My husband knows that before we make any major home purchase, there are two things I’m going to need: My drawer full of Bed, Bath & Beyond 20 percent off coupons, and my back-issues of Consumer Reports. My mom may not have taught me to keep the house clean or separate my laundry -- she’d rather be writing ... and who can blame her? -- but she did teach me to stretch my pennies 'til Abraham Lincoln looks like Gumby.
Consumer Reports is a non-profit organization that tests household products and rates them by durability and whether they’re worth the money you pay for them. They don't take ads, and they don’t care if companies get mad at them. So when it’s time to buy a vacuum cleaner and you want to know if Dyson really never loses suction, Consumer Reports is your impartial third-party, removing the hype from the infomercials.
And today (July 5, until 3 a.m. EST on July 6), they’re free.
You’ll have to register at their site, but you’ll see -- no payment information is required, and you can go hog-wild looking through all of their reports. Some of the ones I just looked at:
- Which used SUVs are most reliable? Because who needs a lemon?
- “Fix it or nix it? The right answer could save you a fortune,” a Repair or Replace survey that tested more than 27,000 household appliances.
- A stroller buying guide, broken down into traditional, all-terrain, and jogging strollers (plus a buying-guide video that explains what those expensive strollers actually have that's supposed to make them better, and which features might make sense for your needs).
- Not just a diaper bag guide, but a checklist of stuff to put in it!
- Which fast-food restaurants are better choices, when you have to use them.
Let’s face it: In this economic climate, every big expenditure leaves me paralyzed with indecision, and hype is hurled at us from every media outlet. I don’t know how many infomercials I’ve sat through because a baby needed to be held for an hour in the middle of the night, and what kind of wormy brainwashing made me think I must have a Roomba. Consumer Reports is impartial, it cuts through the marketing-ese, and it has kept me from making many a foolish purchase (I’m glaring sternly at you, weird-looking toning sneakers).
So check it out for the day. Get to know the “red means go, black means stop” rating-chart system. See if you don’t think it’s worth $6 a month or $26 a year to ensure the stuff you buy is worth your dollars.
Has Consumer Reports saved you money? Have you tried it? What do you think?