How to save on gym membership

Many offers available right after new year

By Marilyn Moritz - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - If you're considering enrolling in a gym, but want to save some money, the beginning of the year may be the right time. 

There are many offers available because it's when many people go looking for a gym.

Consumer Reports advises asking for a no-commitment trial. 

Many gyms offer day passes to try out their facilities, and if you have friends or family interested in signing up with you, gyms may offer you a lower monthly rate for a group.

Gym owner Cesar Hernandez suggests trying out a place before you commit so can identify what type of gym is best for your goals.

"Are you looking for someone to help you, to guide you from the beginning or are you looking for a gym that has machines that you can do yourself?" he said.

When you find the perfect gym for you, Hernandez said you can negotiate a better price. Speak with a salesperson or manager to see whether he can give you a free month or eliminate the registration fee, especially if you sign a contract there could be a significant discount when you sign a contract.

The incentive to sign a contract is that you'll save money. For example, if you sign up for 12 months at some gyms, you may save 40 to 50 percent compared with someone who is paying monthly.

Consumer Reports money editor Donna Rosato said to read the contract from beginning to end. 

"Look to see whether there are subscription or cancellation fees, and whether you need to give notice months in advance to avoid being charged," she said. 

And be sure to keep a copy of the contract in case you need to refer to it in the future.

If you have health insurance through your employer, find out whether it offers a discount on gym memberships. Some insurance companies offer hundreds of dollars in reimbursement if you're a member of a participating gym.

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