Are Gym Memberships Too Costly?Who likes getting bills? Stupid question, I know. Some bills, such as rent, car payments and cell phones, are bills we can’t avoid, which brings me to my next question. Who likes getting bills for something that goes unused more often than not? By now, you’re probably wondering what’s with all the stupid questions.

Let me give you a scenario and see if you’ve been in a similar situation. A new year is approaching and everyone is talking about resolutions, many of which deal with getting into better physical shape. To help get in that better shape, you hear people talk about purchasing a new gym membership and how that alone is going to do the trick. With all the hype of gym memberships and getting into shape, you rush out and get your own gym membership.

Fast forward a couple months (for some of us, myself included, a couple weeks), and you find that you are no longer as motivated as you originally were. While your motivation has dwindled, your monthly gym membership bill has not.

Be honest with me. Does this sound familiar to you? I can think of a number of friends and family members just off the top of my head that this applies to. If it applies to you, don’t worry. You’re not alone. I don’t doubt that people decide to buy gym memberships without the intention of using it on a regular basis. However, time constraints and other obligations seem to get in the way.

I’m not suggesting you drop what you’re doing right now and go cancel your gym membership. I’m merely here to give suggestions on how you can find better deals and to break down the numbers to show how much money you’re putting toward a gym membership. After you’re finished reading, I’ll let you decide if you think you’re wasting money.

I’ll start by providing the fees of some popular gyms.

Snap Fitness: Like most gyms, Snap Fitness offers a variety of options for people looking to purchase a membership. For starters, a trial membership is offered for $8.95 that’s good for 30 days. At close to $.30 a day, that seems like a pretty good deal, right? After you complete your trial membership, you’re given a few different options. You have the option to pay month-to-month at a price of $39.95 per month, which comes out to about $480 per year. If you want to lower your monthly bill, you can commit to yearlong membership and pay $29.95, which amounts to about $360 for the year. If you have money saved up, you can lower your monthly bill even more. If you pay for a yearlong membership up front, you’ll pay an average of $24.95 per month, which is about $300 for the year.

Planet Fitness: Planet Fitness currently has two special offers up for grabs. For someone looking to purchase a yearlong membership, you’ll pay a $20 startup fee and an additional $19.99 plus taxes each month. Minus taxes, you’re looking at about $260 for the year. Along with the yearlong membership, you get a list of benefits including:

  • Use of all Planet Fitness Franchise locations
  • Unlimited guest privileges
  • Unlimited tanning
  • Unlimited use of massage chairs
  • Half price cooler drinks
  • Unlimited fitness training

If you don’t want to be tied down and prefer to pay month to month, you can do that, too. For a startup fee of $49, you can pay month-to-month at a rate of $10. If you stick it out for the entire year, you’ll spend $169 before taxes. By taking this approach, your money is only good for the unlimited fitness training.

YMCA: Unlike Snap Fitness and Planet Fitness, the YMCA doesn’t have too many different available options. When I called to get prices, I was told there is a special going through the end of the month that allows new users to pay a one-time fee of $37.50 to join (down from the usual $150) and an additional $48 per month. You can cancel your membership at anytime and are granted access to other YMCAs in the area. If you belong for one year (and got the special one- time fee of $37.50), you’ll pay approximately $613.50 for the year, which comes out to an average of about $51 per month.

Powerhouse Gym: There are three different options available at Powerhouse Gym. You can pay $99 for three months, pay month-to-month for $39 per month, or just pay $5 per visit. There are no initiation or one-time fees. When you do the math, you can purchase four three-month passes, which would get you through a year at the cost of $396, or $33 per month. If you go the month-to-month route and stay on for a year, you’ll pay $468 for the year. The $5 per-visit option is obviously determined by the number of visits you make.

LA Fitness: It doesn’t get much simpler than this. You pay $39.99 per month with no initiation fee and no long-term contract. At this rate, you’ll pay about $480 for the year.

When you look at the five gyms I listed, obviously there are many different options for the consumer. Yearlong, three-month, monthly and even daily contracts are some of the available options. While it’s great to have choices, no matter how you look at it, you’re still spending money. Before you decide which option is best suited for you, it’s important to do your research. Call ahead and ask about what’s included in your membership, gym hours, and different payment options.

Maybe a gym membership isn’t right for you at this time. If you think signing up for one would turn out to be a waste of money, try working out from home. Temperatures have surely dropped but there is still plenty of time to go for runs or walks outside. You can even purchase weights and other workout equipment to use in your own home.

As I’ve shown above, some gym memberships are cheaper than others. However, when it comes down to it, you’re still spending a lot of money out of your pocket, especially if you don’t use it on a regular basis. Say you purchase a yearlong membership that costs you approximately $400 for the year. After a couple weeks of working out, something comes up and you can’t go to the gym for an extended period of time. In the long run, you’re wasting a large chunk of change that could be better spent on vacations, sporting events, or other bills.

What do you think? Have you ever purchased a gym membership and regretted it? Tell us your story in the comments section below!


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