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Why I’m Skipping the Gym Membership This Year

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Gym

Well, it’s January and the gyms are putting out their marketing material for the year. Get in now and get a month free! Only pay $10 per month for the next year! Jump on your New Year’s resolution and lose weight now! I have seen it all and it’s kind of like the election and holiday shopping season.

Most gyms are salivating trying to convert people into paying customers. I get it. January is the biggest month for gyms as people want to lose weight at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, most people quit going to the gym by about March and are left paying their fee for the rest of the year. Not me! Not this year!

Some years back, I used to go to the gym almost every day. It was a great release for me to get a nice workout in to end my day. I loved it, but I didn’t like the price I paid. After some time, I ended up having issues with the gym and they attempted to sue me. It put a terrible taste in my mouth to say the least. Ever since then, I have been very hesitant with joining any gym.

I’m Skipping The Gym Membership This Year

 

I have seen too many people jump on the gym bandwagon, get really into working out for about two months and then, as life starts getting in the way, let their membership go by the wayside. I just see that as wasted money and I hate wasting money. I look at gym memberships just like debt repayment. Too many people get started but can’t seem to keep up the motivation to stay on course. In both scenarios, money is being lost.

To some, paying for a gym membership is motivation to keep them going and actually use it. I think this is great. Whatever motivation you use to keep you going is fine with me. I don’t have the same motivation. My motivation for this year is to grow my business and my wealth. Paying money for a gym membership that I probably won’t use is not my way of growing my money. I’m on a quest to reduce my spending in every category. I want to take a knife to my bills and not look back. You can’t get arrested for assaulting your bills, so I’m going all in people!

My Gym Alternative

 

I think we all know we need to exercise. I mean, working out is one of the top resolutions every year. Yet, time and again, exercise resolutions are left unfulfilled. I’m guilty of this myself.

Instead of paying for a gym membership, I decided a few years ago to invest in some simple weights and bands for my house. You can easily create a workout routine with just these products. There are tons of workout videos on Youtube, which can help you through it. Hell, there are simple workout routines just with your own body weight. You don’t need a gym to get a good workout. (Editor’s note: I’ve done the same thing and doesn’t cost me a dime although my father in law religiously goes to 24-Hour Fitness as he enjoys having something to take him out of the house daily now that he’s retired!)

Though I have a full time job, a side business, and a son to take care of, I will dedicate some time for myself. Working out gets you into shape, but also increases your energy level. It can help you sleep better and feel better all around. Think of how productive you can be when you feel rested and in shape? When I see increased productivity, I see more opportunities to make money!

Motivation is a key to succeeding when working out with regard to your finances. If you can’t keep it, then you will most certainly fail. Time and time again people start working out, then stop. They also start paying off debt, then stop. They can’t stay motivated.

I don’t want to pay someone for a service which I might not use to it’s fullest. I know my life is busy, so taking time to travel to the gym and stay there for an hour, just isn’t in the cards. What’s in the cards for me is walking down to my basement, giving 30-45 minutes of workout time and then getting back to the grind. That’s how I’m going to tackle my exercise goals without breaking the bank.

 

What about you? Will you be indulging in a gym membership this year? What keeps you motivated to get in shape? Have you had a gym membership in the past but no longer do? If so, what made you give it up? What other services have you given up on that are “good” but have found a much cheaper option for?

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Grayson is the owner of Debt Roundup and Empowered Shopper. He also co-owns Sprout Wealth and Eyes on the Dollar. After going to battle and winning against consumer debt, he decided it was time to learn how to use credit wisely and grow his wealth. He discusses all things personal finance and is not afraid of being controversial. He also is a freelance writer and blog manager.

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54 Comments

  • Catherine says:

    Cheap gym memberships (like 10$/mo) do not exist here. No i won’t be getting a membership, not because I don’t want to but because I know it won’t work for my life right now. When our debt is paid off we will be getting a rec center membership (beautiful gym, Olympic size pool plus kids pool and outdoor pool), skating rinks, squash courts….you name it. But at $850 for the family for the year its something we can’t justify right now and we want our daughter old enough to use it/enjoy it too.

  • Meagan says:

    I actually have two memberships – one at a typical gym, and one at a crossfit gym. I pay the standard fee for my regular gym, and go at least 3 times each week, to yoga and boxing classes, which makes my cost/trip about $4 – totally reasonable, in my opinion, for what I’m getting. And I take advantage of the 25% off student discount my crossfit gym offers and have a one class/week membership for my ‘push’ workouts that ends up costing me $9/visit.

    As someone who works 40+ hours a week and is doing her MBA, I need the scheduled classes to commit to my workouts (vs. telling myself I’ll run after work – I always back out). I need my workouts to stay fit and healthy, and to manage stress.

    Overall, I spend approximately $1,000 per year on my fitness memberships, but it also apply a work health benefit that pays for $600 of it, making my personal expense $400/year. It’s worth it to me to pay that amount for something I make good use of and keeps me healthy.

  • For me its just not the same working out at home, but just getting out and running with my headphones is more than enough for me. I am blessed that due to the military I have free gym membership, but once I leave I will have to join a gym. I will probably run a lot to cut cost.

  • I love going to the gym and the one where I go to workout has reasonable prices that I don’t mind paying. But you are right, tons of people will sign up as their resolution and will quit after a few months. Not only could they watch YouTube videos, but there are a handful of really good apps for your phone that have routines too and most of the apps are free.

    I’d suggest people start with either of these options first and after a few months of dedication, then consider looking into a gym.

  • I think gyms are great if you USE them, but if not a huge waste of money. I was already a pretty regular gym goer, but when money got tight I ended up dropping it. But I do find it more motivating to get out of the house since I’m here all damn day as a freelancer, so I ended up bartering with a great gym so now I go for free…er well I write articles for them and do some video work. Win/win!

  • Lyn says:

    In my small town, I have a choice between a fairly cheap, run of the mill tiny gym with a few cardio machines and weights but no classes or other benefits, and a small, independent women’s gym that does only classes and doesn’t offer any access to standard gym equipment.

    I’ve been to both and love love the classes but the cost is outside my budget and their schedule doesn’t cater much to 9-5 working hours. Plus, I live in a cold climate so having indoor cardio equipment is important to me.

    Workout DVDs are pretty boring, so I’m considering checking out something like Daily Burn. I can stay at home but still have the variety of classes without such a large expense. Of course, depending on myself to actually schedule my own “classes” (and DO them)? That will be an entirely different struggle.

  • I do have a membership at the rec center. It’s $280 a year, and I go at least 4-5 times a week, It’s worth it to me. I get bored, so it’s nice to have different options plus the pool. It’s also very social for me. I rarely go out in the evenings with friends, but I have worked out with the same morning crew for years, and I do miss them if I can’t go for some reason.

    I can’t wait until the January rush is over. It’s too crowded. I’m all for exercising, but you are so right that tons of people who are paying for memberships right now won’t be there in 6 weeks!

  • When summer began, I made a commitment to exercise when I started walking outside every day. But as the weather here got cold, I knew there was no way I would continue. So in November, my wife and I joined a local gym. We each pay less than $15/month and the best part is that membership is month to month. My wife has been going every day and I go about 3 times a week, so right now it is worthwhile for us. We like the variety of equipment and going out helps keep us motivated. But you can absolutely work out at home for less if you stay motivated.

  • As a former gymnastics coach, I love to exercise. But I gave up my gym membership after having children and gym rates going up. Instead I get exercise videos from the library. Also, a large local church has a great cardio/strength class for $2 with amazing free childcare. Walking with the double stroller or running with the jogging stroller is also a good work out.
    My husband likes biking to work, chopping wood, or playing basketball for exercise.
    As far as other services we’re skipping on this year, I’m going to learn how to cut my husband’s hair to save on haircuts. He’s also found some sources of free firewood and chops it himself to save on buying it.

  • Michelle says:

    I don’t think gym memberships are worth it. I had one for a few months but I didn’t like it and it was just a waste of money for me. However, I do have a climbing gym membership but that can’t really be replicated anywhere.

  • I absolutely love my gym membership. The amount of value I get for $20/month is incredible. I could never afford tens of thousands (or more) of dollars of equipment – nor would I want to store it in my home. Gym memberships can be a great value imo.

    • Grayson Bell says:

      I hear you about the equipment, but there have been study after study about how equipment is not necessary. You can do a variety of workouts for about $50 worth of simple equipment. It’s just in how you use it.

  • Money Beagle says:

    I’ve been a member of Planet Fitness since they opened nearby last year. For $10 per month, it’s well worth it and I know I’m getting my money’s worth as long as I go a couple times per week.

  • We joined our local $10/month gym about 3 months ago and have been going 2-3 times per week since it opened. We joined because Kate likes the zumba classes and those are boring to do by yourself at home. She tried them at home, but she kept stopping it before the class was over because she was bored. She likes the motivation that other people give her when she goes to the classes… she feels like she’s not allowed to stop.

  • I am actually planning on joining a gym soon. We have a facility here that charges only 9.95 a month with no yearly commitment. You pay as you go. They have a pool for swimming which I’d like to add to my exercise routine…less impact of a workout. Can’t get that at home.

  • Elroy says:

    I have a gym membership at a rock climbing center. I’ve had it for the last year and use it about 4 times a week, so I think I get my value out of it. I was upset my morning yoga class had tripled its attendance the other day […]

  • I do have a gym membership but I use it so I am comfortable making the investment. It is absolutely one of those things that many people pay for and never use, which is definitely a waste. I mainly use it for the classes because it helps me keep the intensity up higher than when I workout by myself.

  • Hubby and I both cancelled our gym memberships last year and we have been doing great with using Pinterest workouts, walking more outside (even in the cold weather) and doing free workout videos we get through Amazon Prime. I don’t miss the gym at all.

  • Ben Luthi says:

    I do the local rec center…I think it’s something like $8/month, but I’ll never do a gym again after Gold’s.

  • Janeen says:

    Amen, brother! I’ve never quite gotten the “gym” thing. You mean I’m supposed to pay money to leave my family and sweat with a bunch of strangers? I do see the benefits of exercise, but I find that I can stay fit enough by chasing the kids, chopping wood, and occasionally doing a video or app. I prefer when possible to get my workout done through regular daily activities.

  • No gym memberships for me either. I never follow through so they aren’t worth it for me. The thing that generally does work for me is workout DVDs. I’ve been doing T25 for a while and I enjoy it. 25 quick minutes and I’m done. Plus if I end up getting sick of the DVDs I can give them to a friend or sell them (unlike a gym membership which is sometimes hard to pawn off on someone else).

  • Beverly says:

    For me, a rec center class was life-changing. When I lost my job, I knew it would be the last thing I would cut . . . I went for stress management but ended up with new friends, less arthritis pain, better sleep habits ad six-pack abs (never had those before, ever) and a happy cardiologist. Oh, and less stress

  • Jason B says:

    I actually just renewed my gym membership on Monday. My apartment is too small for me to workout in. Also it’s only $65 bucks for the YEAR. I work out 3-4 times per year. Its a way to get rid of stress and stay active.

  • It’s all about the home gym! Saves time & money. Anything else just doesn’t make sense to me.

  • Jenna says:

    I really enjoy getting out of the house to go to the gym. I go often enough to make it worthwhile.

  • I had been working out since last year and now I was thinking maybe I should stop going to the gym. Sad to say, but, I’m a bit bored already going to the gym every day, I think I should start doing yoga or Zumba with the help of YouTube.

  • Yup, I’m all in with my gym membership. I’ll be pushing my whole family to use it more too (I use it every day). My wife wants to get into shape again, my son and I lift weights 4 times a week, and my daughter wants me to start training her too. yes, you can get in shape with youtube videos, but I’m not just looking to workout and be in reasonable good shape, I’m training for a marathon, and to be in the best possible physical condition I can be. Having all the workout equipment and facilities of my full service gym provide me the best possible chance to do that!

  • I will keep paying for my gym because I love it and I use it regularly. I understand why you dont’ pay for a gym anymore, but it works for me so I’m going to keep it. 🙂

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