For the longest time I couldn't afford to have a gym membership, and especially to the gym that I wanted to be a member of, 24 Hour Fitness. During my "off-season" I resorted to working out at home and I spent a lot of time researching all of my local gym options and things that I could do to avoid paying a lot for a gym. Because I wasn't in a hurry, I took my time to do my research. Now that I finally have a membership again, I want to share with you some tips on ways you can save money on gym memberships.

  1. 1. The gym is not for everybody -  Before you decide to run out and purchase a gym membership, ask yourself if you REALLY need to have one? What are your fitness goals? Can they be accomplished without a gym? Are there other reasons you want to workout at a gym? ( access to fitness classes, etc.?) Are there other FREE options available to you, such as a workplace gym, university gym, a public track, public playgrounds, Home DVDs, YouTube vids, etc.? Before you sign up make sure you have legitimate reasons for needing a gym, and most importantly have a gym workout PLAN in place for yourself so that you don't waste your time wandering aimlessly into the gym with no purpose. 
  2. 2. Do your research and shop around - If you decide that YES you need a gym membership to accomplish your fitness goals, do your research and shop around for the BEST local deal. Get on Google and pull up all of the gyms listed in your area. Make phone calls to each of them or visit them and ask for their prices. You don't have to settle for the big dogs like Gold's or 24 Hour Fitness just because they're the only gyms you're aware of. You may not even realize you have many smaller gyms around you that are inexpensive and will meet all of your needs. Not everybody needs a daycare, sauna, swimming pool, etc. If a smaller gym with smaller fees will get you to where you need to go, take it.
  3. 3. DON'T RUSH.... into a contract - Most people purchase gym memberships on an impulse and out of anxiet about how fat or out of shape they are, and how badly they just need to swipe that card to make their conscience go away. Take my advice and slow down. You really need to take your time with this to make the best decision and save the most money. Avoid signing a contract at all costs, unless you find that it offers you the best discount or deal for what you're getting on the market. And please don't take the salesman's advice, do your OWN research!! 
  4. 4. Shop during the slow season. New Year's (or the first 3 months of the year) and winter time (when it's too cold to play outside) are the busiest times for gyms. That makes summer time the best time to try to strike a deal. Keep an eye out for promotions, discounts, and don't be afraid to try to wheel and deal for a membership.
  5. 5. Sign up for Groupon, LivingSocial, and text message alerts - Do yourself a huge favor and sign up for Groupon and/or LivingSocial. These websites hook you up with the best local deals in your area for everything and anything. Also, don't be afraid to sign up for text messaging alerts. In fact, it was because of text messaging alerts alone that I struck an all-time crazy deal with 24 Hour Fitness to get a membership for only $19.99 a month versus $30/mo. 
  6. 6. Consider pay per use - If you KNOW you're one of those people who historically dabbles into the gym only once or twice a month despite having a full membership, get smart and just go with a pay-per-use option. Be honest with yourself and don't pay monthly fees just to use the gym once or twice. 
  7. 7. Pay in advance - Paying in advance instead of monthly can give you a major discount at most gyms. For example, Costco offers a two-year contract to any 24 Hour Fitness for only $320. That means you're only paying $13 a month, versus $37 when you pay in installments. So if it's an excellent deal, you've done your reasearch, you're 100% sure you need a gym to reach your fitness goals, and you've got the cash on hand then fork it out!

I hope these tips help you out. As always don't forget that you can never exercise yourself out of a bad diet. Abs are made in the kitchen!! So whatever you end up doing, make sure to keep your diet in check at all times. Have a wonderful week, and leave a comment if you have any money-saving tips of your own!!