Tips for Watching Meteor Showers

Last month we watched the Orionids, a meteor shower that happens during autumn of each year.  We took advantage of special software apps that helped us estimate where to look to see the largest number of meteors each evening.  And we compiled a list of those we saw that was given to the state university’s historical list of meteor observations.  A meteor, as you know, is created by a particle burning up as it falls through our planet’s atmosphere at high speed.  Most burn up well before they reach the Earth’s surface, though there have been occasions when one has hit and devastated the area around its place of impact.  Many meteor showers are associated with comets; the Orionids are said to be part of the tail of Halley’s Comet.

Watching a meteor shower requires basic preparation.  Wear comfortable clothing.  The best time to observe meteors is after midnight.  Even summer nights may be chilly at that time, so it’s a good idea to bring a jacket or sweater.  You also need a chaise with a pillow, so you can lay back and look up without straining.  Binoculars are useful, but not essential; indeed, you may miss seeing some because they limit your field of vision.  On the other hand, it’s a good idea to have some insect protection, since you’ll be outdoors in the open.  I like to bring along a light blanket just in case the sweater or jacket isn’t sufficient.  A large container of your favorite thirst quenching liquid is recommended.  One also should wear comfortable athletic shoes like those you can get from Journeys; they are perfect for walking rough roads or long distances outdoors.  And you can get them for a discount of up to $60 off when you purchase them with a Groupon coupon.

The best place to watch a meteor shower is a location with a minimum of light pollution from surrounding cities; avoid major centers like shopping malls, stadiums and outdoor arenas.  You definitely want to stay far from busy airports.  Some people like locations in the mountains, but beware of animals.  Another option is a public park with a lake that doesn’t have artificial light around after dark.  A seacoast can be ideal.  Just set up your chair well back from the high tide line, lay on your blanket and relax and watch the stars fall.  And don’t forget to make a wish!

Last month we watched the Orionids, a meteor shower that happens during autumn of each year.  We took advantage of special software apps that helped us estimate where to look to see the largest number of meteors each evening.  And we compiled a list of those we saw that was given to the state university’s historical list of meteor observations.  A meteor, as you know, is created by a particle burning up as it falls through our planet’s atmosphere at … Continue reading

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Does Costco Accept Manufacturer Coupons?

Costco is one of the most famous places there are for buying in bulk. People state they save thousands every year by shopping at Costco.

But can that savings be increased by including coupons? Does Costco Accept Manufacturer coupons?

Does Costco Accept Manufacturer Coupons?

The simple answer is no Costco does not accept manufacturer coupons. But let’s explain exactly what a manufacturer coupon is.

A manufacturer coupon is a coupon that you get through something like a Sunday newspaper or in the mail. It can range from a few cents off to dollars off. Many stores allow you to double up, or actually increase the value of the coupons.

It’s these kinds of coupons that Costco doesn’t accept. And to be honest we should be happy they don’t.

The lines at Costco are already far too long, and take too much time to get through. Imagine if you had to wait for someone to use a hundred coupons as well.

What Coupons Does Costco Accept?

Costco does, however, accept some coupons. Specifically their coupons.

Costco has an ever-changing variety of coupons for you to check and see what the price will be.

A way that they speed up the process is rather than you having to scan multiple coupons you simply scan the one code and it gives all coupons available.

This is good to scan regardless if you planned on buying something that has a coupon or not just in case.

Not only do they have the coupons but Costco also often has deals on the items as well saving you even more. Meaning you can get items that are typically hundreds or thousands for a significant discount.

Where Should I Shop?

So if Costco doesn’t accept manufacturer coupons does that mean you shouldn’t shop there?

Well, if you are one of those extreme couponers that are able to buy hundreds dollars worth of groceries for 50 cents then you will likely want to continue doing that.

However, if you are one who doesn’t spend that amount of time, wants to save money without any extra work then Costco will work for you.

In addition, Costco has their own brand items, especially in food. If you are one that wants to focus on eating healthy and organic food they have great cheap options.

You do have to consider more than just the price of the products at Costco, the membership fee must also be taken into consideration.

If you save on gas there, buy in bulk, and buy things that are a good deal then it becomes worth it.

But many grocery items can be bought with less money and some manufacturer coupons.

Costco is one of the most famous places there are for buying in bulk. People state they save thousands every year by shopping at Costco. But can that savings be increased by including coupons? Does Costco Accept Manufacturer coupons? Does Costco Accept Manufacturer Coupons? The simple answer is no Costco does not accept manufacturer coupons. But let’s explain exactly what a manufacturer coupon is. A manufacturer coupon is a coupon that you get through something like a Sunday newspaper or … Continue reading

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Looking for a Writer

 

If you’ve been following Grocery Coupon Guide, you know that we like to encourage our readers to also contribute to our blog. The GCG team is excited to announce that we are looking for a new volunteer blogger(s) to regularly write for the site.

If you think you may be interested in writing, we are looking for someone who will be able to write one or two posts each week. Researching and writing for blogs can take a good bit of effort so you will want to make sure that you will be able to devote time to it. Here are a few other things we are looking for in a blogger:

  1. You don’t need blogging experience. We would love for you to share you personal finance tricks, hacks, debt stories! However, you will need to provide at least one sample of your writing for our review.
  2. Be willing to interview and be interviewed. Sometimes blogging includes chatting with people and both asking and answering questions. You’ll have to be ready to do so.
  3. You also need to be willing to interact with readers. If our readers are commenting on your post, we’d like for you to respond to them and create a dialogue.
  4. We aren’t looking for a personal finance expert but some background in personal finance, a great debt payoff story or even frugality tips is a plus. We want you to be interested in what you are writing about!
  5. This is a volunteer position. While there is no direct compensation made for each post, there are some opportunities for bonuses, especially if a post is performing extremely well (getting traction). We want someone who is looking to write because they want to help others, whether it be helping them learn to save or, for example, providing tips on how to make your own laundry detergent.

Those who are interested in writing for GCG should email James, at james@districtmediafinance.com. He will get back to you with more information and chat about a writing sample. If you have any questions feel free to leave it in the comments below or call James at 202.468.6043.

  If you’ve been following Grocery Coupon Guide, you know that we like to encourage our readers to also contribute to our blog. The GCG team is excited to announce that we are looking for a new volunteer blogger(s) to regularly write for the site. If you think you may be interested in writing, we are looking for someone who will be able to write one or two posts each week. Researching and writing for blogs can take a good … Continue reading

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Michelangelo’s Handwritten Shopping List

Here’s possibly the most valuable shopping list you’ll ever see. Most people would never consider a shopping list to be a piece of artwork, but this one might change your mind. This is a handwritten shopping list from Michelangelo which shows that his artwork wasn’t limited to certain projects, but everything that he did — even something as mundane as a shopping list. Why the hand drawn pictures next to the food names? The lists were likely given to a servant who couldn’t read, thus the illustrations helped them understand what they were supposed to be buying.

hand written shopping list by Michelangelo

Here’s possibly the most valuable shopping list you’ll ever see. Most people would never consider a shopping list to be a piece of artwork, but this one might change your mind. This is a handwritten shopping list from Michelangelo which shows that his artwork wasn’t limited to certain projects, but everything that he did — even something as mundane as a shopping list. Why the hand drawn pictures next to the food names? The lists were likely given to a … Continue reading

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Two Tips to Save Time and Money on Cyber Monday

Because more and more people now use online shopping to complete their holiday gift lists, Cyber Monday is becoming as big a shopping day as Black Friday. Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, is the online shopping equivalent of Black Friday, when stores hold huge sales and offer great items at very low prices. To make the most of your holiday shopping on Cyber Monday this year, take advantage of these two tips that will help you save time and money and make it more likely that you will be able to purchase all the things you want on this huge online shopping day.

Plan Your Shopping Strategy

Just because Cyber Monday takes place in online stores instead of in physical stores doesn’t mean that you can sleep in and browse lazily. Just like regular stores, online stores have limited inventory and, even though they may have more items available than a regular store, you have to remember that there are thousands, or maybe even millions of people, shopping online at the same time you are, so you have to compete with the whole country, not just your city, when shopping online. To make sure you get everything on your list, make a plan in advance. List all the sites that you plan to shop and note what time each site’s Cyber Monday sale begins. Some may begin at midnight, while others might wait until the early morning hours to launch their sales. Next, make a list of the items you want and prioritize it. If you know that an item is going to sell quickly, place it high on your list. This way, you’ll be able to move quickly through your list of stores and items and increase the likelihood that your online shopping day will be a success.

Use Promo Codes and Online Coupons

Don’t rely only on posted online sales this Cyber Monday. Increase your savings by using promotion codes and online coupons, which are code you enter during checkout to get the best discount. While many online stores will advertise their promo codes, you might have to put in some extra work to find others. You can search the Internet to find free coupons online that have been posted by other shoppers. Take advantage of this, and organize your list so that you already have each code and the site you will use it on listed in one convenient place. You don’t want to slow down your checkout process by searching for codes you have lost. On Cyber Monday, you might have to wake up even earlier than you would on Black Friday, but you can also do a lot of shopping from your own home. You can save just as much money on this big holiday shopping day and you can do so without leaving the house. Just remember to stay organized and make a plan. Remember to check for other deals that will save you money, such as free shipping or free returns. Also, don’t forget to check return policies for each site so that you can be sure any gifts that don’t fit or aren’t quite right can easily be returned or exchanged.

Because more and more people now use online shopping to complete their holiday gift lists, Cyber Monday is becoming as big a shopping day as Black Friday. Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, is the online shopping equivalent of Black Friday, when stores hold huge sales and offer great items at very low prices. To make the most of your holiday shopping on Cyber Monday this year, take advantage of these two tips that will help you save time and … Continue reading

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Couponing Basics

The ultimate coupon strategy involves matching up store sales with available coupons, rebates, and other offers to get the lowest price possible, and then stock up. To do this, most couponers use some basic strategies to find the savings.

If you’ve tried saving money at the store, and don’t seem to find the super savings (at least 50% off your bill each week), it’s time to do some research on your stores and their policies.

You will also want to research and find coupons:

Also, consider the emotional aspect of using coupons. Saving money is something most people like doing, but not everyone is immediately comfortable with it. If you feel guilty, or embarrassed, at the checkout counter, you might find this article helps:

  • Why you Shouldn’t be Embarrassed to Use Coupons
  • The ultimate coupon strategy involves matching up store sales with available coupons, rebates, and other offers to get the lowest price possible, and then stock up. To do this, most couponers use some basic strategies to find the savings. If you’ve tried saving money at the store, and don’t seem to find the super savings (at least 50% off your bill each week), it’s time to do some research on your stores and their policies. Couponing Fundamentals – Researching Your … Continue reading

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    Maximize the Saving Power of an Online Coupon

    While we focus mainly on grocery coupons on this site, there are other coupons that you should also be taking advantage of such as online coupons/promotional codes. If you do any amount of online shopping, these can greatly reduce your costs. Using coupons and promotional codes while shopping online is a great way to save money, but you will basically shooting yourself in the foot if you abuse their power. You have to be able to learn how to use coupons as a necessary tool rather than an optional luxury that you can just toss to the side. There are several key steps that must be followed in order to accomplish this goal.

    Use Them, Do Not Abuse Them

    It’s important to remember that with any type of online savings, whether it is a coupon or promotional code, comes with an expiration date. In most cases, a coupon’s average life cycle is approximately 9 weeks, according to the Nielsen Company. However, that two-month period will come and go faster than you might think. This is one of the reasons why there are so many coupons available but so very few that actually get used. Over $480 billion worth of coupons are distributed each year, but less than one percent of them are redeemed, according to StatisticBrain.com. A great coupon is only valuable when it is used. Otherwise, it is only good for recycling paper.

    Do Not Hesitate to Share Your Savings

    There are many different websites that invite e-mail subscribers. Adding your e-mail to this list will actually place you within a wide network of other coupon savers. You will gain direct access to even more coupons and promotional codes than you could ever imagine in most cases, because only a fraction of them may have been advertised in your local area or on the websites that you visit regularly. For example, someone may have a coupon available on one of those sites that will allow you to save money at your favorite store. You more than likely would have never known about it unless someone shared it with you in the first place. This type of sharing is why the redemption rate of online coupons was over 260 percent in 2012 alone, according to eMarketer.

    Become a Master of Combining Sales

    One of the best skills that you can learn as a smart online shopper is the art of combining sales and existing promotions with your coupons. Even though you may receive a coupon or promotional code today does not necessarily mean that you have to be in a rush to use it. As mentioned earlier, the average life cycle of a coupon is at least two months. This means that you will be able to save even more money simply by waiting to use the coupon as a secret weapon at that time.

    If you watch different television shows and read published articles about extreme coupon shoppers, one of the tricks of their trade is saving coupons and using them to get even more money off of products that are already on sale. This is something that can be applied to online shopping even more so than traditional. You just need to know how and when to wisely use your coupons in order to find or even create the best possible deals.

    While we focus mainly on grocery coupons on this site, there are other coupons that you should also be taking advantage of such as online coupons/promotional codes. If you do any amount of online shopping, these can greatly reduce your costs. Using coupons and promotional codes while shopping online is a great way to save money, but you will basically shooting yourself in the foot if you abuse their power. You have to be able to learn how to use … Continue reading

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    Rainchecks: Always Look for Out-of-Stock Sale Items

    When people begin to coupon, one of the things that they fail to take advantage of far too often are rainchecks. In fact, when you start couponing on a regular basis, you soon learn that a raincheck can be one of your best friends when it comes to saving money on your groceries. When you get to an aisle where you were expecting to get a great deal to find that the product has been completely wiped off the shelves, don't despair. In fact, if this happens, there is a good chance that you're going to end up getting a great deal, and one better than what caused the item to sell out in the first place.

    grocery store raincheck

    One of the most important things to do when shopping is to always look for things that are out of stock that you would buy (even if you were not planning to buy that item right then and there). When a store has a special, even when it's not matched with a coupon, they will sometimes sell out of that item. When that happens, it pays to ask for a raincheck.

    Rainchecks work differently depending on the store, but basically it gives you the opportunity to buy the product at the advertised price at a later date when the product is in stock again. The best way to find out the store's policy is to go to the information or customer service desk and ask an employee how to get a raincheck for an item that has sold out.

    The reason that this can be an excellent deal for you is that when items go on sale for greatly discounted prices, rarely can you match a coupon with the sale price. While stores will often have sale prices matched with coupons, rarely do they have deeply discounted sales paired with coupons. When things tend to run out on the shelves, it's due to a deep discount where a coupon isn't needed.

    When you get a raincheck, you usually have a several month period in which to redeem the raincheck. In many cases, a coupon will become available for the product in questions during the time the raincheck is valid. When this happens, you can get the product for the deeply discounted sale price with the raincheck, then use the coupon on top of that to further reduce the price of what you are buying.

    In this way, rainchecks can become one of your best friends when it comes to getting great deals on food at the grocery store. It won't take long for you to be hoping that certain items are sold out so that you can get a raincheck for them because you know that this will possibly be better than getting them for the advertised price. In te worst case scenario, you get the product at the deeply discounted price.

    If you have not been taking advantage of rainchecks up to this point, it's time to start. Make a note that anytime you see something that has sold out at the store to ask for a raincheck. The worst that can happen is that you never use the raincheck. If you do, however, you are bound to get a great deal in doing so.

    (Photo courtesy of Edward Falke)

    When people begin to coupon, one of the things that they fail to take advantage of far too often are rainchecks. In fact, when you start couponing on a regular basis, you soon learn that a raincheck can be one of your best friends when it comes to saving money on your groceries. When you get to an aisle where you were expecting to get a great deal to find that the product has been completely wiped off the shelves, … Continue reading

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    Five More Reasons Not to Be Embarrassed to Use Coupons

    There seems to be quite a few people that don't use coupons because they are embarrassed to do so. While they may think that there are legitimate reasons that coupons are embarrassing, the truth is that they aren't in the least bit. I mentioned previously five reasons that you shouldn't be embarrassed to use coupons. If that isn't enough, here are five more reasons that you shouldn't feel embarrassed to use them.

    reasons to be embarrassed

    Stores Want You To Use Them

    Coupons are there for you to use, not only so you can save money, but because stores want you to use them. Coupons are a great way for a store to advertise. By sending out coupons they hope that it will bring in a large crowd of people who will buy their products. Coupons wouldn't be available if both stores and manufacturers didn't want you to use them.

    The Money Saved is Worth More to You Than the Store

    To be honest, the $0.50 you save on that box of pasta or the 10% off those new shoes is worth more to you than it is to the store or the manufacturer. The coupons you use throughout the year hardly put a dent in their bank account. At the end of the day, those coupons are helping you save money so there's no reason to be embarrassed or guilty for using them.

    It's Not a Sign of “Being Cheap”

    More and more people are using coupons on their purchases. While some people think of coupons as a sign of being cheap, it's anything but that. In fact, using coupons is the ultimate in financial responsibility. In this horrible economy, using coupons is a fiscally smart idea. Some people need to save money wherever they can, and there's nothing wrong with saving money through coupons. If you saw $0.50 lying on the sidewalk, would you pick it up or say that it was being cheap to pick it up? The same argument can be made with every coupon you use.

    There's No Shame in Saving Money

    Additionally, there is no shame in saving money. Even the richest people in society want to save money. Whether the economy is good or bad, there is nothing wrong with saving money. As long as you're not being purposefully stingy, use all the coupons you want to get that grocery bill down. Saving money should be viewed as a virtue, not something to be ashamed about.

    Who Cares What Other People Think?

    Mostly important, why do you care if people are judging you for using coupons? What you do with your money is none of their business. If you need or want to use coupons to help your finances or to bring your bill down, then that's your choice. If they don't want to use coupons, then that's their choice. If you're embarrassed about being seen using coupons, just tell yourself that it really doesn't matter who sees you. You're saving money and doing what you think is best for you finances and that's all that should matter.

    (Photo courtesy of Tuomas Puikkonen)

    There seems to be quite a few people that don't use coupons because they are embarrassed to do so. While they may think that there are legitimate reasons that coupons are embarrassing, the truth is that they aren't in the least bit. I mentioned previously five reasons that you shouldn't be embarrassed to use coupons. If that isn't enough, here are five more reasons that you shouldn't feel embarrassed to use them. Stores Want You To Use Them Coupons are … Continue reading

    Posted in Coupons, General Info | 2 Comments

    5 Foods You Thought Were Good For You But Aren't

    When it comes to choosing food that is good for you, it can often get confusing. There seems to be a constant shifting of what foods are supposedly good for you and it's often difficult to keep track. What's worse, many of the foods that you might think are good for you actually aren't (you can thank advertisers for that). Below you'll find some foods that you might have thought are good for you, but actually aren't nearly as good for you as the manufacturers of them would like you to believe.

    granola isn't healthy

    Granola

    Many people seem to think that granola is a healthy item to put in yogurt, trail mix, or other baked goods or dishes. While it is high in fiber and unsaturated fats, it's also full of more sugar than you really need in one snack. Granola is one of those foods that is good in moderation, and something that becomes significantly unhealthy the more of it you eat.

    Bran Muffins

    For a long time, a lot of people were under the assumption that bran muffins were a healthy alternative to other breakfast muffins. However, while bran muffins are high in fiber, they're also very high in calories, sugar, preservatives, and fat. Many prepackaged or chain stores have bran muffins that are around 800 calories. So, next time you reach for that bran muffin for breakfast, you might want to think twice.

    Whole Wheat Sandwich Wraps

    In the past few years or so, you might have heard people saying that wheat bread or wheat grains are a healthier alternative to white bread and white grains. While that may be true in some cases, it's not true when it comes to sandwich wraps. Depending on the brand, whole wheat sandwich wraps are low in fiber and high in calories, adding up to almost 300 calories for one wrap.

    Fat Free Products

    There are a lot of people who assume that a product labeled fat-free is also calorie free. But many of these items are high in other areas. For instance, fat-free candy is also very high in sugar, and sometimes almost doubles a normal piece of candy. Additionally, sometimes fat-free food products don't make you feel as full and you end up eating more than you normally would.

    Light Salad Dressings

    Have you seen the multiple commercials and ads that talk about how “light” salad dressings are so much better for you than reduced fat or full fat salad dressings? Light salad dressings are designed to make you feel as if you're cutting out unneeded fats from your dressings. But many of these light dressings are full of extra sugar or high fructose corn syrup. If you need an alternative, consider a healthy oil such avocado oil or olive oil.

    This is why it's so important to actually read the labels of the food that you buy and not go with impressions (that the advertising industry has conveniently put into your head). These manufacturers are counting on you reading a word or phrase and putting a meaning to it that might not be accurate. While not a perfect solution in picking out good foods, a good rule of thumb is understanding that the less processed food is, the healthier it usually is for you.

    (Photo courtesy of Celeste Lindell)

    When it comes to choosing food that is good for you, it can often get confusing. There seems to be a constant shifting of what foods are supposedly good for you and it's often difficult to keep track. What's worse, many of the foods that you might think are good for you actually aren't (you can thank advertisers for that). Below you'll find some foods that you might have thought are good for you, but actually aren't nearly as good … Continue reading

    Posted in Food, General Info | Comments Off on 5 Foods You Thought Were Good For You But Aren't