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Put a stop to your gym donations | Savings with Sarah #18

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Your gym membership can cost anything from $15 to $50+ per week, which is a fantastic investment – if you use it.

If you don't use it, obviously, it's a waste of money.

But taking the action of pausing or cancelling your membership can create something of an existential crisis.

Because if you identify as someone who "goes to the gym", it can be hard accepting that you don't, in fact, go to the gym… even if the evidence proves otherwise.

The boy who cried "I'll go next month"

I have a friend who has held his gym membership since 2017. He used to go 4 or 5 times a week, until the pandemic hit. His habits got upended and since early 2020, he's been twice. As in, two times. In 4 years.

He keeps telling us it's only $15 a week and he doesn't want to nix his membership, because he'll start back up again next week or next month when work gets a bit less busy.

When I told him he's basically paid $1500 for each of those two sessions, it was the slap back to reality he needed – and enough to persuade him to quit it for good or dive back in. He's started up at a new gym closer to his home and going 4 times a week.

How to pay $0 for gym classes

If you find yourself in a similar predicament – paying for a gym membership, and very attached to the idea of working out, but not quite committed to the execution – here are a few options to help you donating your hard-earned money to a gym while you work it out (pun fully intended).

Step 1: Look at the data.

Review the last few months. How often have you been to the gym, and how often do you think is reasonable based on how much you pay? Your gym app can probably tell you, or you can ask your gym for a record of the dates you checked in. Don't rely on your memory – confirmation bias will skew your recollection to be much more or much less than the reality.

Step 2: Make a temporary decision

If you're not thrilled with your current gym habits, you have 2 choices: start going more and make use of your membership, or go less and stop paying for it. You don't need to take the drastic action of quitting the gym on the spot. Instead, make a short-term (3 month) decision to pause or hold your membership; it's more like "we're on a break" than a hard breakup.

Step 3: Workout for free instead

While you're on a break from your paid workout regime, dip your toe into some free workouts. You can do these at home, they don't cost anything, you don't need any equipment, they range from 5 to 30 mins in length, and you can do them whenever you like. If you have Netflix, you can stream dozens of workouts from Nike Training Club on your TV screen, or you can access the full range on the Nike Training app.

Step 4: Review

After 3 months are up, review and decide whether to go back to the gym or continue on with your home workouts. No shame in making another temporary three-month decision if that's helpful.

Importantly – don't let those savings get frittered away! If you pause your gym membership, transfer the amount you normally spend each week, fortnight or month into a high interest savings account.

Savings with Sarah

Each Monday, our money expert Sarah Megginson shares another tip to help you save more than you spend.
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