This is a guest post written by Nick. Nick is the editor of LiveLiftCode – a programming, fitness, and lifestyle website focused on providing information to new lifters and coders. You can find more of his work at www.liveliftcode.com.
One of the wisest men I’ve had the pleasure of knowing once told me that the key to happiness is finding balance.
For those of you financially-minded, this may mean keeping a balanced budget or balancing out your investment portfolios. For others, this might mean striking the right work-life balance, or finding a career with the right balance of salary and benefits versus time and effort input.
The more you think about it, the more you start to realize that our lives are one long journey to find balance in as many aspects as possible.
As anyone who has perused my website might guess, I am a big proponent of learning to code and of spending time lifting weights.
Health, exercise, and learning to code
Each of these activities are part of the greater balance in my life.
Through weightlifting, I can release the stresses and worries of the day in a tangible and physical way. Lifting affords me the opportunity to clear my mind, all while boosting my self-esteem and my overall physical health.
On the other hand, I use programming as a way to express myself and to continue training my brain.
In the moments where I feel inspired, I can rush to turn on my laptop and start banging out lines of code, ready to push the limits of what I have been capable of before.
If I am feeling bored or underwhelmed, I can start reading up on a new programming language or some new functions that I’ve never tried before.
Together, lifting and coding help me feel like a complete package. One activity benefits me in a tangible and emotional way, the other provides a mental boost.
A phrase I’ve enjoyed using to describe this balance is “Lift through the lows, code through the highs”. What I love about lifting and coding is that the benefits don’t stop there, far from it. Each of these activities can provide an enormous boost to your wallet and finances.
Fitness and Finances
In a recent Business Insider article, it was found that people who exercise regularly save hundreds of dollars a year compared to those who do not exercise.
This comes in the form of doctor visits, time missed from work, and illness, all of which are better staved off by a body that is in-shape and active.
The study also details that to reap the rewards of exercise you don’t need to spend countless hours in the gym – rather, a rigorous 30 minute session, 5 times a week is enough to see the effects. The article goes on to state that the amount of money saved can be staggering – sometimes north of $2000 a year.
When you think of it in those terms, it is as if you are paying yourself a little over $100 a month just to stay active. You could use those savings and put them towards some new running shoes, or a new gym membership, but I implore you to consider frugal alternatives to pricey workout gear.
Skip the gym and work out at home instead
One of the big complaints I hear when I encourage others to start getting fit is that a gym membership is simply too expensive. I can’t help but agree, given that a standard membership at my local franchise gym is about $60 a month, plus a $200 start-up fee.
The thing most folks don’t realize is that a gym membership is not required to exercise – far from it, in fact.
There are countless exercises that can be done at home with little-to-no equipment, and scanning Craigslist will often yield entire weight sets for less than $100.
I recently wrote up an article about bodyweight exercises that can be done at home in as little as five minutes. A little bit of research will go a long ways toward finding exercises that meet your time, budget, and space requirements.
As for workout gear, avoid the big “fashion” brands – the Nikes, Adidas, Reebok, etc.
When buying a pair of Nike running shoes you are paying for $15 worth of shoe and $55 dollars worth of advertising.
Research brands like Asics and Sacony, shoes that won’t garner any attention but are made by companies who are in the top of their class and sell products that cost half as much as their fashion-minded counterparts.
For the start-up cost of $50 you can secure some decent running shoes and limited weight set, which will have you well on your way towards hundreds more in savings.
Programming for Pennies
What about programming though, how can that help balance the financial aspects of your life?
As our lives and society become more intertwined with technology, coding is set to become an even more important skill to take to the job market.
It was recently reported that more than half of a million jobs went unfulfilled in 2015 because candidates lacked coding knowledge. This isn’t to say that each of these jobs required a full programmer, but rather that each of these jobs called for someone who had an active knowledge of programming principles and concepts.
But where can you find the chance to apply these principles into your regular workflow?
Maybe you aren’t looking to get into the world of programming and coding, but you think being able to say that you can program a bit might bolster your resume – where to start?
Programming in Excel is a skill to boost your resume
The answer for you might be to look into coding VBA (Visual Basic for Applications).
VBA is the programming language used for Microsoft Office programs, most notably coding macros in Excel. If being able to utilize Excel effectively is an employable task, then being able to say that you can program your own custom macros will bring your resume to the top of the stack.
The fantastic thing about learning VBA is what makes all programming so great – it can be done for almost no cost.
Sites like Udemy offer courses for as little as $10, and even Microsoft offers a few tutorials on their site that can help you get started.
Even if your intention is to never become a full programmer, being able to say that you can code macros for Excel, or that you have a deeper understanding of the inter-workings of the Microsoft Office Suite, will raise your personal stock in the workplace.
With all things finances the goal is always to have the highest reward for the lowest cost and risk.
By dedicating a few hours a week to working out your mind and body (through lifting and coding) you are making a very safe investment in yourself for almost no cost. Savings at the doctor, better career prospects, and a better mind and body balance – what more could you ask for?
Do you consider your health a great investment? Have you learned a little programming in your life – maybe you’re a blogger who has to write a little code?