Australia markets closed

    -27.70 (-0.35%)
  • ASX 200

    -25.40 (-0.33%)

    -0.0020 (-0.30%)
  • OIL

    -0.13 (-0.17%)
  • GOLD

    +30.40 (+1.31%)
  • Bitcoin AUD

    +424.58 (+0.43%)
  • CMC Crypto 200

    -13.87 (-0.98%)

    +0.0005 (+0.09%)

    +0.0012 (+0.12%)
  • NZX 50

    -7.75 (-0.07%)

    +82.88 (+0.42%)
  • FTSE

    -16.81 (-0.21%)
  • Dow Jones

    -57.94 (-0.15%)
  • DAX

    -263.66 (-1.44%)
  • Hang Seng

    -170.85 (-0.94%)
  • NIKKEI 225

    +94.09 (+0.24%)

$1,024 down the drain: Why we pay for gym memberships we don’t use

Man with punching bag and money
Thousands of us are guilty of paying for gym memberships we don't use. (Source: Getty)

Cam Wallen is one of many Aussies paying for gym or fitness memberships they aren’t using regularly enough.

The 30-year-old joined a jiu jitsu gym earlier in the year, and went regularly for a couple of weeks.

But life got in the way - he got sick for a while, and had a string of social events like weddings and birthdays.

Before he knew it, he’d paid $600 worth of membership fees over three months without going to a single class.


He said it was easy to let “little excuses build up” to stop him going, despite the best intentions of returning to a class every week.

Jess Murray has also been paying for a gym membership all year but hasn’t been once.

“They actually sent me a 'sign up now' deal … that's how little I go,” she told Yahoo Finance.

She wasn't exactly sure why she kept paying the membership fees, but suspected she “liked the idea that it's there for me if I want to go”.

Murray also said she felt “less unhealthy if she was tied to the gym”.

It’s not unusual to pay for gym memberships and not go.

A Finder survey found millions of Aussies were overspending on their gym memberships, with 32 per cent spending more than $20 per session.

Around 8 per cent forked out for a gym membership and went once or not at all, pouring $1,024 down the drain (based on the average annual gym membership).

Around 5 per cent of Australians went once every six months - amounting to $512 per session - and 7 per cent every three months, amounting to $256 per session.

Sarah Megginson, senior editor of money at Finder, said some people paid a weekly gym membership in the hope the guilt would be enough to get them into their gym gear.

While gym memberships could be a great investment, she said people should consider whether that money could be better spent if they weren’t going.

“An aspirational membership might feel good to have, but it’s hurting your pocket and not helping your fitness,” Megginson said.

“If you’re not attending regularly, you’re just pouring money down the drain and you’d be better off putting the money in a high-interest savings account or investing it.”

She offered a couple of other tips to save money on fitness:

  • Check the location: You’ll want the gym to be close to your home or workplace

  • Think about what you want to get out of the gym: If you prefer classes, make sure your gym offers them

  • Use free trials: Shop around for free trials and introductory offers in your area

  • Make sure you can afford the weekly payments: And be warned, gyms often have high cancellation fees.

  • Pause your account: Don’t forget to to put your payments on hold while you are on holiday

Follow Yahoo Finance on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter, and subscribe to the free Fully Briefed daily newsletter.