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The Simple Dollar

Gym memberships costing you a fortune? Cancel them.

If you don’t use a membership or a subscription service very frequently, it’s not going to be worth it, Hamm writes.

By Guest blogger / November 21, 2012

In this June 2012 file photo, gym manager Rick Limitone demonstrates a work out machine at Snap Fitness Rolling Strong Gym, a truck stop gym in Dallas, Texas. The lower your monthly bills are, the easier it is to make strong financial progress, Hamm writes.

LM Otero/AP/File


As I mentioned yesterday, one of the first things Sarah and I did when we began our financial recovery was to start going through all of our regular bills – monthly bills, annual bills, and everything in between. If it needed to be paid regularly, it was examined.

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The Simple Dollar is a blog for those of us who need both cents and sense: people fighting debt and bad spending habits while building a financially secure future and still affording a latte or two. Our busy lives are crazy enough without having to compare five hundred mutual funds – we just want simple ways to manage our finances and save a little money.

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This included quite a few club membership fees, subscription fees, and gym fees. We had a warehouse club membership. We were members of a local gym. We were members of a food co-op. We had entertainment bills, too, such as Netflix and Gamefly.

All of these monthly and annual bills added up to a lot of money per year. In fact, our membership and subscription bills added up to several months of car payments.

Were they worth it? We had to dig in a little to figure that out. 

Our first question was whether or not we actually used the membership. Did we actually use it, or did we merely hold onto it out of a sense that we might use it someday?

Take the gym membership. We would use it in bursts, but then life would intervene and we wouldn’t use it for months. Then, one of us would get some exercise motivation and the membership would be used heavily for a few weeks… and then the usage would disappear again.

What about the warehouse club membership? We lived in a pretty small apartment and, although we did use the service sometimes, we really didn’t have space to take advantage of bulk buying.

As we mentioned last time, there were several subscription services we didn’t use, either.

We cut them all. Simply put, if you don’t use a membership or a subscription service very frequently, it’s not going to be worth it.

Your cost per hour of use of that membership or service should be approaching $1. If it’s not, it’s a financial drain.

That’s not to say that you should immediately unsubscribe from all memberships that cost you more than $1 per hour, but if it’s above that level, you should strongly consider unsubscribing. Give it serious thought and discussion, particularly focusing on whether or not there’s a low-cost or free replacement.

The lower your monthly bills are, the easier it is to make strong financial progress.

This post is part of a yearlong series called “365 Ways to Live Cheap (Revisited),” in which I’m revisiting the entries from my book “365 Ways to Live Cheap,” which is available at Amazon and at bookstores everywhere. 

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best economy-related bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on

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