This post contains some affiliate links. I will be compensated for sign-ups made through those links.
As I mentioned in my last post, my social circle has expanded notably in the last few years.
Obviously, I’m really happy about that, but it comes with one issue due to the way my brain works.
Specifically, if I find something fun/cool — a show, a new bar, etc. — I don’t want my friends to miss out. Plus a shared memory is always more valuable to me.
However, when there are a lot of people you like spending time with/thing are cool enough to appreciate whatever you’ve just heard of, well… Well, then you may just end up coordinating what can only be described as a gaggle of people. Which can be a lot
But now I know it pays off!
In this case
This time, the event is another show by the local adult puppet troupe. It’s doing what will be an invariably liberal interpretation of Stephen King’s It. And so of course, the title is PuppIt.
For anyone wondering what the heck an adult puppet troupe does…
With Japanese style puppetry* they recreate popular movies — with liberties taken, including lots of swearing and 4th wall-breaking (including sometimes heckling the audience). Oh and parody songs to the tune of famous musical numbers.**
So yeah, the shows are always a ton of fun. I’ve got a cadre of people I’ve already gotten hooked. But I’ve met some new people since the last show.
Which, I guess, is how I ended up with 16 people wanting to come with me. Oops.
Buuuuuut as it turns out, groups of 10 or more people qualify for a group rate. So the whole gaggle of us got tickets for half price: $21 instead of $42.
So I guess having friends pays off! You know, in more than the intangible ways.
* Actors walk around with the puppets but wearing black (including a cloth over their faces) so you concentrate on the puppets.
** In one, a stoner character rings “If I Were a Rich Man” with lyrics like “All day long I’d hit a bitty bong/If I were a wealthy man.” In a Friday the 13th show, Jason has his mom’s skull on a shrine, and she sings about him needing to kill more people for her. To the tune of “Mama’s Good to You” from Chicago.
Other ways to save with friends
Of course, most people are far too smart to want to coordinate groups as big as I assemble.
So here’s a reminder that there are multiple ways having buddies can lower your costs.
A lot of gyms offer add-ons in the form of buddy passes. These are permanent passes that let you bring one person with you any time you go to the gym.
Granted, you have to pay extra for that feature — but if you split the combined cost of the membership and pass, you’ll still get a nice discount. And an accountability buddy!
If coordinating workout times isn’t you thing, some gyms will let you add a second person (or more) to your account for less than the usual monthly fee. And in my experience, they don’t check addresses.
So dividing the two costs could save you both money, while still allowing you each to work out at times of your choosing.
At the very least, some gyms will waive the initiation fee for the second person. In rare cases, they may also waive any annual account fee for the second person.
Warehouse club memberships
Both Sam’s Club and Costco will let you designate a second person (who is at least allegedly in your household). The second person gets their own card and can shop without the main accountholder present.
As for the “at least allegedly” bit…
Sam’s Club is apparently still pretty lenient about checking whether the second person really lives with you. Plenty of people — including someone I know — are able to be the second person on a membership. They don’t share the same last name and weren’t asked for proof of address.
But from what I’ve read online, Costco has been cracking down, making the second person show a piece of mail for the same address.
But there are still a few ways around the limitations:
- Shop together: (Bonus: Unlike many adult friends, you actually see each other!) The member has to pay at checkout, but that’s why God invented PayPal, Venmo and Zelle.
- Costco cash: A Costco member can buy a gift card (aka “Costco cash”). Anyone with Costco cash can shop without a membership.
- Online orders: If you really only go for a few non-grocery items, have the member shop online and ship the item to you.
If you decide to go this route, check Groupon for deals on Sam’s Club or Costco. The site usually has a lower price and/or gift card with membership purchase. (Go through Mr. Rebates for 3% cash back.)
Having a buddy also helps you get the same deal each year.
See, the offers usually require new sign-ups to not have been a member for at least a year. So if you two alternate years, you can keep getting the lower cost.
Remember those big ole’ Entertainment Books you’d see offered in drugstores, by kids outside of grocery stores and just about everywhere else?
Well, those are things of the past — but the company and its deals are still around. It’s just all digital now.
If you and a friend like to go out and do things together, this is a great way to save. There are usually discounts — many of them BOGO offers — for activities in and out of town.
There are usually lots of deals on kids’ attractions or activities like water parks/mini-golf/go-karting (Dave & Busters is listed as one of the discounts) but also local attractions like tourist spots, fairs and more. Plus there are plenty of retail discounts. And there are usually discounts for things like rental cars, hotels and theme parks.
Go in on the subscription ($4.99 a month or $34.99 a year) with a friend and divvy up the savings.
Don’t forget to buy through Rakuten to get 10% cash back!
Like Costco, streaming services are focusing on ways to crack down on password sharing. But there are still options that save.
If you want to add someone outside of your household, you’ll pay an extra $7.99 a month.
Not great, but that’s still less than half of the standard Netflix account. Or add a third person and keep lowering the price for all of you.
Or you can just try splitting a two-screen membership and see if Netflix notices. After all, it’s not uncommon to go to friends’ houses to watch something — or to travel for work — while a spouse or kid is at home watching something.
So I question how carefully Netflix pays attention to IP locations. If the company does cry foul, then you can just do the add-a-member option.
Side note: Interestingly, it looks like Netflix is now offering an ad-support version for $6.99.
Times, they are a’changin’ folks.
Disney+ has said it’s looking into cracking down on password sharing, but according to this Tech Radar article, the changes probably wouldn’t happen until at least 2025.
In the meantime, Disney+ can be used on up to four screens simultaneously, and the company doesn’t seem overly concerned with where the screens are.
Apparently, Hulu is expected to really crack down on password sharing in the next few months — though there’s speculation that family plans will be offered.
For now, Hulu doesn’t seem to pay much attention to the location of the two screens allowed per plan.
And with prices going up and both Hulu and Disney+, it may be worth it to share plans. Especially if it means getting the second service for as low as $2 a month. More on that further down.
People like me who have ad-supported Hulu* will keep paying $7.99 a month (or $79.99 for a full year).
The rest of you aren’t so lucky: Starting next month, ad-free Hulu will be $18. So sharing could mean up to $108 in savings a year… depending on how fast Hulu gets its password-sharing act together.
But since you can only pay for ad-free Hulu by the month, you can always drop it if any changes spoil the savings.
* We all gotta go to the bathroom/get something from the kitchen at some point.
The cost for ad-supported Disney+ is also staying at $7.99.
But all the commercial-eschewers out there will pay $13.99 a month starting in October. So sharing that could save you $83.94 a year.
Then there are the bundles…
Ad-supported Disney+ and Hulu: $9.99
While this does involve subjecting yourself to short ad breaks (heaven forfend!), it also means you’re paying only $2 more for the second service. Each one alone is $7.99.
So splitting this bundle saves $60 over the course of a year.
Honestly, I mostly zone out on my phone during ad breaks anyway, so it’s not a big deal. Plus I drink a lot of water, so commercials can be very useful, if you know what I mean.
For any people who wouldn’t be splitting the plan, it’s worth noting that you can always drop the second service any time you feel all caught up.
I generally wait until a series I want to watch has finished the latest season, sign up for a month and binge everything I missed (TV and movies), then take the service back off.
Disney+ and Hulu (no ads)
For those of you who refuse to go back to an existence where ads interrupt your shows, you can still get a good deal with Disney’s no-ad bundle. The bundle is $19.99.
So if you’re already using ad-free Hulu, you’d pay only $2 more (once the prices update in October) to also get ad-free Disney.
If you’re using Disney+ then the bundle’s cost is a bit more of a jump: $6 a month for ad-free Hulu.
Either way, splitting the bundle between two people would save $120 over the course of a year.*
* Again, since it’s a month-to-month deal, you can always cancel if the eventual crackdowns are too much headache.
Got any disabled, military or senior friends?
While having a disability is generally a pain in the ass, there are a few — a few — perks to having a disability.
One of them is that you have a plausible excuse to cancel plans if you realize that you really really don’t want to go. (“Oh, sorry. The fatigue’s just sooo bad today!”)
A more pertinent-to-this-post benefit is the America the Beautiful Access Pass.
This pass provides free entrance for the holder (and anyone in the car with them) to more than 2,000 national parks and national wildlife refuges. It will also cover amenity fees (day use fees) at all national forests and grasslands, as well as some other properties. There are also up to 50% discounts for campsite fees, etc. Click here for more information.
To get the pass, you just need a document from a licensed physician or from a federal/state agency attesting that you have a permanent disability. Not even a 100% disabling condition, just a permanent disability of some kind.
Another option is the Military Lifetime Pass. It’s a free lifetime pass for veterans (with appropriate ID) and anyone with a Gold Star Family Voucher.
(Brief aside: In regular retail situations, a military/veteran friend may get a discount. I know Lowe’s is big on this. If you feel comfortable asking, having a friend who serves or has served could save you. I’d suggest only asking for big purchases, though.)
There’s also a Senior Pass. This one isn’t free, but it’s $20 for an annual or $80 for a Lifetime Pass.
That’s all the ideas I came up with. Did I forget any other ways friends can save you money?