Lots of people clip coupons, swallow pills, or spend hours scanning the “over-the-counter pharmacy” shelves at the store, without doing their homework first. How do you know that product is safe or if you really want that one rather than another one (or none at all)?
Consumer, or shopping, homework doesn’t just mean reading the ads or looking for “reviews” on the web. How do you know those reviews are for real? Who is comparing the product and to what? Is the price offered one that give you “good value?”
For example, the latest issue of Consumer Reports (September 2009) has articles that will definitely save you money and maybe your life or your health, your financial and your physical health.
It’s a great issue:
1) Nurses tell you what to look out for when you are in the hospital (learn how to tell your doctors and nurses to wash their hands!)
2) Read about the downsides of reverse mortgages (don’t get scammed!)
3) See product ratings, before you buy! GPS navigators, plasma TVs, and much more.
4) See health care plans reviewed and rated.
5) See home insurance policies and companies reviewed and rated.
Wait, there’s more! Your public library probably has Consumer Reports in print, and possibly online too. Give them a call or stop by.
And, if consumer protection rocks your boat, read up on the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency or 2009 bill (H.R. 3126) now in Congress. (You can also search for more Google links with this search string: Consumer Financial Protection Agency site:.gov )