Archives for June 2008

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  • New Ralphs coupon policy

    Out here in California, we have Ralphs supermarkets, which are part of the Kroger family. Up until Wednesday, Ralphs doubled coupons with a face value of up to $1 (so you would get $2 off for a $1 coupon). But according to the LA Times, now they only double coupons with a value of up to 50-cents. They will take off $1 for coupons with a face value of 51 to 99 cents.

    I used to do most of my grocery shopping at Ralphs, but five years ago, there was a widespread lockout/strike at the major chains. The supermarkets agreed that Ralphs would stay open and share the profits (which might have been held illegal, if memory serves). Since I felt bad crossing the picket line and didn’t want to face the picketing workers, I started shopping almost exclusively at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. And for the last five years, I’ve done my weekly shopping at Trader Joe’s. I particularly like their wide selection of and reasonable prices on organic and hormone/antibiotic free products.

    But lately, as I’ve gotten into using coupons more thanks to The Drugstore Game, I was thinking about shopping more at Ralphs. With double coupons, there could be some really good deals to be had. And I did pick up a $330 gift card for $300. But this new coupon policy is putting a damper on my enthusiasm for shopping there again.

    How much does a store’s coupon policy affect whether you shop there?

    Can you think your way to more money?

    My dad has always been a big believer in positive thinking, so I was probably only 13 or 14 when I read Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s famous book, The Power of Positive Thinking. But maybe because positive thinking has always been a part of my life, I’ve never really paid much attention to it. I accept the basic premise, that we have the ability to shape our life with our thoughts. But can positive thinking increase your income or net worth?

    Millionaire Mommy Next Door thinks so. She’s in the middle of an “abundance experiment” in which she is “open[ing her] mind to receive increasingly more money.” Her idea is to imagine how she’d spend increasing amounts of money and how she could bring in that money. She’s a little worried that the experiment will make her focus on what she doesn’t have and make her discontented, so she’s also expressing gratitude for the good things in her life.

    It’s an interesting idea. MMND says the experiment is working and that she’s started bringing in some money by selling things on Craigslist.

    I think that the key here is, as MMND put it, opening your mind to new possibilities and considering things you haven’t thought about before. In a way, MMND is just brainstorming over an extended period of time. But I think what’s interesting is that, as she gets into the high dollar ranges, she’ll have to consider more radical ideas. (She’s currently at $51,200, and since she’s doubling the amount each day, her next spending spree will be $102,400.)

    So can radical ideas turn into more money? Of course they can! That’s how many successful businesses get started. I’m going to start contemplating some radical ideas of my own.

    How can you think your way to more money?

    Image credit: – The Power of Positive Thinking(affiliate link).

    Rational Investing in Irrational Times winner

    Thank you to everyone who entered the Rational Investing in Irrational Times book giveaway. Congratulations to the lucky random winner …


    You have 48 hours to email me at cfoblog [at] gmail [dot] com with your mailing address.

    Two recalls today: More cribs & a toy helo

    If you think you have the following item(s), click through to the CPSC press release for more details:

    As always, I highly recommend signing up for recall notifications by email at the CPSC web site.

    Baby Trend recalls Rigid Latch-Loc car seats

    Update 7/2/08: Thanks to Rebecca for alerting me that the notice from Baby Trend has gone out. There’s still nothing on the Baby Trend site that I can find, but the inclusive dates are now up at the NHTSA notice. The affected car seats were manufactured between May 14, 2007 and April 1, 2008. Unfortunately, Rebecca reports that she can’t get through to Baby Trend on the phone. Baby Trend does have a contact form that you can try using. Also, if you haven’t registered your car seat, you might want to do so immediately. It’s been my experience that companies often send out replacements automatically to registered owners. I don’t know if Baby Trend is doing that, but it can’t hurt to register since you’ll have to give them your info at some point anyway.

    Update 6/27/08: Liz reported yesterday that the Baby Trend customer service representative said they have no knowledge of the recall and suggested she call back in a week. I’m speculating that the NHTSA released the recall info a little early, and that the company is waiting to announce the recall until it knows the inclusive dates. There’s still nothing at the Baby Trend site.

    Baby Trend has recalled all Rigid Latch-Loc car seats. The recall includes the Magnum (model no. 6439), Galaxy (model no. 6481), Silverado (model no. 6448) and the Model No. 6400 Base that was sold separately. The inclusive dates of production will be provided later.

    From the NHTSA email notification:

    Incorrect steel was used on the latch connector locking pawl. As a result, the pawl can crack allowing the seat base to detach from the vehicle’s latch anchors during a severe crash. A detached seat can not provide the proper protection for its occupant. Baby Trend will replace the base free of charge. Owners can contact Baby Trend toll-free at 1-800-328-7363.

    I can’t find the recall notice at the Baby Trend site yet, but the NHTSA notice is available (although it doesn’t say much more than what I’ve cut and pasted here). If you have this car seat, definitely call Baby Trend to see if they will give you more information (and if you wouldn’t mind, let me know what they told you and I’ll update this post).

    If you are concerned about the safety of using this car seat now, it seems like the problem is with the base only and that you could get around it by attaching the car seat with the seat belt. I assume this is an option, since my Graco car seats could be installed without a base. Of course, be sure to read the manual to verify that this is an option and that you install the car seat correctly.

    If you’d like to receive your own email notifications of car seat recalls, sign up with the NHTSA.

    Image credit: link). It looks like Amazon has been notified of the recall since all Rigid car seats are “unavailable.”