Each week, our resident Couponista, Amy Leneker, shares her personal shopping experiences and extreme couponing tips so that you too can be a Coupon Expert!
Our kids love going to the zoo. Even as an adult, it is easy to see why. Who doesn’t want to see penguins swimming and monkeys swinging? If you’re not careful a family trip to the zoo can cost a small fortune. Luckily, with just a little planning (and a lot of coupons!) you won’t have to think twice about how much money you’re going to spend. Instead you can think about how much money you’re going to save.
Save on Admissions
Never pay full price for admission to the zoo (or anywhere, really, for that matter). Make sure and check your Entertainment book for buy one, get one free coupons. A friend at work (who doesn’t have kids) gives me her zoo coupon from the Entertainment book, too. That way we only pay for two adults and both kids get in free. Nice! Also make sure and check your zoo’s family and friends programs. If you plan to go to the zoo enough, you might be better off buying a membership.
Save on Meals
When I was a sleep-deprived first time mom (as opposed to the sleep-deprived second time mom I am now), we took our son to the zoo for the first time. I had packed a well-stocked diaper bag, but didn’t bring a lunch for my husband and me. I learned the hard way that just because you spend $45 dollars on lunch at the zoo doesn’t mean it will taste good. Yuck! I now know to pack a lunch for the entire family and I save a small fortune by doing it. We have a small collapsible cooler that fits perfectly under the stroller tray. It’s a quick and painless (and healthy!) way to save $45 or more.
Save at the Gift Shop
I recognize that not stepping foot into the gift shop is a great way to save money. However, I prefer to let the kids each pick out a small treat and I just use coupons to make it more affordable. When you buy your admission ticket make sure and check the ticket stub, the zoo map, and the zoo program for coupons. Last time we went there was a coupon for 30 percent off one item in the gift shop. Of course my husband and I each used one of the coupons so we saved 30 percent off two t-shirts for the kiddos. Plus I love seeing the kids wearing their zoo t-shirts. If they have to eat PBJ from home, I can at least splurge on a new t-shirt for them, right?
Save on Gas
And last but not least, don’t forget to save on gas. All your coupon work won’t mean much if you’re spending a ton of money on gas. Instead, make sure and fuel up at Costco (if you’re a member) or consider using one of the grocery store rewards programs to save on gas. Albertsons, Safeway and Fred Meyer all offer discounts per gallon based on how much you spend at their store.
Now that you can save on admissions, lunch, gifts, and even the gas to get there, what are you waiting for? It’s time for a family day at the zoo!