When belt-tightening time arrived in our household, one obvious monthly expense was the first to go: gym membership.
We were paying $63 a month for the YMCA's family membership. When we originally joined in 1999, it was in the $50s and a bargain, since both adults got full fitness center access, and the child care room, which was and still is a great play center, was free. We got discounts on swim lessons and camps, and it was nice to use other YMCAs when traveling.
But over the years we have outgrown our need for it. My husband prefers to ride his bike in the great outdoors, so he never used the gym. The kids can now swim, and my older one is stuck in that age where he's too big for the baby and toddler play room but not old enough for the teen room.
And to be honest, I wasn't working out enough there to justify the cost. I was paying, as comedian Christian Finnegan calls it, a "fat tax" to a place I rarely exercised.
The average gym member logs a little more than 90 visits a year. At my gym that came to $7.75 a visit. It's hard for me to justify spending that money for something that can easily be done outside for free.
The only problem in Florida is that it's so muggy and miserable for a good portion of the year, so I might be tempted to go back to an air-conditioned space soon. But this time I will be looking for something a little easier on the budget, such as an aerobics or yoga class just for me.
— Sharon Kennedy Wynne