Fitness Articles

Get Fit for Less Dough

Trim Your Waist, Not Your Wallet

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Congratulations! You’ve decided that this is the perfect time to finally get in shape. Have you priced out exercise equipment or gym memberships yet? If not, brace yourself for a bit of sticker shock! Getting in shape can take a significant chunk of change. But don’t throw in the towel just yet—there are plenty of ways to cut your fitness expenses and still get the resources you need at a price you can afford.

Save at the Gym
Going to the gym is a popular way to get in shape. Depending on what time of the year you join, you can get a really good deal on membership rates. Health club enrollment typically spikes in January, as thousands of well-meaning people decide to make good on their New Year’s resolutions. This isn’t the time to get a deal, however, since clubs don’t need to offer discounts to attract new members.

But everything changes in the spring and summer when the number of new members begins to dry up. May to September is the ideal time to haggle with your local gym over fees. You have even more bargaining power if you can get a lower price from another gym on the other side of town—many gyms will match the price of their competitor in order to get the sale.

Most clubs tack on some sort of registration fee when a new member signs up, but this extra cost can often be waived. Tell the sales representative that you need to think about it for a while and be honest about your pricing concerns. If you don’t seem too eager to join and it looks like you’re going to forget about the whole idea, the rep may reduce—or even eliminate—the fee completely. And ask about other payment options, like paying-in-full. If you can afford to pay for a yearly membership in one payment, most gyms will greatly discount that cost and eliminate registration fees to boot. Don’t forget to ask for student or family discounts to bring the cost down even further.

If you already have a gym membership, take a closer look at the fine print—are you paying for extras you don’t need, like towel service, saunas or a swimming pool? Unless you’re actually using these amenities, you’re throwing away your money every month. Renegotiate your contract and cut out the frills—threaten to cancel your membership completely if your gym balks at the change. Chances are your dues will drop because the gym won’t want to lose the ongoing revenue your membership provides, even if it is a bit lower than before.
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About The Author

Leanne Beattie Leanne Beattie
A freelance writer, marketing consultant and life coach, Leanne often writes about health and nutrition. See all of Leanne's articles.

Member Comments

  • I am moving into a Sr Living apartment complex next week and was very excited to see they have a treadmill and exercise bike available in the community dining room. The director stated they do belong to tenants that let everyone use them as long as they are not held responsible for any accident or injury. Can't beat free!! - 12/2/2013 9:03:13 PM
  • Actually, walking and running just cost the amount for a pair of shoes. If you can do those consistently, you're really on your way. Glenn - 10/5/2013 7:05:47 AM
  • HOOKTONTRAVEL
    where I live the YMCA is the most expensive 'health club' and the only place besides the university that has both workout equipment and a reasonable pool for swimming laps. Planet Fitness is only $30 a month or even less if you get a deal, but no pool. So we pay way more, but also feel like we're giving back to the community because of all the programming the Y offers to low income folks. etc. - 4/27/2013 8:27:11 PM
  • For the multi-page comments--if you guys don't care about getting the sparkpoints for the article just click on the print icon to the left. You'll be able to read the whole article on one page. - 7/28/2012 6:05:38 AM
  • CEKNIGHT
    I agree with WALKZWDOGZ. Two pages are too many! I do not understand all these mutlipage articles. You must be getting paid by the page. - 7/3/2012 9:43:50 AM
  • Great tips, but having to click through SIX pages for about as many paragraphs? - 4/15/2012 5:58:36 PM
  • Great tips on machines, exercises eqiutment and where to look to buy hat you need. God Bless You and Have a Wonderful Week. - 4/15/2012 6:45:21 AM
  • VHBECKER
    Great tips! - 10/31/2011 2:22:45 PM
  • Don't forget about freecycle either. Post what you want, since it's all free lots of folks have this stuff sitting around and want to get rid of it as long as you pick it up. Happy New Years everyone. Donna - 1/1/2011 1:47:58 PM
  • great tips... it can cost very little at home too
    I was just thinking I have no "proper" running attire other than shoes.... I wear yoga pants I got on clearance for $6, i do wear a dri fit shirt I got at NIke for $10 on clearance, and thats it!... regular hoodies, coats and socks.... bargain shopping love it - it may not always be the colour you want but it WORKS
    SPark on friends! - 1/1/2011 11:53:39 AM
  • Here's a good tip for people on a tight budget:

    pushups and squats and core exercises at home in front of the TV. Zero cost, great workout! - 11/8/2010 5:02:16 AM
  • I guess I am pretty lucky because my gym membership is just 20 dollars a month. There are no fancy swimming pools or workout classes, but I use the treadmill, bikes and machines. My gym is called YouFit (formerly Planet Fitness). I recently decided I wanted to take aerobic dance classes and so signed up for Jazzercise, which was more expensive, but since I had to pay ahead of time, it motivates me to go. - 9/6/2010 8:54:49 PM
  • SILLYJILLY8
    The gym I'm considering costs less than $1 a day. I think it's worth it, I'M WORTH IT, even if I'm/you're on a tight budget. Try to give up a weekly/daily visit to the coffee shop for that fancy latte or something that's less important than a workout. Like the article says--negotiate for your best price. You can also join for a period of time, learn some routines and do them at home on your own mat or rent or tape a fitness video. There is a Fitness Channel on Comcast and I'm sure on the others, as well. Goes back to...No Excuses i.e. I can't afford it, it's too far from my house, I'm too tired. NO EXCUSES - 7/22/2010 2:54:52 AM
  • None of these "tips" are very good for a person on a very tight budget. What about freecycle or craigslist for free items or going for a walk? I can't afford a gym membership even at the Y. I have gotten a recumbent bike and some 2 lb weights free from craigslist. - 7/12/2010 9:20:24 AM
  • I don't see a comment here regards to Play it again Sports. That is were I got my mini tramp. Perfect condition for alot LESS than new! - 1/4/2010 9:23:52 PM
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