Money Matters

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In these tough economic times, you might think memberships to certain businesses are a bad idea.

But while dropping the membership to the health club you never go to is a good idea, some types of memberships make sense.

    Zoos and aquariums. A membership to the Sedgwick County Zoo is $55 for an individual plus a guest and $85 for a family. At $10 per person for a visit to the zoo, the membership pays for itself after five visits for a person or less for a family. In addition, your membership is good at 140 other zoos across the country.
    AARP. If you are 50 or older you can join the American Association of Retired Persons for $12.50 a year. Besides a great magazine, AARP offers discounts on hotels, car rentals, even some book stores. You'll make back the $12.50 in no time.
    Warehouse clubs. A Sam's Club membership is $40 a year, but if you have a family to feed, you can save 20 percent off grocery store prices.
    AAA It's $48 a year, plus a one time $10 fee for new members. There are discounts for car rental, hotels, even Reebok outlet stores. But use the roadside service just one time, and the membership has paid for itself.
    Amusement parks. If you go to a park more than twice, you'll be ahead. Plus, the big park chains will usually give you access to all the parks in the chain.

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