Just How Much Is This Going to Cost

Pick a number between $99 and $9,999 and you've narrowed the price of joining a gym. (Needless to say, the latter figure would indeed include shampoo and towels!) In other words, the cost of a health club membership can vary widely, even within the same gym, since there are peak and off-peak memberships, month-to-month or annual contracts, and several options in between.

What's this about a month-to-month contract, you ask? Well, many clubs offer them, and they have several advantages over an annual contract:

>- You won't have to lay out a lot of cash when you join.

> If you're not comfortable with the gym, just finish out the month, and you won't feel a financial pinch.

> Ditto if you move, travel a lot, get injured, or are abducted by aliens.

But there's always another side of the coin, isn't there? Here are some of the disadvantages of having a month-to-month contract:

> If you continue to work out, it will end up costing you more at the end of the year.

> There's usually an "initiation fee" associated with month-to-month memberships that is often waived or nonexistent with annuals.

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