A replica of Noah's Ark is part of the Discovery Garden at the Museum of Natural Curiosity at Thanksgiving Point. (Photo by Rebecca Lane)
A replica of Noah’s Ark is part of the Discovery Garden at the Museum of Natural Curiosity at Thanksgiving Point. (Photo by Rebecca Lane)

because-I-said-so-blackRaising kids isn’t cheap.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, kids born today will cost parents nearly a quarter of a million dollars to raise from birth to age 17. No, childhood isn’t cheap, but not everything you do with or for your family has to cost a mint. Here are five of our favorite time and money saving local memberships:

1. A Supersonic Car Wash Fast Pass

If you crave zen in your minivan, sign up for a Supersonic Car Wash Fast Pass. For as low as $20 a month, you get unlimited car washes and vacuum use, so you won’t sweat the crumbs, spills and other stuff kids leave behind in a car. As a bonus, your kids may find the car wash entertaining and ask to make a trip through every time you drive past.

2. A library pass

Hopefully you already have a library card, but if you don’t, what are you waiting for? For nothing or next to nothing, you can check out books, audiobooks, CDs and videos for hours of entertainment. Sync your library account with the free Overdrive App on your smartphone or tablet for access to e-audiobooks and e-books. On a recent hours-long drive, we listened to Kate Winslet’s flawless narration of “Matilda” by Roald Dahl. It made a torturous drive bearable. Check your library calendar for movie screenings, concerts and other family-friendly events.

3. A Pass of All Passes

There is likely no better bang for your entertainment buck than the Pass of All Passes — just be prepared to battle the crowds because every Utah Valley family wants in on this deal. For around $40 a person, you get access to water parks, movie theaters, fun centers, soccer, baseball and basketball games and a list of other amenities, too.

4. A Thanksgiving Point Property Membership

At around $200 for a family, this pass is a bargain if you plan on visiting anything at Thanksgiving Point more than once a year. You get unlimited access to the Museum of Natural Curiosity, Museum of Ancient Life, Farm Country and the Gardens, plus discounts on extras including food and camps. You’re also buying peace of mind — because your cost per visit is so low, you can leave as soon as the toddler has a meltdown or the grade-schoolers start to argue.

5. A Costco membership

There is no denying that buying food in bulk saves you money, especially with a large family. That’s why a Costco membership makes sense for so many Utah Valley families. Although there are items you can get for less elsewhere, Costco (or another warehouse store like Sam’s Club) is a great place to stock up on dairy, high quality meat and produce, snack food and more. But it’s easy to drop a lot of cash at Costco, so here’s a tip: make a list and stick to it. Don’t let the shiny stuff in the middle aisle pull you in — $6 yoga pants! $10 sand buckets! — unless you want to turn a $100 trip into a $300 trip in the blink of an eye.

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