Thursday, October 21, 2010

Use your memberships wisely

Since I started talking about memberships yesterday, I thought I'd continue in the same theme today.

If you do decide to purchase a membership (or annual pass), make sure you use it wisely. What do I mean by that? Well, aside from ensuring you'll get your money's worth (i.e. visiting the place enough times), there are some other things you can do.

A few ideas:
- Check online or call and ask about member specials - for example, one of the museum memberships we own allows for free entrance into special events, another offers member only early entrance hours

- See if you can save money on other local attractions with your membership (I touched on that yesterday, but often even non-related attractions will offer a discounted rate)

- Ask if you can get friends/ family members in for a reduced price

- Check to see if there are discounts on classes or workshops - several places we've been members of offer children's programs at a discount for members - the kids have loved attending those!

- When you do visit, pack your lunch or a snack and remind your kids that you aren't buying items in the gift shops. It kind of defeats the purpose of saving money by going frequently if you pay an arm and a leg for concession food or toys. Our kids are so used to bringing our lunch they don't mind at all - it's like a "picnic" for them. As for gift shops - I'm not sure they know they exist as we avoid them!

Finally - use them! If you are on a limited budget consider asking for a membership for a Christmas or Birthday gift, and then GO!!! If you can only afford one a year, rotate locations for variety each year. To me, the best part of having a museum membership is I feel like we can go for a few hours, enjoy ourselves and then leave - it doesn't have to be an all day event and I don't have that pressure of "getting my money's worth" by staying all day!

Check out Frugal Friday at Life as Mom for more ideas!

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