Saturday, August 01, 2009

Letting Annual Memberships Expire

In 2008, we had annual membership overload, at the local museum, zoo, aquarium, water park and nature center. Currently, we have the nature center and water park memberships. After this summer, we will no longer purchase a water park membership.

Even if we plan to rejoin, we will let a membership expire, since there is usually no incentive to renew. However, the water park is offering a two for one membership for 2010, with no additional charge for the parking pass. Since there is no family membership, this special enables our family to have a membership at 1/2 the regular pass. This is a pretty good deal, since we can get an annual membership for a little more than the cost of two visits.

I've decided to let this deal pass for the following reasons:

  • Novelty is over. This will be our second year of having the membership. Each year will have attended 10 to 20 times and have experienced most of the attractions in which we are interested. We'll probably attend much fewer time in the future.
  • More flexibility. I feel some obligation to use a membership when we have one. Thus, I may sometimes choose not to pay for similar activities to those in which we have a membership. Not having a membership lets us make choices primarily on the merits of the activity.
  • Financial concern. In my opinion, the water park has had significantly lower attendance this year. In addition, there seem to more elements needing repair this year. I have a small concern that the park may not survive the recession and go out of business, causing advance season pass members to lose their membership payment.
  • Thus, in 2010, we will probably only have a nature center membership. The reason we will keep it is that the cost of summer camp is equal to the cost of a membership plus the discounted member's cost for summer camp. Since we like to have her attend this nature camp, it is cost equivalent to have the membership. Once we stop sending her to camp, we will let the nature center membership expire also.

    For more on Reflections and Musings, check back every Saturday for a new segment.

    This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2009 Achievement Catalyst, LLC


    Grace. said...

    Or, a particularly sneaky way to get the benefits without the payments: enlist the grandparents. I hold "grandparent" memberships in our local zoo and Children's Museum. It's cheaper than a family membership, my kids don't have to pay (but each membership allows 2 additional guests beyond myself and my grandkids, so the parents can come free, as well). I find these memberships cost-effective because I can go for just a couple of hours at a time. I don't feel like we have to stay all day just to get our money's worth.

    Super Saver said...


    Thanks for the tip on grandparent memberships. My in-laws have one at a museum, which allows admission for our daughter. However, our local museums, zoo, aquarium and amusement park don't have grandparent memberships that allow additional guests.

    Also, I agree having the luxury to visit for a couple hours is a great membership benefit.