One of the most common New Year's resolutions is to lose weight and get fit. Joining a gym is a step in the right direction, but not all membership contracts are created equal. You'll want to get on the right track from the outset -- by knowing what you're getting yourself into, before signing on the dotted line.
Here's what to consider to make sure your finances stay in shape too.
- Factor new gym costs into your personal budget.
You'll likely have to pay a first-time membership fee up front, in addition to monthly fees. Additional lessons or classes, and use of a pool, sauna or tennis court may not be included in that base charge.
- Many clubs offer New Year specials aimed at new members, and may ask you to sign a contract on the spot.
Instead of signing right away, take it home and read it instead, to make sure you understand what you're paying for. The Better Business Bureau says key membership details include the length of the contract, and whether there's an automatic renewal, as well as cancellation terms. If you move, get injured, or the fitness club changes hands, will you still be obligated to pay? Furthermore, many gyms will offer low introductory fees that increase after 3, 6 or 12 months.
- Don't make a financial commitment to the gym without visiting it first.
You'll want to see how crowded it gets at peak workout times, and that it has the right amenities. Call 12 For Action has also done stories about gyms still under construction selling memberships -- and members that started getting billed before they could start using the gym near them.
- Make sure the gym itself is in good financial standing.
A lot of times Call 12 For Action has heard of clubs opening up and then closing within months leaving customers high and dry. Check with the BBB to make sure the gym or its owners have good reputations.
Copyright WPRI 12
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