It's January, which comes with a blizzard of gym ads. Get in shape without spending huge sums. Here are 9 ways which can save you nearly $600 in gym fees:
Work Out With the Co-eds
Many colleges and universities offer discounted gym access to alumni. Columbia University, in New York City, for example, charges $230 per year for recent graduates. That comes out to less than $20 per month!
Ask and Ye Shall Receive ... Gym Deals
Scout out other gyms in your area and ask about discounts. Then, ask your gym of choice to match. Now's the best time to search, since so many fitness clubs have January specials. (If you convinced the gym you're interested in to simply drop its joining fee, you could save as much as $50 to $200.)
Exploit Your Insurance
Some health plans provide discounts on gym memberships, so research yours. An example: Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Care First provides up to 60% off membership fees. You could save as much as $360 per year, if you usually pay $50 per month.
Mooch Off Your Company
Many companies offer gym deals for employees, as working out lowers health care costs. For instance, Prudential allows employees to save $20 per month off of memberships at New York Sports Club.
Be Flexible (About How You Get Flexible)
Some gyms offer lower rates if you go at non-peak hours. These special rates often aren't advertised, so ask.
Vouch For These Gyms
The American Health and Fitness Association's passbook costs $75 and contains vouchers for free admission to gyms, Pilates, or yoga in New York, Chicago, Houston, and Los Angeles. Depending on how often you work out, the $75 book could very well last you the entire year.
Run With the Club
Runners clubs are overlooked gems. These organizations help you find races and provide a running community. Don't worry about being Olympic-caliber; many clubs have events for beginners. Road Runners Club of America offers individual memberships for $25 per year, while the marathon group 50&DC Marathon Group USA costs $10 for a lifetime membership. Many Meetup.com running clubs are free, too, though some charge small fees.
Surf for a Workout (Without a Board)
Get your exercise on at home with free workout videos.
Use Workout Apps
Mapmyrun.com helps you find running routes, and its iPhone app tracks calorie usage and logs workouts. iPod Nano, Touch, or iPhone users can nab a personal training regimen from Nike for $29, which tracks time, distance, pace, and calories burned.
The Bottom Line
If you do what's in this Daily, you can save:
If you invested this amount today and earned an 8% return, you would have $12,405 by retirement.**
*Savings if you buy the Nike + iPod Sport Kit instead of paying $50 per month to a gym. Comparable savings if you use a voucher book instead of a gym membership or join a university gym for a reduced fee.
**If you are 25 today and retire at age 65. We calculated that number here.