Since I started this series last month, we’ve celebrated everything from chocolate and hockey to concerts and backpacking. Today, Pennies and Dollars is here to share with us what he considers his best money spent this
month year. For him, it’s not just about spending well once. It’s about stretching dollars to get the most bang for your buck.
Best Money Spent – Paying For Itself
I’m going to break the rules a little bit, and talk about the best money I’ve spent this year since our family is still reaping the rewards! The best money I spent this year was buying a family membership to our local science center and zoo for $168 in January. Less than a month into it, it had already paid for itself.
But what makes it such a good purchase isn’t the fact that it paid for itself so fast, but the freedom you have to go whenever you want. Countless times now, we’ve swung by the zoo or science center for just an hour because that was all that we could fit in our schedule. We’ve gone several times in the middle of winter just to walk through the small indoor rainforest section in an attempt to break our cabin fever. It was like a mini tropical vacation! Prior to this, we may have gone twice a year- it was just too hard to justify $34 for a single trip on our small “fun” budget, especially when you can do the whole zoo in less than 2 hours.
Extra Perks Home and Away
The memberships also come with little added perks, which are a nice cherry on top. The zoo offers Member Mondays, when members get free train rides and can bring a free guest. The science center also offers various member-only events throughout the year. The membership would be great by itself, but is even better with these little perks.
The memberships also come with reciprocal benefits are great for vacations. We’ve been able to do several fun things on our vacations for absolutely no extra cost thanks to the reciprocal benefits. When you’re trying to do a vacation on a budget, it’s great to have an extra arsenal of free alternatives to all the attractions screaming for your money!
Every state has several participating zoos, science centers, museums, children’s centers and other attractions, so we just keep a list handy on vacation and make a point of primarily hitting up places that accept our membership. We’ve hit the children’s museum in Omaha, Nauticus and the Battleship Wisconsin in Norfolk, the Norfolk Zoo, the Lincoln Children’s Zoo, the Richmond Science Center, and the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids.
Sometimes these reciprocal locations make great pit stops to break up our trip and give us an hour or two to stretch our legs while still entertaining the kids. Other times they can be a destination unto themselves. Either way, it’s nice to always have ‘free’ activities to take the kids to, whether we’re at home or on vacation.
More for Your Money
For someone like me who has a real hard time spending money on fun things without feeling guilty about it (something I’m really trying hard to change), a membership like this is perfect. It gets us out of the house more often. It’s fun for the kids. It gives us quality family time. It gives the kids an opportunity to do lots of hands on learning. And I get the satisfaction of getting real bang for our buck.
So Tell Us…What does your spending look like for November? What is your best money spent?
Note: These memberships seem like the perfect gift idea, too, for people who are trying to shy away from stuff. I’m definitely looking into this for my newphews!
Second Note: If you’d like to join in this series whether you are a blogger or a reader, drop me a note in the comments or connect with me at shepicksuppennies (at) gmail (dot) com.