Cancelling Our Gym Membership

With the purchase of our first home, my wife and I are looking to find any monthly expenses that we can cut back on in order to offset the impact of our new mortgage, tax, and insurance payment.  There isn’t a one size fits all answer or one expense that will magically offset this impact; however, we are going to do everything we can to collect a series of small victories to lessen the blow.  We found one piece of low hanging fruit, our gym membership, and decided to take a look at whether the expense was necessary or a luxury.

gym membership

When we moved into our rental home three years ago, my wife and I sought out a local gym.  The best deal we found was with the YMCA.  For $25/person (so $50 per month for the two of us), we received access to the gym, basketball courts, pools, sauna, and free classes that were held at the YMCA.  Compared to other gyms nearby, this was a nice menu of services for a pretty reasonable price.

To have some fun, I looked up a few quick statistics about gym memberships.  As cited on StatisticBrain.com, 67% of people who have gym memberships never use their membership and it is estimated that $39 per membership is wasted due to under-utilization by the member.  These statistics may be from only one website, but there are plenty of other articles that show that there is a population of gym membership users that are not getting the value out of their membership or sign up and barely use the gym.

My wife was more of an active user than I was over the years.  She loved going to the spinning and yoga classes.  She also would exercise regularly for few month periods.  For nearly half the months each year, she made great use of the $25/month membership fee and extracted the value.  For me on the other hand, well, I fall more into the category of the type of people who have a gym membership and periodically workout.  For some reason, lack of commitment or lack of interest or a constantly changing travel schedule for work, I could not establish a regular workout routine.  Unlike her, I was not getting value for the $25/month membership fee.

On top of it, this year, my wife has been kicking butt and has been pretty stubborn about sticking to her new eating/workout plan.  I’m so proud of her and the results have been amazing.  The new plan provides you with a workout video for each day of the week and guess what, they are home workouts!  Recently, she has been working out like crazy, just at home and not the gym.  The gym membership, while a nice backup, has been heavily underutilized by the two of us.

So when we started looking at our expenses and figuring out which expenses are necessary and which expenses are discretionary, the gym membership fell into the latter category. The other day, I called and cancelled our membership, saving $50/month.  This will help ease some of the fears I am having about being a first time homeowner.   But between her workout videos, running outside, and home workouts, we should be able to easily offset the impact of having  a gym membership.  Heck, we have talked about purchasing a used treadmill for our home and possibly buying a package that provides us access to all of the Beach Body workout videos.  It would be a one time expense, but we would then own a diverse collection of workout videos and plans, allowing a rotation of workouts while keeping things fresh.

In all actuality, we probably should have cancelled out gym memberships a long time ago.  The writing was on the wall that we were under utilizing our gym membership and that the monthly expense was wasted.  However, until our feet were up against the fire for our finances, we were willing to look the other way and deal with the monthly expense.   It sucks and that doesn’t fit the “Every Single Dollar Counts” mentality.  But going forward, we are focusing on being better about this and trying to identify all pieces of fat to trim from our budget.  I’ll have to keep you updated with what other items we find!

Do you have a gym membership?  Do you feel like you are properly utilizing this membership?  Have you fallen into the same situation we were in before, where you sign up with the best intentions and then under utilize the gym membership after you sign-up?

Bert

 

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31 thoughts on “Cancelling Our Gym Membership

  1. My wife and I workout at our home and love it. We have a treadmill, a bench, and a good assortment of free weights and dumbbells. I’ve found that to be a good way to save money, even after purchasing that stuff through the years. Plus it saves time when you consider driving to the gym and back.

    • Defined Sight,

      Thanks for stopping by. I think this is the direction we are heading in, especially when we have kids one day and free time will not be on our side. I like the fact that you have a pretty simple set up that will allow you to get your workouts in. I’m sure the upfront cost is more, but not the payback period can’t be that long given the cost of gym memberships. Did you buy the stuff used?
      Bert

  2. Congratulations on the new home! I hope it brings you joy in many years to come.

    YMCAs, compared to other gyms, used to be the cheapest option. Not so anymore now that most other gyms are pay as you go/no contract. We do without the gym but exercise everyday. Mr. Groovy and I walk 2 miles together in a park 5 minutes away (where he picks up trash). He has a chin up bar in the house and his rings and other apparatus in the garage. I have ankle weights, dumbbells, DVDs and YouTube playlists.

    You said your wife is using a program — is there a YouTube channel for it? I’m forever looking for different workouts.

    • Thanks Mrs. Groovy,

      Thank you very much! We cannot wait to get the keys and finally move into our place. Yeah, its funny how the YMCA has become more expensive than other options. The one that blows my mind is Planet Fitness and how they only charge you $10 per month. It is kind of insane that their costs are that cheap when you think about it. Sounds like you have built a pretty cost effective set up and have a nice routine going. It is funny how simple your home gym can be. My wife uses the 21 Day fix from Beachbody, so I don’t know if you can find it on Youtube. But there are plenty of websites that offer alternative suggestions for comparable workouts.

      Thank you so much for the comment!

      Bert

  3. Sometimes it’s great to have a reason to reevaluate our fixed expenses. Glad she is finding something that is working! Mr. Montana is a 5 days a week, 90 minutes a trip kind of guy at the gym. I was only doing 2 hours a week, but reworked my schedule so I can log 6 hours a week. It’s $40 for both of us, plus they have free coffee. Works out to a heck of a deal. 🙂

    • $40 per month isn’t bad at all. Some people love having the gym and all the machines at their disposal. To me, it is all about finding what works best in your schedule and what you enjoy. You guys have a great routine going for the two of you (at least that’s how it sounds). This may be ridiculous, but I would find $40/month for unlimited coffee to be a pretty darn good deal considering how much coffee I drink haha

      Bert

  4. You could purchase a home treadmill so you can get your in-home cardio on. If you get in the healthy mindset of doing 20 minutes of cardiovascular activity in the morning on an empty stomach after drinking Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother is a great way to incinerate fat and stimulate fat burning throughout the day, thus staying away from any and all gym memberships and still losing weight at the same time.

    Have you ever thought about purchasing a home gym now that you cancelled your gym membership? I bought a Gold’s Gym ab bench and Gold’s Gym standing dip bar with top bars for doing hanging leg raises at a decent price from eBay and haven’t used it yet, but very happy with how much I paid for it and knowing I can use it in house for working out anytime.

    • DNN,

      Thanks for he comment. We are definitely leaning towards finding a used treadmill, weights, and a few items to create a home gym at our new place. We can definitely do it for a significantly lower cost and save the time each day traveling to and from the gym. Glad to see that the home gym is working out for you!

      Bert

      • It’s all good. Have you tried doing a search on eBaY for a good used treadmill? Whatever you do, don’t go searching on Craigslist, because there’s lots of loons over there. And lots of looney tunes at that.

        To talk about treadmills, I’m doing my cardio again and eating right. I’m only doing 20 minutes a day on the treadmill as a means of getting used to doing cardio again and noticing visible and internal results. I have more energy now and look forward to doing short bursts of cardio daily whether it’s at the gym on the treadmill, walking at the local park, or sometimes walking late evening. I also changed my eating habits but it’s really hurting me. Keep these blogs updated on how you’re doing with your fitness progress, so I can randomly stop by and check up on you. 🙂

  5. Hey Bert,

    with being a homeowner you’re in a new situation and it makes perfectly sense to check all your expenses and try to cut wherever it is possible. So long as cancelling the gym membership doesn’t affect your quality of life, cut it. Every Dollar counts!!

    A few years back i had a membership in a luxury gym for a few year. It was about 120$ per month and you got a lot for the money (rooftop pool and a running track on the roof etc). But i can work out at home and even sometimes at the gym at work, so i cut the membership and the 120$ went straight to my investment account.
    When i started my journey to FI at the end of 2015 i cut more expenses. Useless insurances, mobile phone bills, Cable TV and other memberships i didn’t need. And i had a big impact. Today i can save about 50% of my income and soon it will be 55%…

    Cheers,
    DividendSolutions

    • Dividend Solutions,

      Thanks for stopping by and the comment. Thank you for sharing your story about the gym membership. You’re darn right that every single dollar counts. Unlike Lanny, I’m much less of a gym rat and going to the gym is usually the first thing that I cross off of my agenda when I have a time crunch. Sometimes it takes a major purchase or a shift in a mentality such as yours (starting your FI journey) to force yourself to trim as much fast as possible. I would love to read an article about how you trimmed your insurance expenses, evaluated being over insured, to learn more about it. Please share a link if you have one to an article.

      Bert

      • When i cover this topic in a blogpost, i’ll let you know…what i did in 2015 was basically a risk assessment and i checked what the insurance company would really pay for. I cut the contracts which covered an ordinary risk of life…

  6. I cancelled my gym membership a few years ago after I realized I was barely using it. It was a pain to cancel too! I get my workouts in at home now plus my apartment complex has a small gym that has enough stuff if I want to do a little bit more. I think once I buy a house, I’ll probably spend a few $$ on some equipment to keep in the basement as well. The short term of cost of good quality equipment can be high but it’ll pay off in the long run.

    • TITM,

      Oh yeah, they do not make it easy to cancel our gym membership. It is truly a pain in the you know what. It sounds like you are going to do what we are planning on doing when we purchase a home. Would love to find nice used gym equipment, keep costs low, and save on paying an annoying monthly membership PLUS saving the time traveling to and from work. The second best option would be to find a new employer that has an on site gym that I can use before I travel home at the end of the day haha

      Bert

  7. Take a look at your health insurance. My plan (with HUM) includes free gym membership.

    A little off-topic but in the same vein, see if your real estate agent provides at least a one year warranty with American Home Shield (a unit of SERV (or a competitor)). At roughly $500 per year – even though they don’t provide top of the line replacements – a furnace replacement for the price of a service call is worthwhile.

    • Great thinking Charlie – My insurance unfortunately does not offer a free membership like yours does. That is such a nice perk and I’m sure that Lanny would love to have that in our health insurance plan. My company offers a $20 per month benefit that I am losing, but I am still saving $30 per month by cancelling. Maybe I’ll check out Planet Fitness memberships for $10/month, which would then be fully subsidized by my company with their $20/month benefit.

      Thanks,

      Bert

  8. Use it or lose it. While you stated that a gym membership is not some magic cure all to take care of your newly found expenses it does matter to the extent that “every dollar counts.” In that respect saving $50 a month between you and your wife can make a difference. While most have memberships that are never fully utilized I think it comes down to a use it or lose it mentality. Even though every dollar counts, if you find yourself using a gym membership three or four times a week or more, every week, it may be worth keeping as it’s utilized. I don’t have a gym membership but I do belong to a Taekwondo studio since 1992 and today the rate is $100 a month for unlimited classes. I go religiously and take at minimum four classes up to six every single week. While it’s not cheap, I clearly am committed to it, enjoy it and most importantly utilize my membership so in that respect I never thought about cutting it.

    • I think that is a perfect way to describe a membership like the gym. It is a luxury if you are not a gym rat, and I definitely do not fall into that category. The $50 per month will definitely make a huge difference and I could possibly even allocate the savings towards building a cheaper home gym that won’t require a monthly bill. It sounds like that $100 is worth every penny for you and you are getting way more of a benefit even though it is $100 per month. You are definitely using the you know what out of that deal.

      Thanks for the insightful comment.

      Bert

  9. Ahhh, I had this problem, too. I was fortunate because my employer paid for a gym membership as part of my benefits. Did I ever go? Nope. But I did make sure to sign up so I could get a free Planet Fitness t-shirt. 😉 I just started working out at home with YouTube tutorials. It works for me and I don’t have to spend money or leave the house!

  10. I have a $50 a month boot camp membership that I have been using since December. I love it, mainly afterwards. But I am in much better shape and enjoy working out with a ton of people. Gives me that extra motivation and I feel like my competitive juices are flowing again. Trying to out race people and see if I can do one more push up than someone else. I had lost some of those competitive juices after high school sports were done. So it’s nice to recapture them 🙂

  11. Home gym for the win!

    I had a subscribtoin many years ago, but was failing to go at all at some point.
    Since then I decided to find a sport without needing a subscription. There are so many
    alternatives to the gym. I started running, but got a injury which lasted 6 months. Now I’m on and off about excercising at home.

    Once you have all the gear, it’s easier and way more flexible to work out from home.

  12. I was never a fan of gym membership. I do have access to a gym @ work. Before that I used to run to stay fit. My wife had a membership in planet fitness, we have canceled it… we do more of cardio ourselves. With the new home purchase, I am thinking of getting an elliptical machine (300$) ==> lesser then what it costs for 12 month gym membership 😉

  13. I wish I had the room to set up a gym at my house, but we live a very urban lifestyle and between the kids and limited space (and given the weights I normally move (250 squat, 300 deadlift, 225 bench), it would have to be on the ground floor) the gym will be still be a required expense.

  14. Only time I ever had a gym membership was when my mom was a daycare provider at the gym. Our entire family was free to use. I hit it up regularly but I would never pay for one.. at least not yet. Maybe when I’m older and not so active. Right now, sports, work, and the home weight set is more than enough to keep the flab to a minimum!

  15. We canceled my wife’s as well. She used it some, but not enough, and she finally decided to use our apartment gym, which has functioned just as well so far. It was a nice monthly savings, and the best part is that I didn’t pressure her at all, she came to the decision herself and has since told me she is glad she did it.

  16. We’re big proponents of the home gym. We love to be active and stay fit and we’ve found the home gym to be the most effective and efficient way for our family. We typically do all our workouts in the garage, no matter how hot or cold. The varying temperatures in great for your system and builds so resilience. We’ve accumulated a lot of equipment over the years and have found that Craigslist is a great place to go. There are a ton of routines and programs online for free. The options are limitless.

  17. Totally understand! (Hello back to Twitter!). My gym membership cost $750AUD for the year (slightly below average, and I asked for a discount which they were happy to give) but whenever I’m not there for a week or two I wonder about it’s utility. I run a fair bit and recently did a half marathon, so was in the gym way less the past two months. If I average 2 gym sessions a week that means each visit is around $7AUD. But…If I had a spare bedroom or garage I’d buy a power cage, bench and weights set ($1500AUD), keep my runners and swim gear handy (I live near the coast, like most Aussies so the beach is near by). Maybe buy a used kettle bell or two, plus a skipping rope. That would be all one ever needed to workout in absolute luxury of choice!

  18. My wife has an Orange Theory membership which isn’t cheap, but she’s in great shape now, is happier, and feels much better than when she wasn’t working out. She struggles to work out without a trainer or teacher, so the OT methodology works out well for her. She goes 4 times a week, so she’s pretty active.

    It’s pricey but IMO it’s worth it for her. Can’t put a value on good health and feeling great about yourself.

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