Monday, February 3, 2020

Saving Money With Memberships & Subscriptions

Saving Money With Memberships & Subscriptions - Odeon Limitless Membership Cards

For many years I resisted the idea of a subscription or membership because it's a commitment and in some cases, it can seem like an unnecessary expense, but over the past year I've changed my mind. I now have several subscriptions and memberships which I find after lots of analysis, end up saving me a lot more money than they cost. Since sharing is caring, here's a breakdown of the things I subscribe to throughout the year and how they're saving me money.

1. Odeon Limitless
My newest membership, my husband and I joined Odeon Limitless in November and we couldn't be happier with it. For a really long time we got free tickets at Vue Cinemas once a week from our health insurance provider as a reward for logging a certain amount of physical activity each week through a fitness tracker app on our phones. We supplemented with points we earned from our Odeon Premier loyalty card which gave points for every purchase that could be exchanged for tickets or refreshments in the cinema. With a Vue only about a mile away and an Odeon in our neighbourhood, this was a system that worked really well for us with a great amount of savings, but all good things come to an end. The free tickets were changed to every two weeks and it got harder to retrieve them to the point of it not being worth the hassle. The Odeon Premier points were discontinued as well. It wasn't the biggest deal in the world, but we do like to go to the movies a lot, so it meant spending more money on our weekend entertainment.

I kept seeing the ads for Odeon Limitless and felt that it might be too good to be true, however when we started going more often to our local cinema which is an Odeon Luxe with the reclining seats and a much higher price point rather than trekking to Fulham, I decided to look into it. For £17.99 per person per month, we can see as many movies as we like, as many times as we like at any Odeon with the exception of 4 central London locations that we'd rarely if ever go to anyway. That said, for another £2 per month, those locations are also included. It works in both regular cinemas and Luxe locations. I found that we were spending about the same amount to see one film on a Friday or Saturday Night (just for tickets) so it made sense to consider the membership since we would go to the movies at least twice a month most of the time. Odeon Limitless also gets you 10% off refreshments, so there's a little extra savings on things like popcorn & sodas.

Since signing up for the Odeon Limitless membership we've saved so much money. For about the same price of one movie ticket per month at our local Luxe location (give or take a pound or two), we're seeing sometimes 2 or 3 films a week, which means that we're also not spending money doing other things during those hours. We tend to go to three different cinemas that are nearby which means we're also exploring other neighbourhoods we haven't spent much time in previously. For us, this membership has been a complete no-brainer and an absolute winner! In December and January alone I estimate that we have probably saved somewhere in the neighbourhood of about £150 to £200 and we've seen a lot of great movies! We've also been to one that we just walked out of because it wasn't very good and we hadn't spent a fortune on the ticket, so there was nothing to lose... Additionally I went to see films I might not have gone to see before because I didn't want to invest money in something I wasn't sure I would like and I ended up enjoying some of them. I can't recommend this membership enough for anyone who enjoys going to the cinema with any regularity. If your local cinema is a Luxe, it basically pays for itself if you see one Blockbuster per month. If you live nearer to a regular Odeon, it's more like 2 per month because the tickets are cheaper. Click here for more information about Odeon Limitless.

2. Passport to Bootcamp
I started doing Pilates with ClassPass a while back, but after a month when I had a look at the cost I realised that it would be more cost-effective to join the studio I liked best to get more bang for my buck. While shopping around I found that many studios with classes offer some kind of membership and if you attend classes quite regularly, it's the most economical option. For £190 per month, I can take unlimited classes at my local studio (limited to one class per day). Since I usually go to Pilates between 3 and 6 times a week, usually 5 times on average, the membership reduces my cost-per-class significantly. From my research, lots of places do this, including spinning, yoga, dance and other workout studios, so it's definitely worth looking into if classes are something you enjoy and you prefer going to the same place every time. Similarly, before I went to Pilates, I joined a gym that offered free classes as part of the membership. I didn't use the gym at all, but the membership price was quite low even if I only attended 1 class per week. Given that most classes are upwards of £20 per class and some much pricier than that, any savings is welcome for regular class attendees. Click here to read more about my ClassPass journey.

3. Netflix
We were extremely early Netflix adopters here in the UK because we subscribed to the old school DVD by mail Netflix when we lived in New York. When we moved to the UK, television cable was included in the rent of our first temporary flat, but when we moved and looked into having cable connected we were shocked by the prices of the packages offered in our area. After chatting with my husband about our options, we decided not to have the TV connected in our home and I've never once regretted it. In the beginning there weren't nearly as many options as there are now (this was in 2011), but we made the decision to spend our money on what we actually wanted to see on iTunes and spend a little on streaming services. Netflix is an affordable option that provides lots of options that don't cost as much as buying iTunes films & shows all the time or signing up to a cable contract. Click here for more information about Netflix.

4. Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime is one of the best things ever. Similarly to Netflix, we had LoveFilm first when we moved here and we would get DVD's in the letter box that we would watch and send back based on a list we managed online. LoveFilm was later purchased by Amazon and over time, it turned into Prime Video. Now, when you subscribe to Prime Video, it's a membership to the full benefits of Amazon Prime including free next-day delivery and offers throughout the year. It's pretty affordable and we use it all the time. Most of the offering is different to what's on Netflix, so there are even more options available to us. You can also upgrade to add new channels such as Hulu to your membership for a small, additional month fee that you can cancel anytime if you get into a rut with finding things to watch.

5. NOW TV Sky Cinema & Entertainment Passes
One of the more expensive streaming memberships we subscribe to, NOW TV is our newest one and we love it! With various channels available, you can choose what you want. We only subscribe to the Entertainment (which is television shows) and Sky Cinema passes. This gives us access to most of the films and television shows available to Sky subscribers without a cable contract. Again, the offering is a lot different than the other two streaming services and while it's more expensive to get both of these, we haven't been buying very many movies at all on iTunes because there are so many available and they regularly rotate on NOW TV. They also seem to be a bit more seasonal in their choices and the films are more suitable to our tastes. If I was going to get rid of anything, it would be the television subscription on NOW TV, but there are just enough shows we watch on there to make it worth it to us including some of my favourites like Succession and Handmaid's Tale. Click here for more information on NOW TV.

6. Spotify
I've been a Spotify subscriber for a long time and I love it. Before that we used to buy iTunes and CD's a lot, so this has saved us an infinite amount of money over the years while giving us a lot more choice. We have a family subscription so we can both download playlists to our phones because we both use it outside of our home for commutes or workouts and it's been a great addition. Click here to follow Pink Julep on Spotify.

7. ASOS Premier Delivery
If you order a lot from ASOS, the Premier Delivery program, which I believe is just £9.99 per year (or something like that) is a great way to save money. I signed up for it the first time I ordered from ASOS a couple of years ago because it wasn't much more than the delivery fee for my order. It gives you free delivery, free returns and it's unlimited throughout the year. Since then I find that I order a lot more from ASOS than I did before, including things like cosmetics or gifts and it saves me a lot of money on delivery costs. For more information on ASOS Premier Delivery, click here.

8. Ocado Smart Pass
Ocado deliveries can be expensive and they really add up. We joined Smart Pass on a deal offer so we pay less for a whole month than we would normally pay for a single delivery. It's totally worth it and Smart Pass members get exclusive discounts sometimes too. I think I pay £3.99 per month and it's one of the best things I've ever done. Click here for more information about Ocado Smart Pass.

9. Class Packages (on & off)
While I wouldn't consider these to be subscriptions or membership per-say, I try to take advantage of packages wherever possible. For example, my dance studio offers a buy 10, get one free package for the class I take on Thursday nights. It's basically a 10% discount if I pay up front for 10 classes, but since I take the class almost every week, it's worth it for me to buy the package. Additionally, if I attend workout classes at other studios, I'll occasionally invest in a package. Many studios have an intro offer if it's your first time that gets you 2 or 3 classes for a discount of roughly 50% off. After that, many of them offer packages of classes to use within a certain period of time that are discounted when you buy in bulk. The discount is usually proportionate to the number of classes you buy, making the classes cheaper when you buy more. If I know that either myself or my husband will use all or at least most of these classes within the time period, the packages are usually a much better deal than paying by the class, so I'll bite. Often the savings can be up to 30% off, so it's a big savings if you can commit to using them.

What else?

Though I don't subscribe to these things anymore, I have saved money in the past with the following...

1. Magazine Subscriptions
If you know you buy the same magazine all the time, a subscription is the best way to go because the cost-per-issue is significantly less. I used to read magazines all the time, but I don't really read them much at all anymore so I cancelled all my subscriptions years ago, but when I did have them, they saved me a few bob a month, which adds up after a while.

2. ClassPass
I joined ClassPass in 2019 when I didn't know what kind of classes I wanted to take or where I wanted to take them. I loved ClassPass, but in the long run I didn't need it because I preferred the classes at a specific studio and with the amount of classes I took every month, it made sense to just join the studio. That's just me though and if you're someone who wants to take a range of classes or simply try a lot of different places, ClassPass is a great way to get those workouts in cheaper than at full price. Click here to read more about my experience with ClassPass.

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