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Trying to cancel your gym membership can be more tiring than actually attending that kick boxing class you've been avoiding. Getting out of your gym contract can be so difficult, in fact, that people are going to great lengths to avoid paying any penalties. After going into debt living a lifestyle she couldn't really afford, this woman forged fake documents to convince Equinox she had moved out of state. She photoshopped her name onto bills sent to her parents home in Virginia. She hadn't really moved, but it worked and she saved herself over $1,000 in penalties.

But before resorting to forgery, there are a few legal and effective ways to cancel your membership without paying. Most gyms let you cancel free of charge under certain conditions like, illness, relocation, disability, and sudden unemployment. Even if your reasons for canceling fall under those accepted circumstances, it's still not as simple as it might sound. You have to submit "official" proof from your doctor, boss, or submit proof of your new address by showing a lease or bill in your name.

Most people don't take the gym contract they sign as seriously as they should. It's just a gym membership right? How serious could it really be? But it's important to read the fine print before signing ANY contracts.

A contract for a gym membership is legally binding, so it's important to read ALL of the fine print. Understand what you're really getting yourself into, and make sure you know what the conditions are to cancel and how much you'll be charged. And get every interaction you have with gym staff regarding your membership in writing. Some employees might promise more lenient policies than are actually written in the contract.

Not moving, sick, or unemployed? You can still likely cancel without paying.

Most gyms include a clause that allows you to cancel if they stop offering all the services listed in the contract. Did your favorite hatha yoga class get cut from the only time slot you had free to take it? That might just be grounds for legal termination, without paying any fees.

If you're trying to ditch your gym membership because you'll be traveling for a few months, tending to an illness or family emergency, or even just in between freelance gigs, you can also opt to freeze your account instead of canceling it entirely. Most gyms let you stop paying your monthly membership for a certain amount of time, so long as you give them a heads up and plan to renew once the freezing period ends.

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How to get out of your membership if all else fails?

If the cancelation conditions don't apply to you, you're not interested in freezing your account, and you aren't willing to commit forgery, there is another option. If the terms of the contract you signed weren't explained to you before you signed, you can likely get out of it. Legally, cancellation policies have to be explained beforehand.

You can also threaten to take your complaints about the high cancellation fees and unexplained membership contract to social media. Businesses will try to avoid bad online reviews at all costs and will most likely just let you cut ties for free. Again, get every interaction in writing. If they agree to let you out of your membership without paying a penalty, ask for a written letter of acknowledgement.

If you're thinking this all sounds like too much effort and cancelling your credit card or just taking your payment method off your account is a better solution. Think again. Unpaid fees will get transferred to a collection agency. Even if the amount you owe is small, the impact to your credit could be big. It isn't worth it.

Cancel Subscriptions for FreeTrim App

Instead, consider hiring a cancelation service like Trim. This free and convenient service cancels your subscriptions for you, negotiates on your behalf, and gets you better deals on subscriptions you want to keep. Trim will even send your gym a letter requesting to cancel on your behalf. Let them do the haggling for you.

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Over the past month, both Haiti and Afghanistan have been pummeled by tragic disasters that left devastation in their wake.

In Haiti, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake erupted, leading over to 2,189 deaths and counting. A few hours later, in Afghanistan, Kabul fell to the Taliban just after U.S. troops had pulled out after 20 years of war.

In many ways, these disasters are both chillingly connected to US interference. The United States invaded Haiti in 1915, ostensibly promising to restore order after a presidential assassination but really intending to preserve the route to the Panama Canal and to defend US creditors, among other reasons.

But the US forces soon realized that they were not able to control the country alone, and so formed an army of Haitian enlistees, powered by US air power and intended to quell Haitian insurrection against US controls. Then, in 1934, the US pulled out on its own, disappointed with how slow progress was going. Haiti's institutions were never really able to rebuild themselves, leaving them immensely vulnerable to natural disasters.

Something similar happened in Afghanistan, where the US sent troops and supported an insurgent Afghan army – only to pull out, abandoning the country they left in ruins, with many Afghans supporting the Taliban.

In both cases, defense contractors benefited by far the most from the conflict, making billions in profits while civilians faced fallout and devastation. While the conflicts and circumstances are extremely different and while the US is obviously not solely to blame for either crisis, it's hard not to see the US-based roots of these disasters.

Today, in Haiti and Afghanistan, civilians are facing unimaginable tragedy.

Here are charities offering support in Afghanistan:

1. The International Rescue Committee is looking to raise $10 million to deliver aid directly to Afghanistan

2. CARE is matching donations for an Afghanistan relief fund. They are providing food, shelter, and water to families in need; a donation of $89.50 covers 1 family's emergency needs for a month.

3. Women for Women International is matching donations up to 500,000 for Afghan women, who will be facing unimaginable horrors under Taliban control.


4. AfghanAid offers support for people living in remote regions of Afghanistan.

5. VitalVoices supports female leaders and changemakers and survivors of gender-based violence around the world.

Here are charities offering support in Haiti:

1. Partners in Health has been working with Haiti for a long time, and they work with the Department of Health rather than around them, which is extremely important in a charity.

2. Health Equity International helps run Saint Boniface Hospital, a hospital in Haiti close to the earthquake's epicenter.

3. SOIL is an organization based Haiti, "a local organization with a track record of supporting after natural disasters." They are distributing hygiene kits and provisions on the ground to hospitals and to victims of the earthquake.

4. Hope for Haiti has been working in emergency response in Haiti for three decades, and their team is comprised of people who live and work in Haiti. They focus on supporting children and people in need across Haiti.

via Tiffany & Co.

When the new Tiffany's campaign was unveiled, reactions were mixed.

Tiffany's, the iconic jewelry brand which does not (despite what some might be misled to believe) in fact serve breakfast, featured Jay Z, Beyoncé, and a rare Basquiat painting in their recent campaign.

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Road trips can be a lot of fun — but they can also drain your wallet quickly if you aren't careful.

From high gas costs and park admission fares to lodging and the price of eating out every night, the expenses can add up quickly. But at the same time, it's very possible to do road trips cheaply and efficiently. Without the headache of worrying about how much money you're leaking, you can enjoy the open road a whole lot more. Here's how to save money on a road trip.

1. Prepare Your Budget, Route, and Packing List in Advance

If you want to save money on a road trip, be sure you're ready to go. Try to count up all your expenses before you hit the road and create a budget. It's also a good idea to plan your route in advance so you don't end up taking unnecessary, gas-guzzling detours. And finally, be sure to pack in advance so you don't find yourself having to buy tons of things you forgot along the way.

2. Book Cheap Accommodations — Or Try Camping

All those motel rooms can add up surprisingly quick, but camping is often cheap or free, and it's a great way to get intimate with the place you're visiting. You can check the Bureau of Land Management's website for free campsites. Freecampsite.com also provides great information on If you don't have a tent or don't want to camp every night, try booking cheap Airbnbs or booking hotels in advance, making sure to compare prices.

Camping camping road tripConde Nast Traveler

If you're planning on sleeping in your car, a few tips: WalMart allows all-night parking, as do many 24-hour gyms. (Buying a membership to Planet Fitness or something like it also gives you a great place to stop, shower, and recharge while on the road).

3. Bring Food From Home

Don't go on a road trip expecting to subsist on fast food alone. You'll wind up feeling like shit, and it'll drain your pocketbook stunningly quickly. Instead, be sure to bring food from home. Consider buying a gas stove and a coffee pot for easy on-the-go meals, and make sure you bring substantial snacks to satiate midday or late night cravings so you can avoid getting those late night Mickey D's expeditions.

Try bringing your own cooler, filling it with easy stuff for breakfast and lunch — some bread and peanut butter and jelly will go a long way. Bring your own utensils, plates, and napkins, and avoid buying bottled water by packing some big water jugs and a reusable water bottle. Alternatively, try staying at hotels or Airbnbs with kitchens so you can cook there.

4. Avoid Tolls

Apps like Google Maps and Waze point out toll locations, so be sure to avoid those to save those pennies. (If it takes you too far off route, you might have to bite the bullet and drive across that expensive bridge).

You can also save on parking fees by using sites like Parkopedia.

Road Trip Road TripThe Orange Backpack


5. Save on Gas

Gas can get pricy incredibly fast, so be sure that you're stopping at cheap gas stations. Free apps like GasBuddy help you find the most affordable gas prices in the area. Also, try going the speed limit on the highways — anything faster will burn through your tank. Be sure that you don't wait till you arrive at touristy locations or big cities to fill up.

6. Get a National Park Pass

All those parks can get really expensive really fast. If you're planning on visiting three or more parks, it's a great idea to get an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. For $80 you can get into every National Park for one year.