Gym memberships can do a world of good for your health – if you can afford one. Gym memberships can also be expensive.
When I checked out the gym membership prices at a popular local gym here, they wanted to charge me a “joining fee” of $100, plus a monthly membership fee of $72. Every. Single. Month.
That adds up to a lot of cash over time. But what if you could find a way to work out that wasn’t quite so costly?
In This Article
Top Ideas to Get a Cheap Gym Membership
Yes, working out in the out-of-doors is an option – sometimes. In the Midwest where I live there is several months of sub-freezing temps that takes all of the fun out of outdoor workouts, unless you’re a snowman.
And where Deacon, the owner of Well Kept Wallet, lives, there are several months of 100+ temps that also make it near impossible to enjoy the benefits of an outdoors workout.
Nowadays gyms are offering great prices, virtual workouts and many incentives.
Here are some tips we wanted to pass along.
1. Benefits Department at Work
Many companies these days are offering significant gym membership discounts to employees as a part of their benefits packages.
The company my brother works for will pay 50% of an employee’s gym membership fee every month if the employee wants to join a gym.
While many companies offer to pay a portion of your gym membership fees if you’re an employee, note that some companies’ benefit packages require you actually go to the gym in order for the discount to be applied.
In my brother’s case, he has to go at least twice a week in order for the gym membership discount to stay in effect. Talk with your employer’s benefits representative for more information about gym membership discounts at your work.
2. College and Student Discounts
Many gyms offer discounts on membership fees for high school and college students. Ask at your local gyms for more information.
Also, many colleges have gyms on campus that students – and alumna – can use for free or cheap. If you went to college in the area that you live in now, you could check out the possibility of using the college campus gym as a part of your alumni benefits.
And if you’re still a student, you can look into whether or not your college campus has a gym and how much it will cost you to join.
Not a student? What about becoming one? Even taking one class per semester could deem you eligible to use a college campus gym, and help you earn a degree at the same time.
3. Low Cost Gyms
Low cost gyms are in abundant supply these days. Here are the details on what some of the lower cost gyms are charging for memberships these days. Note that membership prices may vary depending on location.
There are over 600 LA Fitness gym locations around the United States. When I checked out the prices of one located near me, they were charging a $99 membership fee, but the monthly fee for gym use will only cost you $29.99 per month – less than half of the other, more costly gym in my neck of the woods.
Bonus: if you chose to go to only the one location at LA Fitness nearest you, instead of having access to work out at multiple locations, you can get a $5 discount and pay only $24.99 per month for your gym membership.
Anytime Fitness has thousands of locations around the United States. As a member you get 24/7 access to workout at their club locations.
When I checked out the Anytime Fitness website regarding gym membership prices, the website said that prices vary by location.
So, I called an Anytime Fitness location near me, and they said a membership costs $40.99 per month, with a $79.99 joiners fee. Still much cheaper than the high cost gym you’d pay $72 a month to belong to here in my area.
Gold’s Gym has many locations in states all over the United States. They’ve got a couple of options for memberships: a contract option and a month-to-month no contract option.
You’ll pay $29.99 a month if you sign a contract, and you’ll pay a joiner’s fee of up to $150 at any given time depending on the specials they’re running.
Gold’s also has no-contract prices that you can sign up for as well, however you can expect to pay quite a bit more per month for the no-contract prices, which can run as much as $60 a month or more.
Note that monthly membership prices and joiner’s fees can vary by location. Call a location near you for more information.
Planet Fitness has super cheap monthly rates. A basic no-contract rate runs only $10 per month. For $21.99 per month you can get the Planet Fitness “Black Card”, which allows you access to all Planet Fitness locations instead of just your home location, and a host of other benefits.
The Planet Fitness website doesn’t talk at all about what joiner’s fees might be, but it does say that there may be more membership options available and that all membership options vary by location.
In other words, talk to the member reps at your local Planet Fitness for the complete details on membership in your area.
SNAP Fitness also has locations throughout the United States. When I checked out prices for a SNAP Fitness center in my area, I found they were very reasonable.
The special they were running at the time was a one-time sign-up fee of $8.95, as well as a one-time access card fee (for when you go to the gym when there’s not an employee there) of $20.
Again, much less expensive that a typical gym membership, at least in my area.
Plus they created virtual gyms so you can log in from home and do the work outs with a trainer.
4. Add-on to a Family Member’s Membership
You may be able to save money on your gym membership by getting an add-on membership that goes along with a family member’s membership.
Oftentimes gyms will allow members to add on their kids as members (yes, even adult children) for a low additional monthly cost. Some gyms allow you to add on siblings, parents, or others as well.
Check with your particular gym (or have your parent or other relative check with their gym) for more details.
5. Discount Benefits from Your Warehouse Club Membership
Both Sam’s Club and Costco – local warehouse clubs with memberships – often have deals for members on gym memberships at various gyms.
For instance, when I checked on the Costco website, they were offering members a 2-year membership at 24 Hour Fitness for only $599. That equates to about $25 per month for a gym membership.
You’ll have to be a member of a warehouse club (or join one) to take advantage of these deals. Call your local Costco or Sam’s Club customer service center for more details on gym membership discounts.
6. Join at the Right Time
There are a few different times of the year when gyms typically promote membership specials and discounts that can result in significant cost savings for you.
Discounts on gym membership can come in the form of discounts on joine’s fees, discounts on monthly membership dues costs, or both.
The most common time for membership discounts to gyms happen to be in January (when people are thinking big time about working out after eating like a banshee during the holidays).
Another popular month for gym membership discounts? Summer. Since summer is prime working out outdoors time, gyms are often fairly empty during the summer months, unless you live in a super warm state like Arizona.
Therefore, gyms like to offer hugely discounted memberships to those who join during the summer months. Or in the case of warmer states like Arizona, you’ll likely find discounts during the winter months when more people work out outside.
Keep an eye on the websites of gyms in your area during these times of the year for information on various specials and discounts.
7. Choose the Right Package
Many gym facilities have a few different package options you can sign up for. As you’re perusing your different membership options at the gyms near you, make sure to ask about all membership options.
From there, choose the least expensive membership that will get you what you need. You don’t necessarily need all of the add-ons that come with more expensive membership options.
Choose a very basic membership and get the cheapest option possible that will allow you to get your workouts in.
8. Work at the Gym
Many gyms will offer a free or significantly discounted membership for you if you get even a part time job working at the gym.
As a gym employee you can work at the front desk, work at the towel desk washing, folding and handing out towels, work as a maintenance or housekeeping employee, be a member advisor or work at a host of other types of job positions.
The other great thing about working at the gym? You can work out right before or right after your job shift, meaning you don’t have to make extra trips to the gym, which will save you time and gas money.
Now that you know of some ways that can help you get a cheap gym membership, it’s important to keep these other rules in mind as well before you sign up for a membership at a gym near you.
You don’t have to pay an astronomical membership fee to become a member of a gym these days. While some gyms still charge quite a bit for membership, those gyms often also come with a host of other amenities you really don’t need to get a great workout in.
By exploring all of the options at gyms in your area, you can find a gym that has both what you need and at a price you can afford.
Have you been a member of one of the low-cost gyms mentioned here? Share your thoughts in the comments below.