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Consumer Report: Get More For Your Money

I received a consumer report promotional magazine which gave 23 reports of various shopping advise. I tend to put value on their reports as they appear to do extensive research on what ever it is that they are investigating.
Here are some of the reports.

Sheets: Tested Martha Stewart, Lands End and Pottery Barn sheets: Results:- They are excellent fit BUT they had less fabric and seam strength than other brands.
Top Rated Sheets were L.L. Bean Pima Cotton Percale. They had the highest score for fit, strength and shrinkage resistance.

Cellphone bills: To find the cheapest rates they crunched the numbers on more than a hundred contract and prepaid sell-service plans.
Result:– If you are a big cellular talker and want to cut costs, switch to straight talk. This company’s unlimited plan can save a two-line couple up to $1500 a year.

Top-Rated cell phone and top-rated cell phone service: The LG Octane cell phone was one of our top-rated cell phones. It works with Verizon, which was a top-rated cell-phone service in most cities that they surveyed

Wal-Mart v Costco:  Consumer report survey revealed that Walmart do have low prices but are on a par with other major retailers.
The store with top marks for both great products and exceptional prices in their survey was Costco

Batteries:  Their tests of AA batteries energizer advanced were the top-rated lithium batteries versus Energizer Max which were among the lowest rated alkaline batteries. They compare products within the brand not all products or models with one brand perform equally well.

Exterior Paints: If you want a paint that stands up to dirt and cracking consider California Paints Fres-Coat Velvet Flat for approximately $39.

Waterproof Bandages:  In a test of eight waterproof bandages Curad Flexible Athletic Strips scored the lowest.
Buy one of the top-rated brands of water proof bandages either Nexcare clear or Band-Aid clear/transparent water block plus. Which ever brand you choose in wet, potentially dirty conditions these two waterproof bandages might provide a little bit more protection from germs that can lead to infections than a standard bandage.

Glad ForceFelex Trash Bags: Implied they could haul a broken baby grand piano but when they put them to the test we they were left holding a broken bag!
They placed up to 41 pounds of trash into Glad and Hefty bags. The Hefty bags held most of the trash. None of the Glad bags they tested did as well as the Hefty.

Want to drive your vehicle for a long time?: Buy replacement parts with a lifetime warranty. One of  Consumer Reports  readers followed this advice and did not pay for a set of brakes in eight years.

Third row in the SUV:  According to the consumer report this can vary greatly in comfort and roominess. Two of the best vehicles we found for third row seating are Ford Expedition EL and Chevrolet Traverse. The worst is Subaru Tribeca

Honda Insight:  Their report shows an enticingly low price but their survey shows the ride was stiff and choppy and lacked handling agility. The 38 – mpg Insight, costs about $21,000 but it had scores too low to be recommended.
You can get a hybrid with a firm, steady ride and secure handling. At 44 – mpg its the most fuel-efficient car you can buy. Consider the Toyota Prius for about $26,750

Laptops: Toshiba has some of the lighter laptops according to their survey but if you want a light laptop and best tech support available you have to consider an Apple.  Among the Windows based laptops, Leenvovo was among the better providers of tech support by phone

Benefits of Medical Tests: Research shows that patients who have the most tests don’t necessarily have improved health.
If your doctor suggests a test ask “Will this test change the way you treat the disease?” If the answer is “no” then ask what is the benefit of doing it.

Harmful bacteria in Chicken: The consumer report tested 51 brands of chicken for contamination from salmonella and campylobacter bacteria: The major brands – Perdue, Tyson and Foster Farms all had contamination, with Tyson and Foster being the most contaminated and Perdue the cleanest.

Pillows: The $99 Tempur-Pedic pillow and the $27 memory foam pillow from Target was found after the staff sleep test to be pretty much the same in sleep quality.

Windshield Wipers: The top rated wind shield wiper, Valeo 600 series cost $11 for the 18″ model and that is much less than the PIAA Super Silicone and Bosh Icon blades that proved not to be as good in their tests. On saying that though every brand they tested showed streaking, smearing water or missed ares of wiping after six months of use.

Tide Laundry detergent: Their research showed Tide did a good job but proved to be one of the most expensive laundry detergents that they tested at 30 cents per load. Wisk New Stain Spectrum Technology Deep Clean for top loaders out cleaned Tide Totalcare and wisk cost only 17 cents per load.

Wine: According to research ( this one I am sure will be a matter of experience with wine ) that a delicious bottle of Shiraz called Alice White 2009 for just $6 is rated better than a wine that cost $43

Cordless Phone: According to Consumer Report a $35 cordless phone from AT&T performed better than phones that cost twice as much.

Salad Packages: “Prewashed?” Wash it again, research found bacteria that are common indicators of poor sanitation and fecal contamination and in some cases high levels. After that result I think I will be washing mine many times before I eat it.

Nissan Pathfinder:  The doors look great but the high-mounted rear door handle has been hard for smaller children to open. Something to look at if that is an issue.

Toasters: You can spend $100 on the DeLonghi DTT312 and get a good toaster or you could spend $35 on the Hamilton Beach Digital 22502 and get a better toaster

Soup: The Consumer Reports blind taste test the Store Brand Food Lion tasted better than Campbell’s soup.
You may or may not agree with that one.

SOURCE: Consumer Report

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10 Items Cheaper in 2011 Than 2010

1. Full-Size Digital SLR Camera

Price in 2010              $319

Price in 2011               $299

This camera is  great value. Point and shoot cameras are very popular and have caused the price of these heavier type cameras to be reduced.

2. Kindle

Price in 2010: $130

Price in 2011: $99

Because there is so much competition now in the retail market, the kindle price has dropped considerably.

3. HDTVs

Price in 2010: $699
Price in 2011: $599


The price for the 42″ and the 55″ HDTVs have been dropping for the last couple of years. The technology is getting better each year and the components cheaper. The price between the 42″ and the 55″ is very little so buyers lean towards the 55″. I expect the 42″ may be replaced by the 55″
4. Blu-Ray Player

Price in 2010: $50
Price in 2011: $39


Blue Ray is now being built into a number of tv’s and the price of the individual unit will probably come down. More than likely they will eventually become obsolete.
5. Wii System Bundles

Price in 2010: $150

Price in 2011: $99


There is so much competition out there with the Xbox, Sony Playstation and Microsoft knect is getting very popular. So the basic Wii becomes much cheaper as the demand drops.
6. 16GB SD Card

Price in 2010: $17
Price in 2011: $12


As memory cards get more powerful, the 16GB card just doesn’t stack up to the rest anymore. So the price is dropping significantly.
7. Portable GPS

Price in 2010: $45
Price in 2011: $40


Portable GPS is now built into cars or on phones and iPads, so basically they are becoming obsolete. $40 is about as low as they will probably get.
8. 15″, 16″ and 17″ Dual-Core Laptop

Price in 2010: $218,

Price in 2011: $199

As tablets are becoming more popular, computers are dropping in price.

It has been said that Tablets will replace the use of laptop because they are lighter and much more portable. Not so heavy to carry on the plane.

9. External 2TB USB Drives

Price in 2010: $90

Price in 2011: $50


“Technology is getting better and faster, and with all the things people are doing on computers, they need more storage, so this USB drive is less popular,” said Pinsker of dealnews.com.


10. iPhone 3GS

Price in 2010: $97
Price in 2011: $49


You can already find one from AT&T for this low price.

The iPhone 5 is reportedly coming out in April so the price of the old one of course comes down. Still a great phone and good price if you need one now.

SOURCE: Beth Pinsker, editorial director of dealnews.com.

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