How much does that unused gym membership cost you?

Do you have the best intentions to go to the gym three times a week, but don’t quite get there? Your unused gym membership could be costing you big bucks – we do the figures.

Consumer New Zealand researched gym memberships and found among the seven chains they looked at, annual membership costs ranged from $410 to $3,430.

Gyms for specialised programmes, like high-intensity training and CrossFit, can cost a lot more than standard gyms too.

If you regularly go to the gym month in, and month out, you’re probably getting your money’s worth. But many of us don’t keep up our gym routine all year, despite our best intentions. And if you have a gym membership you don’t use, you’re throwing money away.

Joining fees, card fees, admin fees, direct debit fees, plus a potential cancellation fee can all add up to a lot of exercise for your credit card. 

Gyms often charge a high cancellation fee too.

So, what are your options?

You could start going to the gym regularly. Then you’re getting your money’s worth and getting fit too. But if that’s not an option, work out whether it’s best to cancel your contract, or just keep paying until it ends. Run the numbers and find out what’s best financially. 

Start off slowly

Many of us are guilty of starting the year with plans to go to the gym four times a week. But if you’re not in the habit of exercising, this can be hard going. Instead of going full throttle, start slowly, a couple of times a week, and build up to four times a week. 

If you want to work out regularly, why not start with a home-based workout, yoga off YouTube, or something outside in your local park. Once you’ve set up a routine for, say, three months, look again at investing in a gym membership. That way, you’ll already be in the habit, and it will be an easier transition to regularly using the gym. 

What if you invested that money?

Let’s take a gym membership with a membership fee of $50 and then $20 a week. 

Using Sorted’s Savings Calculator, if you invested that $20 a week, and got a return of 4.5 per cent (before fees and tax), you’d have a total of $1,063 by the end of the year (before fees and tax), including $22.78 of compound interest. After two years, you’d have saved $2,126, the cost of a reasonable holiday.

That’s taking control of your money and making it work for you, rather than being tied to a costly gym membership you never use!

Published 24 January 2020

Pie Funds Management Limited is the issuer of the JUNO KiwiSaver Scheme. You can read our Product Disclosure Statement. All content is correct at time of publication date. This article is general in nature only and has not taken into account any particular person’s objectives or circumstances. Before relying on it, we recommend you speak with an independent financial adviser.