Here's a success story right from my own family! When we went to the California State fair in 2005, we purchased two of the large plastic cups that are really expensive if you only have the drink they come with. The deal is that after you buy the cup for $6.00, each refill there after is only $2.00. Now don't get me wrong, both of these numbers are high for a soda, but I've managed to out smart the program.
I still have those two cups from 2005 and we have used them each year since. Let's do a little math and assume that we get three drinks over the course of the time we are at the fair. $6.00 each initial investment equals $12.00. Two more drinks each equals $8.00 for a total of $20.00. In 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009, we took the same cups and had our three drinks, but this time all six drinks (three drinks, two cups) only cost $12.00. Keeping in mind that a single drink costs from $3.50-$8.00, over four years, that's a savings of $68.00! The savings not only adds up for fair-going, but we use the cups during our everyday life, too. This is a win-win-win situation!
Next time you have an opportunity to spend a little more up front to save a little on the backside, think about it for the long run, not for the few hours you are at the fair or amusement park.