How to Save Money on Fitness

How to Save Money on Fitness
Written by Irina Vasilescu

When January 1 arrives every year, it has become tradition for most people to include “Lose weight” in their list of New Year’s resolutions. Is this something that you wish to achieve this year? If yes, you should definitely have a plan on how to shed the excess pounds that you have.

However, it should only be the excess pounds and the fat from your body that should be lost – not the money that you have in your wallet. But considering the fact that most people prefer to pay for pricey gym membership fees or spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on exercise equipment, is there really a way to lose weight the pocket-friendly way? That is what we will find more about here.

Save Money on Gym Membership

When you ask fitness experts about what the secret is to losing weight, the answer that you will most likely get is to combine exercising with eating right. Instead of going through crash diets, it really is better to combine exercising with eating right so that you can start living a healthier lifestyle.

Doing this, you can shed the excess pounds – and keep them off. With crash diets, you may experience great weight loss results, but the excess pounds can easily come back. If your weight keeps on fluctuating, this does not bode well for your health at all.

Now, if you do not have enough self-discipline to work out on your own at home, you might prefer to go to the gym to achieve your weight loss goals. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, but there is no need for you to spend a fortune on gym membership fees, either.

How can you save money on gym membership and related fees, then? Take a look at the following list:

Know when to become a member

There are a couple of tips that you need to remember for this. Let’s say that you decided to invest your money on a gym membership so that you can work out even during winter, and throughout other months of the year. There are bonus points if you can use your gym membership fee as a motivation to reach your fitness goals.

The first tip is this: look for gym membership deals during the slow season.

As mentioned earlier, the New Year is typically the month when gyms and other fitness centers are operating at their peak. This is when most people try to stick with their resolution of losing weight, so they spend their money on gym memberships.

Another peak season is during winter, when most people cannot go out to exercise – so they prefer to sweat it out in the gym. Despite the busyness of these two seasons, you can still find great deals on gym memberships simply because of the sheer number of people who are trying to enrol.

The second tip is this: look for gym memberships by the end of the month.

During the first part of March, for example, there might be a good number of people who are paying their gym membership fees. But once it’s nearing the end of the month, most gyms will find out that they have not met their required number of members – so they will most likely give you good deals. Take advantage of this and better yet, bring a friend who can work out with you. Ask for couple or group discounts while you’re at it.

Make a comparison of the gym membership fees offered by different establishments

To save money on gym membership fees, another thing that you can try is to compare what different fitness centers or establishments have to offer. Go online and make a list of the gyms in your area. Group together ones which offer membership fees within the same price range.

If one gym offers lesser facilities than another gym, tell them about the lower rate that their competitor offered. If they are unwilling to match the price, ask them what they can offer in return to match what the other gym has to offer. Do this over the phone so that it will be easier for you to do the bargaining in person, once you walk in to check out the facilities for yourself.

Do not enter into long-binding contracts

One of the biggest mistakes made by first-time gym-goers is signing a long binding contract. You might be tempted to sign a one-year contract with this gym near your apartment which has all the fancy fitness equipment. But what if you move? Or what you end up not liking the facilities, anyway? It is better to pay gym membership fees on a monthly basis – even if it costs a few dollars more.

Compare this with the inconvenience of not being able to get out of a long binding contract, and you will see that it’s never a good idea to bind yourself to a gym membership agreement that way. Always check on the Terms and Conditions of the gym membership, determine how many times you get to use the facilities, which areas you have free access to, and if there are any hidden fees applied.

Don’t pay for extras that you do not necessarily need

During your first month working out, you might need the services of a personal trainer who will make you go that extra mile in meeting your fitness goals. But once you have gotten into the rhythm of things, you can skip the fees associated with hiring a personal trainer.

Also skip the fees for bottled water – simply bring your own. Instead of buying high-protein shakes or energy bars, make your own healthy meals at home. When you’re initially signing up, always say no to other extras like apparel, laundry, supplements or even tanning. Once you say yes to any of these, the costs will eventually add up.

When travelling, put your gym membership on hold

Most gyms implement an on-hold membership policy. This means that if you will be going on leave at work and you know that you cannot work out for a month, you can put the status of your membership on hold. Just make sure to give them advanced notice so that the hold status can be arranged.

Save Money on Fitness Equipment

If you do not like working out in an indoor setting, there’s no reason why you cannot simply perform your exercises at home. So what can you use for fitness equipment and how can you save money when buying them? The number one rule for this is that you should know when to splurge and when to save. Instead of buying fashionable workout outfits, choose ones which are comfortable yet durable.

If you would like to buy big ticket fitness equipment, look for slightly used ones on eBay or Craigslist. Most people who impulsively buy these exercise machines end up not using them anyway, so they simply sell them online. Your friends might also have exercise equipment that they would like to get rid of, which you can purchase very cheaply or even get for free.

It’s also not a good idea to invest in pricey exercise equipment when you are just starting to workout. If you will perform a basic exercise routine, you will eventually learn which exercises you need to do more and less of. From this, you would have an idea about which exercise gadgets and tools will really work for you.

Start with a basic exercise ball or use other items found in your household like filled-up cans, towels, weights, or a small chair that you can use for step-up exercises. Go online and look for exercise routines that you can perform without having to use gym equipment.

More importantly, why not use the great outdoors as your very own gym? You can run, walk, hike, bike or swim. For cardiovascular exercises, all you need is a park with trees. You can work out while soaking in a bit of sunshine as well. When you go hiking or biking, you can explore beautiful places while getting the exercise that your body needs at the same time.

Additional Ways to Save Money on Fitness

What are the other ways that you can save money on your way to achieving those fitness goals? Let’s take your workout gear as an example.

For women, any good old tank top will do but when it comes to pants or shorts, it’s better if they are specifically made for sweaty workout sessions. You do need a good pair of shoes with solid support, but there’s no need for you to buy the year’s latest models with bells and whistles that come at a price. Check out the prices of the last two year’s models, and make sure to buy affordable shoes from brands manufacturing sneakers that last.

You can also check out the events list of your local health club. These establishments frequently organize races and events where participants are welcomed. There are even races with a prize, so you can get the workout you need and get the prize money at the same time!

Finally, resist the temptation to splurge on high-tech workout gadgets. Simply use your smartphone to download fitness apps for free, so that you can maximize and fully enjoy your workout.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways for you to save money on fitness. More than just saving a few bucks off your monthly budget, the workout itself can be the first step that you will take towards living a healthier lifestyle and becoming a newer, fitter you.

About the author

Irina Vasilescu

Irina Vasilescu is our crafty designer. She joined the team three years ago and is also involved in the writing process.


  • Seriously people. You don’t need those pricey gym memberships. I lost close to 70 pounds very quickly last year with the help of a few free apps and a large dose of willpower. I understand some people enjoy the social aspect of gym membership, and that is fine. But if you are more frugally minded, weight loss can definitely be done without spending a dime!

    Good luck in all your fitness and money-saving endeavors!

    • Congratulations on your weight loss! That’s fantastic! I don’t go to they gym because I know that I won’t go, and it would just be a waste of money. Instead, I have tailored a very nice fitness routine using YouTube videos from several of the fitness channels. They are all great, professional trainers and you can find just about any kind of workout you could want. The best part is that it is completely free.

      • Thank you, Bright!

        YouTube is also a great resource for free fitness. I’ve seen videos there for everything from yoga, to kettlebell routines, to zumba classes! Great tip. I totally forgot about YouTube!

    • Congrats to you! I think last year I lost 10 pounds but gained some back due to lack of willpower. Noom was great since it gave me daily step goals on my phone and I could track my food. And it occasionally would send a notification telling me to have a healthy snack. I never went to the gym I started a walking routine and had 3 different routes setup for walking. I also followed some Cardio and Zumba videos on youtube.

  • Picking the right time to get a gym membership is really important. I signed up for my gym membership last January when they were having a promotion of only $5/month. I was actually in physical therapy for a back injury at the time, and couldn’t use it, but it was worth it to pay for one or two extra months to secure the lower price.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that you can often negotiate. I balked at the initiation fee, and ended up cutting it in half. You can also negotiate on personal training packages at the gym.

    • Lucky to have got it for $5 a month. Here, it costs roughly $20 a month, and I can’t justify that. Even when there’s a promotion, it drops by maybe $5 a month. Not much.

      Personally, I prefer to just get my exercise normally, as I can do it at my own rate without a personal trainer, and I don’t have to do it where there’s other people. I’m happy going to runs or bike rides on my own or with friends.

  • I cancelled my gym membership just last month, I am ashamed to say that I had not been all year!
    The problem with gyms for me is the time and the convenience, it seems to be a luxury for people who do not work all day in my opinion. Because when I go after work it is so packed it’s hard to get a good workout in.
    I’d rather do some exercise round the house at my own leisure.

  • Gym memberships are for hardcore fitness types that like to show off their guns. LOLOL. Jk…or am I?
    There are not only apps as Lemonbell said, but also video games you can use. Exercising in the comfort of your own home, sometimes making it a family thing, whenever you want and paying a one-time price? It’s definitely a good investment!

  • I think a gym membership is very important for those who need a reason to go. I almost see a cost of a gym membership as a *reason* to go. When I was part of a gym, I would think “well, I’m paying for it…” and get off my butt. But now that I don’t have one? I think “Sure I can use this app, but I can use it just as easily tomorrow instead..” of course it’s an issue of will power, but some people need that to get started!

  • My take on this is, if you don’t really need to take memberships then just skip it. If you’re really desperate and you really wanted to get in shape and be fit and you know to yourself that you have the discipline to make it happen then go for it but if you’re just a casual guy who goes “Hey I want to exercise” then just do some home workouts, there are a lot of sites and videos out there than have excellent home routines for free.

    • I also wanted to add that if you don’t want to pay a lot on the weights, it’s really a great idea to just go around your house and just pick up stuff that’s heavy enough to be a substitute weight. It’s cheaper and it might get your house clean if you move the furnitures around.

  • Gym memberships aren’t really necessary. There are so many free websites, and apps available these days that it would be crazy for you to spend that extra money for a membership. Sites like, and are awesome at helping you with your fitness journey.
    Try a free 30 day fitness challenge, and then google a free meal plan.
    That money adds up each month, save it with free apps. Shoot, go for a walk around your local park each day.

  • I think gym memberships are nice if you want to workout with other people. Personally, I lost over 50 pounds from home by following a simple in home workout program. That was few years ago but now there’s a lot of resources for anyone looking to lose weight from home. Personally, I don’t know how to use gym equipment so I prefer home workouts.

  • The best piece of fitness I ever bought was a skipping rope / jump rope. It’s cheap, extremely portable and is great for cardio, balance and strength.

    Once in a while it makes sense to keep things simple. And this part of my exercise regime is as simple as it comes.

  • For many people, a gym membership is not necessary at all. You can get great exercise by walking, jogging or running, or combining all three into a great interval workout. If you live in an area where there are hills, those make great intervals too.

    Find a buddy who wants to exercise with you and you’ll have all the motivation and accountability you need to stick with your exercise program.

  • So far, I’ve only been working out at home. I bought my equipment secondhand, and I’m finding myself making good progress! I don’t see the need for a gym membership so far, but I might need to do so in the future if I want to continue with my progress. I have a few local community centres that have cheap gym memeberships, but I didn’t realize they would charge less during the off-season. Thanks for the tip!

  • Since I received various comments on how “chubby” I became after 5 months of socializing and eating out and partying; I decided it’s high time to go to the gym. However, gym’s monthly membership costs too much especially for a girl earning a minimal income. So these options are great, but I think I would opt for something like you mentioned about such as checking out some events. Some events offer a small amount of fee to register while some offer them for free. Running a marathon is the cheapest way to lose weight.

  • For me, I love working out at home using exercise videos. The nice thing about videos are that you only pay for them once. I have videos that I bought 15 years ago and still use today. My tip is to buy used – I look on eBay,, amazon. You can usually find them for about half price. Also, I’ve noticed that Netflix now carries a good selection of exercise videos, so that’s a good way to try the workout before buying.

  • We used to buy long-term contract and it worked well for us, because we had a fixed job and studying place near; it was a good price/value thing. The gym can also offer for free different “classes” — step, cardiobike, kickboxing, zumba, etc. I think people should try it if they have the chance! I checked it out and liked zumba. Now, I have zumba videos in my computer. The fitness trainer is not a must, but very useful. At my last month, I had mine devise a training session to do on the floor/mat so I could keep training at home!

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