Better do the maths before signing up for that gym membership this month.The Times’ Natasha Singer reports that January is the “most important month of the year in the health club industry,” when memberships nearly double. But of course the majority of us overestimate how much we’ll attend, and a few weeks in to February and we’re all back to surfing the couch and munching on Cheese Nips.
But we’re not just damaging our waistlines when our New Year’s resolutions fail, said University of California, Berkeley professor, Stefano DellaVigna. When our words don’t match our actions, our finances suffer too. (See 5 money resolutions you should make in 2012.)
In his study, “Paying Not To Go To The Gym,” DellaVigna found that consumers overpay for gym visits they don’t even use. For example, members who sign a contract with a monthly fee over $70 visit the gym 4.3 times on average, paying roughly $17 each visit. But paying per actual visit would be much, much cheaper, he argues; we could get a 10-visit pass which would save us $7 per visit—a savings of $600 per year.
And if gyms are betting on your laziness, like one chief operating officer of Equinox that Singer spoke to said, this means you need to set goals that you’ll actually keep and crunch the numbers before signing on the dotted line.
Shedding pounds was never meant to be easy, but it can be done. Check out our roundup of dietitian alternatives, and if hitting the gym isn’t your thing, see how cycling to work helped one writer to get her health in check.