Category Archives: Economy

Food Prices Hurting Your Appetite?

Every weekend, newspaper inserts around the country provide coupons, giving you opportunities to get a wide selection of products for even less than what your local paper offers in its supermarket ads.  To tap into this vast source of discounted food and cleaning products, there are Web-based services that give you easy access to the discount coupons.  Some of the sites allow users to print coupons directly, while other services, for a fee, clip the coupons from newspaper inserts and mail them to you.

One of the best of these is thecouponclippers.com.  Fees are 50 cents per order plus 10% of the face value of each coupon, and shipping is 58 cents.  They have an extensive selection, including a health-food section.  You can shop by department or via search tool.  If you are buying huge volumes, you might want to check centsoff.com.

There are others, like grocerycoupons.com, onlinecoupons.com, and grocerycard.com, but they require a fee for the year that ranges from $10 to $100, and then 10% of the face value of each coupon and 75 cents for postage.

Scooters Rule!

Gas prices are going up over $4 per gallon in some areas of the country. The solution?  Get a scooter! 

One “scooter-ite” bought a Vespa GTS that uses about $7 of fuel every two weeks.  Wow!

Consider the cost of a 50 mile round-trip commute based on a fuel price of $3,79 a gallon:  the scooter (Vespa S) would cost $2.65 per day; a Honda Accord, $6.10 per day, and a large SUV (Ford Expedition), $10.50 per day.  A Vespa can travel 80 miles on a gallon of fuel.

There is a downside to scooters, however:  dealing with potholes, having to get a motorcycle license in most states, no protection in bad weather, and vulnerability around other vehicles, which are usually a lot bigger.  Nonetheless, scooter sales have gone up 25% in the past year.  Scooter prices range from $3,000 to $9,000, depending on size and “fanciness.”

In 2005, the latest year with complete data, the death rate for scooter riders was 129 per million scooters registered, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.  In comparison, the death rate was 78 for cars and light trucks, and 645 per million motorcycles registered. 

I believe this is a growing trend.  It’s not an accident that you’ve been seeing so many more motorcycles and scooters on the road.  In addition to being more cost-effective, it’s fun and “cool” to be on a scooter.  I have a Harley-Davidson Road King that’s been converted to a trike for safety.  I had it “muralized,” and it’s a show-stopper.  I’ve had a Vespa scooter, too, and that’s also a fun ride.