SC Johnson Family Economics Blog
Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Take Advantage of Promotions to Save Money | Family Economics

By Lynnae

Our family loves to go to museums, zoos, aquariums, and sporting events. But these venues can really put a dent in our wallets, if we're not careful. We've learned to watch the websites of our favorite places for special deals that can really cut the costs of otherwise expensive experiences. Here are the kinds of deals we watch for, so we can afford to do the things we love.

Get in Free Promotions
Recently our family visited the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Normally it would cost our family of four a total of $42 to visit, but we attended during Free Science Days and got in free! Similarly, we'll be visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium in November during Free Homeschool Days.

The best way to find out about special promotions such as these is to pay attention to the websites of your favorite places, sign up for their newsletters, and follow their Facebook pages.

Membership Options
I don't tend to buy a lot of memberships, as we live in a small town, and there really aren't many places we visit frequently enough to warrant a membership. But sometimes they are worth it. For instance, on the above mentioned trip to OMSI, we were able to get a membership at $40 off the regular price. We typically don't go to Portland enough to justify a membership, but we'd only have to use it twice to make it worthwhile.

In addition, many memberships are good at more than one place. Our OMSI membership is good at 250 museums and science centers, including one much closer to home! The same was true for the zoo. If you live in a large metropolitan area, chances are a zoo or museum membership would save you a lot of money over the course of a year, especially if you can get them at a discounted price.

School and Educational Promotions
Over the summer my son earned a ticket to a Portland Trailblazers game from our library's summer reading program. Along with that ticket came an order form for discounted tickets for the rest of the family, so we'll be able to attend the game for less than half the regular cost.

Keep an eye out on the things your children bring home from school. Schools sometimes send home tickets for the circus or local sporting events. When the children get into an event free, it's often worth the price of buying tickets for the parents.

Finally, if you can't find a promotion for the event you'd like to attend, call to see if you can volunteer in exchange for admission. This can be effective in the case of local concerts and sporting events that rely on volunteers to hand out programs and serve as ushers and ticket takers.

If you look hard enough, you can often find a way to attend special places and events at a discount...or even free!

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