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Money Moral Dilemma: Should I renew my gym membership even though it's currently closed?

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Money Moral Dilemma: Should I renew my gym membership even though it's currently closed?

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MSE_SarahMSE_Sarah MSE Staff
287 posts
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MSE Staff
This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

It's a long-established local gym and it has asked members to renew, even though it's closed due to coronavirus, in order to keep it viable. I'm 71 and on a limited income, but could afford it without hardship. Yet due to my age, with the Government advising that those aged 70+ are more vulnerable, even when the gym eventually reopens it could be many weeks before I'm able to return. 

Unfortunately the MSE team can't always answer money moral dilemma questions as contributions are often emailed in or suggested in person. They are intended to be a point of debate and discussed at face value. 

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  • JamoLewJamoLew Forumite
    274 posts
    Fifth Anniversary 100 Posts Name Dropper
    May as well just throw the cash out of your window
  • Grumpy_chapGrumpy_chap Forumite
    788 posts
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    I would say don't renew. 

    As you say, you've no idea when you will return and (unless you are really loaded) none of us can afford to just throw the money away.  If the gym is saying to renew to "keep them viable" it sounds like they may not still exist even if you do pay.  If the company currently running the gym fails, the physical building will all be left behind so, presumably, another company will then take over the running of the gym and you can join them when you can return.

    If you have spare cash in the mean-time and willing to part with the gym membership fees for no real personal gain, a charitable donation might be more appropriate.
  • akr0akr0 Forumite
    5 posts
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    You'd be nuts to renew.
  • dunstonhdunstonh Forumite
    101.2K posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Change your gym.   Many have suspended payments whilst they have closed effectively freezing membership to restart when they reopen.    

    That said, Gyms are said to be on the high risk spread areas.  So, they may well be one of the last places to reopen and those in the vulnerable category may wish to avoid them for much longer.

    If the activity at the gym can be moved to an outdoor location or alternative outdoor exercise used, then that may be the best option.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
  • mrpunk50mrpunk50 Forumite
    23 posts
    Eighth Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    They are essentially asking for a charitable contribution to help keep them in business.
    If you feel they are a good local business and part of the community, yadda yadda, then by all means give them your charity.
    Personally, I would sooner give money to a local theatre or arts centre... or, whilst we are at it, a local hospice, food bank, homeless shelter, women's refuge, or other important institution. Even the National Trust would be higher on my list for charitable donations than the gym would be.
  • Neill2407Neill2407 Forumite
    7 posts
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    I wouldn’t renew. If the go bust in the meantime, you will be lucky to get your money back. Nobody knows when gyms will be allowed to reopen neither!
  • kbateskbates Forumite
    1 posts
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    Our local gym has asked the same. Some members have cancelled their membership or put it on hold. Personally, I've kept my membership active as I can afford it at the moment and I would like to ensure the gym is able to reopen when government allows. For me, it's not just about the money. If my gym closed I would have to travel a little further to a different gym, and other local gyms don't have the same standard of equipment. I would say that if you can comfortably afford it and plan on using it in the future, keep your membership going to support the business. 
  • BiscuitHOP49BiscuitHOP49 Forumite
    1 posts
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    I’m in the same position and not sure what to do. My monthly direct debit has been cancelled for three months but swimming is my main form of exercise and I can’t see how it will be safe to restart that activity for over 70s. All my other exercise classes can be done online but I love the club and have been a member for many years.
  • harrietlibertyharrietliberty Forumite
    3 posts
    Tenth Anniversary Combo Breaker First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    Our local gym is not charging people over 70 because they know it will be a long time before it is safe to return. For those of us under 70, they are charging £10 a month and have cancelled the increase that was due in April this year and also promised no increase in 2021. Because I joined 3 years ago I am on a special concessionary rate which is steadily creeping up to the full rate so the freezing of the fees is well worth me paying the £10 a month until we can go back. So instead of paying £50 a month (£28 for my husband who is over 70 and only joined recently) and £22 for me (I'm 63 and joined before they increased the age for concessions from 60 to 65) we're paying £10 a month. And yes, I know that our prices are fantastic value - we have access to the gym, swimming pool and classes for our membership fees and are extremely lucky
  • edited 20 May at 7:31AM
    Roy_The_BoyRoy_The_Boy Forumite
    7 posts
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    edited 20 May at 7:31AM
    Don't pay if you were unable to use the gym for some reason they wouldn't refund your membership. 
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