As a frugal mom of 4 with over 20 years of experience shopping on a budget, I have tested just about every level of grocery coupon use that a person can do; from all, to some, to none, and back again! Coupon use will vary depending on people’s circumstances. I know many people who refuse to use them because they say they just don’t have time, and as a working mom myself, who barely has time to shop for groceries—let alone clip grocery coupons each week, I truly do understand. Yet, not using a grocery coupon on an item that you’re going to purchase anyways is just like throwing money away. And yes, it does take a little time each week to clip the coupons and take them to the store, but just like earning money takes time, so does saving money!
Tip # 1 - Be careful when shopping at grocery stores that require a membership card to get items for their special ‘SALE’ price, which is just about most of them these days. Especially when new cashiers are in training, they just simply forget to run it through. I’ve never had a problem before now but twice in the last 6 weeks I’ve had to ask the cashier to refigure my bill because the card didn’t go through and they charged me full price for everything! (This was especially bad since 75% or more of everything in my cart is usually on sale, not just one or two items.) And yes, it is inconvenient to ask for the refunds and wait for the total to be figured, but both trips resulted in a membership card credit of about $17.00 each! On the second trip, I had even asked the clerk to check the receipt because I saw an item wring up at full price, she checked it and said, “yes it’s there.” But when I got home (always check your receipt before leaving the store, which I usually do!), I put the groceries away and was looking at the receipt and saw I had been charged full price for everything. Back to the store I went (don’t worry, it’s very close to my house!). I tried to be really nice and so did the store manager but I could tell she was not thrilled at having to refigure the bill and give me a cash credit. I’ll do whatever I can to make sure this doesn’t happen again, and will never leave this particular grocery store without checking my receipt first, but good grief! Super Wal-mart is looking better and better to me all the time, and they not only take coupons, they price match too!!!
Tip # 2 - This may be a surprise to you (it certainly was to me), but grocery clerks do not always know their own store’s coupon guidelines! Recently, I had some special store coupons I wanted to use with matching manufacturer’s coupons. Since I was fairly new to this store I stopped by the customer service desk first to make sure it was okay to do this. With no employees attending the desk, a cashier happened to be walking by and asked if I needed assistance. I asked her about the coupons and she said “No, you can only use one coupon per item!” Later, as another cashier was ringing up my groceries I mentioned it to her and told her I thought it was okay to use a store coupon with a manufacturer’s coupon, and she said “Yes, it is!” And, I would say in MOST cases it’s going to be okay… a store coupon is not the same as a manufacturer’s coupon, it’s really just their own sale price! However, if you want to make sure your store will honor both coupons at the same time before you try it, just be sure you speak directly to the manager!
Tip # 3 - If you have time (or even if you don’t) you can also create a price log in a small notebook to record the best price of your favorite products at each store, as well as the coupons you receive throughout the year. This will help you learn the sale trends and know what the best grocery bargains really are. Here’s our FREE Printable Price Log to help you get started!
Visit our coupon site http://isaving.net/ to find the best coupons for you.
The isn’t much different than the 7-inch model that launched a few months ago. It runs the same operating system, a heavily modified version of Google’s HD 8.9 that locks you into Amazon’s ecosystem of apps, movies, music, and books. So I’m not going to spend too much time picking through all the nuances and quirks of the software. You can get all that in my review of the smaller Kindle Fire HD.
Instead, I think it’s more important to look at what sets the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 apart from the rest of the Kindle family and how it compares to other full-sized tablets. Most importantly, there’s the price. This tablet starts at just $299, a steal compared to the $499 full-sized and the $399 Nexus 10 from Google.
But in many respects, you get what you pay for. When I see a full-sized tablet nowadays, I expect the full package of productivity features like email, calendar, web browsing, and multitasking. But the Kindle Fire HD either doesn’t do those things very well or doesn’t have them at all. At its core, the Kindle Fire HD is still just a screen for gobbling up movies, books, and magazines. And that’s not going to cut it for people expecting “the best tablet at any price,” as Jeff Bezos claims the Kindle Fire is.
Amazon’s largest Kindle Fire is also its best one to hold. It looks nearly identical to the 7-inch version, but it’s been stretched out so the bezel around the screen doesn’t seem as thick. There’s also that same rubbery backing that makes the tablet easier to hold. My only gripe with the design are the power/volume buttons on the edge. They’re nearly flush with the device, making them difficult to locate without flipping the device over.
The Kindle Fire HD also includes an optional connection from AT&T if you’re willing to shell out an extra $200 for the device. I didn’t get to test that model, but $499 brings the Kindle Fire to iPad-level pricing, and it’s simply not as good as Apple’s tablet. (Yes, you get a nice data plan option, $50 for 200 MB per month for a year, but most people will want to use more data than that.) LTE
I also enjoyed the stereo speakers, which are louder than any other tablet I’ve used. The only caveat is I’d sometimes get a buzzing noise if I cranked the volume all the way up. But even at half volume, the Kindle Fire HD is plenty loud, a nice change from the quiet mono speaker on the full-sized iPad.
The screen is great too. As the “HD” name implies, Amazon added a sharper screen to the Kindle Fire, and the one on the 8.9-inch model is almost as good as the one on the iPad. I didn’t even notice a difference, so it’s not a bad deal to get such an incredible display for $200 less.
Despite a few bug fixes and additional features since the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD launched, there are still a lot of annoying quirks with the operating system. There’s a noticeable lag any time you try open a new app, movie, book, or navigate to a new section of the menu. The lag isn’t as egregious as it was when I tested the 7-inch model, but it’s still there.
And when it comes to other basic tablet functions like email, calendar, and multitasking, the Kindle Fire is still way behind other Android tablets and the iPad. The email and calendar apps are pretty bare and don’t take full advantage of the larger display. Multitasking doesn’t even exist; you can only “star” items and keep them in a shortcuts menu for quick access.
Finally, Amazon’s app selection isn’t as good as what you’ll find on the iPad or other Android tablets. Amazon stripped out all things, so you can’t access the official Google Play store for Android apps. Instead, you’re stuck with Amazon’s store, which often takes a bit longer to get the newest apps.
Should You Buy It?
Yes, but with a few caveats.
In short, the Kindle Fire HD doesn’t feel like a device that’s good for anything but watching movies, reading books, or playing games. (But it is really good at those things.) If that’s all you want to do, then you’re getting a great value out of big-screen model.
I’d also skip the $499 4G LTE version and go with the WiFi-only $299 model instead. Once you start getting into the ~$500 range, you’re better off with an iPad.