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Healthy Living on a Budget

4 Ways to Save on Gym Memberships

Tips on how to minimize high costs.

How's that New Year's resolution to get back to the gym going? Yeah, thought so. But if you find the right facility, you have plenty of time to shape up in time for beach season.

Do a test workout. Take advantage of the free trial at a few gyms. Be sure to go when you typically work out, try the classes and use the locker room. You’re more likely to get your money's worth at a fitness facility with great yoga classes than the one with a pool you’ll never swim in.

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Don’t lock yourself in. Last year, gymgoers logged more than 5,500 complaints with the Better Business Bureau, many of them regarding contract disputes. The longer the contract period, the cheaper your monthly rate. But read the terms and make sure you’re not locked in for a commitment you might not want. A month-to-month plan or a contract that lets you opt out if you give notice is best.

Beware the free session. The "fitness assessment" with a personal trainer sounds great, but it's often just a sales pitch for training sessions.

Bring your friends. And Karen from HR. Many gyms have referral programs that reward you with perks for signing up friends. If you and a group of friends sign up together, you may even be able to negotiate a lower monthly rate for the whole group. And your business may be able to cut a deal with the gym that will score discounted membership fees for your whole office.

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