Have a resolution to get fit in the New Year? Planning on investing in a gym? If you follow a few tips, you may be able to save big:
• Be honest with yourself. Will you really use the gym? There's no point in saving a bundle on a membership if it's something you won't really use.
• Pick a gym that's easy to get to. The gym across town that has every imaginable amenity might not be the best choice if it's too much trouble to get to.
• Research gyms you're interested in. Scout out gyms by buying passes that let you use the facilities before committing. Is the gym well-equipped with the types of equipment you want to use? Is some equipment limited during peak hours? Are the classes you're interested in for experts or beginners? Does the gym have a swimming pool, sauna, etc.? Is the environment comfortable?
• Talk to current members and the staff. Are the staff and trainers full-time? Is there a rapid turnover?
• Negotiate. If you've seen a better deal at a gym across town, ask for it. Ask for a trial membership instead of committing for an entire year. Some clubs even offer a "free" month. But be careful. According to the New York Times, a "free" month could cost you if the club has your credit card information and you forget to cancel after the free month. You could end up being billed for a couple of months. And if you can't afford to pay the entire yearly fee at once, ask for a monthly payment plan.
• Know which classes and facilities are a part of your membership fee and which you have to pay extra for.
• Don't pay a signup fee. In these tough economic times, many gyms have dropped their joining fee, says Medical News Today. Even if your gym of choice still has one, you may get them to waive it.
• Try to avoid yearly contracts and opt for monthly pay-as-you go options.
• Check your employer's benefit package. You may discover a provision for free or discounted gym membership.
• Check out the cancellation policy. Can you drop with no penalty if you are injured, have to move, or just stop using the gym?
• Take your time. Never sign a contract under pressure, no matter how persuasive the staff. Take the contract home and read it carefully.