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You've Gotta Spend Money to Save Money

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Membership has its privileges.

woman paying at cashier

Recession Mama: Sometimes you have to spend to save. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but I've found that combining a couple of key memberships -- Costco or Sam's Club and AAA -- with buying an Entertainment Book are worth way more than I pay.

For Costco, I cook a lot, and most of their prices are terrific. Also, I could eat that $5 rotisserie chicken every day. And a $14 sheet cake? It's a party every day over here ... Putting aside the food, Costco has fantastic deals on books, tickets, and clothes.

AAA, besides bringing me peace of mind while I'm on the road, has literally saved me thousands of dollars on hotel rooms, museum admissions, and special discounts for retail and dining establishments. Go to your local branch, pick up some free maps and travel guides, get a free plastic key cut (it fits in a credit card slot in your wallet, and will let you into your car in case you lock the keys in it), and peruse their monthly newsletter, Member Saver. Then check their fabulous deals online.

As for the Entertainment Book, I buy one every year. I usually look for a deal online and buy through a rebate site that will discount the book up to $10. For about $15, I get a year or more of local buy-one-get-one-free dining coupons, discounted movie tickets, and theme park and sports admissions. I keep mine in my car and flip through it frequently. The books are huge -- buy one with a friend and split up the coupons.

Think of these pay-to-play options like an ante in poker -- you're putting in just a little with the potential to get a lot more back ...

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