Being Healthy Can Have Big Cash Rewards

by Paul Michael on 24 September 2009 13 comments
Photo: nickgraywfu

I recently became a member of my wife’s gym. I had always hesitated — being a frugal person I preferred to work out at home with a few weights and some exercise DVDs. But, when I did join, I found out that my membership gives back in more ways than just my health. Cha-ching!

My reasons for joining the gym were many and varied. It was a chance to spend more time with my wife and children, it was much easier to stay motivated in that environment, and family membership was very affordable. However, I was surprised that no one at the gym told me about all the savings I get as a member. And in my case, they’re huge.

For the record, my gym is called LifeTime Fitness (and it would be fair to say it’s way more than a gym, it’s more of a leisure center). A great guy called Ryan helped me convert my wife's membership into a family plan, and that probably explains why he didn't bring up the benefits of belonging to the gym. But recently I got an email from LifeTime telling me about all of the benefits that members enjoy.

I was shocked.

This, to most people, would be a deal-maker. Anyone hesitant about joining would no doubt be tipped over the edge by the big benefits given to members. And when I show you a sample, you’ll see why. This is just a very small part of the benefits package I receive:

 

  • Autobuying Programs – Around $1500-$5000 saving on a new car
  • 15% off my T-Mobile bill – Around $15/month saving
  • $100 gift cards for $85 at Sports Authority
  • 10% off all Drugstore.com purchases
  • 20% off at Footlocker, Champ Sports and many other sports stores
  • Over $500 off a Dish Network package
  • Half-price tanning at various salons in the area
  • 10% off at UPS
  • Up to 25% off at many restaurants, some as high as 50% off.
  • Up to 50% off Budget car rentals
  • $50 off rooms at the Marriott
  • Preferred pricing at many golf clubs
  • Up to $400 off per eye on Lasik
  • Bank deals, including reduced closing costs
  • Up to 12% off Dell computers

I could keep going, but I think you get the idea. The savings I get on autobuying program alone will, when I do use it, pay for the price of my membership for years. Add in all of the other savings, including a nice monthly discount on my cell phone, and the benefits of staying healthy really do go way beyond the physical.

 

I would advise you to check with your own health club (or any other club you belong to) and see if you also have a benefits package. Chances are, you do. And you could be saving money right now just by checking it out and making a few calls.

Let us know how you get on.

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Guest's picture
Sandra

Wow! I was a member of the lovely Lifetime Fitness for over a year and never knew about all of those benefits. Wow! I might have to reconsider joining once again. Thanks!

Guest's picture

I had no idea about these rewards either! I was considering signing up in the next couple of months when it gets colder, and some of these benefits could help me out when I travel. Good find!

Guest's picture
GT0163C

I've found that I get similar types of benefits through various different avenues.
I get some great benefits through my employeer (including discounts of airfare and car rentals). I also get discounts at restaurants and community events through my newspaper subscription because I pay for a full year at a time. AAA discounts are getting fewer, but there are some good ones around...just look for the sticker and ask. Borders Rewards, the bookstore's free frequent shopper program, is always sending me emails about various coupons and discounts (for things I don't use, but they're still there). And I once travelled with a friend who got some great benefits via his corporate credit card (including getting 10 of us into an airport lounge during a 12 hour layover in Mumbai).
There's lots of discounts there, it's just a matter of doing a bit of research and then asking for them.

Guest's picture

I actually wrote an article on the same topic but in a different direction (Save Money Taking Better Care of Yourself).

I focused on the increase in income and reduction in expenses that could result from better health, all of which are an eventual payoff, but the benefits you're listing with that healthclub membership look a lot like cash on the barrel!

Guest's picture
karen Tappis

oxford health insurance offers $200 refund for your gym membership.
you need to work out atleast 50 times in a 6 month period. they will honor this twice a year and refund will be $400-

Guest's picture
Guest

Sorry to be a cynic but isn't the cost of lifetime for a family something like $1200 - $1500 a year? But that's not all. You pay extra for swimming lessons for the kids, extra for the kids to be on the swim team, extra for the rock wall, extra for racquetball, extra for tennis, extra for...

For all that they should give you a cell phone for free!

Don't get me wrong. The place is fantastic, almost like going on a mini vacation. After being a member for nearly two years though I came to the conclusion that there are more cost effective ways to get exercise.

Guest's picture
Colleen

I knew that the auto club had a lot of savings on travel-related expenses such as hotel discounts, but, until recently, I had no idea that they partnered with retailers to offer other member discounts.

http://www.ouraaa.com/discounts/sycs/index.html

I need to start checking the site more often before I make purchases!

Guest's picture

However, what is the cost of your monthly family membership?

Thanks for the Oxford Health Insurance tip!

Paul Michael's picture

Is Around $110 a month. But that is for unlimited use of the club, free classes and childcare is also included. That's a biggie, because at most gyms we had to pay extra for childcare, whichy was around $5per hour.

Financial Samurai's picture

Paul, that's a no brainer now for $110/month for the family. All these promotional offerings are attractive. The club should throw in some more health related stuff too like it has with Footlocker.

Maybe like discount national park passes, more sports stores etc.

Keigu,

Financial Samurai
"Slicing Through Money's Mysteries"

Guest's picture
Guest

How much is your cost for the family plan? Contract length? Do these discounts apply to non-family membership plans?

■Autobuying Programs – Around $1500-$5000 saving on a new car

Any auto maker? Just new or does it include used?

■15% off my T-Mobile bill – Around $15/month saving

How much is your bill? Is it only good for T-mobile? Any of thier plans?

■$100 gift cards for $85 at Sports Authority

How pricey is that store? Is a 17 2/3% discount worth whatever their markup is? do you shop there normally?

■10% off all Drugstore.com purchases
Do you shop here? Are the prices good?

■20% off at Footlocker, Champ Sports and many other sports stores
All goods? All sales? Any exemptions?

■Over $500 off a Dish Network package
Any package? Is this a one time deal or a yearly discount?

■Half-price tanning at various salons in the area
Can you use this along with the 365 day 1/2 price sales that tanning salons normally run?

■10% off at UPS
Ok, useful.

■Up to 25% off at many restaurants, some as high as 50% off.
Various quality. I suppose if you eat at these places.

■Up to 50% off Budget car rentals
In addition to the many other discounts they off?

■$50 off rooms at the Marriott
Expensive place to stay anyway. Any restrictions of time, dates, or places?

■Preferred pricing at many golf clubs
ha.

■Up to $400 off per eye on Lasik
Yeah, every radio ad offers better deals than this. Can one use it in addition to other discounts?

■Bank deals, including reduced closing costs
This is probably worthless but details needed.

■Up to 12% off Dell computers

Rather worthless but maybe ok if one can use this with other discounts.

All in all, the extras sound mostly worthless to me. not enough to sign up by itself but I suppose it is alright if you were going to sign up for other reasons.

With luck these 'deals' did not cause you to go out and spend unplanned money on golf clubs, tanning sessions, and fancy meals!

Guest's picture
croatian1

Interesting you mentioned LTF. I am from MN which is where the owner of LTF's is from. This week in our business section of the newspaper they had an interview with him. He talked about the cutbacks they are making ie: staffing cutbacks, only going to build 3 new ones instead of 12, offering less for new memberships and more cut backs in hours, daycare. personal trainers and advertising.The stock in the company is not doing well, and he is looking at how much fat he can cut from the businesses without losing clients. This guy is a real jerk. I will be curious what you will get when this contract expires and you look at signing a new contract.

The so called freebies you mention: Sport Authority is a very spendy place, so I would be better off paying full price for a gift card for someone at another store where the value of $100 would get them a lot more bang for the buck. Tanning is bad for you, and LTF used to include that for free in their memberships. I would be interested in knowing which bank(s)this offer is with as far as the reduced closing costs.

It would be nice if you follow up on this and let us know when you use any of these perks if they actually are as good as LTF says they are. Keep us posted Paul.

Guest's picture
Travis

I've been to lifetime fitness myself, and it's certainly a nice gym. The only issue I have with gyms is that you're surrounded by the "public" and that they aren't always convenient. Granted, the lifetime fitness by me is open 24 hours, 7 days a week, but it's still a hassle to drive up there at times. That being said, when you DO get there you certainly get down to business.

I also had no idea they offered that many savings!