Where on the spectrum of your at-home workout-loving friend to your co-worker who shells out hundreds for infrared sauna visits and yoga retreats do you fall with your monthly wellness budget? When you’re at Whole Foods eying the price of avocados or shelling out $34 for a SoulCycle class—and another $11 for your post-workout Sweetgreen salad—it’s easy to wonder, how the heck is everyone affording all this?
The costs don’t stop there, either. Sure, you could work out in your high school gym shorts, but those $110 leggings are just so cute. And since you’re already prioritizing buying non-toxic food, don’t you want to make sure your beauty routine is clean, too, and only buy paraben-free makeup? If all this is stressing you out, you can drop into MNDFL for an $18 meditation class.
Here, five wellness-loving women—with yearly salaries ranging from roughly $30,000 a to $250,000—reveal exactly where their money goes. Like you, they prioritize living a healthy life, but that might mean sacrificing in some other areas—or knowing some handy, money-saving tricks. Want to see how your spending compares? Keep reading.
Scroll down to find out how much people in different income brackets spend on wellness.
Alicia Carroll, executive assistant, Los Angeles
Rent: $800 per month
Other big expenditures: $200 to $300 per month for transportation, $75 for utilities and Internet
Food: $200 to $250 a month. “I mostly shop at Trader Joe’s and supplement that with food from Ralphs or Vons. I try to limit processed food—except for cheese—and stock up on fruits and veggies at the farmers’ market. I recently met with a financial adviser and she told me I spend more on groceries than the average person, which makes sense because some of the food I buy is pricey compared to the pasta and cereal I lived on in college. I do buy juices and kombucha, but sparingly—it’s a treat for me. I also eat out a fairly decent amount because a big part of my job is networking at dinners.”
Fitness: $10 to $50 a month. “I just got back on ClassPass, but I may cancel it again. I typically take classes, like dance, barre, and kickboxing, instead of going to the gym. The first time I went to a boxing class, I had to get wraps and gloves. Finding a cheap pair is hard.”
Athleisure: “I do not spend money on athletic clothing often. I’ll buy a decent pair of leggings or yoga pants and wear them until they fall apart.”
Other wellness habits, including meditation, clean beauty, and spa treatments: $90 per month month. “I go to therapy—which I consider a wellness habit—and at $35 a session, it’s not cheap for me. I actually had to cut back on it, because I couldn’t afford regular sessions. Aside from that, I don’t spend money on anything else except $20 on candles. I love them! It helps me create a spa-like experience right at home.”
The bottom line: “I sacrifice other luxuries like eating out or buying coffee every day to be able to afford other things that are important to me—especially dance classes.”
Alicia McElhaney, business journalist and She Spends founder, Brooklyn
Other big expenditures $116.50/month for transportation
Food: $220 a month. “I love meal kits like Blue Apron and Sun Basket. I’ve been doing all their free trials because I honestly can’t justify the regular price. Other than that, my boyfriend and I buy our groceries at Trader Joe’s, where the bill comes to about $60 a week, which we split. We also order takeout twice a week. I pack breakfast and, sometimes, lunch. On the days I don’t pack my lunch, I buy something to eat at Whole Foods or Crave. I also buy collagen-protein packets, which I have as a snack. Sometimes I also buy kombucha, [though not often].”
Fitness: $25 a month. “Once a week, I work at a barre/yoga studio in exchange for free classes. Other than that, I spend $25 a month for a Blink Fitness membership. Rarely, I book a class at Swerve or Mile High Rub Club.”
Athleisure: “I have a few pairs of leggings and T-shirts I picked up from TJ Maxx a year ago and bought an athletic headband from Target for $1. Recently, I bought a new pair of Asics running shoes for $55.”
Other wellness habits: $35 a month. “I spend $25 a month on a subscription to Lola. I have premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and it’s a nice way to take care of myself. They also just launched an essential oils and supplements line, which I jumped on. I also spend $10 a month on vitamin D supplements.”
The bottom line: “I’ve found ways to keep fitness costs low, which can be hard in New York. I would just rather spend my money on traveling, charity, and rent than shell out $35 to ride a bike in the dark for an hour.”
Jessica Hopper, project manager, Los Angeles
Salary: $73,000; combined household income is $94,000. “My husband is a DJ and the primary caretaker for our daughter.”
Other big expenditures: $1,683/month for daughter’s preschool tuition
Food: $350 to $400 a month. “[My husband and I] primarily shop at Whole Foods, spending between $200 and $250 a month. I have a four-year-old daughter and want to set a good example with healthy meals. Since I work from home, I rarely buy breakfast or lunch out. We also spend about $150 eating out.”
Fitness: $200 a month. “I have an unlimited membership to a Pilates studio, which includes circuit training and TRX.”
Athleisure: “I’ve spent a ton of money in the past on athleisure, so fortunately I don’t have to anymore. I also got some free shoes as a shoe tester for Fitness magazine!”
Other wellness habits: $0
The bottom line: “I definitely limit my spending in other areas of my life so I can afford my $200 a month Pilates membership. Instead of cable, I have Hulu and Netflix, I rarely get my nails done, and I go long stretches between eyebrow appointments. I work out mainly to manage stress and anxiety, so for me it’s worth every penny.”
Alexandra White, technical writer, Brooklyn
Other big expenditures: $295 a month on transportation and parking and $1,200 a year on travel expenses
Food: $715 per month. “I spend about $200 a month at Trader Joe’s because the produce at other grocery stores in my neighborhood is poor quality and expensive—not ideal since I eat a lot of vegetables. I also buy chocolate protein powder for $15 to use in my smoothies on the days I weight lift. I do eat out a lot and in total spend about $500 a month on that.”
Fitness: $20 per month. “I used to spend $90 a month to belong to New York Sports Club, but then I started working from home and there is a Planet Fitness across the street from my apartment, so I switched gyms. If my employment changes, I will probably go back to spending more to go to another gym—especially one with [nicer showers].”
Athleisure: “Once a year, I’ll invest in two pairs of new sneakers—for running and weight lifting—which costs about $110 per pair. I buy my leggings from Old Navy, but with sports bras I’m a bit pickier because I have to have an underwire for my workout habits. [The bras I like] are always over $85 each.”
Other wellness habits: $110 a month. “I spend $10 a month on a beauty subscription and also spend $100 on therapy a month. Mental well-being is very important to me. My health is best when I’m happy.”
The bottom line: “As important as wellness is to me, I’ve found ways to incorporate it into my life in a way that’s affordable and I don’t feel as if I am sacrificing my spending in other areas at all.”
Jasmine Shepherd, marketing manager, New York
Salary: $110,000; total household income $235,000
Other big expenditures: $400/month. “The big monthly expenses I have are transportation; home, car, and pet insurance; a dog walker; and monthly entertainment subscriptions.”
Food: $300 to 400 per month. “I spend about $100 a week on groceries, shopping at Trader Joe’s and occasionally splurging on fancy items at Eataly and Whole Foods. Sometimes I shop at the farmers’ market as well. Eating healthy has always been super important to me—I often buy organic and drink kombucha every day. I also experiment a lot with things like vegan protein powders, psyllium husks, chia seeds, and hemp hearts. I bring my breakfast and lunch to work every day and cook almost all my dinners at home. My husband and I eat out a lot, too, spending between $200 and $300 on that.”
Fitness: $20 per month. “I use Kayla Itsine’s Sweat app and use the gym in my apartment building for free.”
Athleisure: “I look like a total hobbit at the gym. I have a couple pairs of leggings I bought at outlet stores and wear free swag T-shirts. My socks are bought in bulk from Costco.”
Other wellness habits: $360 per month. “I go to physical therapy twice a week, which is $90 a visit, and also use Headspace for $50 a year, which has totally transformed my life. I also only buy all-natural beauty and cleaning products. Twice a year, I’ll book a massage at a spa. To me, preventive health is really important, so I invest in annual checkups and blood tests for not only myself, but my husband and our dog, too!”
The bottom line: “I made a conscious decision to spend only $20 on a fitness app so I could afford to live in an area that allows me to live a healthier lifestyle with a gym in the building, access to plenty of healthy grocery stores, and is in an area where I can take my dog for long walks. I would love to take more yoga and boutique fitness classes, but the cost seems [too much] for me. While I don’t spend a lot on fitness, other expenses like physical therapy and nutritionist appointments aren’t trivial to me.”
Check out some tips on how to save more money.
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