If you’ve made the commitment to get in shape — good for you! Regular exercise and physical activity can benefit your life in many ways. But, if joining a gym will add another bill to your monthly expenses, is that the best financial choice to help hit your fitness goals?
Here are some questions to ask yourself before spending money on a gym membership:
Does the cost of a gym fit in my budget?
Before you start pricing out gym memberships, it’s important to know how much (or if) you can afford the monthly cost. In addition to a monthly charge, you should also be prepared for potential costs like initiation fees, annual fees and daily towel fees. If you need to free up extra money in your budget, look at other memberships or subscriptions you can cancel.
Do I have enough free time to hit the gym regularly?
Working out takes time and energy. Whether it’s morning, afternoon or night, carving out time in your schedule is crucial to get your money’s worth. Working out three times a week, or 12 times a month, can also average less than spending on individual classes and keep you on track to hit your fitness goals.
Do I agree with everything in the contract?
Some gym contracts have rules or stipulations hidden in the fine print. For example: if you want to cancel your membership early, you have to buy out the remainder of your contract. This could cost you hundreds of dollars down the road and put you in a tight spot. If you really like a gym, but aren’t happy with the contract, try negotiating. Some gyms might be willing to make a deal.
Can I get a good workout at home?
The 21st century is a great time to get in shape. While there are many upsides to going to a gym, like socializing and group workouts, you might be able to work out at home and save money on a membership. You may need to purchase equipment like dumbbells, kettlebells and resistance bands, but you should be able to find used or even new equipment for fairly cheap.
If you need low or no cost DIY workout ideas, try one of these sources:
- Download free fitness apps on your phone
- Watch workout videos on YouTube
- Follow health and wellness accounts on social media
Are any gyms running a deal?
It’s no secret that gyms offer deals in December and January. However, the summer months may provide bargains as well since the nicer weather and social activities can affect new memberships. In addition to seasonal deals, some gyms also run promotions for anniversaries and holidays that feature zero enrollment fees, zero initiation fees and more.
Do what’s best for your body and your budget
A commitment to exercise is a lot like committing to your finances — it takes discipline, focus and smart decision-making. If you take the time to research local gym memberships and weigh your options, you’ll be in great shape no matter what you choose!