Column, Money Matters

Save on gym membership costs

The start of the new year is here and you might be thinking of tackling those extra pounds with a gym membership. The cost of a membership to your local fitness center can be pricey, especially if you are looking for a modern facility with a wide selection of the most current equipment. But there are ways to improve your physical fitness without denting your fiscal fitness.

Don’t pay list price

There are ways to save on the quoted fee schedule.

Take advantage of free trials. They may be as short as one day or up to 30 days. It will allow you to test the club’s vibe and its members.

Search for coupons. Fitness centers may offer coupons that reduce the cost. Visit the fitness center website and “deal of the day” websites to see if coupons are available.

Negotiate

Let the manager know you are looking around and the prices you’re being quoted. Ask him or her to make a best offer. Shopping during the slow season or at the end of the month gives you greater leverage.

Join with a friend

A fitness center may have special pricing. If they don’t, it’ll certainly increase your negotiating leverage.

Exercise during off-peak hours

Some fitness centers, especially the 24-hour ones, may offer discounts for using the facility in off-peak hours.

Get someone else to pay for it

Forward thinking employers recognize that a physically fit employee is likely to be a healthier and more productive worker. Insurance companies also like healthy people since they cost less in medical care. Ask your employer or insurance company if they offer any perks that subsidize memberships, or have any affiliation with centers that offers discounts.

Don’t buy a membership

The fact is that many Americans’ resolve to exercise can be ephemeral, leaving them with membership bills that keep coming. To protect against this risk, consider:

Buying a month-to-month membership until you’re sure you’re going to stick with it.

Starting your new exercise regime by buying an exercise video, walking/running outdoors or doing more of an activity that brings you movement and fun.

The decision to exercise is always a good one. Now, make the decision that will also be good for your bank account.

Kevin Theissen is the owner of HWC Financial in Ludlow.

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