It's Your Money: Buying services in bulk - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

It's Your Money: Buying services in bulk

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MADISON (WKOW)--Every month, Michael Cahill takes a spin in the barber seat.  Those haircuts can add up.

"I knew that coming into this year I had to cut back on some of my spending."

Michael "trimmed" his budget by purchasing a yearly membership for unlimited haircuts.

"It's convenient.  I don't have to pay each time I come."

Think of it as a bottomless deal.  Michael now goes twice a month!  Trend expert Dr. Audrey Guskey says memberships aren't just for wholesale clubs anymore.  The concept is quickly spreading to places like car washes, spas and salons.

"And it makes sense why it would appear now with the economy being so tight," notes Guskey.

Prices range anywhere from slightly over $100 for never-ending coffee to $1,500 or more for personal pampering discounts.  The price may sound steep, but Dr. Guskey says you can really score a bargain.

"If you use a particular service quite a bit over an annual period, you could save tremendous amounts of money, perhaps 20, 30, even 40% or more."

You can also find different levels of membership, each with its own perks and price points.  At the barbershop where Michael Cahill belongs...

"We do a silver, gold and platinum membership.  They differ with the various services," says Judy Fogarty, barbershop manager.

But these memberships aren't just a way to pamper yourself, you can also pamper your car. The unlimited "basic" car wash is one of the most popular packages available today.   Tom Rando says his business is booming.

"The feedback that we have received from the people that have it...really enjoy it.  It's a good value."

So, how do you know if a deal is for you?  Dr. guskey says do a little math.

"Figure out exactly how much am i spending a year on this and how much is the membership? And if there's any kind of savings you probably want to take advantage of it."

Also read the fine print before signing the dotted line.

"Understand what the restrictions are and what the regulations are for this particular service."

Dr. Guskey says that annual memberships can be a great deal, but don't go into debt trying to pay for one.

If you can't afford the fee, start saving for next year.

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