Why My Monthly Gym Membership Is a Great Deal — Even Though I Don’t Work Out

Mother wrapping blanket around young daughter's shoulders.

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It saves me money in another important way.


Key points

  • I joined a gym recently.
  • I don’t work out but I make use of the membership in another way.
  • It enables me to get work done and save on child care costs.

Recently, I decided to join a gym.

My son had been taking swim lessons there as a non-member for several months, but we hadn’t become members before. There was no discount on the lessons just for membership, and I walk in my neighborhood rather than working out at a gym, so joining seemed like it would make little financial sense.

One big thing changed all that, though — and I discovered the monthly membership was well worth the price. Here’s why.

I joined a gym for this simple reason

I decided to join the gym and charge an annual membership to my credit card because it offers a great child care facility — and up to two hours of daily care is included in the membership price.

The facility has tons of toys and an indoor playground, and we always saw parents dropping off their children, so I decided to look into it and discovered it was a great deal.

While parents are required to stay on-site at the gym while their children are getting care, I didn’t find this to be a problem since I could still make use of the service even though I wasn’t working out. The gym has wifi and a cafe, so I can go and work there for two hours while my son has a great time with the other kids and the toys. Or my husband and I can meet up there for a mid-afternoon “date night” without having to pay for a babysitter.

The child care at the gym works out better for us than putting my son into daycare because most of the daycare facilities here require you to commit to keeping your child enrolled on a regular schedule. We travel often and don’t need child care every week, so we would end up paying a fortune for care we don’t need. The daycares also end up being much more expensive, even for morning care, than the monthly gym membership.

Will this child care hack work for you?

For parents who need occasional care, it may well be worth looking into whether a gym membership could provide the solution. Many local gyms, including some YMCAs, offer supervised child care either as part of the membership dues or for a small fee. And while you likely have to stay at the gym, this could still be a great solution for people who can get remote work done or who can find something they enjoy doing at the facility.

Of course, you’ll want to research the quality of the care your child is provided with and actually do the math to make sure the numbers add up and you’re getting enough value. But this solution was one I never would have come up with if my son wasn’t already attending a lesson there, and it could be just the ticket for other parents who need a brief break but who don’t want to commit to a regular daycare schedule. It’s worth researching your options if it sounds like this could be an approach that would work for your family.

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