What Would You Do With $500?


That’s the question on our minds this month as we get ready to hand over $500 to the lucky winners of our National Coupon Month giveaway. It could buy a designer handbag, a new iPhone or go towards a weekend getaway. But if you’re looking for something a little more practical, then take a peek at these items that will make that $500 stretch into even more.

Museum membership. Buy an annual family membership to a museum or educational center that participates in a reciprocal program. It will cost between $75-$125 for a family of four, but your membership to one center will also get you in to hundreds of other museums and science centers for free or half the cost.

Vacuum sealer. No, we’re not kidding. A vacuum sealer keeps food for up to five times longer with no freezer burns. It opens up a lot of possibilities like buying markdown meat in bulk, individually portioning and freezing it. Or, you can double recipes and freeze a meal or two for a rainy day.

Extra freezer. Stocking up on meat and having all of those perfectly sealed meals only works if you have a place to put them, which is why it may be good to invest in a spare freezer. A chest freezer is typically more energy efficient than an upright freezer. Score a small freezer unit for less than $200 when you look for closeout sales on last year’s models.

Coffeemaker. You’ve heard it said before, one of the best way to cut costs is to skip your trip to the coffee shop and go with home-brewed java. If you want a plain cup of drip, that’s not so hard. If you want a daily nonfat soy vanilla latte, a machine at home will cost you a little more than a simple coffeemaker. However, coffee machines have come down in price and you can buy a pretty good one for around $150. You’re just about 40 lattes away from breaking even.