VIDEO: Money-Saving Tip – Clubs

Posted In: Airstream, RV Lifestyle, Video

Let’s face it: the current economy is one giant financial dump station. How bad is it? I’m thinking about moving most of my investments away from the stock market and toward canned food items and ammunition. We might even bury our Airstream in the backyard and start using it as an apocalypse shelter.

Okay, things are pretty bad. But they’re not that bad. Recent economic activity resembles a dead dog on a freeway during rush hour, but people are still living their First World lives. It’s only a matter of time before Apple announces the next iPhone. Tell me – how bad can it really be when people are willing to CAMP OUTSIDE STORES for a freakin’ phone? In other parts of the world, people are fighting for surplus cans of pickled pig’s feet. Here people are fighting for the latest version of Angry Birds. But I digress.

Any way you slice it, the economy stinks – so why not share some money-saving ideas? I’ve always been a big believer in FRUGALITY. Whatever your net worth may be, it will be EVEN GREATER if you know how to use it wisely. Once, as a bearded, smelly twenty-something, I toured several European countries like Austria, Italy, and Czechoslovakia. It cost me about $30. Granted, I came home with a few extra fleas, but I learned how to stretch out a few measly dollars for days at a time.

Sometimes I joke about being a cheapskate. But it’s really not about being “cheap” per se; it’s about being SMART. There’s a word for people who are frivolous with their money. That word is “stupid.”

Let’s start by examining CLUBS. I’m not talking about sipping an Arnold Palmer down at the golf course while wifey takes tennis lessons from the buff young stud. I’m talking about those vast marketing organizations we join that promise to somehow save us money.

First up: COSTCO. Is Costco a “club?” In a sense, yes Costco is a club. You pay an annual membership fee in exchange for a variety of benefits.

I’m a Costco FANATIC. (Full disclosure: I own Costco stock – and even in the current climate, it’s doing okay!) Quality products, great prices, and free food samples – what more do you need? We buy anything and everything at Costco. Costco buyers negotiate excellent prices up front, and then they pass those prices along to members. It’s said that Costco will NEVER mark up an item more than 14% above its own price. Joining Costco, if you have the opportunity, is a no brainer. One big ticket purchase like a TV and your annual membership fee is covered.

Next up: AMAZON PRIME. Lately I’m buying more stuff from Amazon than any other vendor. Any why not? With my Amazon Prime membership, we get two-day shipping on most items. Purchase prices are typically lower than we’d find locally, and in our state we pay no sales tax! So the formula is as follows: low price, free shipping, no tax. It’s unbeatable, really.

Plus, with Amazon Prime we get a host of other benefits. The most useful for us are the music service and the video service – both are excellent! It’s like getting Netflix and Spotify as a bonus.

FULL DISCLOSURE: we are Amazon affiliates, so if you buy your Prime membership through our links, we get a few shekels from Jeff Bezos. But I would be recommending Prime anyway, especially if you live in a state that cannot tax your purchases. You can buy just about ANYTHING on Amazon, from coffee to computers, so this paves the way for convenient tax free shopping.

What about GOOD SAM CLUB? It all depends. Do you intend to do a LOT of camping in privately owned full hookup campgrounds? If so, it makes sense to join Good Sam Club. We’ve had some good experiences (albeit not our best experiences) at those parks. When we are doing a lot of travel, our Good Sam membership covers itself. We are members of Good Sam Club and feel the basic club membership is a good value.

Note that some (not all) campgrounds will honor AAA membership discounts as well as Good Sam Club. So if you are a AAA member, you reap some of these discount rewards too.

What about PUBLIC LIBRARIES? These aren’t technically “clubs,” but you pay your membership fees in taxes whether you use them or not. So you might as well use them. These days, a well run library is a source for all sorts of media. In addition to books, you can get movies, music, and Internet – it’s a media moocher’s paradise. Is that what Ben Franklin had in mind?

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