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     OUR CONSUMER SAVING TIPS



THE FILIPINO-AMERICAN CONSUMERS
Another exclusive article by the people of the www.epilipinas.com

Filipino Americans are really a breed apart when it comes to shopping.
They were trained early as to how to spot a good deal and how to spend the
hard earned money wisely. With all those Balikbayan boxes we're trying to fill
up, we better know how. Those who are trying to save some bucks here 
and there, here's one article that will try to give you pointers.


COUPONS

Coupons are the biggest savers of all. Clipping coupons from Sunday newspapers are not all that hard and the returns are enormous. Imagine a supermarket that have an advertised sale price, say of 10 cents from one dollar original price will give a 10% off but adding the coupon will give additional cut of another 20 to 30 cents from the dollar bringing a total of at 30% savings - multiply this 100 times and you will have a $30 savings from the total groceries. What more if the store is a double coupon store - a savings of additional 20%. And if you have a big family to feed, imagine the 30% savings could do to your budget. These coupon savings are not are not only in the supermarkets but with other goods as well. An advertised car's lube job with coupon could be between 20 to 30 percent savings. A 19.99 lube special for a 4 cylinder car will be cut to 12.99, a savings of $6 - a good lunch at McDonald's. Talking of food, coupons are also one way of saving. Carl's, McDonald's, Olive Garden and almost all the fast food and restaurants have coupons for you to use. We always have them in our car, so that anytime we need to eat in these restaurants we have coupons ready. Likewise buying cosmetics at department stores will give you more discounts plus giveaways like traveling bag or an umbrella. And these giveaways are really nice and name brands to boot. All kinds of people uses the coupons for all purposes. And using them is common in all classes of people. Savings annually and compounded until you retire will be a sizeable nest egg. It's there use them.Don't be embarassed when using coupons the manufacturers want you to use them to instill brand loyalty. Businesses should look into coupons for promotion, it could bring in customers during slow days The benefits of Sponsoring thru coupons.
Visit Coolsavings.com for free Coupons.

FACTORY OUTLETS

Buying directly from the manufacturers is another way of saving big on name brand apparrels.In California and almost all over the U.S. there are factory outlets that really bringing the prices down. I remember friends and relatives alike getting excited in relating how they stumbled upon unadvertised specials in one of the outlets near their areas. Even in our out-of-state vacations we will definitely try to visit local factory outlets. When we visited Vermont with a close friend from Boston, my wife and I went to the local factory stores to look around while our companions went skiing. Being winter in East coast, they were trying to free up some old inventory of name brand short sleeve shirts - the savings of almost 60% from original price. But this example of savings is just our experience we are sure a lot of good shoppers can top this in savings. We've done these as well in other states that we've been to. Believe me, ladies have noses for great bargains. If you are a Californian like us, I am sure you are familiar with the factory outlets in and around your respective 'shopping zones'. But going to Vegas is the most fun going to, says my wife, if you like bargain prices specially in Ralph Lauren clothings and accessories. Sometimes it is a good idea to drop by in these outlets before losing your shirt in Vegas. The 2 arm bandits are really the 'bread and butter' of the casinos. And if you've spent some of your gambling pocket money in the outlets, you already a winner, there's less money for the casinos. Some money you normally will lose in their casinos, will be spent at least on a new pair of jeans.

HOLIDAY SALES

Everytime there's a holiday there will be a big sale going on. Even if there are only several holidays in a year, these days are big for department stores. They also make a big deal of those non observed holidays like Valentine's, Father's and Mother's as big attractions for everyone to come and buy something for your dear ones. When I was small or little (whichever you prefer), I think Valentine's was a holiday for chocolate makers and greeting card manufacturers, not to mention, the sugar and paper companies - the dentists too in someway. But kidding aside, these are big deals for serious shoppers too. The greatest of these holidays is the Day After Thanksgiving Day Sale - the mother of all holiday sales. This is the start of the Christmas gift buying season. This year the Thanksgiving Day is Sept. 23, the day after is 24. Since all stores will have their own version of price slashing, make sure you compare prices specially on high ticketed items. The best sources for prices are the newspaper ads and flyers that comes with Sunday papers - stores advertise sales way ahead of time that you have plenty of time to compare. In our household, we buy normally all those gifts for relatives and friends prior to Christmas but for our stocking up and reserve for gift givings we shop after the holidays, specially after Christmas and New Year's, why? You see the department stores will lower prices sometimes lower than sale prices on these days to discourage returns and getting rid of excess inventories.

THE INTERNET

Check the Internet as well for price comparison. Big e-commerce sites like Amazon, uBid, Buy and others with dot com at end will give those department stores a run for their money. The sales tax is already a big saving plus sometimes the shipping cost is free as well. The Internet has given traditional gift buying an alternative. Psss.... sometimes the Internet web sites goofed in posting prices and once orders are placed they have to honor them or lose buyers' confidence - it's a secret. If you see a price way too low chances are the data entry clerk made a mistake. Don't think twice place them in your cart and check them out with a credit card just in case the reason for the price reduction is the product being defective. Seldom does product problem is the cause of the price slashing, it is the wrong price posting. The truth is, we bought our computers through an Internet reseller.The price is really way below the price compared with the stores in our area and with tax not included the price diferrence was even more. The computer is working fine after over a year. Visit the e-commerce site of toy stores, bookstore, computer stores and others. There bargains that are sometimes only can be find on the web. Sites like Amazon.com, and barnesand noble.com. They are encouraging people to shop in their site to minimize traffic in their stores during the holidays. For office supplies, I normally buy our office supplies from the local Office Depot Office Max, Best Buy and so on. But when we tried the Staples, because they been so aggressive in their promotions that we tried them and we really save. The supplies arrived the following day delivered by Staples truck. Wow the service really impressed us that we buy regularly from them provided we get the right price. With $25 off on a $75 order is their latest promo, we will surely can use the savings. The other site worth mention here is Priceline.com. A unique site for looking for no frills and steal prices. Just name the price you want to pay a service/product like airline tickets, hotel and more. To back up your bid for the product you need to enter your credit card and once bid price accepted only then they will charge your account. A good site to know for those last minute flight booking. Compare prices with the Internet resellers and you may get the surprise of your life.

USE CREDIT CARDS

Use those credit cards for 2 reasons. First, you get important points when you pay using those with this kind of a program. These points can be redeemed for airline tickets, products or gift certificates. You'll be amazed how fast you accummulated those points that soon you'll be flying to your vacation all courtesy of the credit card purchase points. And with no extra costs to you. Some have minimal fees, so pick the one that you think you have the most benefits. Second, you don't pay any interest if you pay all the balance before the due date. You either put the money in your money market account or invest them in some safe instruments that will generate extra savings for you. And to add another benefits to this, is that you have a purchase insurance for free and a record of all your monthly purchases in form of a statement. Who's paying for all of these, of course those businesses who accept the credit cards. The credit card companies charge them a percentage of the sales up to 5 to 6 % in some cases. This is capitalism at its best. There is a new way of paying or giving money to far away relatives instead of sending check or paying those remittance company a fee. Paypal.com will do this for free. Don't be scared as your account is insured - read the section about insurance to make sure you're covered.

FREE TRIAL OFFERS

This is great. They give you free product to use or for trial. A good concept and a win-win situation for all parties concern. Usually this promotion is used by the publishing and musical record companies. This is how it works. First you sign up on the Internet or by sending the postage paid offer acceptance card. After they received the card they start sending you the issues and the CDs for a certain period of time, say 2 - 3 months, and after several issues they will start sending the bills. However, as per agreement, you may choose to cancel the trial subscription at any time during the introductory offer. If you like what you see, buy them by all means but if not just send the card with a note CANCEL. Why this offer? First they have a circulation number that needed to entice advertisers and secondly, they want you to read them rather than having them at the bookstores that people will not being bother to read - the wrong customers and you having shown interest to the articles and the nature of the publication by sending the card back, is definitely a much better consumer target than just anybody. Check Free2try.com for free trial offers.

IT PAYS TO BE A WELL INFORMED CONSUMER

A word of caution to all. Not all deals are all good deals if you do not compare apples to apples. Make sure the features are the same. The price maybe lower in the same brand but the weight is less for food items or for appliances, other features maybe missing. Sometimes the reputation of quality makes price not a question at all. Do your homework if you are buying specially high price items. Always remember, there is no substitute for a well informed consumer. There are a lot of free information on the Internet to give you more data to come up with a right buying decision. Here are some consumer information sites:
The Federal Consumer Information Center(FCIC) - free publications Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. - product testing information Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) - independent federal regulatory agency Food and Drug Administration(FDA) - approves consumer products Department of Consumer Affairs - information for California consumers American Association of Retired Persons Better Business Bureau Center for Auto Safety Consumer Action National Center for Financial Education National Consumer Law Center National Consumers League National Foundation for Consumer Credit(Consumer Credit Counseling Service main office) National Fraud Information Center National Safety Council HAPPY SHOPPING EVERYONE ! !
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