What Should You Know to Save on Gym Memberships?

by David Ning · 4 comments

Every now and again, everyone will want to lose weight, meaning that they will flock to the gyms to try and fulfill their goals. Of course, we know how that usually ends but it also means that people will also have to try and figure out how to fit gym memberships into their monthly budget. Is it possible? Absolutely.

Assess Your Needs

Nothing will cost you more than joining more gym than you need. What does that mean? If your goal is to get on a treadmill three times a week and that’s all, there is no reason to join a full service gym with pool, classes, and a parade of personal trainers. Not only will you pay more, chances are you are going to feel inadequate as well when faced with people who consider gym time a way of life.

Determine what kinds of exercise you intend to do, how often you will attend and whether you want assistance to develop a good, productive routine. If you are never going to use the pool, then why pay for it? If the gym you join has one, then you are paying for it no matter what. In my area a monthly membership at the full service gym is $39 a month, the one that has no pool or racquetball courts is only $19 a month, a $240 a year savings.

Consider Your Personality

Getting to the gym is particularly challenging for women. Body issues appear front and center, so finding the right gym involves more than finding one that isn’t too expensive, it also means one that feels comfortable.

If you want a place where people focus on body building; search for a gym that caters to that crowd. Looking for a place where yoga is tops? They exists too. A gym where everyone knows your name and is friendly may be great for some, but not for those who just want to get in and get out. If your gym isn’t a good match, then it’s just money wasted because you won’t go.

Look for Promotions

Promotions are available throughout the year because so many people are searching for gyms. Discounted monthly rates, waived registration fees, and free second memberships for your partner are all common incentives.

Almost every gym will offer a trail of 7-14 days as well. Make sure you try out a gym and see how things work before you commit. You can get quite a few weeks of free gym time this way, if you don’t mind the phone calls and e-mails you get as a follow up.

Remember, once you are in the doors they want you to sign their contract. If you definitely know which gym you want to join, negotiate. Almost every fee is negotiable, so don’t just agree to something that will cost you more money.

Is it Cheaper at Home?

The appeal of a gym is that it is a group activity and you can partner up with other people to boost your enthusiasm. If you are short on time and don’t feel like sweating in a group, you might want to consider investing in a couple of pieces of equipment and working out at home.

Gym memberships are one of those luxury items that you become attached to very quickly. Before you shell out your hard earned cash, make sure you will get good value for your money.

This is a piece from our ever expanding How to Save Money on Everything ebook. Check it out for free by signing up for the frugal email newsletter.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

20 and Engaged July 2, 2011 at 7:59 am

Another tip is if you get a membership, USE IT! I had my membership for a year and a half and can count on two hands how many times I went, yet I was paying for it every month. Don’t let that money go to waste.

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Icarus July 2, 2011 at 2:27 pm

On the subject of using the membership and comparing costs, it could be worth it to pay for a more expensive membership IF the gym is closer to your home or work.

Years ago I was a member at a gym that I would pass during my commute home so it was easy to stop off and workout on the way home, even though the membership was slightly more than the YMCA which was further away. But I used it almost every day. When I changed jobs I switched to the YMCA but didn’t start using that gym until recently.

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Sandy July 5, 2011 at 5:32 am

Also, maybe your employer would be willing to pay the gym membership, or at least a percentage, as an additional benefit. Mine does!

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Marcia July 7, 2011 at 9:21 am

And be willing to switch when your life changes. I have a very cheap gym membership. But right now, I am interested in a bigger gym with a larger pool, more classes, and activities for my 5 year old. I think the $100/month YMCA is going to be our next step. I tested it out for a month and really liked all of the morning classes.

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