How to Save on Your Gym Membership-Use it or Lose it!!

by David Bakke

gymDo you currently have a membership to a fitness club?  If so, that’s a great start for your physical health!  But the more important question is…do you use it?

I would love to know the statistics on the number of people who sign up for a gym membership with every intention of getting into shape and losing weight and then at some point in time afterwards losing the motivation to do so.  Or falling back into their old habits.  Regardless, they end up in a contract for a membership that they are no longer using, or even worse, not even in a contract but still getting charged a monthly fee.

I know many people like this personally.  I can also attest to what happens every January at the gym I attend.  Every January, I guess because it’s tied in with New Year’s Resolutions, attendance at my gym spikes up.  There are all kinds of new faces there, people brimming with the anticipation of turning over a new leaf and shedding those unwanted pounds.  January turns into February, and these faces slowly start to disappear.  By the time Spring arrives, the gym is for the most part back to its same attendance level.

But how many of these people either signed a contract, or will still pay the monthly fee and never go?

The easiest way to save money on your gym membership is just as the title states-use it or lose it!

If you are paying for a membership, then go!  Go to the gym!  If you are paying for a membership and not going, then get out of it!  Close your membership or find out when your contract is up and get out then.

I think the worst example are the people who have the membership, don’t use it, but when asked about it or when they themselves think about it use the lame rationalization that “I’m going to start going next week…or next month… or next whenever.”

These fitness clubs must be getting rich off of these rationalizations.

Personally, I pay $35 per month for my gym membership.  Of course, by trying to live my life as frugally as possible, I could easily give this up and save the $35.  I could find a way to get my exercise outdoors in some fashion for free.  However, I keep it for the following reasons:

–I view it as an investment.  An investment in my physical health.  This should lead to less medical bills and a longer life. Two things which can save me money or even make me money.

–My visits to the gym (4 times a week) I actually do on my lunch hour.  I could not do outdoor exercise during this time unless I had somewhere to shower afterwards, which I don’t.

–Finally, as long as I stay on my schedule of four times per week, this works out to about $2.19 per visit to the gym. I spend 40 minutes there during each visit, which I think is a steal of a price. So, rather than being a waste of money, I look at it as a great deal!

If you currently have a gym membership and are not using it, you need to take a good long look in the mirror and decide…are you going to get up off your behind and honestly start using it?  If so, then do it.  If not, then cancel it.  It’s as simple as that.

If not, you’re just giving your money away every month, and not doing anything about health-a lose-lose situation if I ever heard one.


As always, your comments and suggestions are appreciated below.


1 diyworkouts April 19, 2010 at 11:06 am

I always had trouble finding the time for the gym. Your factor in your workout time (your case 40 mins) and the closest gym is 10-15 min away from me. Now all of a sudden it’s at least an hour ordeal. The worst is if you ever have to wait for a machine or bench that you want to use. For me I just stopped going. Of course I needed to still get healthy so I started using at home workout programs. This has really helped me find the time and motivation to become healthier. I lover your concept of investing in your health.
.-= diyworkouts´s last blog ..Want to Work Out with Tony Horton and Shaun T? =-.

2 David Bakke April 19, 2010 at 11:09 am


Thanks for commenting.

Its great to have different perspectives on things and as I always say–whatever works for you!

3 Kris April 19, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Good post. I dropped my membership because I just could not justify the cost for the amount of time I was attending. Actually, it was a family membership and nobody was going much. My kids are all in sports and life is just too busy. Instead, I bought a great treadmill and have my P90X DVDs. The cost of both of those was way less than my annual membership for the family. Also, it is just way more convenient for me to exercise at home.

4 Qt April 19, 2010 at 5:51 pm

This side of the Atlantic the monthly fee is just horrible, much more than a 1/12 of the yearly one and most (if not all) go for the 4/6/12 months (payed in advance) fee.
I went to the gym for a few year… until a couple years ago 😉 when i started not having anymore the time to go.
When i was going i always saw he huge amount of money for a full year in a single payment (ok, you can break it in several payment, but it is still a 12 month contract) as a reason to keep going. 😉 I hated every moment at the gym (even if it was a very nice gym it still was a gym 😉 ), but yes, it was a good investment in health.

5 David/Yourfinances101 April 19, 2010 at 10:57 pm


I think its great that you at least made the decision to get rid of it.

If its not worth it to you, you might as well get your exercise in other ways.
.-= David/Yourfinances101´s last blog ..How to Save on Your Gym Membership-Use it or Lose it!! =-.

6 David/Yourfinances101 April 19, 2010 at 10:58 pm


I LOVE your perspective from “over there”!!

I hope you will always continue to chime in–it really gives my readers a different perspective on things!!
.-= David/Yourfinances101´s last blog ..How to Save on Your Gym Membership-Use it or Lose it!! =-.

7 Brad April 20, 2010 at 9:47 am

Thanks David for a reminder of how looking at our whole life is so important. Just like small incremental steps are encouraged for getting out of debt – so those small steps also make a difference with our health.

Brad 🙂
–a jock in what sometimes seems like a former life…..
.-= Brad´s last blog ..Not Consistently Investing in Mutual Funds III =-.

8 Money Compare April 20, 2010 at 10:47 am

Thanks for the solid tip. I hate to think of how many millions of dollars right now are being wasted by gym members who don’t go. When the recession hit here in Australia, my gym membership was the first to go.

9 David Bakke April 20, 2010 at 11:32 am


Its the small things that count!

What’s that old saying–Take care of your pennies and your dollars will take care of themselves

10 David Bakke April 20, 2010 at 11:33 am

Money Compare–

What you said is right, I am sure this number runs into the millions of dollars!

Thanks for commenting

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