, Muskogee, OK


July 1, 2014

Readers share shopping and savings tips

My readers have been busy sending in their favorite tips for shopping, couponing, saving money and more. Here’s a roundup of some of the best emails I’ve received lately.

Dear Jill:

This tip is so easy but I’m afraid many people don’t take advantage of it. If you carry a coupon wallet or binder, put a return address label inside the cover with your name and address on it. If you lose your coupons (and face it, a lot of us carry many coupons around) you have no way to get those coupons back to you without some info on it. You wouldn’t take a suitcase on a trip without a luggage tag, right? Couponers are generally pretty good people and I sure would mail someone’s wallet back if I found it left in a cart. You know what they say about an ounce of prevention.

— Aimee J.

Dear Jill:

I have seen you mention after-holiday clearances before, but here is what I do to get ready for them. I have noticed that there are ‘holiday’ varieties of everything from cookie dough to candles to napkins. Right around the time a holiday is drawing near, I will clip all my coupons for those items and carry them with me in my coupon wallet. Then, when I spot a clearance on something marked down after a holiday, the coupons are with me and ready to use.

— Pam K.

Dear Jill:

I read one of your columns on reusable shopping bags and wanted to share this tip. A lot of people like these fabric bags because they are strong and friendlier to the environment. But it’s really important to wash them regularly. A lot of the bags can’t go in the dryer if they are not made of synthetics – otherwise the plastic fibers will fall apart. But you can machine wash them and line dry them easily. I like to wash mine once a month and hang them on a clothesline outside so the sunshine can refresh them, too.

— Pattie R.

This is an excellent tip! I agree that the importance of washing reusable shopping bags doesn’t seem to be stressed enough. A University of Arizona study noted that 97 percent of people surveyed do not wash reusable shopping bags. The same study noted that harmful bacteria, including E. Coli, were found on more than half the shoppers’ bags tested. If you store your bag in a vehicle’s trunk, as many of us do, the higher heat in this environment also helps bacteria bloom and grow.

To be safe, I also ask for my meat products to be bagged in plastic before being placed in my reusable shopping bags – it’s an extra step that can help prevent bag contamination. Another issue is that many people, myself included, like to use these sturdy bags for carrying items other than groceries. Back in 2012, a girls’ soccer team in Oregon fell ill with the norovirus, which was later traced to a contaminated reusable shopping bag. The team used the bag to carry prepackaged snacks, which several of the girls directly touched, according to The Oregonian newspaper.

Smart Living Tip: After sharing these readers’ tips, I’ve got one for you, too! Over the past month, I’ve had quite a few readers asking what the best way is to obtain legitimate, free product coupons. (And, by “legitimate” I mean directly from a brand, not via an online resale site. Steer clear of buying coupons online as many free product coupons for sale online are counterfeit.) So how do I obtain free product coupons? By following my favorite brands on social media. Facebook and Twitter can be great sources for free product coupons.

Text Only
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands

Should a federal judge have the power to strike down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage?

     View Results
Featured Ads

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.