I recently read a post on 10 different ways to waste money on your kids. For some reason the premise of that list doesn’t feel right but regardless, I think I went along with maybe two out of the ten items on the list and questioned the rest.
The one that really had me do a double-take said, that one should not to get the family passes as they are a waste of money.
The article laid it out as if families were buying family passes to each attraction within a 50 mile radius and not ever using one. Yes, I have to hand it to the author that that would be a waste of money.
It doesn’t work for us like that. Nor, do I believe it works for most other families buying these family passes also known as memberships.
In my book “How to become a millionaire in 10 years, and how we did it in 13” I actually pose the opposite. In the chapter on “Keeping expenses down” one of the biggest money savers (at least for my family it is) is the memberships.
We are that family that has memberships to many of our local attractions. We have memberships to the major museums (including the art museum), local parks and even a petting farm. I can tell you; these memberships are NOT a waste of money. Not only do we save a lot of money getting these memberships, the money we do spent is certainly not wasted on the kids.
My wife and I enjoy the arts but beyond that the Milwaukee Art Museum also offers workshops for children of all ages. I’m sure if you look into your own city’s art museum you’ll find that yours probably also offers a children’s program.
Our kids know more about science and engineering at the age of 4 and 6 than I did at the age of 14: compliments of our local Discovery world. There my kids learn about leverage, water consumption, combustion engines and most importantly what it feels like to lie on a bed of nails
Our kids have more compassion for animals and at the same time are fully aware of where milk and meat comes from: compliments from our local petting farm. The kids get to pick up the chickens and pet the goats and many more animals. This farm is visited by me and our kids ever Sunday for as long as the season permits. And to close the season we all get to pick our own pumpkin.
Our kids know more about bugs, butterflies, dinosaurs, stalagmites, stalactites, glaciers, DNA and the Inuit than I ever knew: compliments of the Milwaukee Public Museum.
Not only do our kids have loads of fun out at all these local attractions, they also get tremendous growth out of visiting these places. Oh and by the way most of them, I enjoy them myself quite a bit too.
If forming you’re children’s view on the world around them is not enough or considered a waste of money, let’s talk dollars and cents for a minute. We as a family happen to frequent many of the places we own memberships often so it makes a huge difference for us. If you read on though you’ll find it doesn’t take that many visits.
The following table contains all of our memberships along with it the number of visits and costs associated. The first column of cost represents the cost associated to buying individual tickets to each of these institutions/attractions. The second column of cost represents the costs for us using our memberships.
I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves. We save over $4000.00 annually by buying memberships to all of the attractions we frequent.
Yes we visit these places a lot but, it doesn’t take 10 visits to make your money back on either one of these memberships. In some cases it only takes a second visit to start saving.
Take the Milwaukee Discovery world membership: A single visit of our family (two adults, two kids) will run us $59.00 plus $7.00 for parking. That is $66.00 for a single visit. A membership has cost us $85.00 up to date (it will go up next year). It takes only a second visit to Discovery world to not only make back your membership but save $47.00 in the process. Two visits made buying a membership worth every penny. If we do the same thing with the Zoo, you’ll see that there it only takes 3 visits to start saving money by buying a membership.
For most of the memberships it doesn’t take more than 2 to 3 visits to start seeing a return on your investment. Did you also know that many of these membership will get you in for free or at great discounts of many of its sister organizations across the country?
So my recommendation would be that if you visit a local attraction and you think you may go back at least once more within the next 365 days, check their website and consider a membership. Of course first do the math on whether it will be worth it.
In my book I talk about how we cut over $20,000 from our expenses annually, this was just one of them.
Good luck reaching your financial goals.