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Save Money * Save Time * Take Control * Help the Environment

Rick Doble, Editor, SAVVY-DISCOUNTS.com

#1 web site for money-saving ideas
10 years in publication
Quoted in the national media
We're growing fast
Tell your friends -- It's Free
Published 1st & 3rd Thursday Of Each Month
Vol. 11, January 20, 2005

Here is the latest issue. Enjoy.
Editor, Rick Doble


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In 1995 we launched Savvy-Discounts.com as a subscription newsletter for $12.95 a year. We started this in rural North Carolina where Savvy-Discounts.com is still based. The newsletter was published in a place that is definitely off the beaten track. Many people doubted that we could succeed. Yet now ten years later, Savvy-Discounts.com has a national reputation that reaches people in every state in the country as well as Canada.

In the beginning we wrote a bi-monthly article on saving money in Freebies magazine which went out to about 500,000 subscribers. Since Freebies was aimed at a cost conscious audience, that article attracted most of our subscribers to the newsletter. Many readers wrote us to say that they waited anxiously for each quarterly issue and read it cover to cover. When we got that kind of feedback, we knew we were onto something.

We were committed to the idea that people could spend much less money without doing a lot of work and without changing their lifestyle. How did we know this? Editor Rick Doble had been living this way for his entire life. He learned many of these tricks from his father who had always bought store brands at the supermarket and never bought a new car but preferred a two-year-old used car. Rick put himself though graduate school and got a Masters Degree without taking out a loan. When IRA's became available, he put savings into these accounts for both him and his wife.

For the articles in Savvy-Discounts.com we systematically went through all the major expenses that the average household pays and looked for simple ways to cut costs. We based our reports on solid data. This involved a lot of original research such as comparison shopping with a little black book at three different supermarkets as well as comparison shopping at large discount department stores. From this we could prove that store brands would save the average household about $1000 a year. We also kept an eye out for reliable reports from government agencies and industry organizations that could lead to significant savings. So, for example, when a 1995 study by the Economic Research Service found that Americans waste over 25% of the food they buy, we realized that this was an area where just about everyone could save money.

Almost from the beginning we attracted media attention with our original ideas. Articles with information from Savvy-Discounts.com were printed in Reader's Digest; we were interviewed on MSNBC; we've been in Woman's Day numerous times and quoted on ABC-TV's TheView to name just a few of our hundreds of media mentions. In 2003, Perigee, a division of Penguin Books, published the book, Savvy Discounts, by editor Rick Doble.

We printed the newsletter on paper for six years. Although the Savvy-Discounts.com Internet site started in 1996, it was originally only a vehicle to gain subscribers to the newsletter and not very large. In 2001 we went entirely to the Internet and gave away the information for free while gaining revenue from advertisers and affiliates. Today there are over 400 pages of original content on the Savvy-Discounts.com web site.

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Saving money is not just something people do because they need to or have to be frugal. We believe that it also gives people control over their lives by offering more choices than the standard high priced retail offerings of most businesses. We present alternative ways to help people get what they want.

We do not tell you how to live your life, but rather offer you a variety of ways to save money. We also believe that saving money generally helps the environment since using less gasoline in your car pollutes the air less and buying used furniture means that you are recycling.

Saving money can also save time. People who were used to saving money by clipping coupons doubted this since clipping coupons is a chore. However, we do not recommend coupons because they are too much work and the savings are minimal. Instead we recommend buying store brands at the regular store where a person usually shop. This example of our simple advice means that: you go where you have always shopped, you try store brands for everything you normally buy, you return any you don't like at your next regular trip to the store and at the end of a year you save about $1000. Now that's easy!

Perhaps most important, saving money gives you much more freedom of choice. If you are not in debt, if you have money saved, then you will have the freedom to do the things you want.

Doble believes that the average family can save $5000 a year easily. If this money were put into two IRA's for a husband and wife at the 9.5% historic return of the stock market :

After 20 years
the IRA would be worth = $284,345.45
After 30 years
the IRA would be worth = $786,422.62
After 40 years
the IRA would be worth = $2,030,683.67 (yes that is 2 million plus)

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The problem for us as consumers is that we are constantly bombarded with advertisements on TV, radio, billboards, in newspapers, in stores and in magazines. Each person is subjected to thousands of advertisements every day or several hundred thousand a year. While each ad is for a specific product or service, the combined message is to be a bit dissatisfied with your life and to buy something that will add to your satisfaction. Even the most dedicated frugal readers may feel that they should apologize for their lifestyle when their neighbors are riding new lawn mowers and driving new cars. Yet to be realistic many of their neighbors are deep in debt. Much of what they own, is in fact owned by the bank or owed to a credit card company.

In addition most of us establish shopping habits early in life. It is very hard for many people to alter those habits. To change, a consumer has to decide to shop a bit differently in a supermarket, for example. Most people will resist doing this, even though it may be putting them in the hole or preventing them from saving for retirement.

So after years of writing and researching, Editor Doble decided that the main problem to saving money is psychological. There is a lot of pressure in the media and in our communities to keep up with the Joneses.

If you want to live your life in the best interest of your family and children, be proud that you are careful and frugal with money. This can be hard to do in a society that values conspicuous consumption and the latest craze. But you will laugh all the way to the bank and laugh in the extra time and freedom you have to enjoy your life.

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---- Newsletter ----
Save Money * Save Time * Take Control
* Help the Environment *

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