Cancelling my Gym Membership

When I say I’ve cancelled, what I actually mean is that I’ve given notice to end my membership, since my gym/sports club demands a whopping 3 months’ notice to terminate.

And what I’ve done is in contrast to what I was talking about four years ago.

But things change.

What brought this on?

A month ago, the aerobics class which I have been attending twice a week for nearly 15 years (Body Attack) was taken off the timetable.

Lack of ‘adequate attendance’ was cited as the reason by the club, despite other classes with low attendances remaining on the group exercise timetable.

A petition was signed by 50 members asking for the classes to be reinstated to no avail. Numerous emails were sent to the club manager asking for the time slots to be replaced with a suitable aerobics replacement class but really, Legs, Bums & Tums is not a suitable replacement! (this isn’t to diss people who love Legs, Bums & Tums classes, but they are very different classes!).

For many years, my gym membership was heavily subsidised by work. It’s only these last 3 years where there’s been no reduction but I put up with the price because it was my club which I attended frequently and because my gym membership was something which I was prepared to spend money on – my only extravagance.

After being a member of the club for over 20 years, I suddenly realised that despite it being more of a social club than a gym (I meet my friends there, we eat there, relax in sauna etc), without my preferred classes, the club as no longer was giving me what I wanted. The high membership price could no longer be justified.

Plus I was really dissatisfied with the inadequate communications from the club and their pathetic reasons for not reinstating the classes, especially as it just looks like it boils down to them being too cheap to renew the licence to run the classes.

So I gave them my written notice.

Importance of class times

The recent bout of working many late nights can be partially blamed on not being able to attend my preferred classes. Previously, I would leave a little earlier from the office to be able to make my classes on time.

With no set classes to attend, I was working late and then going to the gym even later. That left very little time to eat when I got home before it was time for bed. I needed to get back into a routine which didn’t make me feel tired.

Weights

In response to my notice and to probably try to entice me to stay, the club gave me a free personal training session.

I already did my own bit of weight training in between my classes but what happened was that the PT session gave me a fantastic weight training exercise programme which I can do on my own…at any gym.

In the few weeks which I’ve been following the programme, I already feel a lot stronger (and according to friends) look stronger.

I do however still miss the aerobic classes, miss the camaraderie, miss people looking like they’re half-dead after the power/cardio tracks, miss the challenge of keeping ahead of people half my age.

But, I’ve been enjoying this new challenging weight training exercise so this will do in the meantime.

Another

I guess I’ve always been a bit of an outlier in FIRE circles in that I’ve continued to pay for my gym membership. So no surprises really to hear that I now need to find another gym which is convenient in location and timetable.

Apologies for the deceptive title of the post and to the extreme followers of FIRE but gym membership is very much part of my life for my health and well-being.

I know many people can keep fit for free by running or cycling but I’m not one of those people, that’s not how I like to exercise and keep-fit. What I do works for me.

In any case, any other membership will most certainly be a lot cheaper than what I have been paying, so this should have a positive impact on my savings rate, probably to the tune of around £50 a month…

April 2019 Savings + other updates

Another month has whizzed by – late nights at work, gym sessions and nights out all  sort of melded together. Oh and GoT! 🙂

My spending usually starts hiking up over the spring/summer months so I really need to watch my eating out from now on, although looking at my diary, I’ve already got too many social events booked in and I have a full bank holiday weekend.

What else did I get up to in April? I was featured in a ‘Bloggers on Fire’ interview, went on a 7-mile walk, topped up my tan and also attended an ‘investment meet up’ – I’ll do a write up on this soon.

Although it looks like I’ve been doing a lot of late nights in the office, I’m not actually moaning or complaining, as things are actually pretty good at work. Business continues to grow so my volume of work has gone up. The work I do could be done at home but I don’t like working from home and I find that email or Skype tennis isn’t half as productive as face-to-face communication. I know there are ways I can work smarter but just need to smash through what I’ve got on at the moment.

Anyway, how did I get on in April with the numbers?

I saved 43.6%, only because much of my going out expenses went on my credit card so those will hit my numbers next month.

As predicted, I was not able to max out my 2018/19 ISA – I got up to £16,400 in the end and that included jiggling emergency cash and some matched betting funds into my cash ISA. I’m going to make a real attempt to max out the 2019/20 ISA, although it looks like I’ve made a poor start on this already with my spending! Must try harder.

The above savings includes top ups of £35 from TopCashback*, £200 matched betting profit (from last month) and £138.41 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all who signed up via my links!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, just added to existing ones.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

The markets have been pretty buoyant lately as my Future Fund has shot up to £164,851.

Dividends and Other Income

A record-breaking month for dividends: Continue reading

Microfiction #1 – Fire

I wasn’t sure at first that I would take part but here’s my entry into Marc@FinanceYourFire’s Microfiction Series. He states a word (in this case ‘fire’) and participants are asked to write a short story (less than 350 words) on the subject. Head over to the article to see his own and any other entries.

*Disclaimer* I’m not an aspiring writer – the idea just came to me as I was sitting on the tram on the way home from work. Quite why I was thinking such thoughts is anyone’s guess…

Here goes:

The girl stood there alone, waiting.

Trembling a little.

Fear or anticipation?

Trying to steady her breathing.

In through the nose, out through the mouth. In, out, in out.

She tried to relax her hands but the hands seemed no longer hers to command. They were the hands of a killer.

She was a killer. Wasn’t she? That’s what they were all saying.

She watched him approach.

Small beads of sweat formed rivulets down her brow, stinging her eyes.

The girl blinked rapidly to clear her vision and swayed to one side, just as Teacher’s heavy fist came crashing towards her face without warning.

It missed by a hair’s breadth, but she reared back a split second too slow for his elbow, which glanced off her chin, causing her to stagger sideways.

She had bitten her tongue, the blood tasted of old metal.

Teacher stepped forwards to grab her and she pivoted, spinning to try to get behind him but his grasping fingers caught hold of her hair.

The girl cursed herself for not taking the time to tie it up. Or shave it all off.

She struggled this way and that, twisting to avoid the onslaught of his kicks and punches. Two blows smashed into the side of her head making her see stars, but she managed to prise away a few fingers and wheeled away, leaving him holding a clump of long brown strands in his gnarly hands.

Her scalp was on fire. Blood dripped from her left ear.

Her breathing came out in ragged gasps and she made the effort to control it again.

In through the nose, out through the mouth. In, out, in out.

“You were always such a disappointment,” said Teacher, with a little sigh.

The girl grinned, showing her blood-smeared teeth.

No more running.

The time for respect was over.

“You were always my favourite teacher,” she said. “But not anymore.”

Teacher thought she sounded sad but as he looked into her eyes, he saw only death.

As the girl stepped calmly towards him, Teacher hesitated.

His final error.

Want to Twin Your Toilet?

In my 2019 goals, I mentioned my pledge to donate at least 10% of my matched betting (MB) profits to charity.

So far this year, I’ve donated £134 and with my MB profits standing at around the £1.4k mark at the last count, I’m pretty much there or thereabouts.

I’m now in a position to donate a further £60 to twin my first toilet (of two) this year.

Since I’ve already twinned both the toilets in my house (here and here), I’d like to gift this next toilet twinning to a lucky reader.

How to Win

All you have to do is drop me a comment below and you’ll be put in the draw to win a framed photo of your twinned toilet. Simples! 🙂 This draw is open to UK readers only.

The winner will be picked out of the hat Easter Monday evening – I will contact the winner by email so please ensure you have up to date email details.

How does this benefit the Charity?

I first came across the Toilet Twinning initiative after seeing a framed photo of a twinned toilet in some pub loo! It inspired me to read more about it and to support the charity.

So, the hope here is that the winner will proudly display said framed photo of their twinned toilet for all who use their loo to see and the charity benefits as the word and idea is spread.

Anyway, on that note, I hope you all have a very happy Easter break – I for one can’t wait as I’m pretty exhausted from work and need a couple of days to empty my head of stuff and catch up on my blog reading as I’m very behind on reading and commenting.