I do wonder if there’s a way, like you imply, to find a local accountability partner. Seems like you might get the best part of the paid-for trainer kind of for free. :)
Incidentally, I’ve learned that while I could do a whole lot of this workout stuff at home (I just need a floor for pushups…), for me “going to the gym” is making a space in my daily schedule to just do fitness and nothing else. So if there’s a way to work it into the budget, perhaps it’s worthwhile. I could probably do this in some other (potentially free) space like a public park, but there’s something about the gym (okay, literally: dozens of people working out) that makes me go in there and just work out for a while.
In any case, thank you for your kind words!