More than 50 million Americans belong to a gym. One of the top reasons they say they quit is the cost. But you don’t have to break the bank to break a sweat. Here are money-saving tips from Consumer Reports.
Always negotiate the membership fee and assume you can get a better deal. You do that by asking the right questions and visiting gyms at the right times. January is a great time for promotions, but wait until the end of the month when sales teams may be more eager to make a deal. Consider bringing some friends and asking for a group discount.
Consider what kind of membership you really need. Some gyms let you pay less for more limited access and fewer perks. A cheaper plan may not be advertised, so be sure to ask.
See whether your boss is willing to share the cost. About half of larger U.S. firms have wellness programs. And many of those include discounts on gym memberships or the ability to access on-site workout facilities.
Check your health-insurance policy for gym benefits. Some Blue Cross Blue Shield members can pay as little as $25 per month at fitness chains around the country.
If you don’t know how often you’ll be able to work out, or if you’re the kind of person who likes to mix it up with different kinds of workouts, consider a pay-as-you-go membership. With those deals, you can sign up at more than one type of gym and pay only when you use the facility.
Don’t forget, most gyms offer free trial passes for the day‑—or sometimes for up to a week. That way, you can have a better feel for the gym before you sign on the dotted line.