Hi friends,

I have had the privilige of watching my wife, week after week, save bundles of money grocey shopping. I have compiled a list of things that she does and thought I’d share with you. Maybe you have some ideas that can be added to this list. Although she will cut coupons, most of the time it’s just preparing without the need for coupons.

Here’s hoping you have a pleasant shopping experience this week!

-Justin Flores

Here are five ways to cut your food bill by at least 25% without using even one coupon.

1) Shop the Grocery Circulars. Everything on the front page is half off. It’s true. Buy one, get one free deals are big too. You probably won’t see prices as low for two or three months, so stock up. If you don’t get the newspaper (the circulars are often in the Food section), Cherry-pick the best deals at a couple of stores.

2) Make a Shopping List. Study after study has shown that shoppers are less likely to make impulse buys and purchase items already lining their pantry if they shop from a list. It can be as simple as a piece of notebook paper. Or, try out a free online service like ZipList.

3) Keep Your Loyalty Card Current. Most of us use store loyalty cards to take advantage of weekly specials. Just make sure the grocery stores you shop have your current mailing and email address on file, or you may find yourself missing out on even better specials promoted to members only, like free product deals. At some stores, you’ll need to take the extra step of registering your card online for the most exclusive weekly deals.

4) Befriend the Butcher. Find out what time of day and which day of the week the must-go priced meats are set out for purchase. These can be a fantastic bargain. My wife has learned the day of the week that meat is clearanced!

5) Shop Alone. Two reasons: One, you reduce the temptation to cave to little voices asking for fruit snacks and cookies. Two, you’re more aware of the prices ringing at the register.

Sing with Chicago “LIVE” at Ironstone Vineyards!

The American Cancer Society is teaming up with legendary American rock band Chicago to create the ultimate fan experience that will also save lives from breast cancer. For all US concerts open to the public in 2010, fans can bid on a VIP package that includes the opportunity to sing the hit song “If You Leave Me Now” onstage with the band during the concert, 2 front row or premium tickets, and a backstage meet-and-greet with Chicago.

Click the picture to read more about it and bid!

Pet Pic Of The Week

From Sally, here’s the email she sent with her “Pet Pic” attached. Hope your having a wonderful week. – Justin

I caught my two tom cats having a “moment”. Ben decided Barney needed a bath apparently.  We live on acreage in the boonies so have a lot of cats dropped off along our road.  These two were both abandoned feral kittens about 7 yrs. ago.  Naturally I take them in, get them fixed and their shots ~ they in turn keep the mice and critters at bay around the property.  These two came to us about 8 mos apart but bonded immediately.  Barney & Ben are quite the pair, and were lucky to avoid the animal shelter.  Or should I say we’re the lucky ones?

    One short funny story about lil’ Ben, a couple years ago one of my neighbors was widowed, so I offered Ben to her for a companion.  She took him away in a carrier, in the back of her car, about a mile away.  Next morning he was back home at the kibble bowl in the barn.  She came and got him again, locked him in her house for several days, next time I looked out here was Ben back.  We call him our “Lassie come home kitty”.   I don’t know how he found his way, but apparently the bond he has with Barney is pretty strong.  We gave up and my neighbor went to the shelter and adopted her own cat.  I’ll never try to split these two up again.

St. Patrick’s Day Myths

Happy St. Patrick’s Day friends. Be safe and have fun reading the “myths” of St. Patrick’s Day. Just click on the clover to go to blog.  Here’s some of the myths that are discussed:

  • St. Patrick Was Irish
  • St Patrick Drove the Snakes out of Ireland
  • The Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is an Irish Tradition
  • “Luck of the Irish” Refers to the Abundance of Good Fortune Long Enjoyed by the Irish.

    Okay, we lost that hour of sleep over the weekend so it’s time to lighten the mood.

    “Some people talk in their sleep. Lecturers talk while other people sleep.”
        * Albert Camus

    “People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one.”
        * Leo J. Burke

    “Everyone should have kids. They are the greatest joy in the world. But they are also terrorists. You’ll realize this as soon as they are born and they start using sleep deprivation to break you.”
        * Ray Romano in Everything and a Kite

    “Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.”
        * Anthony Burgess

    “Some national parks have long waiting lists for camping reservations. When you have to wait a year to sleep next to a tree, something is wrong.”
        * George Carlin

    “I think sleeping was my problem in school. If school had started at four in the afternoon, I’d be a college graduate today.”
        * George Foreman


    While we’re well aware of the cons to drinking coffee, we’ve learned that the positive benefits can sometimes outweigh the negative effects. So why have older studies given coffee such a bad rep? The reason is quite simple — studies that had previously linked coffee consumption to cancer were inadvertently studying coffee drinkers who were also smokers. A 2006 issue of Harvard Women’s Health Watch claims that moderate coffee consumption, defined as 3 to 4 cups per day, is actually beneficial to your health. Here are some reasons to stay hooked on the stuff.

    1. Coffee is the #1 source of antioxidants in the American diet
    While fruits and veggies are still the richest sources of antioxidants, it turns out that for Americans, coffee is the main basis of antioxidant consumption (according to the Institute of Coffee Studies at Vanderbilt University). Black tea and bananas came in second and third place, respectively. Surprisingly, both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee provide similar amounts of antioxidants.

    2. Coffee increases your metabolism
    Studies also show that coffee is very beneficial in terms of weight loss. It is a common misconception that coffee is an appetite suppressant, however, your morning cup can significantly speed up metabolism by about 10 percent. The National Research Council on Diet and Health found that metabolic rates will be highest during the first three hours following consumption. Just make sure to skip the added sugars, syrups, and whipped toppings found in many store-bought coffee drinks.

    3. Coffee can improve short-term memory
    According to studies published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, caffeine is a cognitive stimulant that actually boosts brain functioning. Furthermore, coffee reduces levels of beta amyloid, a protein in the brain that is responsible for Alzheimer’s disease.

    4. Coffee lowers the rates of some cancers
    According to WebMD, coffee drinkers are 50 percent less likely to get liver cancer. By drinking 2 cups per day, you’re also slashing your risk of getting colon cancer by 25 percent. Some studies have also found ties to lower rates of breast and skin cancers as well.

    5. Coffee can reduce risk for Type 2 diabetes
    WebMD also asserts that coffee contains chemicals that lower blood sugar, making heavy coffee drinkers half as likely to get diabetes as light to non-coffee drinkers. 1-3 cups per day can reduce the risk for diabetes by single digits, but people who drink 6 cups or more per day can slash their chances by up to 54 percent.

    6. Coffee is actually good for your teeth
    We all know that one of the biggest cons of drinking coffee is a stained smile, but  the beverage can also have a positive effect on teeth. According to a 2009 article published in the Wall Street Journal, people who drink coffee are less likely to have cavities. Roasted coffee beans have antibacterial effects against microorganisms like Streptococcus, which play a hand in causing tooth decay.

    7. Coffee can help prevent/stop headaches
    Have you ever wondered why caffeine is one of the main ingredients in migraine medication like Excedrin Migraine? WebMD explains that blood vessels increase in size during a migraine– caffeine works to decrease the size of blood vessels before they can affect nerves in the brain. So, drinking coffee in the early stages of a headache can help minimize the severity later on.


    Daylight Saving Time begins this Sunday

      The average U.S. city commuter loses 38 hours a year to traffic delays.

      Wonder why you have to set your clock ahead in March? Daylight Saving Time began as a joke by Benjamin Franklin, who proposed waking people earlier on bright summer mornings so they might work more during the day and thus save candles. It was introduced in the U.K. in 1917 and then spread around the world.

      The Department of Energy estimates that electricity demand drops by 0.5 percent during Daylight Saving Time, saving the equivalent of nearly 3 million barrels of oil.

      By observing how quickly bank tellers made change, pedestrians walked, and postal clerks spoke, psychologists determined that the three fastest-paced U.S. cities are Boston, Buffalo, and New York. The three slowest? Shreveport, Sacramento, and L.A.

      One second used to be defined as one-86-thousand-four-hundreth the length of a day. However, Earth’s rotation isn’t perfectly reliable. Tidal friction from the sun and moon slows our planet and increases the length of a day by 3 milli­seconds per century.

      Weather also changes the day. During El Niño events, strong winds can slow Earth’s rotation by a fraction of a milli­second every 24 hours.

      In 1972 a network of atomic clocks in more than 50 countries was made the final authority on time, so accurate that it takes 31.7 million years to lose about one second. To keep this time in sync with Earth’s slowing rotation, a “leap second” must be added every few years, most recently this past New Year’s Eve.

      The world’s most accurate clock, at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Colorado, measures vibrations of a single atom of mercury. In a billion years it will not lose one second.

      Until the 1800s, every village lived in its own little time zone, with clocks synchronized to the local solar noon. This caused havoc with the advent of trains and timetables. For a while watches were made that could tell both local time and “railway time.” On November 18, 1883, American railway companies forced the national adoption of standardized time zones.

      Einstein showed that gravity makes time run more slowly. Thus airplane passengers, flying where Earth’s pull is weaker, age a few extra nano­seconds each flight.

      There may be an end of time. Three Spanish scientists posit that the observed acceleration of the expanding cosmos is an illusion caused by the slowing of time. According to their math, time may eventually stop, at which point everything will come to a standstill.

    Marketing Across The Generations

    Each generation of the US population has unique wants and needs that marketers and retailers should address differently, according to The Nielsen Company.

    Todd Hale, SVP, consumer and shopping insights, Nielsen, has compiled a list of tips on devising marketing strategies specific to each major generation of the US population. Hale defines the US population as currently consisting of four significant generational categories representing residents age 15 and older:

    • Greatest Generation: born prior to 1946 (65-plus).
    • Boomers: 1946-1964 (45-63).
    • Generation X: 1965-1976 (33-44).
    • Millennials: 1977-1994 (15-32).

    Following is a summary of Hale’s advice on how to best market to each age group.

    Greatest Generation: Freebies and senior discounts to appeal to their value orientation. This means special products addressing aging issues and special packs for smaller households. Stores should offer better signage, more forgiving package design, on-shelf or on-cart magnifying glasses. These savvy shoppers spend most of their online time using email and message boards, providing two ready avenues for delivering targeted offers and initiating value-add discussions about health issues and special wellness programs.

    Boomers: Keep these big spenders happy with monthly or quarterly cash-back savings programs that reflect spending levels. Pursue the upsell into prescription medications, insurance, gifts for grandkids and kids, entertainment, travel, even discount wines by the case. Comprising more than one-third of the internet population, Boomers are big online shoppers, comfortable using email and messaging to stay in touch. Twitter is a huge untapped outlet for reaching Boomers, who increased utilization 469% during 2009. Reach one and you can reach their entire follower base with product info and special offers.

    Generation X: Time is a precious commodity for these busy young families, so reduce deadline pressure by offering meal planning and deals, school supplies and little indulgences like lattes to make shopping less onerous. Child care activity centers or computer kiosks keep kids engaged while parents shop. In-store cooking or craft classes offer family fun and a reason to increase the trip count. More than 80% of X-ers are online checking out Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, shopping and price-checking online and texting or emailing friends. Deliver quick hit info and offers using new media for fast results.

    Millennials: Consider upgrading piped-in music in stores to current hits to attract contemporary shoppers. Coffee stations with battery chargers and in-store WiFi let them kick back and review internet or mobile coupons and shopping lists. Convert their need for immediate gratification into impulse buy sales with enticing end caps and front-of-store bins. These visually-oriented shoppers will tweet and text about special deals real-time from the store aisles about what looks good today, where to meet up, and anything cool that catches their eye on site. If you’re lucky, you’ll hit a quirky Millennial sweet spot, and they’ll YouTube or Hulu a video of a helpful employee or unusual in-store promotion.

    Everyone Loves Budget Meals and the Media
    Consistently across the board and across the generations, people are turning to cookbooks, the internet and television for recipe ideas and less expensive in-home entertainment as budget-conserving options. Millennials are the most wired into the internet, while Generation X favors cooking programs and the Greatest Generation reads cookbooks.

    On average, the typical American consumes more than 35 hours of media per week across the three screens of TV, internet and mobile. As smartphones redefine customer media interaction, they present enormous potential for generating buzz around products, delivering timely product info and coupon codes, and building community through brand advocacy.

    Boomers Present Marketing Challenges, Opportunities
    Marketers seeking to promote products and services to the “Baby Boom” generation would do well to remember that Boomers are still vital and evolving even as they approach retirement age,
    according to Dr. Bob Deutsch of marketing firm Brain Sells.

    Deutsch suggests that marketers recognize the three basic life structures of Boomers: identity, territoriality, and time. Boomers’ identity is essentially optimistic, meaning they have a vitality which makes them survivors, if not thrivers.

    Furthermore, as Boomers age, home range will become more important, and getting settled in new spaces, such as a smaller, closer-to-town abode or a move to a warmer climate, will require adaptation to new interpersonal and larger social arrangements. And as people age their nostalgic yearnings grow, making them more receptive to advertisers’ and marketers’ use of what researchers call a “longing for positive memories of the past.”