It may seem counterintuitive, but January is the best time of the year to join a gym or buy exercise equipment. The flood of workout-related New Year’s resolutions raises competition among gyms and creates many awesome deals for new go-getters! That goes for exercise equipment too.
Companies are itching to sell their gear to people with new health goals, so discounts are everywhere. If you’re thinking about taking the fitness plunge this year, these tips can help ensure that the only thing you’re stretching is yourself –not your budget.
Only Buy What You’ll Actually Use
Be realistic about your fitness goals before you buy. Most gyms have membership tiers. Do you really need access to the hot tub, tanning bed and personal trainers, or do you just need a place to get in some cardio after work? My husband and I have a $10-per-month membership to Planet Fitness that gives us basic use of the workout equipment. And that’s all we need.
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Just because a gym is right down the street from you doesn’t mean it’s a match made in heaven. Instead of going with what’s convenient, go for the better deal, even if you have to drive a little farther. Sometimes gyms have amazing offers if you’re willing to come in during nonpeak hours or days. Can you stick to a workout plan on only Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays? Does your schedule allow for a session at 3 p.m. instead of before or after normal work hours? If that’s you, you might be in luck. Be sure to ask the gym, though – they usually don’t advertise those deals.
Shop Outside the Box
Before joining, check the gym’s social media – you’ll often find flash sales or special promo codes for offers on memberships or extra perks. Also keep your eye on sites like Groupon or LivingSocial, where heavily discounted memberships sometimes pop up. If you’re a Costco or Sam’s Club member, you might find your deal there. I’ve seen some tempting ones show up around the New Year if you’re willing to sign a one- or two-year contract. Lastly, check with your insurance company. Some plans will reimburse you up to a certain amount for a gym membership.
Do Your Research
If the home gym is a better option for you, now is also your time to buy. Retailers are eager to sell off older equipment to capitalize on New Year’s resolutions. Before purchasing that new stationary bike, though, do some research. Never buy new gear on a whim. Try to find a bargain at a fitness-specific store where you can talk to experts about the best option for your body and your wallet.
Sometimes Smaller is Better
Don’t just consider big-ticket items like treadmills, ellipticals and weight machines. Sometimes smaller gear can provide an equally efficient workout that’s easier on your budget. Look for sales on yoga equipment, kettlebells, resistance bands or fitness balls. Then, subscribe to a YouTube fitness channel and you’ll have everything you need to get in solid workouts without breaking the bank.
If you’re ready get healthy in 2016, take advantage of the big January sales and get moving. Your body will thank you, and so will your wallet!
Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click http://twitter.com/savinmavens or visit http://communityamerica.com.