When the summer months begin, pool membership is a must for several families. However, at what cost does pool membership come, and is it worth it for you? Let’s talk.
The average pool membership costs anywhere from $300 to $850 for the entire summer. Many families find that the cost of a pool membership is well worth the price because it allows their children to play, socialize, and get in a healthy dose of exercise outside of the house.
Still not sure if a pool membership is right for you? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of having a pool membership, as well as the pros and cons of installing and having your own pool.
Average Cost of Pool Membership
As mentioned above, pool memberships can cost anywhere from $300 to $850 a summer. Depending on your financial circumstances, this price could either be far too much or well worth the cost. Ultimately, getting the most out of your pool membership depends on how often you utilize your membership.
I took the time to organize an online poll to gather people’s opinions regarding pool memberships.
One user commented that their family used the pool enough times a week and calculated that each visit cost them about $20 and roughly $3.50 per person. This user commented that even though $500 seemed like a hefty price upfront, the activity and fun for the summer were worth the admission price.
To give you a real-life example, I have a membership to the Lifetime indoor and outdoor pools that costs $140 per month, or $520 for the summer. Although I primarily swim in the outdoor pool, I occasionally swim in the indoor pool during the winter months as well. In my opinion, this membership cost is very reasonable, especially when combined with the gym amenities.
Now that you know how much you can expect to pay, let’s talk about some pros and cons of having a pool membership. Hopefully, learning about these will help you decide what to do!
Pros of Having a Pool Membership
As mentioned before, many families like having a pool membership because it can simplify summer and lessen its expenses overall. Some users have commented that since they paid for a pool membership, their kids rarely want to spend money on something else that could be much more expensive. In addition, having a pool membership keeps the kids busy and active in a very healthy way. This also means they will likely eat better at mealtimes and sleep better at night—a perk any parent would enjoy—because they are exhausted from all that swimming.
Another reason you might want to join your local pool is that you (as well as your kids) will be able to reap the benefits health-wise. This applies not only to your physical health but to your mental health as well. Swimming is a great way to clear the mind and focus on strengthening your body. Having a pool membership is one way to swim frequently without worrying about maintaining a swimming pool at home.
Having a membership at your local pool also means you won’t have to spend gas money trying to go somewhere else. The summer months can be brutally hot, and it’s never fun to have to trek around to find some way to cool off. Having a pool membership will make it possible for you to stay close to home but still have a nice, cool summer play option nearby too. Plus, it will keep you and your kids busy and make the heat a little easier to bear.
Cons of Having a Pool Membership
Obviously, the number one dealbreaker for most people is the price. $500 is a lot of money to spend on a pool, especially if you cannot get your money’s worth out of it. Many families start the summer off strong with four visits a week to their pool. Unfortunately, this can get old a lot quicker than is desired.
Of course, some families are real pool fanatics and love to be in the water as much as possible. Though, for many, four visits a week can get a bit excessive. If your kids start to get sick of the pool, you might find yourself running out of ideas and ways to keep them cool and entertained. If you don’t end up going to the pool as often as you planned, that money you paid upfront will go to waste.
Another downside is the fact that not all pools are created equal. There are plenty of pools out there that are clean and well-maintained, but it’s not always the same story. If your local community pool is not well-kept, you probably don’t want your kids swimming in what could potentially be very filthy water. If you are germaphobic, a swimming pool membership might not be the thing for you.
Pool Membership vs. At-Home Pool: What’s More Costly?
Now, if you are going to be paying anywhere from $300 to $850+ on a pool membership year after year, you might think, “would it be better just to install an at-home pool?” Or, “in the end, would it cost the same, or even save me money, to have my own pool?”
If you find that you don’t want to get a pool membership but would rather have your own pool, you’re in for a potentially wild ride. It is undoubtedly a costly option, but that does not mean you should discount this alternative entirely. For this reason, let’s go over how pool membership costs compare to at-home pool costs.
Many people might choose to install a swimming pool of their own simply because it is a much more convenient way to have fun in the sun. However, the costs associated with pool installation and maintenance are much higher than having a pool membership.
First, let’s address the installation costs. These costs vary based on the size of your pool, your property, and the building materials.
If you opt for fiberglass, you should expect to pay anywhere from $28,000 to $60,000 depending on the pool’s size. Of course, the larger the pool, the more you will have to pay for it. Vinyl is a tad less expensive than fiberglass, at $28,000 minimum and $40,000 maximum (hopefully no more).
Concrete is the most expensive, at $50,000 for small pools and up to $100,000 for larger pools (source). So if you plan to add any fancy upgrades to your pool, such as a waterfall or hot tub, you can probably expect to add several thousands of dollars extra to that installation bill. And this doesn’t include the labor costs. Yikes.
The material cost combined with yearly maintenance costs can create a pretty hefty price tag. However, is it possible that the pros might outweigh the cons in this situation? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of having an at-home swimming pool!
Pros of Having an At-Home Pool
Like having a pool membership, a swimming pool can provide your family with a nearby, convenient way to get in plenty of summer exercise. With an at-home swimming pool, you can keep the kids busy without the hassle of having to pack up and go somewhere. Instead of filling the car with towels, sunscreen, food, and other essentials, you can slip into your bathing suit, walk out the back door, and jump into the water. This is an easy, fun way to cool off during the summer.
As far as cost is concerned, it is not a cheap venture, but it is cheaper to install pools nowadays than it has ever been before. You will have to maintain your pool yearly and get the lining replaced from time to time, but if you have maintained it well enough, your pool will serve you well for up to 50 years! After the initial installation cost, this seems like a pretty good deal. If you were to spend $500 a summer for a pool membership for 50 years, the price would come out to $25,000. So, you can instead pay that much upfront and have your very own pool right at your house!
Not only is a pool great for your physical and mental health, but it also adds to the aesthetic of your yard. A pool contributes a beautiful splash of blue to any well-manicured yard. Plus, it makes a beautiful and comfortable spot to read a few chapters poolside or soak up the sun. Your neighbors will think you’ve got the coolest house on the block if you choose to invest in a swimming pool.
Quite possibly, the largest perk of an at-home pool is all of the family time that you will have. Having a pool means there will be ample opportunity for get-togethers on both weekdays and weekends. It will create a fun environment that every member of your household can enjoy and take advantage of.
Cons of Having an At-Home Pool
There are a few downsides to owning a swimming pool that could change your entire outlook on the matter. For one thing, the cost to install and maintain a swimming pool can be tremendously large. In truth, simply spending $500 on a summer-long membership at a local pool would be far less of a hassle than breaking out a full-on construction project right in your backyard and breaking the bank.
Safety might also be an issue with a pool in your yard and just another reason to invest in a pool membership. If you have a household with little ones, there is the risk of them wandering into the backyard and falling in. This is a real risk and could be potentially heartbreaking if something were to happen. At a public pool, parents can have eyes on their kids—as well as the lifeguards—and not have to worry as much about them drowning.
Additionally, a pool requires maintenance. Maintenance doesn’t have to be your problem at a public pool, so you can focus solely on enjoying the benefits of cooling off in the water. At home, you are the one who’s going to have to use the skimmer, pay for pumps and filters, and any other maintenance costs a pool might incur. If you fail to take adequate care of your pool, you will find dead bugs, dirt, and possibly algae growing in it, and that could potentially lead to health issues/concerns.
Finally, you have to ask yourself, what is the point if you do not have the luxury of time to lounge around in your pool? If you end up too busy to be in it, that is a significant waste of your money and time. The nice thing about a pool membership is that you can go at your leisure. That way, you don’t have to worry about spending money on a swimming pool that you rarely use.
In short, although swimming pools can be enjoyable, they come at an expensive cost. So if you are looking for a cheaper, albeit somewhat unpredictable alternative, a swimming pool membership might be more worth your time.
Alternatives to Pool Memberships & At-Home Pools
Aside from an at-home swimming pool, several other alternatives to getting a swimming pool membership are also available. If you are looking for cheaper than membership ideas, you can do a couple of things. Some water-themed amusement parks will only require you to pay $65 to $100 for a season pass, a far cry from the $500 you’d have to pay for a pool membership (source).
Water parks tend to be more difficult for families with young children, especially. Still, if you’re looking to save money, it’s not a bad alternative to the local pool. The only reason this choice might not be for you is if you are more of a get-in-the-water person. If that’s the case, you may want to consider looking elsewhere for your summer fun.
If you would prefer not to spend a lot of money on something that could potentially only last one summer, you could always spend $100 to $200 or so on an inflatable pool that you can put up and take down in your yard. This way, you’ve got a pool that you can access at your own home without having to undertake any significant maintenance. Often, this is the perfect solution for families with little kids.
If you want to go cheaper still, check out any lakes or ponds near you. Most places usually only charge a few dollars per car per day, which will ensure at least five or more hours of fun for you and your family. There are no severe downsides to visiting the lake, except for those who might have a problem swimming in water with fish. The sand may also pose a bit of a messy issue, but if you’re willing to overlook that, the lake is a great option.