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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When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.
A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.
One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.
The Federal Reserve
The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.
This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.
The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.
Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.
Frugal gifting often gets a bad reputation. However, this shopping method does not make you cheap — it makes you practical. Frugal gifts often avoid waste and overspending and can be just as meaningful (if not more so) as any other present.
With the National Retail Federation predicting each consumer this holiday season to spend upwards of $1,000 on holiday gifts amidst an economic recession —this year might be the perfect time to reconsider your spending budget. We've formulated the ultimate list of frugal gift-giving ideas to get you started.