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How to Stretch Your Gym Dollars

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Want to join a gym to get in shape for summer? Here are some ways to cut down membership costs:

  • Many health clubs offer free passes, ranging from one day to a week or more, and some sell short-term passes for a small fee. Use these to try before you buy, because the most expensive membership is the one you rarely-or never-use.
  • Check out coupon sites, such as Groupon (groupon.com), for health-club offers.
  • Consider local community centers, which may offer what you need for a lower fee.
  • In New York, Chicago, Houston, and Los Angeles, a $75 Passbook from the American Health and Fitness Alliance (health-fitness.org) gives you hundreds of guest passes to different local clubs and studios. If you decide to join one, $75 is deducted from the membership fee.
  • See if your health insurance plan offers discounted health club memberships.