Monday, January 20, 2020

Frugal Living - Annual Memberships

I'm not an official finance blogger, but I like to write about what works and what doesn't work.  If it can help someone then great!

Annual Memberships - we started cutting back in March 2019, and we haven't missed the two items cut.

  • We switched back to an old disk software of Microsoft 2013, as long as we can keep this edition working, we won't need an annual membership.  We use it for a few basic household charts:
    • Chore Chart
    • Menu
    • Favorite meal list
    • Bills - we've made our own excel checkbook and monthly budget
  • Executive Costco - got talked into it once by a fast talking manager, never needed it, haven't missed it.
This year I've cut my annual membership to 4-Word Women.  It's a fantastic organization - if you live in a city and can enjoy the events, but I live in a small town and the closest gatherings are in Washington DC.  I have literally never been to a single event as it's 1.5 hour drive, plus meal expenses and they always pick fancy restaurants so the anxiety of dressing for an event, making it on time, and then socializing is just too overwhelming.  I work from home, if it were local coffee house meet ups I'm totally there.  I actually did one coffee shop meet up in Winchester, MD with someone who was trying to build up the chapter, but I never heard from her again.  I haven't read their newsletters in two years so basically I have no reason whatsoever to continue this membership.  

The only memberships we have left are Costco and Amazon Prime.  I've debated these all year and continue to renew, however, they are still under discussion.
  • Costco - we have to drive to Frederick, 30 minutes away over mountains, not an attractive option in the winter, and time consuming.  I plan to try a free pass day at Sams, which is local, to see if I can get similar products.  I'm considering doing Costco quarterly for our favorites and just stocking up.  I really love their credit card, every year our rebate check gets bigger as we put all our expenses on the card and pay it off each month.  They offer 4% back on gas, 3% at restaurants, 3% on travel, 2% for Costco and 1% on all other purchases
  • Amazon - do I really need stuff in 2 days?  I think the days of them being the cheapest are gone, I price compare everything and it's getting harder to find a better deal at Amazon.  I think I only buy from them so I can skip a store run!  I don't watch Prime Video because the offerings are just not that interesting.  I do have their credit card and the cash back almost pays for the annual fee.  This one renews in July so I guess I have some time to evaluate it's value.
Summary - only keep the memberships that are actually providing value to your family!  

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