Incrementally building a home gym


New Member
I have a 25+ year old bench that is a real POS.  It is getting to the point that I am feeling fairly unsafe using (rust, shaky supports, etc).  Not to mention the fact that nearly all the padding is gone and the supports are so narrow that loading a 25 lb plate on one side will cause the bar to tip.  I have an olympic straight bar, EZ curl bar and about 300lbs in weight.

There is a lot of great information on building a home gym here, but I have a little different twist that I wanted to explore.  The company I work for allows me to expense up to $250 per year in exercise equipment, gym membership, etc.  So I'm wondering what the best path is to building a home gym in as close to $250 chunks as possible.

My big debate right now is if I should upgrade to a better bench and buy some dumbells to workout with over the next year, or if I should buy the cage this year and deal with my crappy bench a little while longer.  I'm leaning towards getting the cage now because I will be able to work out more parts of my body with the cage (squats, pullups, etc) than with the bench alone.

Anyone have thoughts on the best way to build a home gym in $250 dollar annual increments?

Thanks in advance.
Get the cage. Once you have that, you can just get any bench at a sports store to put up to it. Benches without supports that you can use with a cage or a rack are cheap. Usually around $50 for decent ones.
Play it Agains Sports stores, newspapers, thrift stores and Goodwill stores if you're in the US of A. Crappy equipment makes you not want to work out. has some good stuff.

I found a hell of a deal the other day, too bad Im space limited at this time.
Thanks for the link Goth. I think I will go with the cage first, and the Draper link pretty much helps me to decide order, etc.