Give Money While Saving Money

New discount program makes it easy to donate to local charities
BY: LACEY STORER

Everyone loves saving money. But you know what’s even better than that? Saving money and being able to donate to charity at the same time. A new discount program called TogetherMex lets members save money on meals, activities, services and more, and then gives a portion of the total proceeds to one of several local charities.

TogetherMex is the brainchild of Steve Zasio - a Southern California man who’s been visiting La Paz since he was 15 and has lived there for the last five years - although he credits his wife with giving him the push to make the move. While they were in the hospital having their new baby a year and a half ago, Zasio saw a lot of people in unfortunate situations. He commented on this to his wife who responded, “We, you should do something.”

So, he came up with an idea that makes giving to charity as easy as using your cell phone, while making money for Zasio and his family.

 TogetherMex is a membership-based program. Unlike the Cabo Passport, where you pay a flat fee, Together Mex has two payment options. You can choose the vacation membership, where you pay a one-time fee of $29 and can use the program for three months. Or you can get a local membership, where you pay a recurring fee of $29 every three months (which comes out to $116 a year). There’s no physical discount card to carry around; TogetherMex uses the Member Planet app, which downloads an e-card that you can pull up on your cell phone to use for discounts. (We should note that there’s one caveat to the app: It currently doesn’t list the participating businesses or the available discounts, though Zasio says he plans on added that feature later on. He suggests having the TogetherMex website page that lists the discounts bookmarked on your phone’s web browser.)

TogetherMex members receive discounts on things like activities, hotel stays and, of course, meals. Restaurants are most of the businesses participating in TogetherMex, because along with getting discounts, everyone likes to eat. The list of restaurants participating in Cabo is a long one and includes some of the most popular places: Romeo & Julieto, Lorenzillo’s, InVita, Salvatore’s, Los Barriles, Agua Salada, Arts & Sushi, Ruth’s Chris, DaVinci’s, Villa Serena, Bar Esquina and Puerto Vieja. Discounts range from 10 to 20 percent off your meal to a free round of drinks to half off entrees.

“Our goal is that, if you’re a member, it pays for itself every month and you’re saving money every month,” Zasio says. But, at the same time, “Discounts are a means by which we collect money to give to certain causes. Everybody likes a discount, but that’s not what we’re all about.” So, don’t turn up your nose if you think saving 10 percent off your ticket doesn’t sound like much; something is better than nothing and remember that it’s for a good cause.

Speaking of charities, TogetherMex members vote on their favorite charity on the 15th of each month (they’re sent a reminder from the app) at the end of each quarter the votes are tallied. Here in Los Cabos, there are three charities you can vote for: Feed Los Cabos Kids, Casa Hogar and the Los Cabos Children’s Foundation. TogetherMex will donate 50% of its profits to the charities in proportion to the percentage of votes received (meaning, the charity that gets the most votes get the most money). The vote tally and the amount given to the charities will be posted on the TogetherMex website.

The program has already launched in Cabo, and is getting started in La Paz. Zasio says he plans on expanding TogetherMex to the rest of BCS (San Jose, Loreto, Los Barriles and Todos Santos) by the end of July or early August.

And TogetherMex isn’t just limited to local discounts; members are already able to use it in Cancun and Puerto Vallarta and there are plans to expand the program to include Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Mazatlán, Acapulco and other cities in the Yucatan Peninsula and the mainland Pacific coast. Zasio says he originally planned on TogetherMex being only for La Paz, but as word about his idea spread, so did the program.

For more information on TogetherMex and how to sign up, visit their website at www.TogetherMex.com.