we purchase, but, again, sometimes we fall into the trap. We’ve now brought friends into our quips saying, “that was not very Mustachian of you.”

Budgeting Numbers

Who wants to share their grocery budget number? We’ll start.

For a family of two adults and one toddler, we spend $675 per month. We started at $750 and worked our way down to $675 pretty easily. I think there is also room for improvement in the upcoming months as we update our spending versus saving rate. But for now, it’s $675. This number includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and probably about 3 snacks per day for each of us.

How a podcast episode changed our financial outlook
How a podcast episode changed our financial outlook

We’re runners, we like to eat and we like to eat well.

Including full meals and taking out our once-a-week dining excursion, each meal breaks down to approximately $2.50 per meal, per person. Here’s our math on it.

9 meals a day; 279 meals in a month minus 12 meals for eating out leaves us at 267 meals a month.

$675 divided by 267 meals equals $2.52. Not bad, right?

Kind of scary that eating out can run someone upwards of $40 or $50, right?

What is the cost for one of your meals?

Challenge Time!

The goal is to try to do this 6 out of 7 days next week:

2 sets of 30-second forearms planks,

1 left side plank hold for 20 seconds

1 right side plank hold for 20 seconds

Two sets of 8 pushups

Again, if you far exceed this in your daily routine already, good for you! Our goal is to help people who don’t regularly add strength to their workouts or everyday life. Feel free to add on more reps if you are already there. We have two more weeks of the challenge and each week will progress in difficulty.

Week 2 Challenge: Pushups, Planks & Budgeting
Week 2 Challenge: Pushups, Planks & Budgeting

As for the financial challenge this week: Now that you have your spending categories set to their limits, all you have to do is start to track it! If you decide to go the Dave Ramsey route of the envelope system, see above! We liked this as a starting point but quickly realized that we like using credit cards better than cash because we get travel points and for convenience purposes.

Now if you believe you mindlessly spend when you pay with a credit card or you don’t pay your credit cards in full each month, I think using physical money in envelopes is the way to go. But if you want to create a budget tracking system, we like using Good Budget. If you find any other app that you recommend for budget tracking, please share.

Hope the challenge is going well for you!

Missed a week of the Fit & Frugal Challenge?

Here are all 4 weeks + the intro!

Hi, I’m Carly.

I’m a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor based in Cherry Hill, NJ! I teach spin, barre, and megaformer classes throughout the week. Check out my schedule and where I teach.

Carly joins TrainwithMarc as a personal trainer & group fitness coach
Carly joins TrainwithMarc as a personal trainer & group fitness coach


22 thoughts on “The Fit and Frugal Challenge Week 2

  1. This is a really cool challenge! Somehow I missed week 1 so I’m going to go back and read that post. thanks so much for sharing this.


  2. Organic Runner Mom January 7, 2019 — 11:33 AM

    Love the idea of getting fit and improving frugality! Sounds like a great challenge!


  3. Wow this is a really interesting challenge! I know we waste a lot of money on things we sure could do without. Love how you all have taken this on and “ran with it”. congrats on all of the progress you’ve made already


  4. Thanks Deb! Yeah, we’re pretty passionate about not working until we’re 65 and so if we can make even small changes now, we know they’ll make a big difference in 30+ years.


  5. Thanks! Yes, we’re having good feedback and I know it’s a work in progress, but we’re enjoying the challenge!


  6. Glad you liked it. I’m pretty sure we linked to the “Intro” and week 1 in the post. If not, I’ll go back and make sure it’s there.


  7. Great info! My hubby has worked in the financial industry for 30+ years, and he’s always astounded at the number of people who don’t start planning until AFTER a crisis hits.


  8. Jenny Albertson January 7, 2019 — 2:59 PM

    We have no debt and have cut down on everything. No monthly subscriptions, already lowered our phone bill as much as possible, and we don’t eat out (if we do, it’s around once a month) we’d love to have a life that we could eat out more and enjoy more things but right now, pinching pennies is the name of the game. Hopefully, we will get past that someday!


  9. Great stuff!

    i used to live in an area where all the women upgraded their rings rather regularly. I never quite understood it, but I love my engagement ring and everything it stands for.

    You’ve got a wonderful challenge here!


  10. Love that you’ve combined physical and financial fitness! And it sounds like these podcasts are definitely worth a listen! Thanks for sharing.


  11. That’s cool! Have you ever checked out mystery shopping? We do that and we get to go to pretty nice meals and then get reimbursed for them.


  12. Thanks, yes we do. I’m glad we’re out of the mindset of needing new rings every five years!


  13. Absolutely worth listening to. In the next few weeks will start linking up also podcast episodes that we have found really useful.


  14. Oh, budget issues are so tricky. We pay off our credit card bills every month and only eat out once a month but still could save more. I’m trying to impart good budget habits to my kids too.


  15. This sounds like a great challenge! I think I spend somewhere around $75-100 per month for food! I likely will be moving across the country somewhere this year, so going on no-spend weeks/months is definitely on my to-do list!


  16. Wait, wait. You only spend $100 per month on food?!?! That’s unbelievable! I’d love to know how you make that happen. 30 days of meals for only $100?! So impressed.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Yes, it can be challenging. We are definitely sharing our wisdom with our little human. We tried mystery shopping and it gives us the opportunity to eat out and get reimbursed for the work we put in.


  18. Haha, well, to be fair, I have a ton of staples (eg brown rice, oat meal, canned beans, etc) left over from a Costco trip long long ago, and I get sent food/snacks from companies. The hospital I work at sometimes feeds me too, so those all help to balance it out! I mainly shop for fresh produce in the bargain bin and buy meat only when I can find a good deal.


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