Saturday, April 28, 2012

Online Savings Club Memberships: Are they worth the money?

Maybe you heard on the radio an advertisement how you could save thousands on your groceries, get free gas, even get rebates on your utilities. All you had to do was join this savings club by calling all their 800 hundred number now. Does it work, and if so how?

I joined. I was listening to my favorite local radio station and figured they would not place a bogus ad. I am showing my innocence here. Not everyone meets someone great from the dating ads they advertise, nor does everyone’s husband love them better after the plastic surgery they also advertise.

When I called the number, a fast talking operator immediately took my credit card number. Instead of joining a club I was joining six with a monthly charge of ten to thirty dollars. I would spend almost $120 a month to be part of these savings plans, but I had one month free, and all that free gas they mentioned.

First you had to buy the gas, send in your certificate, with your gas receipt, and they would send you five dollars back once a month if everything went right. I had certificates never honored. I had letters sent back telling me I didn’t fill out the certificate out right, which was odd since I always followed instructions. In a year, I got back about $15, that’s it. I had to stay a member of at least one club to receive this benefit—it cost me $20 to be a member…not so free gas.

One of the clubs was Leisure Time travel club. What a rip-off I could get better deals using Travelocity or even calling hotels direct and asking for Internet specials. I dropped this one immediately.

The Smart Savers club was for local dining and recreation options. They featured places I didn’t want to go to. Many of the places were dives, and the recreation was mainly golf. I could also get better deals using and to go places I wanted to visit.

The next club was for coupons called Grocery Savers. This was one more straight forward you picked your coupons, you paid 10% of the face value of your coupon and  shipping. I found the coupons were almost on the expiration date so you had to use them all immediately if not you lost your money. This club had no monthly charge.

The club I stayed in the longest was one that offered to pay my utilities or at least $100. You were also able to buy $50 gift cards from Wal-mart or Petsmart for 20% off. They also paid a percentage of your car repair bill. You had to prove your bill was a legitimate result of a breakdown as opposed to maintenance. I lost a tire and a rim to a pothole. They paid about $90 on the bill. They changed their name, but I believe you can now find them on

So in the end, are the clubs worth the money? Usually not, since you can get the same services free elsewhere. I did use a couple of the clubs, but take in consideration for the $90 I got back, I spent $240 in monthly fees. In the end, I was only paying for the repair myself with almost 200% interest tacked on.

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