Wednesday, February 15, 2012

More Books to Help You Save

Another book we have in the library collection is The Complete Idiot's Guide to Stretching Your Dollar: Creative Ways to Live Well and Still Save Money by Shannon M. Medisky (New York: Penguin, 2009).

The book starts with a very helpful Contents at a Glance (III - IV). These pages, in addition to the annotated Table of Contents, give a very short and succinct summary of the kind of information contained in each of the 15 chapters. The book covers: saving, spending and stretching your money; cost cutting on things for your home, your car, on your health care, on your clothing, on your child and pet care, on food, on entertainment and on travel; living green, celebrating the holidays and on stretching your future dollars. There is also a Resources section at the back of the book that includes: a list of the "shelf-life" of certain foods you may want to buy in bulk; contacts for Coupon-Clipping Services, Coupon Sites, Free Sample Sites, Cheap Travel Sites, Price Comparison Sites, Online Outlet Shopping and Product Review Sites. The book also has a comprehensive Index which is useful when looking for specific advice.

Since we are starting our Savings Club on food shopping and coupons, I thought I would share some of the tips that this book suggests. The author adds a few more ideas about where to find coupons, beyond the ones mentioned in my earlier blog. She reminds you to look on the back of your cash register receipts for "coupons toward dining out, dry-cleaning bills and car maintenance." She suggests asking the cashier to run out some additional tape to get multiple coupons for something you use regularly. She also suggests you contact the manufacturers of products you like, either on their "tell us what you think" toll-free line or through Customer Service either by phone or email. She says to just ask the manufacturer for coupons so that you can continue to use their products.

The author says that you should be friendly with the cashiers - they may have coupons that you can use on the spot or they may be able to tell you when an item may be going on sale in the near future. She also suggests that you keep an eye on the register display to make sure that things do not get scanned more than once, that the proper discounts are applied, that the correct prices are charged and that additional weight is not added to your produce. Now try to call the cashier on a discrepancy and still keep on friendly terms with them for future transactions!

The author, like other coupon strategies for loose coupons, says to keep them with you, in an envelope or wallet, by date order with the first to expire on top, to make sure you don't miss something useful. Perhaps the club might want to set up a collection for expired coupons at our meetings and send them off to a military base.

I will bring these books to the club meeting on March 1 in case you want to look at them yourselves. I will also share some additional tips between now and then in this blog.

Happy saving!

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