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Published 1st & 3rd Thursday Of Each Month
Vol. 8, August 1, 2002
Here is the latest issue. Enjoy!
Editor, Rick Doble
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- DEADLY MEAT
Know how to cook hamburger properly
- CUT CLOTHING COSTS
Tips from the MSNBC interview with Editor Rick Doble
- NEW: SEARCH THE SAVVY-DISCOUNTS.com WEB SITE
Sophisticated search engine for our site
- CHEAP TRICKS: BUY HEATING FUEL NOW
A man who manages a propane company told us this
- TIPS FOR BACK TO SCHOOL EXPENSES
Save a bundle on school supplies and more
- LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
- PLEASE PATRONIZE OUR ADVERTISERS.
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Read our pledge to our readers if you encounter a problem.
- About SAVVY-DISCOUNTS.com
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#1. DEADLY MEAT
The recent huge recall of ConAgra hamburger has alerted everyone once again to the dangers of E.coli bacteria. This bacteria is particularly dangerous and even deadly to the young and the old.
I was surprised to see that at least one major news service did not mention the simple way to kill this bacteria and prevent it from becoming a problem. Because hamburger is particularly prone to the spread of this, I think that everyone should assume that all hamburger might contain E.coli and that they should cook and handle it accordingly.
I remember grocery shopping with my Dad when we watched the butcher grind one piece of beef into hamburger. But as the program Frontline pointed out:
Gone are the days...when a hamburger patty contained the meat from a single cow; with enormous numbers of cattle now being herded, fattened, slaughtered, and ground up together, it's virtually impossible to determine how many cows contribute to a single burger. "If we take meat from a thousand different animals and grind that together, we're pooling bacteria from a thousand different animals as well."
HOW TO KILL E.COLI BACTERIA IN HAMBURGER:
From the US Department of Agriculture Extension Service:
To be sure bacteria are destroyed, cook hamburgers to 160º F (medium doneness) or until the center is no longer pink and the juices are clear.
Keeping meat cold while it is defrosting is essential to prevent the growth of bacteria. Never leave ground beef, or any perishable food, out on the counter for more than two hours. Thaw it in the refrigerator.
For a more detailed explanation about freezing, reheating and more go to:
For a full menu of articles about food safety outside the home, such as picnics, grilling and parties, go to:
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#2. CUT CLOTHING COSTS
The Miami, Florida NBC interview with Editor, Rick Doble of SAVVY-DISCOUNTS.com about cutting the cost of clothing was aired nationwide on MSNBC in early July. We believe that local NBC stations will continue to air this piece, especially in August when so many people are buying clothes and going back to school. You may see this on your local station.
Here are some highlights from that interview:
- Be familiar with store brands
Each store may have its own store brands such as Worthington and Arizona at JC Penny . These can go on sale for as much as 70% off at the end of the season.
- Buy clothes that go with what you already own
A new skirt or a new jacket that goes with your current clothes may be all you need to spruce up your wardrobe.
- Don't be afraid of second hand clothes
After a couple of washings new clothes look the same as consignment garments. Buying used may have other advantages. Since these clothes have been washed several times, they have shrunk and faded already so you can accurately judge their quality.
- Mix and Match
Wear an expensive designer jacket with a quality store brand pair of slacks and a shirt bought at a consignment store. If you choose wisely, you will look great and your clothes will appear topnotch.
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#3. NEW: SEARCH THE SAVVY-DISCOUNTS.com WEB SITE
Search almost a year of newsletters plus 11 money-saving reports and more. Our sophisticated search will find sound-alike words and even misspelled words.
Over 100 pages are indexed and updated once a week. The index contains more than 100,000 words for a total of more than 1,500,000 bytes, plus more than 13,000 word endings and 5,500 sound-alike words.
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#4. CHEAP TRICKS: BUY HEATING FUEL NOW
The manager of a propane company gave me this tip. Heating fuel prices are very seasonal and tend to be at their lowest in August. So fill your tanks now with heating oil or natural or propane gas. You will generally save about 20% over the cost in just a couple of months.
You can use the BigZoo
like a calling card for 3.5¢/minute on the road.
Or give one to your children to call home for 3.5¢/minute.
#5. TIPS FOR BACK TO SCHOOL EXPENSES
#1 Tip: Buy supplies at an office supply store
Go to a mega supply store before buying school supplies anywhere else. The savings are phenomenal. Expect to save 30% to 50% even over large discount department stores. These big office stores cater to kids these days and may even have designer notebooks, for example.
#2 Tip: Computers
Since most kids who go to college are required to have a computer, a simple tip is to buy a refurbished computer from Dell, for example. Refurbished items are really good deals and not well known. First you will get about a 30% discount. Second the warranty is generally the same as new. Third, a refurbished computer which might have been returned only for cosmetic reasons (the customer didn't like the color) is thoroughly tested before it goes back on sale. Oddly new computers are not tested, so refurbished might be the very best deal.
#3 Tip: Kids calling from home
Collect calls or even personal 800 numbers are very expensive. We recommend giving each kid his own calling account with the BigZoo for 3.5 cents a minute. We have been using the BigZoo now for two years and think it is great. You can set up an account with them in each child's name at:
It is similar to a pre-paid calling card but is an account that can be replenished. The PIN number for an account does not change. Unlike calling cards which I find to be tricky and often deceptive with confusing conditions and requirements, the BigZoo is a reputable company and the charges are straight forward.
#4 Tip: Backpacks
JanSport backpacks are expensive but they are rugged and as my wife found out, they really do have a lifetime guaranty. The company replaced her backpack years after she bought it (and had lost the receipt) without any question when a seam split open.
IDT Long Distance is the best
regular long distance carrier
#6. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Save 25-50% on Medical, Dental, Vision,
Hi SAVVY-DISCOUNTS.com :
I think I am savvy and try to read all the print, but I did not see this.
Any ideas for a finance charge for balance transfer that was for an amount
less than $500 ($15 less). I kept asking questions about fees associated
with this several times and it was in print, but I missed it. The customer
rep said no and that my transfer would go out by the end of the week. She
never reminded me that being less than $500, I would be charged a finance
charge. I called 4 times yesterday morning, and then talked to the super.
All they said like a broken record was that it was in print and can't be
reversed. So I closed my account, cut up my card and said I would not do
business with them again and take me off their marketing list.
Do you have something that might work.
Savvy-Discounts: Credit card companies are particularly inflexible these days. Since the person you talked to said that there were no extra fees, it seems like you have a valid complaint. Talking to a high level supervisor might work but if all else fails, write a letter (with full details and copies of statements) to the federal agency in charge of such complaints:
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Customer Assistance Unit
1301 McKinney Avenue
Houston TX 77010
Hi SAVVY-DISCOUNTS.com :
Do you have any info on supplemental Dental/Orthodontics dental insurance?
Savvy-Discounts: While you may disagree, we do not believe that insurance is a good idea. As my dentist points out, dental work is fairly predictable. We believe that you can budget for this and will come out better than with a policy.
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Hi SAVVY-DISCOUNTS.com :
Re-buying. I live in England. Can any of the goods on offer be bought over here or are they on sale in the States only ??
Savvy-Discounts: Several of our products can be bought internationally.
The Debt Into Wealth program works around the world.
Also you can order from Amazon.com via our web site and have your items shipped overseas.
And our discount hotel reservation service will reserve rooms around the world.
Cooking.com which has a myriad of cooking utensils plans to ship overseas in the near future.
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#7. PLEASE PATRONIZE OUR ADVERTISERS.
Your purchases help support this free newsletter and web site.
We have carefully selected these merchants for value and reliability.
OUR PLEDGE TO YOU:
In the event of any problem with a merchant that we list,
we will try to help resolve your dispute. Your purchase must have been processed though a link on our newsletter or web site.
As a consumer publication for 8 years, we at SAVVY-DISCOUNTS.com have considerable experience in consumer and complaint matters. Further if we experience a large number of complaints from any merchant, we will no longer list that merchant with our newsletter.
If you have a problem, please e-mail us at this special e-mail address:
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By arrangement with the Amazon Honor System
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Click here to make a donation.
#8. INFORMATION FROM
is used by the national media, such as:
- MSNBC - Interview - How to cut clothing costs (July, 2002)
- ABC-TV's TheView (Supermarket Secrets)
- Woman's Day (3 articles)
- Woman's World (6 articles)
- Bottom Line/Personal (12 articles)
- SweepsFeed - a TV syndicated news service
for national distribution (2 interviews)
- Editor, Rick Doble interviewed by WTVJ (NBC) Miami, FL, May 2002
- Editor, Rick Doble is under contract with Penguin Books to write a book tentatively entitled Breaking the Price Barrier
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