I’ve heard a lot of people talk about how it cost their family of three or four “$75 easy” or “about $100″to go to the city zoo. So the good old Fake Cheap Family headed to this place called the zoo to see just how expensive it really is. The results were shocking!
For this exercise, we are going to compare a typical family with the Fake Cheap Family.
For this facility the price is $15 per adult and $11 per child over 3, under 3 is free. Assume a family of 3 with one child over 3, so price is $41 just to get in the door. Since Typical Family’s child probably wont want to walk around for the whole 3 hours, they better rent that zoo stroller for $8. Why would they want to lug a stroller all the way from home? Up to $49.50. Ok, still a long way from the $75 mark.
The Fake Cheap Family spent $28 to enter the zoo. (We stumbled on 2x $1 off coupons for adults, and our child is under 3) We also managed to bring a stroller from home.
Since the Typical Family will pend 2 or 3 hours at the zoo, they need to eat there right? So of course the zoo food stand is hit, where hamburger start at $5.75…and a staggering $6.25 for a cheeseburger, and of course Typical family’s little one will want cheese. Your kid isn’t the only one hungry, so are Mom Typical and Dad Typical, so they will each have a hamburger, but they can all share a large fries at $3.75 to save some money can’t they? Drinks, yes drinks too, a nice bottle of water (*shutter*) for everyone at $1.25 each. Lets not forget that ice cream stand conveniently located next to the food stand, and junior wants an ice cream at the zoo, and they can’t go to the zoo without getting an ice cream, who would do that? $3.25 for the ice cream, Mom and Dad have opted out here. Lets see that is a staggering $28.50 spent on food. Our running total is now up to $78.00.
The Fake Cheap Family spent $0* on food. We packed a snacks for everyone from home. yes, it took a bit of prep, but we saved $28 for giving up a bit of convenience. The Fake Cheap Family has still spent only $28.
The Gift Shop
In fine European fashion, this zoo forces you to exit via the gift shop. And since Typical Family’s little one wants a stuffed animal of pretty much every creature they just saw, they can’t just not get any, right? And they don’t go to the zoo everyday, so why not get something? A stuffed capybara, another trinket and $16 lighter, you finally leave the zoo.
The Fake Cheap Family did not purchase anything at the gift shop, we were smart enough to distract Fake Cheap Jr with a book we brought along while we swiftly made our exit.
Typical family spent a total of $94 at the zoo!
The Fake Cheap Family spent $28. A $66 savings! Even if you want to include the cost of admission of $11 for a child over 3, and no coupons, our total goes to $41. Still way under half of typical family spending.
*Yes, I realize the food we brought from home still cost something, say $4. Again we are still way under half the cost.
How can I save money when my family goes to the zoo?
Obviously the biggest and easiest area to save here is the food. And don’t give me that vacation excuse! You can still go to the grocery store when you are on vacation, in fact it is a regular stop on most vacations for the Fake Cheap Family. As for the gift shop, most times, we buy nothing there. But even Fake Cheap Jr does occasionally, very occasionally, get some sort of reasonably priced souvenir. But it is ok to say no to your little one. I agree its not easy, but it must be done. So plan ahead, pack a snack/lunch, throw that stroller in the trunk and let the savings begin.
Annual savings for The Fake Cheap family: $66 per zoo visit. Since we only go once a year, and I think most families also go once a year, we’ll call the annual savings $66. In the course of the year, not a huge number, but it is a huge number considering the ease at which these savings take place, and the short time frame (3-4 hours) the savings take place.