Here's a history of my gym membership:
1992: joined a community center in Arlington VA (former middle school): $45 a year. Hours were short, but it was cheap,
1993: joined a fancy gym near work in DC that was subsidized by the Navy ($250 a year). Pool, sauna, towel service, classes, racquetball, volleyball, basketball...you know, very nice.
1997: moved to Cali and joined Gold's Gym: $50/month (for two). No pool.
2006ish: Gold's bought by Spectrum, which is a little bit fancier (the towel service was added), and we were up to $100/month (for two). Still no pool. I didn't know how to swim, so I didn't care. A spin room and a fitness room, so many choices in classes.
2008: got talked into leaving Spectrum (after 11 years) for relatively new 24-hour fitness. Small pool (2 lanes, 12.5 yds long.) I still don't care, because I still can't swim. Only one fitness room, shared. So only one class at a time. No classes on Tuesday/Thursday mornings. Pre-pay $1200 for 3 years, 400/year, or $33.33 a month.
May 2011: renewed our membership for $99/year each, or $16.50 a month. But now, I know how to swim. Do you know how many gazillon laps you need to swim in a 12.5 yd pool when you want to swim 700-1000 yds? A lot. Too many to count.
July 2011: Joined the YMCA. 25 yd, 6 lane pool - with ACCESS for KIDS SWIM (24 hour fitness does not have that). Many classes, spin room, 3 fitness class rooms, free child care, parent's night out, summer camp, evening child care, swim lessons, soccer and T-ball, family camping trips. $99/month. I really fought joining for awhile. Especially at $99 a month. But boy, it hasn't even been a week, and we've used it a LOT. I think the amount of activities that we will be getting will make up for it.
Case in point: swim lessons. We have paid anywhere from $18 to $35 for a 20 min swim lesson. The Y swim lessons for members are $37.50 for 5 weeks, or $7.50 per lesson ($50 discount for being members).
Another case in point: Parent's night out. We don't have a babysitter. We occasionally swap child care with other families, but that can be difficult. Parent's night out is $20 for 5 hours, and includes snacks, pizza, games, and a movie.
When my husband travels, I am unable to get to the gym. It is also difficult for me to work out in the morning (tired, and my son wakes up too early). I traveled this week, and my kid was "let's go to the gym!" So spouse got to do a swim class and take him swimming on the first day, and work out for an hour on the second day. I think I can get used to this.
Have you ever changed your gym or your exercise habits to fit a new life or lifestyle? It was time for me to embrace parenthood and become a joiner.