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| Education and Financial

01/29/14

Gym Gaffe: Don't sweat spending too much on a membership

Spending your new year pumping iron and hitting the treadmill doesn't mean you have to run your bank account into the ground in the process.
The days of overspending on your gym membership are ancient history for a variety of reasons, whether you've opted to take a closer look at the fine print on your membership contractual agreement or enjoying the benefits of healthy competition between gyms.
The latter tactic hardly takes much effort, other than simply comparison shopping between health clubs. You can get a membership these days at around $10 per month, a far cry from 10 years ago when $60-75 was the norm.
Today, gyms are fighting for the business, and will do just about anything to get you to join their establishment instead of their competitor across the street. Monthly dues often are set in stone, but try to discuss the varying fees that often accompany memberships.
Enrollment and yearly maintenance fees could cost you a few hundred dollars, but if you tell that gym salesman you're "shopping around," they'll be more apt to waive those charges without fail if you join on the spot.

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And while your in the midst of bargaining to save money on initial charges, why not continue the conversation and tell the gym you don't want to sign a contract. That way, if you aren't enamored with the gym you join or you simply have to quit going, you won't be locked into spending money for no reason.
If you aren't the haggling type, you might want to wait for an upcoming sale as a way to save plenty of cash before you join a gym. Health clubs are always offering promotions in the form of free months of dues or half price discounts through the likes of Groupon.
It might not be a bad idea to check with your company or human resources department to see if there's a group rate for employees that you either didn't know about or ignored. Those can range between10 and 20 percent off monthly dues or other incentives like free personal training or no sign on fee.
Of course, joining a gym is predicated on whether you like it in the first place.
That's where the trial period is key. Make sure you ask if you can get a feel for the club for at least a few days if not longer before you decide to buy. That will prevent you from dropping months worth of dues within the confines of a place you really don't enjoy.
The good news for potential gym goers is there are plenty of places and lots of friendly competition between companies, which puts the consumer in total control of the negotiating process. Use that to your advantage, and leave the gym with a better body and money in your wallet.

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