Tight Ass on a Tiny Budget: Save Money at The Gym

I have this condition that prevents me from going on a diet… I get hungry. Unfortunately, what prevents many people from going to the gym is that it can be ridiculously expensive. I am personally one of those people who gets great value out of my overpriced Equinox membership because I am there almost every day, taking every class possible. Even if you’re not an animal like me (that’s me in fitness magazine >>), you can still save money at the gym and finally get motivated to whip that booty into shape.

Get membership fees down:

Check the competition: Call around to potential gyms in your area to see what they’re charging. First thing you’ll learn is that initiation fees are for suckers – and gyms know that there are many competitors offering zero initiation fee. Name drop the competition to see if they will match the competitors rates.

Where and when: I would suggest always going into the gym to negotiate rates in person, since it’s alot more effective to haggle when they know you can simply walk away if they don’t give you a good rate. Going in at the end of the month is also a good idea since the sales team will be more motivated to meet sales goals.

Pay in advance: Many clubs offer a discount if you pay for the full year up-front. At Costco, you an get a two-year contract to any 24 hour fitness for $320 (or $13/month). Equinox knocked off a couple hundred dollars for paying for the whole year as well.

Discounts for being you: Belonging to organizations like AAA will get you membership discounts at select clubs. Also if you’re in the military, a teacher, in law enforcement (or a model) – some clubs will offer an unadvertised discount to certain groups, so it’s always worth asking.

Review your insurance:  Some of the better health plans offer discounts on gym memberships. For example, Oxford Health Plans participants get up to 30% off monthly dues at Bally’s Total Fitness, Gold’s Gyms and Curves, among other fitness locations.

Daily deal sites: Sites like Groupon and Living Social can offer big local savings on things like yoga and bootcamp classes, and sometimes you can even find discounts on gym memberships. Just keep an eye out, because these deals usually only stay available for a limited time.

Check with HR: Many employers are now offering to subsidize gym memberships as a company benefit. See what your job offers, and check to see if your Health Savings Account can be used to cover a portion of your gym membership fees. Don’t know what an HSA is? Check out my super useful article here: HSA’s: Saving you money on health expenses.

Freeze your membership: If you’re traveling for a few weeks, ask your gym to freeze your membership so that you’re not being charged for the time you’re not using. If you’re someone who is very active outdoors during the summer months, it may make sense to freeze your account for the summer and save the extra money.

Gym Alternatives:

Don’t be afraid of the YMCA: With great facilities without the bells and whistles – you can save a bunch of money by joining the YMCA. Don’t worry, there’s not a bunch of flamboyant gay guys dancing around and singing. Although that would be awesome.

Train with a partner: Dream of having a hot personal trainer, but can’t afford the cost? See if they are willing to train you with a friend who is at a comparable fitness level and split the cost.

DVD’s: I know this sounds cheesy, but a new wave of amazing workout DVD’s have become super popular and effective. P90X is apparently unbelievable. Freeze your membership for 90 days and stick with this program instead. Tracy Anderson’s method is one that I love as well – you can get the best prices on the videos on Amazon.

YouTube: There are great workout videos that you can find online by some amazing personal trainers. Two of my favorites are Tara Stiles for Yoga and Amanda Russell for quick but tough at-home workout routines.

City recreation centers: City-sponsored gyms offer the cheapest rates available. In NYC they feature a full set of weight machines, free weights and running equipment with an annual fee of only $50. If you want to use the indoor pool, it costs $75 a year–what most gyms ask for in a single month. Search for what your city offers – New Yorkers can check out times and locations at

Goodluck on your hunt for the best gym price possible. Nothing feels better than saving money…other than feeling like your ass looks amazing in your new spandex gym pants.


  1. Always great articles- love this blog! Go Ashley!

  2. I would so totally go to the gym ALL the time if there were a bunch of flamboyant gay guys dancing around!

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  4. tricia paoluccio says:

    hey there i saw you on yahoo and then went to your site
    i really admire it and you
    im an actress and its funny but i joke with another actress friend of mine how much pleasure i get from doing the bills etc because it uses a totally different part of my brain
    im very frugal and am proud that i was able to save and buy an apt and now am in the middle of tackling refinancing
    sounds incredibly boring
    but i know YOU know the pleasure of being smart about money!
    its super late i dont know why i’m writing except to say i really hope as your journey continues this blog will lead to new things for you
    im sure it will!
    best of luck to you!

  5. Wanted to share that I did the freezing with one of the gyms you mention in your article. Perhpas since I’m not putting it out there I’m over it, nope I’m still steamed. When I returned they said they had no record of our memberships. By the time I got the membership cards from our storage (foreign country) we’d moved to a place without their locations. If I were ever to do it again I’d get it in writing (instead of seeing it in their computer system) and I’d have them specify the terms of reactivation. One of the first excuses they came up with was that we didn’t unfreeze from the same city, huh?

    • That’s super annoying. I guess you learned the hard way and that sucks. Gyms can definitely be shady with stuff like that – I’m sorry you had such a crappy experience.

  6. The Equinox employee I sign up with turns the membership rate into a fraction of what it normally is. If you would like me to refer you to him, feel free to email me at

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  13. Great blog! Looking for an equinox military deal now. Wish me luck!

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