You want to save money. You want to give your kids the best childhood possible. Memberships to playgroups, children’s museums, pools, zoos, science centers, and more can help with that. Before you buy remember these tips.
Tip 1: Find out how close is it to where you live.
Distance determines usability. If it is a place you can get to regularly without added cost then you are more likely to use the membership weekly, or even daily.
*Even a free or membership that people gift to you might cost money. Parking, accessibility, and lunch can cost money if you aren’t prepared. For that reason, the membership might not be worth it, even if it didn’t cost anything upfront.
Tip 2: Check the cost of parking.
The more costs required to visit, the less likely you are to use your membership to its full value. For instance, the membership might be paid for, but if it costs $15 to park every time you go, you most likely will abstain from going every day or even once a week. If parking is free, or you can take the bus, the chances of you going increase exponentially.
Tip 3: What is the occasion for the visit?
You might be traveling into town for a trip or birthday and have no intention of coming back. If you aren’t going to be able to use the membership on more than one or two trips, it might be cheaper to buy the day pass. Do the math before you go. Your budget will thank you. An example of this is the Seattle Children’s Museum versus the Science Center in downtown Seattle. See diagram: the Science Center is cheaper for the membership if you have a large family, even if you only use it once in the year; the Children’s Museum requires three trips to justify the membership cost.
*Example: Seattle Science Center costs as of 2017
Membership: Two adults and up to six kids for $139.99 for the year.
Cost at the gate: Cost of an adult: $21.95 and child is $15.95
$75.80 total for a family of four or $139.60 for two adults and six kids. (A great value if you run a daycare or have a large family).
So if you use the membership twice you save 11.30. Or if you have a large family it is the same for one year or one day access.
Seattle Children’s Museum costs as of 2017
Membership: One adult and one child is $85.00 + $20 per person after that for a total of $125.00 for a family of four’s membership.
Cost at the gate: $11.50 per person, totalling $46 for the visit.
You would have to visit it three times before ever seeing any savings.
Tip 4: Find out how many memberships you already own. The reality is that more isn’t always better. In fact, scientists did a study on membership usage. They gave one group of people unlimited memberships to all the local attractions, while they gave another group a membership to one place. The group that had only one membership went more times than the group that had memberships to everything. The conclusion: if you have too many memberships you are more likely not to use any of them. So stick to one or two memberships a year.
Membership can be the best thing that happens to your family this year. Or it can be a waste of money. Use these tips to save bank and get the most out of your membership.
P.S. Memberships make great gifts! Be on the lookout for our next article on memberships and why to buy them HERE on Friday, December 22, 2017.