Cheapest Gym for Families: YMCA

Are you looking for the best bang for your buck when it comes to a gym?  If so, you should definitely check out your local YMCA.  We belong to the Greater Naples YMCA and I love it, even with the chaos of renovating after the fire.


Over the past 8 years, Tom and I have been members of 6 gyms, and 4 of them have been the YMCA.  We have come to find that the Y is the cheapest gym for families.  Each Y is different when it comes to child care, but one thing they have all had in common is a low family membership that includes childcare.  I’ve seen family memberships range in price from $70-100, compared to other private gyms with childcare that start around $55 a month per person.  Here are the reasons why I love the YMCA and will never go back to another gym.

  • Kid friendly!  Your membership fee gives you discounts on all the kids activities from summer camp to swim lessons.  And you aren’t limited to your gym, you can get discounts on all YMCAs throughout your county.  Ours even has a Mom’s Day out program for $20 a day.  You can’t beat 5 hours of childcare for $20.
  • Free childcare with family membership.  Personally, I would much rather attend fancy Pilates and yoga studios, maybe even go to a few Pure Barre classes.  But what would I do with Robert?  Pilates, Yoga and Pure Barre run from $10-20 a class and DON’T offer child care.  I’ll take a YMCA yoga instructor any day if I get free childcare.  Plus, most of the Y instructors work at the fancy upscale studios too.  Why pay more for the same instructor?
  • Did I mention free childcare?  I have to admit that I have sat in the locker room for up to an hour after working out, just so I can extend my child free moment.
  • No cancellation fee.  We have moved several times and the only gym that doesn’t charge cancellation fees has been the Y.  When we moved away from Gold’s Gym we had to keep paying until our contract ended.  What a hassle and waste of money!  With the Y, all you do is turn in a form and your membership card.  It is that easy!
  • Free childcare.  I can’t say this one enough!
  • Tons of reasons to waive the joining fee.  We have never paid a joining fee for the Y.  Of course, they tell you there is a fee, but there are always reasons to waive it.  Ask when they plan to have a free joining day and sign up then.  One of ours waived it with a donation of a used book.
  • It’s community based.  Every Y is different and is catered to meet the needs of your community.
  • Abraham Lincoln liked the Y.  He signed the original charter over 160 years ago.   You can’t argue with Lincoln.
  • I consider the free childcare to be part of Robert’s social calendar.  If we don’t have a play date scheduled, you can find us at the gym.  I can’t guarantee that I’ll be working out.  In fact, you may find me hiding in a bathroom stall, catching up on texts or Facebook.

The YMCA is not for everyone.  I don’t think it is the best budget friendly gym if you don’t have kids.  There are tons of gyms that offer the same, if not better, services without childcare.  Make a list of your needs before joining a gym so you can make sure to get the best bang for your buck.  Your needs may not be the same as mine.  One thing I know for certain is that in every town we’ve lived in, the YMCA is by far the best and cheapest gym for families.

How do you save money with gym memberships?  Do you love the Y as much as me? 



  1. Beth says:

    We wanted to say THANK YOU for the shout out about our Y! We love it too! (And stay tuned..Barre classes are coming at the new Y, along with more pilates and yoga as we’ll have more room to program from.) Not to mention classes for families where kids as young as 2 can participate in exercise classes. We have a lot coming and appreciate the support!!

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