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Gym memberships can be expensive and sometimes a huge waste of money. I have some great alternatives.

I did a post about saving money at the gym last year.  I decided I wanted to revisit it again as part of my New Year’s Motivation series.  The first week of January is exactly the time of year when people start flooding to the gym again to try and get rid of a few extra holiday pounds and get their lives back on track.  I don’t object – I think it’s a great time to take advantage of the annual national mania about dieting and jump on the bandwagon.  I generally do the same every year, though I have learned my lesson on gym memberships and I am somehow able to pass by the siren song of them.   Instead, I dust off my trusty Craigslist treadmill and get to work.

However, and this is exactly the point of this post, don’t get taken to the cleaners.  Be smart – put some thought into it, do your homework, and realize that while you may not make it to the gym 3 times a week this year, like you are PROMISING yourself inside your head, at least you won’t be spending significant amounts of wasted money to probably not keep promises to yourself.  I will give you a hint on the post – gym memberships are almost NEVER a particularly good deal, but you can definitely minimize the sting if you know how to do it.

Sidebar – my son and his wife were here tonight and we were talking about their gym membership – they’ve been stuck in a gym contract for 24 months at $30 each.  They admitted that they haven’t been in six months.  That’s an investment of roughly $1500 – that could’ve been a new couch, a wonderful vacation, lots of more enjoyable things.  At least I convinced them to cancel it and look at buying a treadmill or stair-stepper.  

[bctt tweet=”Be smart-do your homework and save money on gym memberships”]

So click on the link to go visit the post and see the six ways you can save money if you DO choose to go with the buy the gym route.  However, if you decide NOT to go to the gym – you smart cookie you!  Here are some other alternatives to the gym membership.

My BEST Alternatives to Paid Gym Memberships


Ahoy – affiliate links ahead…



Honestly, I think a little doohickey is going to get you a lot more fitness than a gym.  They come in a boatload of different configurations, colors, and styles.  They even have reminders that pop up when you’ve been sitting for too long.  It’s quick, easy, and competitive.  You can track yourself against your friends on the app and who doesn’t like that?  And you don’t have to take a big chunk of time or pack gym clothes.  They’re very helpful!


Honestly, I wish I had a dollar for every mile I have walked to one of these tapes.  I would be SO rich.  The last one I had, my Mom bought it for me and she’s been gone for 10 years, so I think I can stay I’ve actually stuck with this one.  I have about half a dozen of these things and when I’m feeling all fat and schlumpy (and when don’t I feel fat and schlumpty?).  I’ll just pop one of these in the DVD or even VHS player.  I think she even has some on YouTube now.  And again, it’s hassle free and waaaaay cheaper than the gym.  Bonus – you can do it in your PJ’s.  Win-win!

Zumba outfit

OK, granted, this isn’t one you can do in your jammies, but Zumba or Jazzercise are probably my favorite types of exercise.  And it’s way cheap.  Our local fitness center offers them for $6 per class – way cheaper than the gym.

There’s even one of my favorite ways to get fit – just by walking around my own house.

So, now I’ve given you four different ways to enjoy your New Year’s resolution period without completely breaking the bank.  Enjoy!

Gym memberships can be a ripoff. Here are six ways to save money on them.

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8 Comments on Are Gym Memberships a Good Deal?

    • Yep, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. Although I’ve found it frustrating. Do you have a trick for finding good videos on YouTube. Seems like about 4 out of 5 of the ones I try are either mislabeled, have poor sound, or just have an instructor who is impossible to follow.

  1. We’ve been paying for a gym membership for years and never go. I prefer going to the basement and walking on the treadmill in private. We keep saying we should cancel the membership.. you are motivating me to finally follow through!

    • That’s terrific. That’s why I enjoy sharing tips like that. It feels good when you can help someone to make a good change. I’m with you – I don’t care for the gym at all. I’d much rather just walk or do a dance-type class like Zumba.

  2. I’ve been to a few Zumba classes, they are really fun. We have a trampoline place for kids that does exercisesound for adults during the spring and summer after hours. It’s pretty cool I’ve heard, I’m hoping to check it out. I’m a member of Planet Fitness & they are only $20 a month. They’ve got all workout equipment, tanning beds, massage chairs, & collegian beds. Some coworkers go to Lifetime fitness which is $80, that’s crazy!

    • I went to Zumba today, even though I was creaking and tired. Planet Fitness is very smart. I went there for a while, but then when I noticed I hadn’t been in several weeks, I cancelled it – eeasy peesey. I don’t get people who sign up for long contracts on these high-priced services – sheesh!

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