Using Memberships to Save Money
Do you like to visits museums, zoos, aquariums, and other historical or educational places? Then a membership could easily save you money. This is especially true for families. As the price of everything continues to rise, saving money wherever you can is becoming more and more important.
We have always loved having memberships to places and we would frequently request them as gifts. This meant that even if we were too broke to do anything else, we could still visit places like the zoo or science and nature museums for free. We budget in a membership to at least one place every year. We typically rotate memberships between several different places so that we don't get tired of one place.
As for saving money, for our family of 6 we typically recoup the cost of a membership somewhere on the second visit. For smaller families it will probably take longer, but it could still be very worth it. Many times places will offer perks upfront to entice you to join. Taking advantage of these perks makes the membership an even better deal. For example, we received 2 tickets to an IMAX movie with one of our memberships - something that would have cost $20 otherwise.
Other benefits to memberships include free or reduced parking, discounts at the gift shop or cafeteria, free passes so that you can bring guests for free and t-shirts or other items like the movie passes I mentioned above. If you like to travel, or will be traveling to a different area, many places will offer reciprocal memberships. This means that if you have a membership at one place, you can get in free at many other places around the country.
Typically there is a distance of 90 miles or so between places that offer reciprocal memberships, but if you visit other areas often this is a great way to see more than one place for free. Specifically say you are traveling to Kentucky from Tennessee and want to visit a science museum there. Check into what places near you offer reciprocal memberships and you could either join a science museum near you in order to get in free to the one in Kentucky or join the one in Kentucky and enjoy the reciprocal benefits back in Tennessee when you get home.
Next time you go to a museum or zoo, before you pay for your admission check out the different membership levels. You might be surprised at the savings you can have by purchasing a membership. if you don't want to decide ahead of time, many places will allow you to use the individually purchased tickets towards a discount in your membership fee later. Memberships are a great way to support places and save you money in the long run.