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Tightwad Tuesday – bulk fun in more ways than one.

Big families mean big fun. But going fun places can be hard on the budget.

Tightwad Tuesday is hosted by Mary at Raising 4 godly men.

One thing we do is invest in memberships to our favorite places. 

For me to take Ashley and the four younger children to the zoo is $40 and it is almost $50 if Kyle comes too.
A year long membership to the Zoo at the lowest family level costs $69.  It is a cost savings of nearly $30 if we use the Zoo twice in a whole year.

For the art Museum it would cost  the kids and I $24 and $34 if Kyle is with us.   The membership is $65 with $40 tax deductible.   Here we only need to go 3 times and the whole year is paid for.

The children’s Museum is $48 for one trip for the kids and I $54 with Kyle and a membership is $80 but only covers four children so we might spend $8 out of pocket each visit, but the pass is still covered after two visits.

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry breaks down like this:  $49 for the kids and I, $60 if dad is with us,  the family plus plan allows for four child and one guest (the other child can be the guest) and costs $115 but comes with some nice perks.  Again two visits and we are covered.

Even our local pool/community center is a deal.  It would cost the children and I $16.75 to go swimming once, the annual pass is $38.25 a month which includes the fitness center, drop in activities and roller skating.   It makes for a good deal considering we love swimming and the center has a lovely indoor pool which we use year round.

The real payoff for these passes isn’t just that they are cost savings, but that they are also incentives to use our favorite places more.  We don’t mind going to the zoo for a couple hours for a picnic dinner after Kyle gets off work when we just have to flash the pass and walk in.  

These also make great gifts.  My parents have given us zoo passes for  Christmas each year and we love getting them.   If your parents are the type to ask for “hints” memberships are a wonderfully easy solution for the whole family.  Check with your employer (or husband’s employer) to see if the company has a discount arrangement with the institution – some do.  Some institutions also offer discounted rates for lower income families.

The only warning I would like to offer is to check the membership restrictions to make sure that your family membership will cover your family and that there aren’t “black out times” or other restrictions which diminish the usefulness of your membership. 

But next time you are considering a fun outing for your family consider purchasing a membership instead of tickets.

Blogs I Know · Catholic Homeschooling · Fun

Like a wave or something

The Great Wave off Kanagawa, Katsushika Hokusai 

Frugality, it is sweeping the nation like some sort of wave or something.  I laughed when I heard this on NPR yesterday.   Featured on the  Your Money segment was Natalie McNeal, who’s blog is The Frugalista Flies: The frugal side of fabulous.  I haven’t really checked it out.  I am not, and really have no pretensions to being, “fabulous”.  Since I don’t do manicures or club-nights to start with I am not about to give them up.  But I still love the idea of the blog.   Especially for single women I think there is a lot of pressure to be “in” and to have and do all those things that everyone else is doing.

One thing Natalie said yesterday was that letting your family and friends know you are tightening the budget will help you stay on the wagon.  It is true.  In fact I will go one further and say, “Your girlfirends are probably shuddering over their Visa statements too. If you say, ‘Hey, I am cutting back on spending let’s go to the free concert in the park instead of the club this weekend?’ you might find them grateful.”

One other thing she mentioned was acountablity and how blogging about her budgetting adventures helped her stay on track.  I completely agree with that, which is one reason I started my 40 Trash Bag Challenge.  Just knowing that people who read my blog will see the progress (or lack there of) with my de-cluttering efforts is a huge incentive to keep going with it.