Today I’d like to welcome guest poster Laura Thompson! I know Laura in the “real world” and I’m always impressed with how she does the coolest things on a budget – she has graciously agreed to post here now and then with some of her fantastic tips! Laura is an active Girl Scout Leader and PTO member, she’s passionate about the environment, healthy eating and the great out doors. You can follow her adventures and ideas on Pinterest.
I am often asked how do I afford to do what I do with my children. It is not always easy being that I am a SAHM with no income of my own but I have found ways to make things happen. One of the greatest things that has come along, to me, are deal-a-day sites like Groupon. I have bought and tried more places and things through Groupon than I ever would have otherwise!
To give you an example of a deal that I am most proud of, last fall I purchased a deal to MOSI (the Museum of Science and Industry) in Tampa via Groupon. I paid $49 for a family membership that was good for a year from the date the membership started (the day of our first visit), <em>not</em> the date of purchase. After purchasing the deal I made a “gift certificate,” if you will, using images of MOSI’s logo. I then made the “gift” from Santa – scoring once on the purchase of the deal and a second time because it was a “Santa gift.”
This deal may sound OK but let me tell you how great of a deal it truly was for my family! Most Science Centers across the country are members of the Association of Science – Technology Centers. Holding a membership at any on of the Centers that are a member of the ASTC gives you the opportunity to visit any of the other Centers for FREE. So I have a family pass to MOSI (which we truly enjoy visiting) but with that membership we can use it to visit a number of Centers in Florida including the Orlando Science Center (which is well worth the trip!). By visiting MOSI and the OSC just one time each we made out great on the deal, but it didn’t stop there….
In addition to the FL Science Centers that we’ve visited using our MOSI pass we also used it while on a trip back “home” this summer. I was born and raised in the Philadelphia area, my children were born in Northern VA and my eldest daughter lives in Maryland – we had a lot of ground to cover! The kids and I took a whirlwind five-week long trip up north to not only reconnect with our family and friends but to explore and engage in learning about the different areas we were in. Using our MOSI membership we visited my beloved museum the Franklin Institute – a world renowned Science Center and my most favorite place in Philly for children. But that wasn’t all! We visited two more Centers in PA, the fabulous Maryland Science Center, and several other Centers in DE, VA and NC! If we were to pay to go to all the Science Centers we went to just this summer I figured it would have cost us almost $800 for admission – I don’t have that kind of money!! Not only did we enter each wonderful Center for free, each place offered a unique experience for my children. One had a fabulous collection of dinosaurs another rocks and minerals and yet another was completely all hands-on learning! Visiting those places had my children asking questions, forming hypotheses and engaging the use of their brains all while having fun, no, all while having a BLAST!
We made a ton of great memories this summer and the children gained new knowledge about the world they live in. The $49 I spent on the MOSI membership was by far the best deal I’ve ever purchased, but, that said, you too can do this with your children! I have, for as long as I can remember, purchased a membership to a science center for the family each year for the purpose of visiting multiple Centers, but there is a catch to using the benefits of the ASTC. You must purchase a membership to a Center that is over 90 miles from any other one you want to visit. Because ours was for MOSI it didn’t matter where in the country we visited but be mindful that if you purchase with the plan to do what I do, don’t buy a membership to one in a city that has several museums that you want to visit.
The best place for us locals to buy a membership to is the Ocala Discovery Center. Not only will you be able to visit the ones in Orlando or Tampa for free, you are supporting a local Science Center that is devoted to our children right here in Ocala. Their membership prices have not changed in all the years I have lived in Florida! It is still only $50 for a family membership ($30 if you’re homeschoolers!). That is a steal of a deal that will get you into as many ASTC centers that you want for a full year, all while supporting a local Science Center.
If you have yet to join Groupon let me make it easy for you! Here is my referral link… <a title=”Groupon” href=”http://www.groupon.com/r/uu5767681″ target=”_blank”>http://www.groupon.com/r/uu5767681 </a>The deals you find are anything from food to clothing, entertainment to vacations! Groupon is definitely my first “go-to” place for deals but I have a giant list of other sites that offer similar deals…..but I’ll save those for another day! Be sure to check back here regularly!
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