How I Talked Hubby Out Of Spending $400/year On Gym Membership

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Before you read the post, I just want to clarify that I want Mr. FAF to be physically fit and healthy (being sexy doesn’t hurt either).

I would never discourage him from working out or investing in his health, but it needs to be within reason.

And let me explain to you why I don’t think Mr. FAF spending $400/year on gym membership is a good idea.


Before we started dating, Mr. FAF told me he worked out twice or three times a week.

After we decided to give relationships a shot, Mr. FAF started getting more proactive about staying fit by going to the gym every day.

A long episode of hip, leg, and back pain put his regimen on hold.

But overall, Mr. FAF has become increasingly aware of how important it is to stay healthy, especially since he’s in his mid 30s.

He said that it can save us lots of money that would otherwise be spent on doctor visits and medical expenses.

(Fun fact: I know Mr. FAF is jealous of other men when he takes his workout up a notch.

He wants to show me that he’s physically strong enough to protect me and be with me (his logic).

One time Mr. FAF was slacking off on his workout.

However, once I showed him my new photoshopped profile picture on Facebook, he said that he needed to keep fit and decided to stay at the gym for two hours that day.)

When Mr. FAF was in grad school, he would go to the gym at his school for free (or it was already included in the annual activity fees whether he went or not).

Now that Mr. FAF works full time, he usually leaves the house at 5:45 AM, drive to work, works out for 1.5 hours or so at the gym in his office building, takes a shower, studies, does his work, and drives home. That gym comes free of charge since it’s for his company’s employees.

Mr. FAF gets the daily workout he needs without having to pay extra for a gym near our house. We also save money on water since Mr. FAF now showers at home only on the weekends.

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The dilemma

Mr. FAF just needs 1 treadmill, not the whole fancy gym.

Mr. FAF’s workplace is a 50-minute drive from our house one way (1 hour 40 minutes both ways).

He can work out in his office building on weekdays, but it’s out of the question on the weekends.

His solution so far has been not working out at all on Saturdays and Sundays.

Sometimes Mr. FAF would drive 25 minutes to his friend’s apartment complex to work out and catch up with him.

It’s kind of funny to me that he would drive almost an hour just to run on the treadmill.

I’ve suggested he run around the neighborhood or buy some light-weight gym equipment to work out at home, but he said that he only wants to run on the treadmill. I suggested we buy a treadmill, but Mr. FAF brushed that idea aside.

He had thought about going to the gym nearby (LA Fitness) but gave up on the idea because it was too expensive.

The initiation fee is $99, and he will need to pay $24.99/mo or $398.88 in total for the first year. And he will only use the gym on the weekends or 8 days/mo on average.

However, an incident happened last week that really pushed us to rethink that expensive gym membership.

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A change of plan

Mr. FAF happened to eat too much last weekend (we had Korean BBQ) and decided to shed some weight. He drove 25 minutes to his friend’s apartment complex but couldn’t find any parking spot.

A one-hour drive and some frustration later, Mr. FAF told me he wanted to join the gym and asked me what I thought. I have to admit I was not fond of the idea. But I didn’t want him to think I was penny-pinching either, so I said yes and let him decide for himself.

After doing some research on the fee and other gyms, he became hesitant again.

Getting impatient and not wanting him to burn gas unnecessarily on the weekends, I went on Amazon, searched ‘treadmill’ and found some decent ones for roughly $200. I sent Mr. FAF the links and waited for his response.

I also sent him a picture of a home-made gym set up by Joel at FI180. Mr. FAF was stoked.

But the dilemma didn’t end there. Our house is just tiny. We made the mistake of accumulating and buying too much free and used furniture that our rooms are just packed.

The seemingly beautiful nightstands can’t contain too many items and just take up space. The $400 L-shaped desk takes up one third of Mr. FAF’s study room, a space we wanted to put the treadmill.

Our stuff has officially owned us and dictated our decision on whether to buy something that we really need – a treadmill.

Mr. FAF did more research and found an Planet Fitness center within a 15-minute drive from our house. The monthly fee is $10 (or $120/year). It’s a saving of $280/year by switching from LA Fitness to Planet Fitness!

Related: Is My Hubby Frugal Or Cheap? I Can’t Decide. 


Thinking about this whole situation, I realized how easy it was for us to fall into the convenience trap.

Buying gym membership only for the weekends was easy. All we had to do was swipe our card and have Mr. FAF show up at a nice-looking gym only two days a week.

However, facing an expensive decision and not fully believing in its necessity forced us to take a step back and consider cheaper alternatives.

I know many of us like going to the gym because of the atmosphere and the companionship, and that’s a totally different story.

But knowing that Mr. FAF is not so keen on making new friends at at gym or anywhere and hearing that his only need is a treadmill, I felt that we should go for a cheaper solution than $400 gym membership.

We found a solution that works for us. And I’m glad Mr. FAF stayed open minded and did his due diligence to find a much cheaper gym for $10/mo (although I still prefer that he jogged around the neighborhood for free instead).


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15 thoughts on “How I Talked Hubby Out Of Spending $400/year On Gym Membership”

  • Nice job finding a more affordable solution. Good luck with working out. That’s a cheap price to pay for fitness. I’m taking the summer off and skipping the gym until school starts again. Our son is out of school and needs supervision.
    Hopefully, the summer activities will replace the gym workouts. 🙂

    • Chasing after toddlers can kids surprisingly takes a lot of energy @_@ It’s great you get to spend more time with your son though. I sounds like much more fun than being at the gym 😀

  • My husband uses the gym at work but other he retires we need to start with the home gym set up. I think home gyms are a great idea but for $10 is really good for a gym deal!! Why the heck is LA Fitness so expensive?!

    • I know, right! I know they have a pool and such. And if you pay extra for an upgrade, you can get a haircut every month (ehh). My gym and exercise should cost $0, period *cheapo* 😀

  • I’m glad that Mr. FAF is trying to get in better shape. I totally agree that treadmills are cumbersome and take up way too much space. Plus I’m a fan of running outside and getting fresh air and vitamin D.

    However, if he is considering aerobic equipment for cardio that is low cost and takes up minimal space… consider a foldable magnetic exercise bike. My wife and I have one and it’s great. You can set the resistance to however much you want. And it’s safer to to do high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts on a bike compared to a treadmill!! (Have you seen those youtube videos where a person eats it after running super fast on a treadmill? Not happening on a bike because you’re sitting down ;)).

    And if you have an exercise bike, a frugal hack is downloading some Paleton videos so that Mr. FAF feels like he’s at the gym, biking outside, or in a spin class. Extra motivation, albeit virtual. Yay for frugal hacks!

    • I just looked up the foldable bike on Amazon. It looks pretty neat and doesn’t seem to take up a lot of space. I will show that to Mr. FAF. Hopefully, he will have a change of heart and decide to cancel his gym membership >_< I love frugal hacks! Thanks for the recommendation 😉

  • Oh yeah. I forgot to mention that I do have LA Fitness and it is expensive at $29.99 a month. But to me it’s worth it because I go there almost every day and I use the weights. Weights and weight training equipment is expensive and really takes up a lot of space!

    • I’m glad you can make use of that membership every month. For Mr. FAF, it’d be 2 days a week or one day if he doesn’t sleep well the night before.

    • Yes that’s a good point. $30/mo for a good weightlifting gym is a steal, actually.

      I wanted to set up a garage weight gym to save money on our $80/mo YMCA membership. But my wife was very worried about a potential accident in the squat rack or on the bench press. Even though that has never happened (so far!), it is much safer lifting in a gym environment with employees and other members nearby.

      Also, the benefits I mentioned further down the comments such as YMCA Away (limited use of YMCAs in other cities) and unlimited use of all YMCAs in Austin – including another branch near my parents’ house – really convinced me that remaining a YMCA member would be a good use of $80/mo.

      (Actually I just checked and the price increased to $82/mo in January…and I didn’t notice until now! Sneaky recurring payments…although they have added some small improvements like new mini-lockers and a new bar rack for deadlift bars.)

  • If I had to have only two things it would be: Pull up bar and jump rope. The rest you can do with body weight exercises.

    Squats, push ups, pull ups (working to one handed), full planche, back bridges etc. Will seriously build up some muscle, as well as building ligaments of steel.

    Jump rope will do the rest with cardio, as well as build some really awesome coordination.

    That said lifting traditional weights is definitely better if you want faster results.

    • I used to jump rope when I was little. It was a fun and inexpensive game 😀 I also did that as part of PE in high school and middle school. It gets tiring pretty fast, but it’s great for a workout! 😉

  • Gym memberships are the biggest money oozers according to me. And if it’s costing you $400 then I don’t even know how one even signed up for it in the first place. Whenever I go over my finances at the start of the financial year that is the first thing I see – areas when I’m spending too much and without any ROI. I stopped going to the gym in 2014, and instead have small equipment inside home, which is used by my entire family.

  • One thing to watch out for about $10 gyms (including Planet Fitness) is they are often oversold. I.e., the ratio of members:equipment is very high. But you can easily learn this in the first month. So only $10 at risk, anyway.

    I grew up a runner – did races in elementary school and cross-country + track in middle and high school, as well as some races in college. Now I just walk a lot and lift weights though – easier on my joints (knees, hips).

    Actually I personally would strongly recommend weightlifting (“resistance training”). The sheer number of hours that Mr. FAF is jogging per week right now is pretty high. If he runs in the neighborhood on tarmac (or worse, concrete) then decades later he is probably at some risk of joint issues (i.e. arthritis in knees or hips).

    My personal recommendation is: the heart/lung/endorphin benefits of jogging can mostly be achieved in 25-30 min/day (or even say 3-4x/week); however, there are many separate, additional benefits of weightlifting on top of jogging. So for someone who wants to exercise 40 min+/day, I would recommend adding resistance training rather than going for a long run.

    There are many proven benefits of resistance training when added to jogging. E.g. see the below blurb about a recent long-term study, and a brief summary article about that study plus another one where weightlifting had even better results:

    Resistance training will also make a runner’s stride more efficient and stronger, and prevent imbalances. It will be more enjoyable and comfortable to run.

    The below article is a good overview of the various benefits of resistance training for joggers. It also makes the point that studies have shown that too much jogging volume increases risk of injury.

    Personally, my family of three (me + wife + 2-year-old) splurges with an $80/mo gym membership at the YMCA. However, there are many benefits:

    – Great weightlifting equipment
    – Near our home and my office (walking distance)
    – Free childcare (that our daughter loves) up to 2 hours/day
    – Can pay a little extra for kids’ classes such as swimming lessons at their large indoor pool
    – Free adult classes (my wife likes pilates and sometimes one of the several yoga classes)
    – Can use any YMCA in the country. Very useful when we travel or I go on a business trip. I do think most chain gyms (Lifetime, 24-Hour, Planet Fitness, Gold’s) have this benefit, though. I even heard about some American Gold’s members using Gold’s Gym in Tokyo, where it’s very hard for travelers to find a high-quality gym.

  • That is awesome that he has a gym at work! Greta benefit for the company to offer. I agree that it is easy to fall into the habit of making decisions out of convenience and this plan works perfect for you guys. I think my husband would give up the cars before giving up his gym membership. To be fair though we spend at least 2 hours there daily. We thoroughly enjoy the gym and our daughter loves the little daycare they have! We do have to be cognizant of other convenience buys though.

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