Has it ever occurred to you that you can save half of the amount you spend on a gym membership each year? In times of turmoil, we are all looking for ways to cut back expenses on non-essential needs. So, if you’ve been overpaying to enjoy the benefits of high-class gyms, it’s time to do something about it.
From fitness first off-peak times to free trials, we have several savvy ideas to share with our readers. It’s a must that you take essential care of your health, but don’t neglect your budget, too. To nurture your fitness and money, ProMoneySavings has hunted high and low to equip you with the best saving tips.
Keep reading, and you’ll never look back on the overpriced services that once seemed fair to you. Remember that expensive is not always better!
Table of Contents
- 1 The Costs of Gym Membership
- 2 Is It Possible To Save Money On Your Gym Membership?
- 3 Ways To Cut Cost On Your Gym Membership
- 3.1 1. Free Trials
- 3.2 2. Off-Peak Gym Memberships
- 3.3 3. Local Community Centers
- 3.4 4. Check-in With HR
- 3.5 5. Check For Discounts
- 3.6 6. Get A Group Discount
- 3.7 7. Use Your School’s Gym
- 3.8 8. Become A YMCA Volunteer
- 3.9 9. Pay For What You Use
- 3.10 10. Search For Gym Promotions
- 3.11 11. Negotiate A Deal
- 3.12 12. Search For Better Prices Online
- 4 Alternatives To The Gym
- 5 Final Word
- 6 FAQs
The Costs of Gym Membership
Like many others, you want to find a good quality gym to sweat and keep in shape but not to break the bank. Shiny and ultimate fashion fitness clubs will cost you an arm and a leg if you decide to sign up with them. Even if you join with the utmost will to exercise and keep fit, exorbitant memberships will put you off from the start.
Taking into account several factors, we can summarize that gym costs widely differ. It’s no secret that an exceptional fitness center with spas and saunas will cost you more than tenfold that of regular gyms. Get prepared to pay an average gym price of about $40 if you opt for a non-posh place that will satisfy your needs.
Is It Possible To Save Money On Your Gym Membership?
Spend some time shopping around to study the prices of available gyms in your vicinity meticulously. Surely, you can reduce the cost, but you need a strategy to hunt down exceptional deals. Most importantly, carefully read our ideas and make them a crucial part of your pursuit of the ideal gym.
To cut a long story short, go with contract-free memberships that will allow you to vary your fitness routine and pay on a per-visit basis. This is a particularly useful tip to lower your expenses if you don’t work out as often as you plan to. Non-profit gyms or local community centers are a smart idea if you can find such amenities nearby.
It’s worthwhile to check with your company whether they offer certain benefits to employees to cater for their health and fitness needs. Lastly, if you opt for David Lloyd off-peak times, there is no doubt that your money-saving options will expand.
Ways To Cut Cost On Your Gym Membership
Your gym experience doesn’t have to be a huge money-spender, indeed. There are many efficient and creative ways to save money these days. After listing the upsides and downsides of every possible strategy to lower gym costs, we selected the top 12. Here are the most useful hints for all of you looking to sweat more for less.
1. Free Trials
The funds needed for a regular fitness club membership can be substantial. Hence, Maryland and Virginia, for instance, have adopted laws that provide for cooling-off periods. This being said, prospective clients have up to three days post-contract conclusion to cancel the membership and get their money back. What is more, this period extends to 15 days in the District, but you may be obliged to pay five percent of the fee up to $25.
A vast number of gyms will grant you a free pass or two if you explain that you’re thinking about joining. The purpose of these free passes is to try out the facilities so you can decide whether they fit your fitness plan. On top of this, let your gym-going friends know that you’re keen on fitness. If they allow inviting friends along, make use of some free workouts given by specific gyms to loyal clients.
Often, it depends on your negotiation skills to arrange a trial period. Some places will allow up to 14-day trial workouts, while others cut their trial days short to only 3 or 7 days. Test several local gyms before making the final decision and sign on the dotted line. Plus, the condition of the weight machines and the swimming pool will tell tales about the athletic club.
2. Off-Peak Gym Memberships
The best thing about flexible working hours is that you can avoid the afternoon rush hours when it comes to fitness and other sports activities. In this case, your best shot is to seek an “off-peak” membership pass. A lot of fitness centers offer a less expensive membership if you agree to hit the gym when nobody else is able. This usually means before 4 pm on weekdays and later at weekends.
Consider off-peak gym times and don’t let this opportunity slip off your hands. Who wouldn’t like to pay less for the same services that everybody else gets? On top of that, you’ll have plenty of room and facilities for yourself only since you avoid the afternoon crowds. Pay attention that special off-peak rates are not usually advertised, so you’ll have to ask specifically.
For instance, the offer for David Lloyd off-peak times is an extremely favorable one. If you opt for such membership, your cost will surely decrease between 30 and 40%. Plus, off-peak membership also applies to your kids and their nanny if you link them to your membership.
3. Local Community Centers
Haven’t heard of this great news before? Luckily, we are here to urge you to visit the city’s recreation center. These tend to be the least pricey spots because they’re partly funded by the local authorities or on a non-profit basis.
Though these leisure centers might not have the latest equipment and facilities, some gyms take pride in machines featured by private fitness clubs. As of membership, you can either subscribe per month or pay per visit. If you opt for off-peak gym times or you are on benefits and unemployed, expect reduced rates.
So, if you’re a resident of the city look for the city’s recreation center to snap some low-cost fitness activities. Youngsters in New York are granted free access to its Park Recreation Center, whereas adults pay only $12.50 a month. Activities include gums, fitness classes, and pools. Residents of Kent who are 50 and above have access to the city’s fitness center for only $10 per month.
Finally, before you decide to go with a community recreation center, you should be aware of another perk. Meaning, you can choose the classes that you like and skip the extra fees for towels, the initiation cost, and the like.
4. Check-in With HR
Asking for a work discount has never hurt anybody, right? This is particularly true if your company takes care and dedicates funds for the health and wellness of their employees. For this purpose, they register with larger gym chains and offer reduced rates to their employees exclusively. Such practices have been continuously praised as this means that companies nurture their workers’ needs.
Such perks might not be widely spread and outspoken. It’s best to consult your HR department to get acquainted with the fitness schemes they propose. If you qualify for a gym discount, get the corporate fitness pass without having second thoughts. Don’t exclude the possibility to get a few bucks off your gym membership if a company you work for on a freelance basis offers.
The best-case scenario is the company to agree and provide you with a free gym membership. This is a reality in most renowned businesses that wish to keep their top workers on board. Conversely, your health insurance company may be offering fitness reimbursement programs too.
5. Check For Discounts
If you pay upfront for several months or the entire year, there is a high probability that the gym manager will offer you a decent discount. Newer gyms are interested in generating quick cash, and you can save in the long run. Further on, consult your health insurance plan to see if it offers reimbursement provided that you visit a specific fitness club at particular times.
Are you a student, a senior citizen, or a teacher? If you belong to any of these categories, don’t hesitate to ask for a reduced fee. Most gyms will approve a discount if you can show proof that you qualify. Therefore, ensure you have proof of your age or status before signing the contract.
Fitness centers such a 24 Hour Fitness are happy to grant military discounts. BRICK Fitness, on the other hand, gives 10-15% off to teachers, police officers, firefighters, and students to help them lead a comfortable and healthy lifestyle. Be aware that these memberships might limit some age groups to slow hours.
Going to the gym at off-peak gym times is another smart way to grab at least 20% of the regular fee. We suggest you also turn to local hospitals that sell membership for their fitness facilities to the broader public.
6. Get A Group Discount
The majority of fitness facilities will grant you a discount and reduce your fee when you join a larger group. Before joining, carefully inspect the schedule for group classes to see whether there are available spots for your favorite fitness classes. Make sure the schedule fits your plans and then you’re ready to register. We guarantee you’ll have lots of fun doing exercise in a group and you might as well forge new friendships.
Moreover, gyms also offer family and household discounts if two or more people from the same family join together. Also, gyms permit shared memberships for roommates who sign up together and can get up to a 20% discount. Memberships based on friend groups are not a rare sight, either. Gather several of your gym-oriented friends and ask a manager to cut a deal for you.
The power of bulk-buying doesn’t leave any manager indifferent. Particularly, if the fitness club is striving to reach its membership goals. The good thing about these group memberships is that you always have a company to encourage you to stick to your gym objectives.
7. Use Your School’s Gym
If luck has it and you’re a student or a university employee, you can regularly hit the uni’s gym for a very reasonable price. This is because universities often provide their services to the general public. Their sports facilities are of good quality, and you can quickly negotiate an excellent deal for a monthly subscription or a day pass.
Did you know that you can use your Alma Mater’s gym with the help of an alumni card? Well, universities and colleges give their alumni special rates when it comes to fitness clubs.
For example, Stanford University offers alumni day passes to gym facilities for only $5. For as little as $13.75 per month, dependents of employees at Dartmouth College who are less than 19 years of age have extraordinary benefits. So, apart from yourself, check whether your underage children can use the uni’s gym, swimming pools, and tennis courts.
8. Become A YMCA Volunteer
Besides being a volunteer at the YMCA, you can earn great benefits such as gym membership. An acquaintance of mine was able to get a free YMCA fitness pass by just investing some of her free time to volunteer at the YMCA.
What are a few hours per week if you have plenty of free time? Plus, it can be entertaining to give facility tours to newcomers. This will surely land you an all-access fitness card without having to spend a single dollar. An insider’s tip is to combine your workout time with the time you spend volunteering to have everything completed in one go.
Typically, volunteers are required to spend 3 to 4 hours for a free membership. Since every YMCA operates differently, you will have different obligations, too. Some of them include watching for kids or maybe working at the front desk. It’s not an exception to teach classes or coach athletic teams if you’re an expert in the field.
9. Pay For What You Use
If you’re one of those gym goers that aren’t regular visitors, it’s high time to ask the gym to pay less. Use less, pay less is a simple rule that most gym owners and managers abide by. This is what we call a part-time membership. Meaning, the price of your membership can be cut in half and limit you to a certain number of visits per month in return.
You might also be eligible to pay less when you don’t use individual facilities. These include lap pools, saunas, or even steam rooms. So, why pay for all these extras if you’re not making use of them. Consider also membership freezes if you travel often or want to skip some workout for a specified period. Bear in mind that you would usually pay about $10 to hold your spot during the suspended period.
Maybe the best tip we can give you here is to avoid any commitments and pay as you go. Contracting a full-year membership is a hard burden to carry as you might change your mind about exercising after a while. Therefore, no-contract gyms are the best deal if you don’t want long-term commitments and complex contracts that limit your free will.
10. Search For Gym Promotions
Imagine finding a promotion that waives the initiation fee for a gym membership of at least $100. Or a 50% discount on the first-month price? Sounds too good to be true, right? The truth is that if you’re interested in finding a promo and have patience, you can save a decent amount. We suggest you scrutinize fitness first off-peak times to make the most of your money.
The majority of gyms give promotion deals at the start of the New Year to pamper new members to join. Plan a tour around town to locate the best deals. The next round of promotions comes at the beginning of the summer when people get ready to hit the crowded beaches.
We highly advise you to keep a watchful eye on coupons, too. Often, gyms post promo codes or coupons on their social media pages. Even websites like Groupon and Gilt can be a valuable source of gym promotions. As a result of couponing, you’ll pay way less and probably get an excellent short-term package which is a great perk if you’re not a gym enthusiast.
11. Negotiate A Deal
Why gyms rarely publish their prices? The answer is simple – different members pay different costs. Hence, never underestimate the result of a well-founded negotiation plan. To negotiate a better rate, you must play hard to get on the first visit. So, avoid signing up during the first conversation. Another useful hint is to offer a significantly lower price from the start hoping that you’ll meet somewhere in the middle.
Getting a membership with decent terms can most likely be achieved when gyms are desperate. Months like February are slow, and the chances that your price is slashed are relatively high. So, why don’t you try to negotiate a David Lloyd membership then? Plus, fitness centers might sweeten the deal by some freebies such as guest passes or training sessions.
Try negotiating the membership fee via e-mail if face-to-face negotiations are not your thing. This way you can explore the offers of several local centers and decide what’s best for your budget. Always ask about hidden costs like those for late payments or cancelation fees. Finally, don’t be afraid to negotiate and ask for a cheaper monthly fee or to eliminate the additional costs for services you don’t use.
12. Search For Better Prices Online
The great news is that nowadays some gyms post their prices and membership details on their webpages or reveal them over the phone. Never accept a deal before doing thorough research on the Internet. You might come across current discounts or promotions on the pages of fitness clubs exclusively. Or maybe on sites that promote deals such as Groupon and Kufahl.
The advantage of organizing the whole gym thing online is that you can arrange fitness classes up to 10 days in advance. Some fitness centers even give discounts if you book classes with them online, so put this tip into action. These gyms usually offer Pay and Play memberships that are excellent both for beginners and advanced gym addicts. Negotiate a David Lloyd membership online, and you might be eligible to receive a nice freebie or deal.
Alternatives To The Gym
When everything else fails because you can’t afford to attend a fitness club or most gyms are far from your daily routine, don’t despair. There are alternatives to the traditional gym that you might like even more. Also, don’t forget to boost your health with home-cooked meals as they are much better than junk food.
- Work Out At Home – Whenever you have some free time, invest it in your health and exercise from home. Depending on your affinities, you can do martial arts, yoga, or Pilates. The great thing is that there are free resources for everyone’s taste. When at home, also consider bodyweight practice but learn to do it properly.
- Exercise Outside – My advice is to head to the nearest park and do exercise outdoors whenever weather conditions allow it. Whether you’re keen on jogging, cycling, or simply walking, greenery also affects your mental state. The only thing you’ll have to invest decent money in is proper quality equipment.
- Find Free Classes – In the digital era of today, finding free online workouts requires almost no effort. The number of free resources to use for your fitness advantage is practically limitless. They vary according to level and age to time constraints that range from 5-minute workouts to as much as 90 minutes. You can choose low-impact beginner cardio, exercise to burn an exact number of calories, etc.
- Use Free Fitness Apps – Great apps will pave your path to a great body. One of the best apps is Runtastic, which keeps track of your workouts and allows you to set goals. The Daily Workout Fitness Trainer is an app that offers 30-minute workouts to reach a specific target at the comfort of your home. Lastly, if you’re a fan of yoga and fitness, try out Asana Rebel’s perfectly timed workout routine.
- Use Exercise Videos – In the vast ocean of YouTube videos, you’ll bump into zillion of workout sessions. In case you’re not thinking of paying a cent for regular exercise, online fitness videos are your best try. This way, you get to exercise and keep fit at your own pace and according to your own schedule.
Your ultimate goal is to give yourself the gift of fitness without burning the cash on a gym membership. After all, why spend a fortune when you can always turn back to us for useful advice. Whether you decide to go with David Lloyd off-peak times or pay a visit to the local recreation center, our tips will show you the way.
We have saved our last and crucial advice for the very end. Why not workout for free before you decide your next fitness step? In case you decide that the gym is what you’re cut out for, go on to arrange the most suitable membership for your budget.
Finally, don’t forget to sign up for our ProMoneySavings Newsletter and get all the latest money tips right into your inbox!
What is the cheapest gym to join?
As a result of our market scavenging strategy, we came across some quite inexpensive gym memberships. To begin with, Planet Fitness is widely known for its low membership fee of only $10 per month for unlimited access. If you want to include massage and tanning and have access to their gyms all over the country, buy the Black Card for $19.90. Also, consider Cardinal Fitness for the same prices plus an annual fee of $20.
Can you negotiate a gym membership?
Yes, you can. Though this may depend on the specific gym or time of year, most managers will be more than happy to strike a deal for less. Try to negotiate a free trial or to waive the initiation fee. Trying to negotiate a David Lloyd membership can be a good idea to start with. Finally, if you’re a group of interested members, don’t sign a contract if you’re not offered at least 20% off the regular price.
How much should I pay for a gym membership?
The middle range of regular memberships costs somewhere between $40 and $50 a month. Yet, if you add the initiation fee and some other ancillary expenses, you might reach an annual cost of $800. Bear in mind that finding a cheap and decent gym for as little as $10 per month is a viable option, too. Avoid hefty and high-end gyms that charge you up to $100 a month unless you have money to roll in.
How can I get a free gym membership?
There are several ways you can earn a free membership. Try to get a free YMCA pass or take part in community programs. Make use of trial periods to do workout for free. Fitness first off-peak times is another way to avoid tapping your wallet. Last but not least, you can always get a part-time job at a fitness center or use alumni membership passes.