Seemingly, it's no surprise to anyone except the people who tell us that there's no inflation that grocery prices have gone way up. The $10 pot roast seems to have crept up to $14. Certainly, we've all noticed that the cost of a gallon of gas is up from last year, too. With talk of yet more unrest in the Middle East, it would be no surprise to have even higher prices before the winter ends, and we've long since exhausted all the little "how to stretch your fuel mileage" or "find the cheapest gas station" hints that appear in columns like this one each time the price climbs. Every time the cost of necessities goes up, the ability of families to enjoy themselves during their leisure time goes down. After all, there's only so much money in each budget.
Surprisingly, though, people can still save on items that are regularly purchased, or entertainment items, especially if they are computer savvy enough to use the Internet. Groupon.com is one site that makes this possible. For example, one recent deal there would have gotten you $20 worth of German food for $9 at Jacob Wirth's restaurant in Boston. Another deal gave customers $40 worth of natural skin care and beauty products at any Body Shop location. As good as the deals on Groupon sometimes are, there's another site that is even more focused on the North Shore. As this column is being written, localginger.com has a deal that offers $20 worth of admission and concessions at Cape Ann Community Cinema for $10. When a deal is offered on the site, if you like an offer, you buy it and share the information with your friends (on Facebook and Twitter, for example). If the pre-set threshold is met, everyone gets the deal! If not, your card is not charged. This writer managed to get a massage, using www.localginger.com, at a salon in Beverly for $38, which is about half price. The savings of $38 filled the gas tank and, even though it required a short drive to the salon, the savings was still enough not to have to give up the luxury of getting a massage that month just because gas was more expensive and the paycheck was no bigger.
Another site, www.wow.com, sends daily deals to your e-mail inbox. You set your location by inserting your zip code, and a daily local deal is sent, but you can also select a "national deal." As this column is being written, its daily deal for the North Shore is personal training at a local facility, and the national deal is a hefty discount on a home teeth whitening kit.
If you like a site that consolidates coupons and deals from across the web, try www.fatwallet.com. You'll find coupons from major retailers, such Kohl's, TigerDirect.com, Orbitz, e-Bay, even Brooks Brothers.
A restaurant site, www.udine4less.com, provides coupons for savings at local businesses. This week, there were the following coupons right here in Gloucester: free loaf of bread with any order of $20 or more at Virgilio's Bakery & Deli; 2 large cheese pizzas for only $13.95 at Sebastian's; half off any appetizer with the purchase of two entrees at The Causeway. And, since spring is just around the corner, you may want to join and print out that coupon for a free lunch at Lobsta Land ...
And as always there is the Deal of the Day coupon in this newspaper, usually located on Page 7. The deal is always for a service or item worth more than the cost of the day's edition. It's like getting the paper free while saving on item.
Anne Springer is the public relations director of SeniorCare Inc., your local area agency on aging. To reach SeniorCare, call 978-281-1750.