There are plenty of organizations out there that claim that it’s worthwhile joining their ranks. It’s important to evaluate a membership to make sure it makes sense for your particular needs. Even when you have to pay, there are times when a membership makes sense and you can get much more value back than you pay in. Here are a few memberships that it might be worth paying for:
Amazon Prime was a huge hit when it first came out and people who regularly use Amazon for shopping purposes will gladly recommend the program. It does cost $79 a year (cheaper if you’re a student), so you have to make sure this is something you’ll actually take advantage of using. If you’re buying from Amazon weekly or monthly and you estimated shipping costs for the year amount to over $79, then go for it! You get free two-day shipping as well as access to certain free streaming movies, TV shows, and ebooks. There are also a lot of other ways to save money at Amazon.
While AAA does require a yearly membership fee, their services far outweigh the membership cost. Are you planning on traveling? Not only will they help you plan your trip, but they’ll provide you with free maps and a free passport picture. While they’re known for the automotive services, they also have plenty of retail discounts for clothing, entertainment, and electronics. It’s worth the time to check out the list of discounts and services they provide for members.
Warehouse clubs such as Costco (although there are also reasons not to shop at Costco), Sam’s Club, or BJ’s might have steep membership fees, but the amount of money you can save shopping there will end up being worth it. While shopping at warehouse clubs isn’t feasible for everyone, there are some great deals to be found. A lot of items sold at these stores are priced more cheaply than they are in supermarkets or convenience stores. Also, some of the warehouses, such as Costco, can help you save money on tires and gas. Considering the rising gas and car maintenance prices, this is definitely not a bad thing!
If you or someone in your family has served in the military, you’re eligible to join the United Services Automobile Association (USAA). They offer very competitive banking rates, various low rate insurances, and various low rate loan programs. They also offer ATM fee rebates, free towing, and free car battery recharging. When ranked against all financial service companies, USAA has consistently achieved the highest customer satisfaction ratings.
CityPass only works in certain North American cities, but it’s a great deal if you either live in one of those cities or plan to travel to more than one during the year. A CityPass membership allows you unlimited access into certain museums, zoos, aquariums, or historical sites. The price varies by city and there’s a separate price for children and adults. If you’re someone who plans on visiting any of the participating attractions more than once a year, it’s worth the money. For instance, if one pass is $50 and each of the six museums covered under the pass has an entrance fee of $15, you’re already saving $40. Just think of how much you’ll be saving if you make a second trip!
While LinkedIn is free, they do offer additional membership packages. Signing up for a premium account is especially useful if you’re recruiting employees or doing an intensive job search. A premium accounts allows you to network without people outside your immediate network. It also allows you to view more posted jobs in addition to seeing who is viewing your profile. Singing up for a premium account might not get you a new job, but it will definitely give you more opportunities to network and get your name out there.
A lot of people encourage anyone turning 50 to sign up for AARP. The program offers significant discounts to seniors such as 10% off deals for hotel rentals or other vacation deals, discounted dining options, and savings on insurance plans or utility services. The yearly membership cost is only $16 a year, so the overall benefits definitely outweigh the initial cost.
There are plenty of vacation resorts or theme parks that offer vacation club memberships. Disney, for instance, offers a membership package that provides you with discounts on dining options, merchandise, hotel and travel accommodations, and special events. Other vacation resorts offer similar discounts for customers who are frequent visitors. Of course, these types of memberships will only pay for themselves if you have the luxury of being able to vacation frequently. If you’re someone who can visit a theme park or resort a couple of times a year, a vacation club membership might be a great idea.
Netflix has been a popular for a while now, and for a good reason since it’s made renting or streaming a video more convenient for the public. If you’re not able to pay for cable each month, the $7.99 monthly fee should be the answer to all your problems. For that low fee, you can watch as many TV shows and movies as you like. Fortunately, Netflix seems to be acquiring the rights to new shows and movies all the time, so all your favorite popular shows will probably be there. Netflix is an inexpensive alternative to paying high cable TV fees.
Depending where you live, there might be a food club you can sign up for. These groups usually charge a small fee, but will end up saving you more money on groceries. Food or grocery clubs are similar to co-ops and often offer members discounts on fresh produce or other foods.
(Photo courtesy of derek7272)