Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Losing the Battle, If Not the War

Last night I had to run over to my gym to renew my locker, as they were threatening to cut my lock off. In the past, I've been able to let this slide a bit and negotiate for a lower price on my locker, so as usual, I went in expecting a bit of a fight. Sure enough, they told me they wanted to charge me $292.00, up from the $200 I paid last year and the year before.
I very pleasantly asked them if they could offer me a better rate, saying that a 50% increase was very steep, that I'd been a loyal member for years, etc. I was bumped from the desk clerk to an assistant manager who then said he'd have to ask the manager. Well, it turns out they have a new manager who is much less inclined to be a pushover than her predecessor! The best I could do was to get a 10% discount by also renewing my membership at the same time. Of course, since my locker and my membership come up for renewal at different times, I tried to snag some extra free months on my locker by asking them to just extend its renewal date to match my membership, thereby getting me about 3 extra free months. That would have brought me down almost to the $200 a year that I really wanted to pay. See, my strategy in these cases is to be better at doing quick mental math than the opposition! If they are thinking in flat dollar amounts and don't want to cave in, I can at least hope that they will get confused and think a couple extra months is no big deal as long as I forked over the cash amount they had in mind! I am not sure if it will pan out-- the manager had to be asked again, and she'd left by the time we were concluding the deal. The assistant manager said he would follow up and was sure he could get me at least one or two free months added, and told me to check back with him later this week. He was probably hoping I'd forget all about it, but I certainly don't plan to!
Anyway, it was one of those times where I kind of caved fasted than I should have. I just didn't have the energy to deal with it. I almost canceled the locker outright, as it is definitely a bit of a luxury to spend over $20 a month just to stash my gym clothes there in between yoga classes. I end up carrying my clothes back and forth a lot anyway to wash them. I also have sneakers in there for the times I run on the treadmill and use other machines. This tends to happen about once a year, and I ended up deciding, as usual, that I really don't need any additional help being lazy about it! If I had to remember to bring my sneakers every time, I'd probably never do it at all.
We'll see how it goes next year-- maybe I'll handle it differently. In the meantime, this has made me want to find other ways of cutting a few corners to make up for increases in my spending. If I have to surrender in one fight, it just means making renewed efforts on another front if I am going to achieve the larger victory of increasing my net worth!

11 comments:

SavingDiva said...

I used to spend $27/month on my gym membership! :)

I hope things work out...

Anonymous said...

I ditched my overpriced gym years ago. I bought myself some running shoes and have been saving $$$ ever since. That locker fee is outrageous!!

Anonymous said...

my membership is $70/mon and $90 for my husband and me. I have knee problem so I can't run a lot. Knowing paying a chunk of forture can also motivate me to go to gym, do some yoga and swim more regularly. (ok, maybe twice a month, but better than not at all..)
I don't pay locker fee. The gym is 10 min's walk from my home so we go there at night or weekends. Anyway, you have to bring dirty t-shirts and socks back right away. And the gym provides shampoo and shower gel.(not very high quality but usable)

Doctor S said...

Gym memberships are only worth it if you use em constantly! Im paying for my brothers membership and he is off to college, it tookk me a few weeks to finally get his account canceled. Then they tell me it takes 30 days for the form I mailed in to process. Which charages me another month for him. I am making him go to the gym for the next month!

nyjim said...

Check with your health insurance. Sometimes they'll reimburse some of your gym membership if you go a certain number of times over the course of a year.

For example, my insurance company reimburses $200 over a six month period if I go 50 times. (There also is a $100 reimbursement for a spouse, would that I had one.)

The theory is that is they incentivize you to go to the gym (i.e., take care of your body), you'll maintain a healthier lifestyle and be less at risk for the things that REALLY cost health insurance companies money (e.g., obesity, diabetes, etc.).

--nyjim

Doctor S said...

wow nyjim thats a great reimbursement plan your health insurance has.

For mine, if I visit the gym 120 times over a year I receive $150. However, even though my gym has a little swipe thing you hang on your keychain to get in every time, their corporate office said they do not keep track of how many times a person visits!!!! You gotta be kidding me! So I have to fill out a paper sheet and get someone to sign and date it on every visit! LAME!

nyjim said...

Well, doctor s, I work in nonprofit, where stronger-than-normal benefits balance out the weaker-then-normal salary.

I'm not completely in the cat bird's seat! :)

--nyjim

Mike said...

Wow, that sounds pretty steep. We pay $72/mo for 2 adults and a child, and our gym has a swimming pool and free childcare too. I never heard of being charged for a locker, since we have free lockers where you have to take your lock home with you every day. (btw we're in the Boston metro)

Sicilian said...

Lockers are free with the membership in this end of the world. . . but then it shows how pricey even the littlest bit of property is in NYC.
Ciao

David said...

I think it is ridiculous that you should have to pay for a locker. I don't know about you, but I never really liked changing in the locker room. People tend to walk around with all their stuff hanging out and it's a little gross.

I think one should get a discount for having to endure that:)

http://whyspendmoney.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

When my gym membership increased last time, I decided it wasn't worth the monthly fee anymore (plus gas expenses to drive there and back).

So I bought a portable folding treadmill that works wonderfully and, when folded up between uses, takes up a very tiny footprint of space in my small home.

I also bought a rebounder (mini trampoline) that folds easily for storage, and a Pilates Trainer / weight machine that also folds to a small footprint between uses.

Finally, I purchased some yoga and dance-exercise videos from half.com.

All of these items together cost less than 18 months of gym membership - and will last ages longer!

And no matter what hour of the day or night it is, or what the weather is doing, I can cross-train in a variety of ways with my own "home gym".