Saving More Bucks with Coupons

Groceries are a necessity for living. The human body must have sustenance to function. Grocery costs are typically one of the highest annual costs for families, next to their home. Saving money with coupons is one-way families can reduce grocery costs.

In the past coupons were typically found in newspapers and sometimes on product packaging. In today’s electronic world, coupons are available on the Internet and are even being transmitted to handheld devices via text messages and emails.

Where to find Coupons

There are many places to find coupons, from traditional hard copies to electronic copies that are both printed and sent via text. The following places are some of the more common coupon locations that offer a variety of grocery and retail coupons.

Newspapers and other publications: Typically, newspapers have coupons on a weekly basis; monthly publications often have various coupons randomly placed within advertisements.

Mail: Many companies will send out coupons in the mail to draw people to their products.

Sacwe on couponsCoupon websites: The Internet is flooded with coupon websites. Google ‘coupons’ or ‘grocery coupons’ and the amount of hits received is staggering. Often, all that is required is the installation of a piece of software that allows the coupons to be printed.

Product Websites: Visit product websites and register to be on their mailing lists. Manufacturers will often send out coupons that aren’t available to the general public.

Social Networking Sites: Twitter has announced it will be adding mobile coupons to its service. This will allow users to receive coupons on their hand-held device and use them in stores as they shop.

Product Packaging: Product packaging often has coupons good for the next purchase printed on the label. It is a good idea to check before throwing away the box or label.

Grocery Stores Aisles: Many manufacturers place coupons in the grocery store aisle in an attempt to lure customers to their product. Be on the lookout for these while shopping.

With so many places to find coupons, it is not unreasonable to imagine having a coupon for nearly every item being purchased.

Maximizing Coupon Savings

Now that the coupons have been located, they should be used to their maximum potential savings. Use grocer’s weekly advertisements to scan the sale items and match coupons to the item. Sticky notes are a good tool to keep on hand, place one on the coupon with the store name it is to be used at.

Look for coupon specials. Many grocery store chains offer double coupons on a daily basis and triple coupons once a month. Grocers will typically only double or triple a coupon that is under $1.00; therefore, it makes more sense to use the coupons with the highest amount that can be tripled during triple coupon time.

Don’t purchase something just because there is a coupon for it; if it’s not a regular purchase don’t buy it. The only caveat to that would be if using the coupon made the item free. For example, if the local grocer has Brand X barbecue sauce on sale for $1 and a coupon for $1 off Brand X is available, the sauce would be free. This is not an uncommon occurrence.

Get the most out of buy-one-get-one-free sales by using two coupons. Theoretically, the purchase is two items, both at half price and so two coupons are allowed. From the example above, if the sauce were buying one get one free and the two $1 coupons are used, there would be a balance of $1 that would be deducted from grocery bill elsewhere. This is a great way to maximize the number of money coupons can save on groceries.

Coupon research and clipping do take some time and effort. They have to be found, clipped or printed and matched to sale items to be worthwhile. However, seeing a grocery bill go from $90 to $35 makes spending that time a worthwhile effort.

New Ways to Stay Glasses-Free as You Age

Contact lenses or LASIK surgery can induce monovision to enable middle-aged people who are both myopic and presbyopic to avoid having to wear glasses.

People wear corrective lenses for a variety of visual problems. The most common is being near-sighted (myopia) or with age, becoming less able to focus on objects that are close to the eye (presbyopia). One might hope that being both near-sighted and presbyopic would cancel each other out, but it does not work that way. Lenses that correct for myopia make presbyopia worse, and vice versa.

Illustration of how Lasik surgery is doneFor people who are both near-sighted and middle-aged, the only solution used to be two sets of glasses: One pair for distance vision and another for reading. Bifocals and trifocals provide one way to keep the number of pairs of glasses needed to a minimum. But what about people who do not want to be burdened with even one pair of glasses?

The monovision strategy

There is a treatment strategy, called monovision, that allows a contact lens wearer to enter middle-age without needing a pair of reading glasses. The trick is simply to make the two contact lenses of different strengths, so that the contact lens in the dominant eye corrects for myopia (distance vision), while the contact lens in the non-dominant eye corrects for presbyopia (near vision). The idea is that normally, the person will see the image produced by his or her dominant eye, and when the person needs to view something up close, like printed matter, the non-dominant eye’s image, which will be in focus, will become more salient.

According to a study by Garcia-Gonzalez et al., in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, the success rate for contact lens-induced monovision is 86% for people who are already successful contact lens users. It can be far less successful for people who are not already comfortable wearing contact lenses.

But are there surgical options for someone who is both myopic and presbyopic?

Using LASIK to induce monovision

Dryness of the eyes after LasikOne approach is laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, or LASIK, which is currently the most popular method of performing refractive surgery on the cornea of the eye. Garcia-Gonzalez, et al., set out to evaluate the idea of using LASIK to induce monovision surgically. In other words, the eye surgeon would correct the dominant eye for distance vision, and the non-dominant eye for near vision. The researchers found that the middle-aged patients who had the surgery had slightly less depth perception and slightly poorer contrast vision than before, but otherwise, “Our results indicate that using monovision, the ability to read without spectacles at a normal reading distance while maintaining good uncorrected distance visual function is achieved.”

Not everyone, however, is a good candidate for LASIK surgery. According to an article by Dr. John Messmer in the January issue of American Family Physician, people who have ulcers in their corneas, an autoimmune disease, diabetes (especially with reduced corneal sensation), dry eyes (especially sicca syndromes), a history of herpes infection, eye problems due to Graves’ disease, or a thin cornea could have problems during or after the surgery.

Children, adolescents, and pregnant or lactating women are not likely to have a good experience with the surgery since their eyesight could be changing. Also, people who have a high degree of astigmatism may not be prime candidates for a surgical approach.

Eye dryness can be a problem after surgery

One cautionary note, according to Messmer, is that “Dryness sensation after LASIK is fairly common in normal eyes.” For some people, such dryness may be a worthwhile price to pay for not having to wear glasses or contacts, while others might find this to be a deterrent to having the surgery.

But for those myopic people who need or want to remain glasses-free as they age, monovision, induced via contact lenses of different strengths or by LASIK surgery, provides a way to do so.

Works Cited

Garcia-Gonzalez M, Teus MA, Hernandez-Verdejo JL. “Visual outcomes of LASIK-induced monovision in myopic patients with presbyopia.” American Journal of Ophthalmology. September 2010. 150:381-6.

Howes FW. “Indications for lens surgery/Indications for application of different lens surgery techniques.” In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology, 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby; 2008.

Messmer JJ. “LASIK: A primer for family physicians.” American Family Physician. 2010. 81(1):42-7.

Brown Contact Lenses – A Simple Guide

If you have a fancy-dress party coming up, you may be wondering how you can change your appearance, and not just by wearing a fancy costume. Or perhaps you have a masquerade ball that you have been invited to, but you don’t like the idea of placing a hot mask on your face all night long. Most masks are made of hard materials and can be quite heavy to wear. A great idea to change your appearance without wearing a mask is to wear brown contact lenses.

Add pizazz to your eyes when in a partyThere are many people throughout the world today that rely on brown contact lenses to not only enhance their appearance but also to enhance their lifestyle. Many actors that have blue or green eyes opt to wear brown contact lenses to change their overall appearance when filming a new movie or television show. People who have been entered into the witness protection program also wear brown contact lenses to help them hide their true identity to protect them and their families from danger.

Brown contact lenses come in a variety of shapes and styles and can give depth to your facial features. When choosing brown contact lenses, you should seriously consider what you need to wear them for, such as a party or play perhaps. Knowing this will help you to select brown contact lenses that will not only look good on your face but will also help you look good in your costume as well.

Typically speaking, brown contact lenses are available in shades that vary from a light golden color to a dark russet color. There are even brown contact lenses that have specks of amber in them too. Other brown contact lenses are reminiscent of a cup of dark coffee or a warm mug of hot chocolate. Whether you choose fun, light brown contact lenses or foreboding, dark brown contact lenses, you can rest assured knowing that people will never look at you the same way again.

Choosing the right pair of brown contact lenses will also depend on the natural color of your eyes, as well as your natural complexion. If you already have dark brown eyes and a dark complexion, choosing dark brown contact lenses may not be such a great idea. In this situation, it is best for you to choose to wear contacts that have amber specks in them or that are a very light brown color. However, if you have light colored eyes such as green or blue, and you have a lighter complexion, then you can be safe choosing dark brown contact lenses.

Wearing brown contact lenses does not depend on whether or not you already wear contact lenses or glasses. There are brown contact lenses that are available that do not have a prescription strength. These are usually called Plano contact lenses and be purchased online at various Internet retailers. If you need brown contact lenses in particular prescription strength, you will first need to visit your ophthalmologist.

How to Organize Clipped Coupons

Clipping coupons is a great way to purchase discounted food and household items. Using coupons does not have to be time-consuming or create unwanted paper clutter. Planning in advance how the coupons will be clipped and stored will save time and energy. Here are some tips on how to use and properly clip coupons.

Fear of missing out on a great deal is the reason most people do take time to clip out all of the coupons. One time-saving alternative is to clip out all of the coupons that the family will use. Clip the coupons for all edible food items and keep products that are not used in the insert. For example, if there are no diabetic members of the family, leave the diabetic related coupons inside of the insert.

Clipping Coupons

Coupon inserts always have several pages. When purchasing more than one set of Sunday circulars do not clip every single coupon. Take a few minutes and separate each page. Simply open the circular and stack the inserts that are the same. Stack the coupons on a flat surface. Pile as many similar coupon inserts together as possible. Use a paperclip for extra holding power if it is challenging to hold the stack of coupons together.

Traditional coupons from newspaper insertsUse a craft blade cutter or sharp kitchen scissors to cut through the stack of coupons. Immediately after clipping one set of coupons, place them into a coupon binder. Put the coupons that will not be used in a shoe box with a lid, or in a file specifically for coupons.

Coupon Forums

Visit coupon forums and coupon blogs to stay up to date on free deals. These are deals that are free or deeply discounted when using a coupon. Coupon forums are a great way to find out about unadvertised store specials from local or national grocery stores. Search for bloggers that shop at stores available locally.

When there are deals for free products take advantage of them. If the necessary coupons are filed away, grab them from the coupon file and only clip the necessary coupons. Free items can be donated to homeless shelters, organizations that help victims of domestic violence, or given to friends or family.

Ensure coupon savings by clipping coupons in stacks, immediately place usable coupons in a coupon binder, and placing the remaining inserts in files. With practice, it is easy to save $100 and more each month using coupons. Use these tips to start saving money on groceries and nonfood household items.