Join a gym and get healthy; it’s a New Year’s resolution that can be pricey if you’re not careful.
That’s something Nelson Portalatin learned the hard way at his last gym.
“I sign everything and they took out of my bank account; was 100 and something dollars. When I find out, I went in and they said, ‘You have to read everything’ and they never told me,” he said.
But his new workout spot, Planet Fitness, is one of the gyms that prides itself on a commitment-free plan with clear costs.
“It’s important to be upfront about everything: whatever fees, whatever commitments,” said Planet Fitness Regional Manager Kit Kohner. “It’s that level of respect we have for our members. We want them to be informed about everything.”
But if you do have to sign a contract for your class or gym, NerdWallet says to look for annual costs, cancellation fees and automatic renewals, “which means you’ll be paying again when the year is up, but sometimes it auto-renews at a higher rate,” said NerdWallet Personal Finance Expert Kimberly Palmer.
Another way to save before you sign: ask about free trials. Because the goal is to like the gym or class and actually go.
Once you’ve picked something out, try to negotiate the cost. See if they’ll waive the initiation or annual fee and ask if there’s a discount because of your occupation, like if you’re in law enforcement or a teacher.
Finally, ask your employer and health insurance company if they offer discounted gym rates.
You can also use websites like Groupon and LivingSocial for discounted classes or Class Pass, where you pay a monthly cost but can go to different businesses.
The Better Business Bureau also offers tips for joining a gym, like looking up the business’s rating beforehand and taking a tour.