JD at Get Rich Slowly has a great post on the shady marketing practices of athletic clubs. This post resonated with me, as Ms. Loonie and I recently checked out a local gym based on a promotional flyer we had received. The flyer basically claimed to offer "$15 per month" to the first 50 new customers, but when we went over the details after taking a tour of the club (which was, admittedly, a very nice facility), we found out that only the $15 applies only to the first two months, after which you are subject to their regular rates. The cheapest option was for us to use the corporate discounts available to our respective employers, and even that would come out to more than $50 per month per person.
Needless to say, we left without signing anything. There just isn't $100 extra in the budget at this point, especially when we already have some basic fitness facilities available to us through our condo.
We've since looked at the flyer that initially piqued our curiosity, and there is some minuscule type that lays out the "first two months" terms, but the advertising still seems quite disingenuous.
We were probably hopelessly naïve to expect a gym membership for $15 per month, but those were the only terms under which we were ready to commit to an ongoing membership. At the very least, we want to make sure that we're able to commit to using our current facilities before making a significant financial commitment.