Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Wants to Work Out Without Spending Too Much

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have always loved to work out. I recently moved to New York City, and I want to find a gym or studio to join. Everywhere I look, the gyms keep getting more expensive. I feel like there is nowhere in the city that has an affordable rate. My friend recommended just running or walking outside, but there are times when it is just too cold or it is raining and I would like to be inside. I am starting to wonder what all the other city dwellers do to stay in shape and not spend a fortune. Do you have any recommendations on whether I should make the investment into a gym membership? -- Runner Without a Gym, Brooklyn, New York

DEAR RUNNER WITHOUT A GYM: Having lived in New York City for most of my life, I can tell you that you are in luck. Essentially, you can find virtually anything at any price here -- with quality! As far as gyms go, you can find an affordable option. Gyms go for as little as $20 per month, possibly less.

To find a gym for you, first select your neighborhood of choice. Then, search online for affordable gyms in the vicinity. Next, comparison shop to see which gym best fits your personality and needs. You can do this!

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a 10-year-old daughter who will be entering middle school next year. Her father and I have been discussing whether to get her a cellphone. She, of course, has brought this up to us a hundred times and will not stop begging for us to get one. Most of her friends already have phones, but I am a bit apprehensive about getting her one. My husband and I did not get cellphones until we were 15 or 16 years old; I know it was a different time, but 10 years old seems so young to have a cellphone. I read tons of stuff online about how technology is so bad for children’s brains and how you should try to delay giving your kids a phone as long as possible. Is it too early to be giving my daughter a cellphone? -- Cellphone Debate, New Orleans

DEAR CELL PHONE DEBATE: You cannot base your decision on what happened during your youth. Life is different today. Evaluate your daughter’s movements. When is she not in your presence or that of a guardian? How much could she truly need a phone? If there are times when she is without direct adult supervision during the day, a cellphone could be a good safety measure.

The pros of your child having a cellphone include that you can engage an app to track her whereabouts. Life360 is among the most popular. You can tell her that you are monitoring her whereabouts, which will create a bond of trust and keep her secure.

You can manage the cons, at least the most common -- that she could become “addicted” to apps or social media. There are cellphones designed for children that limit the user's access to the internet.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)