Not Ditching My Gym Membership

I’ve been a member of the same gym for over 15 years. In the early days, I just used the weights, punch-bag and treadmills. Then, for a couple of years, I played a lot of badminton until a bad bout of tennis-elbow meant I could no longer play properly. These days, I do aerobics (Body Attack) and yoga/pilates (Body Balance), as well as quick weight-training/workout sessions. It’s all part of my weekly routine, I rarely miss a class or session.
Lots of FI blogs and websites talk about ditching gym memberships and I guess when you look at my annual gym membership statement, I can see why:
Looks horrendous, doesn’t it? And that’s the corporate rate, so I dread to think what the ‘normal’ rate is! My gym is one of the better quality ones in the country (David Lloyd Leisure) but still, it’s a ridiculous price to pay.
Benefit from Work
The company I work for has quite a big thing about encouraging employees to be healthy – it has the view that healthy employees tend to take less days off sick. I have no idea how true that is, but this health initiative at work has been going on for a long time.  We even have free fresh fruit available in the offices, to encourage people to snack healthily!
Anyway, as well as negotiating corporate rates for various local gyms, the company allows each employee to claim a Health Rebate each year.  This sum can be used towards gym memberships or to purchase home fitness equipment for those who don’t use gyms.  The rebate is equivalent to £360 (net) per year.  So, £895.30 – £360 = £535.30, or around £45 per month.  Ok, membership doesn’t look so bad now.
Further ‘Savings’
I’m a big football fan (a Liverpool FC supporter, living and working in Manchester….) but I’ve never been able to justify spending £40 for the Sky Sports channel to watch Premier League matches.
So at weekends, I’ll go to the gym, work out, make use of their sauna and steam room facilities and then watch the football in their restaurant/bar area. No need to subscribe to Sky as it’s ‘part’ of my gym membership package!
Exercise
It could be argued that I should ditch the gym membership and save/invest the extra £75 per month. But what would I do for exercise? I don’t enjoy outdoor running or walking and am likely to be a calamity on Manchester roads on a bike! (plus I’d have to buy a bike) I could always exercise at home but part of my enjoyment (and incentive) is the social aspect, meeting up with friends, maybe competing a little with women half my age (!), working out as hard as I can.
Above all, it’s fun, a great stress reliever and it’s keeping me fit and healthy.
I’m not prepared to sacrifice my health or well being for a larger portfolio, as I’d like to be able enjoy the fruits of my investments to the max and in good health!
So, I won’t be ditching the gym membership just yet.
And my £360 rebate, which I should be getting next month?
I will be investing it! 🙂

14 thoughts on “Not Ditching My Gym Membership

  1. Hi Tawcan, yes – I've exercised all my life but it's only as I get older that I realise how important it is. I eat healthily most of the time and I drink moderately, though on occasion, not so moderately! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Gym membership is only a waste of money if you don't use it which obviously doesn't apply to you. (btw – your employer sounds as if they are a really good company to work for?).

  3. Weenie,

    That's a lot of money for a gym membership, didn't know it was that expensive! Luckily you have your employer's rebate.

    Even though it's a lot of money on a monthly basis, I don't think you should be cutting corners health-wise. Maybe you can look at setting up your own gym at home? I have no idea how expensive that would be, but in the long run it might be worth it?

    Have a great weekend,
    NMW

  4. Hi Cerridwen, yes, my view too – if I wasn't using the gym regularly, then it would be a complete waste of money. My employer, as with any other big US corporate has its good points and bad points. The good outweigh the bad, hence the reason why I've been there so long!

  5. Hi NMW, not all gyms are this expensive, some are a lot cheaper but have less facilities and classes available.

    I have various bits of equipment at home, eg swiss ball, hula hoop, some free weights but as I mentioned in my post, it's the social aspect of attending the gym that motivates me to exercise. The bits I do at home while watching tv won't be enough to keep me fit!

  6. I say keep your gym membership. Long term health benefits are worth it and if the social aspect is part of it that you enjoy then don't stop. I'm have no issues in paying for things that I think make my life better, if a gym membership was one of those things that I looked forward to every week or looked back on positively then I would do it.

    I would still perhaps try negotiating with them for a better rate. It's not like you haven't been with them for years already.

  7. Hi Zee, I've tried to negotiate a better rate with them for the last couple of years but they won't budge. What they will give me as 'compensation' are some complimentary passes so that I can bring guests to use any of the facilities – they're worth £20 each, so friends and family get to use them.

  8. Hi Lance, I'm not a morning person so don't have the energy to go before work! Nearly all my gym visits are after work – good way to work off stress from the office! Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Hey Weenie,

    I would echo much of what people have said above. Health will always come above money.

    If cancelling your membership would lead to not exercising, but extra money…..it probably isn't a good trade off.
    If your able to attend a gym at half the price or no fee at all and you exercise the same level, then it might be a good move. Only you can answer that.

    I tend to try things out to see how I get on. If I were in your position I might see how I get on at a cheaper gym or not at all. I would asses my exercise levels, well being and happiness after a set period of change (like a month) and then make the call.

    Good luck with your decision!
    Huw

  10. Hi Huw, I've had a look at cheaper gyms with my friends and we came to the conclusion that the facilities and classes were just not up to the standard/availability that we're used to. What I'd be afraid of doing would be to cancel my membership to try somewhere else, finding I was unhappy and then being unable to get my corporate rate again upon my return, making it even more expensive!

    I think I will stay put for now and make the most of my membership. While I'm able to achieve a decent savings rate, I'm ok with it!

    Cheers for stopping by as usual! 🙂

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