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.

LM Otero/AP/File
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.

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.

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. 

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Gym memberships costing you a fortune? Cancel them.
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today