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Pop Culture

People reveal which paid memberships are 100 percent worth every penny

"Costco… For the chicken and food court alone it is worth it."

deer at Yosemite National Park, air ambulance helicopter
Photo (left) by Johannes Andersson on Unsplash Photo (right) by Ben Wicks on Unsplash

From National Parks passes to air ambulance services, some memberships are totally worth it.

With the basic cost of living stretching many folks financially, people are always on the lookout for ways to save money. But with long-term commitments and ever-increasing costs, people are also often wary of memberships or subscriptions that might save you money (or at least be worth what they cost), but also might not.

Thanks to a Reddit user who asked fellow Redditors, "What membership is 100% worth every penny you pay for it?" we've got a list of memberships that might actually be worth checking out.

The kinds of memberships people listed vary widely, from warehouse stores to learning programs to medical evacuation services, but everyone who shared made a strong case for why the cost of them are worth it.


Here are the memberships people say are worth every penny:

Emergency Helicopter Services

"I live on an island in Alaska with limited healthcare. An emergency flight to a more capable hospital will cost $50000. For $100 a year I save $49900 if I ever need their services. That $100 covers everyone living under my roof. There is no limit on the number of flights. And seniors pay $75. Of course, the flight isn't a guarantee. Bad weather or the donated jet needing repairs can, and does, prevent you from being flown out." – Ksan_of_Tongass

"Can't believe someone beat me to this.
A year and a half ago, I had to be medevaced to Seattle with a broken back. Price tag on the flight would have been $141,110.89...
Good thing we are a member of the air med network!" – Tedious_research

"More common than you would think. They have this same premise in rural Texas for about $25/m." – sevargmas

The Great Courses (or Wondrium)

"The Great Courses. It’s now under the umbrella of Wondrium (and they have a bunch of other stuff, but I look for the GC stuff) They have hundreds of courses. Each one has roughly 26-40 lectures. They’re the best professors in the world - the ones that students report as their favorite teachers.

My boyfriend and I always have four on Thursdays: a science, an art, a philosophy (or wild card) and a history. We’ve done classes like: botany, the analects of Confucius, The Medici’s, the physics of time, early humans and the history of food.

I’ve got a good deal with them at $10/month all I can stream. Great for lifelong learners." – Shaydie

"I bought a 2 year subscription (when it was 50% off) and never looked back. Ancient Egypt is probably the best course I've ever taken, even including courses I've taken in college. It's old (1999) and some things have been disproven since, but it's still so damn good. Now I'm watching Ancient Mesopotamia, which is also very good." – Ok-Supermarket-1414

"I’ve learned so many things from having a Wondrium subscription (and mostly the great courses ones are my favourites). I think having the streaming version of this versus buying courses has led me to learn so many more things than I would have, and try and some and find out they weren’t really for me." — Shipping_away_at_it

Mountains rising up behind a lake at sunset

Grand Tetons National Park

Photo by Nate Foong on Unsplash

National Parks Pass

"The US National Park Senior Pass. The BEST bargain in the nation." – BrunoGerace

"We toured the us in an rv this year, and the america the beautiful pass paid for itself many, many, many times over." – mushnu

"And if you're not a Senior (or Vet) the annual pass is still a deal. Visit 3 NPs or NMs in a year and it's paid for itself." – Kerensky97

"I’m canadian, I’ve seen national parks in canada, a lot of europe and the us, and it’s not even a fair contest. The national parks in america are s tier amazing sites. Diverse, well cared for yet wild, affordable, etc." – mushnu

The YMCA (though this varies a lot by location and income)

"YMCA - I pay $70 a month for a family of four and it includes use of the pool, gym, and sauna and up to four hours of childcare a day. I go nearly everyday and have lost 60 pounds over the last six months. It’s also my only childcare as a stay at home mom so it keeps me sane." – neopolitandynomite

"Came here to say this! I’m in WI and pay $82/month for my family of 7. We go 3-4 times a week, love it. Also have volunteered to coach soccer and have kids in the youth sports. Pool, hot tub and sauna is like a spa to me." – Martini6288

"My family YMCA membership (one adult + children) is $115/mo, but even so, it's totally worth it! I attend at least 3 group ex classes a week, my kids go in the kid zone, they get swim lessons, T-ball, summer camp, etc at reduced cost. It's also very convenient as we live right across the street. We attend many of their special events too (Halloween party, pumpkins in the pool, etc)." – WhJoMaShRa

AAA

"AAA or equivalent roadside service club in your respective country. A single tow costs more than your membership and it quickly pays for itself. Plus all the other discounts and affiliated services they offer, it is absolutely worth the money." – llcucf80

"Between tows and the times either I or someone I was with locked their keys in their car, it has more than paid for itself. It has been a life saver more than once." – nelsonalgrencametome

"Family car broke down on a road trip. My dad had some upper level AAA membership or something, because they covered the tow, a bus ticket for me home while they got covered in the affiliated hotel for 2 nights, along with meals." – DopeCharma

"I haven't owned a vehicle in over 6 years, up until the last two years I've had a AAA membership.

It's worth mentioning that it's not like insurance, it's your membership. I kept it because I could call them if a friend needed a tow, someone locked their keys in their car, needed gas but no way to get it, flat and no spare, doesn't matter

If you have a membership, youre present, card in hand, doesn't matter who's vehicle it is, you're golden. I even got complete strangers a tow, I wasn't gonna use them.

One time I even got my own vehicle out of an impound using AAA because the tow company was certified with AAA and it was only impounded for expired tags. I didn't pay a dime to the tow company, they just got more from me requesting the tow through AAA to an auto shop

Amazing service, 100% worth every penny." – drklunk

front view of a costco store

Costco can save you on a lot more than just chicken.

Photo by Grant Beirute on Unsplash

Costco

"Costco… For the chicken and food court alone it is worth it." – Peach3ater

"Even if you ONLY buy allergy med from Costco, it’s worth the membership fee. $70 membership + $14 bottle of 365 allergy pills is basically 2-3 months max of Claritin or other brands at regular grocery store." – the_bio

"For me it's my contacts. Just my regular prescription for a year is more of a discount at costco vs 1800contacts than the membership costs." – MRoad

"There are so many things it can save you $10 a month on. It’s insane. My wife and I probably save $120 a month on everything from bulkier groceries/snacks, paper towels/toilet paper, laundry detergent, some clothes, tires and gas. We don’t even drink soda or have pets, both of which can more than pay for a membership. We live an hour away and factor our time/wear and tear on the car into how much it saves us. $120 a month easily even on a light month." – sevseg_decoder

Spotify Premium

"I've had Spotify premium since 2011 and I listen to it all day every day. Best value subscription." – Breakfast_1796

"Undoubtedly this, especially compared to what you used to have to spend on physical media. Even then, you’d be stuck with the same handful of albums with one good track instead of nearly every song ever recorded." – Chewie83

"Sometimes I imagine explaining Spotify to my 16-year-old self. "So for about the price of a single CD a month... You can have all the music ever, on demand. All of it, Whenever you want..." It's honestly a dream come true for me lol." – DAFUQ404

"I've had the spotify family plan since like 2015 or so. 15/month for 6 people? Yes please!!! I'd be paying 10 just for me to have premium. Now my fiancée, my adult children, my bestie, and her husband all have a quality music service." – eyemacwgrl

Education

Someone criticized a middle school teacher's behavior. Her comeback was an A+.

When a person commented, "your a teacher act like it," Amy Allen hilariously took the advice to heart.

A rude commenter got a lesson from Ms. Allen.

Being a teacher isn't easy. Teaching middle school students is especially not easy. Teaching middle school students who spent several of their formative years going through a global pandemic in the age of smartphones, social media and a youth mental health crisis is downright heroic.

If you haven't spent time in a middle school classroom, you may not fully grasp the intensity of it on every level, from the awkwardness to the body odor to the delightful hilarity that tweens bring to the table. When you connect with your students, it can be incredibly rewarding, and when you don't…well, we all read "Lord of the Flies," right?

Skilled teachers bring out the best in young people, and that can be done in many different ways. For Amy Allen, it's by making her middle school classroom a fun, welcoming place to learn and by bonding with her students.


"I love teaching middle schoolers because they are awkward, and I’m awkward, so we get along," Allen tells Upworthy.

She plays games with students, gets rambunctious with them and creates opportunities for them to expend some of that intense pre-and-early-teen energy in healthy ways. For instance, she shared a video of a game of "grudgeball," an active trivia game that makes reviewing for a quiz or test fun and competitive, and you can see how high-energy her classroom is:

@_queenoftheclassroom

If this looks like fun to you, pick up my grudgeball template (🔗 in bio) #qotc #grudgeball #10outof10recommend @Amy Allen ☀️ @Amy Allen ☀️ @Amy Allen ☀️

"I think for teachers, we always want to create moments for our students that are beyond the standard reading, writing, memorizing, quiz, 'traditional learning,'" Allen says. "Games are a great way to incorporate fun in the classroom."

Allen clearly enjoyed the game as much as her students—"I love the chaos!" she says— and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Fun keeps teachers sane, too. But one person took issue with her classroom behavior and commented, "your a teacher act like it." (Not my typo—that's exactly what the person wrote, only with no period.)

Allen addressed the comment in another video in the most perfect way possible—by acting exactly like a teacher.

Watch:

@_queenoftheclassroom

Replying to @كل الكلبات تريد مني Come see me if you have any further questions. #qotc #iteachmiddleschool #weDEFINITELYdonthavefuninhere @Amy Allen ☀️ @Amy Allen ☀️ @Amy Allen ☀️ #Inverted

There are two solid ways to handle a rude comment without making things worse—you can ignore it or you can craft a response that makes the person look like a fool without being cruel or rude yourself. Allen's grammar lesson response was A+ work, right down to the "Come see me if you have any further questions" caption.

In fact, the person apparently went back and deleted their comment after the comeback video went viral, which makes it all the more hilarious. The video currently has more than 4 million views on TikTok and over 18 million views on YouTube.

"What’s funny is I left my correction on the board accidentally, and the next day, students asked me what that was all about," Allen says. "When I explained it, they thought it was cool because 'why would anyone go after Ms. Allen'? At that point, the video had maybe 10,000 views. I never imagined the video would go viral."

Two days later, as the video was creeping toward a million views, she upped the stakes. "Some of my students are my ultimate hype people, and they were tracking it harder than I was," she says. "I made a 'deal' with my fifth period if it reached 1 million during their class, they could sit wherever they wanted the entire week. During lunch, I checked, and it reached 1 million. So when they came back from recess, I announced it, and it was like I was a rockstar. They screamed and cheered for me. It was an incredible moment for me."

The irony, of course, is that Allen was acting like a teacher in her grudgeball video—an engaged teacher with engaged students who are actively participating in the learning process. Just because it doesn't look like serious study doesn't mean it's not learning, and for some kids, this kind of activity might be far more effective at helping them remember things they've learned (in this case, vocabulary words) than less energetic ways of reviewing.

Allen has her thumb on the pulse of her students and goes out of her way to meet them where they are. Last year, for instance, she created a "mental health day" for her students. "I could tell they were getting burnt out from all the state tests, regular homework, and personal life extracurricular activities that many of my students participate in," she says. "We went to my school library for 'fireside reading,' solved a murder mystery, built blanket forts, watched the World Cup, colored, and completed sudokus. Is it part of the curriculum? No. Is it worth spending one class period doing something mentally rewarding for students? Absolutely."

Teaching middle school requires a lot of different skills, but perhaps the most important one is to connect with students, partly because it's far easier to teach someone actually wants to be in your classroom and partly because effective teaching is about so much more than just academics. A teacher might be the most caring, stable, trustworthy adult in some students' lives. What looks like silly fun and games in a classroom can actually help students feel safe and welcomed and valued, knowing that a teacher cares enough to try to make learning as enjoyable as possible. Plus, shared laughter in a classroom helps build a community of engaged learners, which is exactly what a classroom should be.

Keep up the awesome work, Ms. Allen, both in the classroom and in the comment section.

You can follow Amy Allen on TikTok and YouTube.

89Stocker and cottonbro studios|Canva

Mom makes case for getting life insurance on child's other parent

Nobody wants to think about what happens if their child's other parent dies unexpectedly. It's not a pleasant topic but unfortunately it is something that happens sometimes and parents have to do their best to pick up the pieces after such a tragic loss. One mom, had the unfortunate experience of living through this tragedy and she took to social media to explain the steps she took to prepare for this day.

Kelsey Pumel, a multi-hyphenate TikTok creator recently had to help her young daughter process the unexpected loss of her biological father. Pumel and Kobe's father were never married and had broken up years prior but she admits to carrying a life insurance policy on him. The topic was brought up when her viewers informed her that she should file for social security death benefits to assist with the financial responsibility of caring for Kobe.

That's when the mom of five revealed that she took out a life insurance policy on Kobe's father when she was pregnant for multiple reasons.


"I have gotten many rude comments about the life insurance and some wild accusations made but I'm going to say this and I need y'all to hear me. If you have a child with somebody, you should have life insurance one that person, period," Pumel says. "If something were to happen, you're going to get that kickback of money to help you either raise your kids or to make up for the income that is now missing."

In a follow up video she clarifies that you do need the other person's consent in order to take out the policy. Pumel also answers the question on what she's doing with the insurance money after the death of her child's father.

"When I first got the money, I did take a chunk of it and I paid off all of my student loans, now stick with me. Why did I do that? Well, I had about $95K worth of student loans, my interest was over $6K a year. I wasn't even cutting any of it down trying to pay it with that type of interest." She reveals after talking it over with her dad who was helping pay the loans.

"So we came up with a payment plan that pays the entire $95K plus interest back to Kobe, paying it monthly into a 529 Plan, which is a college fund for her. So all that money will go into that plan for her. If she doesn't go to college or doesn't use all of it, it will be kicked over in an investment account that she will be able to pull at retirement age."

@growingwithkelsey

Replying to @bossyasf83 Correct me if im wrong about SS benefits but thats what I was told. But Kobe is going to be alright! I promise you I am getting her the brightest future possible set up! ♥️🫶🏼 #lifeinsurance

Not only is Pumel making sure Kobe has money to retire with, she's taking some of the money and putting it into a high yield account for her daughter. She also plans to buy a real estate property that will go to the little girl when she turns 18. Really, Pumel has thought of everything she could to make sure her daughter is set up to be financially secure her entire life.

While no one wishes for their children to experience the death of a parent before their time, this mom proves that having a life insurance policy on a coparent is simply a smart choice. Parents in the comments are applauding her for talking about this so openly.

@growingwithkelsey

Replying to @ohitsamber84 There are so many ways to set up an financial future for your children without big chunks of money! I strongly recommend talking with a financial advisor if you have kids and seeing what options you may have to ensure them a strong future. ♥️🫶🏼

"And BOOM that is how generational wealth is made baby! Good for you mama," one person says.

"Girl your daughter may not understand now. But when she gets older she will thank you immensely," another writes.

"That's perfect! Exactly what she'll need! Car, college, house...set her up to have no debt," someone else proclaims.

There's one word you can't say on a cruise ship.

On December 10, Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas set sail on the Ultimate World Cruise—a 274-day global trek that visits 11 world wonders and over 60 countries. This incredible trip covers the Americas, Asia Pacific, Middle East, Mediterranean and Europe with a ticket price that ranges from $53,999 to $117,599 per passenger.

Aboard the Serenade to the Seas is popular TikToker Marc Sebastian, who has been sharing his experience on the platform.

In a recent video with over 4.3 million views, he revealed what he’s learned over his first few weeks aboard the ship; the biggest was the one word you’re not allowed to say: Titanic.


“Who knew that? I didn’t,” Sebastian said. “I brought it up to an entire room of people having lunch that our ship is only 100 feet longer than the Titanic — when I tell you that utensils dropped. Waiters gasped. It’s dead silent.”

@marcsebastianf

someone get whoopi on the line girl i have some goss for her #ultimateworldcruise #worldcruise #serenadeoftheseas #cruisetok #cruise #9monthcruise #titanic

After the unexpected reaction, his cruise friend told him, “You’re not allowed to talk about the Titanic.” It makes sense. Who wants to be reminded of the tragedy that killed around 1,500 people while sinking one of the most impressive engineering feats of the era? "When I went on a cruise, my mom told me saying Titanic was equivalent to screaming ‘bomb’ at an airport," Mikayla wrote in the comments.

Later in the video, Sebastian admits he was surprised to learn that cruise ships have godmothers and that the pools are filled with seawater.


This article originally appeared on 1.25.24

@inspiringbelfast/TikTok

Maybe this dose of wholesome humanity brighten your day.

Imagine walking down the street, minding your own business, when a complete stranger unfurls a red carpet at your feet. What do you do? Awkwardly avoid it and continue along your route? Tell the person off for not respecting boundaries? Or do you wholeheartedly accept the impromptu invitation and strut your best stuff?

For the passersby of Belfast, option three was the only choice.

Alan Wallace, who routinely posts uplifting videos that “share the warmth” of his hometown over on TikTok, recently added a video of himself going up to random folks on the street and giving them a moment to shine. And let’s just say, they nailed it.


Folks from all walks of life—including a construction worker that could be Michael Sheen’s doppelgänger—lit up at the opportunity to catwalk, skateboard, cartwheel and even do the worm down the crimson strip.

In a mere matter of seconds, we see all that humanity has to offer—humor, free expression, joy, inclusivity, connection. Such powerful stuff shown in the simplest way.

Even if the moment wasn’t quite as spontaneous as the video makes it appear (Wallace likely asked for permission before rolling the carpet out each time) these people still agreed to play. And that’s what’s magical about it.

“Everyone understood the assignment, from young to old, it was perfect,” one viewer wrote.

@inspiringbelfast Red carpet for strangers in Belfast #inspiringbelfast #belfastcity #belfast #heartwarming ♬ Beautiful Things (Sped Up) - Benson Boone

It’s natural for most people to not want to interact with strangers. And of course there are legitimate safety reasons influencing this instinct. But a lot of the time our avoidance comes from expecting things to be unenjoyable. And yet, research shows not only that people are often pleasantly surprised by how much connection, kindness, belonging and optimism they end up experiencing.

So maybe we don’t need a red carpet to simply enjoy saying hi to someone we meet on the street and reaping the benefits. But hey, it certainly helps.

Representative Image from Canva

Every parent should know about this game. Many have experienced it as kids.

Nurse and mom Jinny Schmidt wants parents to be aware of a game that’s circulating amongst tweens right now, because it’s not a game at all.

In a PSA posted to her TikTok, Schmidt shared that her daughter informed her that boys in her class were beginning to play what she called “The Firetruck Game.”

As Schmidt begins to describe what the “game” entails, it’s easy to see why she’s concerned. All parents should be.


Here’s how the game works: a boy puts his hand on a girl’s lower thigh. And he tells her “my hand is a firetruck” as he slowly moves it up her leg. When the girl gets uncomfortable, she is supposed to say “red light.” Except for when the girl says “red light,” the boy responds with “sorry, firetrucks don’t stop for red lights.” And so they run their hand all the way up the girl’s leg, Schmidt explains, and sometimes they “touch the girl’s crotch.” Yikes.

Many viewers noted growing up with the Firetruck Game, or a version called “The Nervous Game,” or “Red Light Green Light.” Suddenly The “Squid Game” version of “Red Light Green Light” doesn’t seem so bad.

No matter what it’s called, though, it’s touching without consent, and is inappropriate on so many levels, not least of which being that it’s an excuse for sexual assault. Hence Schmidt’s alarm.

“I know that kids will be kids and kids will do some stupid shit, But we’ve got to do better teaching our boys to keep their hands off of other people and teaching our girls that it’s okay to have boundaries,” she says, before asking parents to “be aware” if they hear their kids talking about it.
@the.funny.nurse Y’all gonna see me on the 6 O’clock news. #jrhigh #kids #tween #preteen #parents #moms #momsoftiktok #dads #dadsoftiktok #teacher #teachersoftiktok #publicschool #school #firetruck #firetruckgame #firetruckgameawareness #girls #boys #game ♬ original sound - Jin-Jin

And she is, of course, absolutely right. Folks who watched her video wholeheartedly agreed that the behavior should not be tolerated, and many shared some pretty intense, although warranted, reactions to it.

“We’d be playing a game called Ambulance next,” one person wrote.

“Press charges,” said another.

“We have a game also. It’s called ‘oops I broke your finger,’” a third added.

But many also chimed in to say that they would be talking to their kids immediately about it, which is probably the best route overall. That way kids can protect themselves, and others around them.

Middle school years in general are pretty rough. They can be just as difficult to navigate for parents as they can be for the kids going through it. It’s painful to watch your still baby-faced child go through many of the same awful pains that you did, many of which are unavoidable. But some things, like terrible and abusive games, can be avoided. So make sure to have those important conversations when you can.