Monday, October 31, 2011


Real Simple. Get a $5 Target Gift Card by mail wyb $15 worth of featured products in Real Simple Magazine. Brands include Carmex, Curel, L'Oreal, Stacy's, Listerine, GE, and Rembrandt. See the OFFER for more details. Offer good through 11/14/2011 while supplies last.

Filtrete. Get $4 back by mai$4 back by mail wyb one Filtrete 4” Allergen Reduction Filter for Media Air Cleaners before 12/31/11

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Free Printable Halloween Activity Book is offering those who “like” them a FREE printable Halloween Activity Book. They have books available for kids from preschool to 5th grade. This offer is available internationally, for a limited time.

Need Coupons?

umm dumb questions right? of course we all need or could use coupons, so when I came across this amazing blog post, I just had to share it with you, Living Rich with Coupons has a data base of companies that you can mail, or email so you can get on thier mailing list, or request coupons! how cool is that, so get ready to email lots of comapnies to get some coupons! Wha Who! Go Here for the Blog Post

some suggestions that the blog posts are:

Most companies have coupons that they send out to loyal customers. So, take a moment and contact a new company to see if you can score some great coupons, possibly even for free products.
Here are a few suggestions when contacting the companies:
  • Try to stay positive. Complement them on a new product or how much you or your family enjoy it. If you have a complaint, try to say what you have to say in a positive way.
  • You can offer suggestions on how they might improve their products. Maybe offer flavor suggestions, etc.
  • And be sure to include your contact info when you write to them including your address.
I would like to add, that I have a simple email text that I just copy and paste, I just add what I need and it takes little time, I have gotten Mccormiks spice, Jiff, Skippy, Welch's, Unilever coupons, it's such a great way to grow your coupon supply most don't expire for 6 months or so!

Harvesting/freezing pumpkins and Apples

I am in the Fall Harvest food mindset latley, it could be becuase I have 6 pumpkins and apples that I need to cook and presrve for the year untill next year ( I call this smart food storage) So I thought I would share some ways I personally plan on doing in the next week with my 6 pie pumpkins and my 80 lbs of Apples I have!

Pie Pumpkins

Go here for the instructions, I like using my oven, but since I am running out of time I will use the microwave variation also. You can also download a pdf of the insturctions if needed for feature refrence.


I like to freeze the apples in diffrent ways,

1.) Frozen apple shreeds Great for muffins and breads

shread the apples, I keep the peel on the apples, and core the apples, put it through a shredder  ( I have a Kitchenaid attachment that works wonders for this.) then I ration the portions in freezer quart size bags, I usually do 2 cups of apple shreds and make muffins with them.

2.) Apple Pie filling
find your favorite apple pie recipe, and prepare the filling, I dont cook the apples, I freeze the filling, my filling has sugar, flour and cinnomon in it, I also use this filling for an easy apple crisp. depending on the size of the apple, you will need 8-10 apples, I make three fillings per time in one big bowl, it's about 5-s cups of filling per bag

3.) Apple Sauce
Go here and here for videos on how to make yummy apple sauce I am using Johnathan Apples, Yummy! I plan on making a batch or two with cinnomon and the rest with out cinnamon, to use for baking.

Happy Harvesting! It's so fun to spend the whole day in the Kitchen, I relish those moments, it's one of the best part of staying at home!

My Favorite Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins

some recipes are just that great that they are your go too recipe, and all you have to do is use two ingredients, my sort of recipe! (ok I lie a little, I put in a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, but it's really good with out the chocolate chips, I am a pregnant chocoholic) With the baking season upon us, this is the most inexpensive batch of muffins I make ( less than $2 for about 18-24 muffins, at .11 cents per muffin, you can make these babies as often as needed.

Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins
1 box Chocolate Cake Mix
1 Can of pure pumpkin, or 16 oz of frozen cooked pumpkin

Pre heat oven to 400, mix the two ingredients together, put a 1/4 cup of cake batter in muffin cups, and bake for about 20 min., They are done when your knife comes out clean when you cheek them.

Variations to this recipe, would be to use a spice cake mix and 2 cups apple sauce, (if you have a stone ware or microwave safe cake pan this works well with a quick cake) mix said ingredients,  in a microwave safe bowl bake on high for about 15 min. let it sit in the microwave for about 5 min before taking it out. Enjoy a 15 min. cake!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Trick or Treating at Hy-Vee

On Monday October 31st Hy-Vee in Iowa Falls will have Trick or Treating from 3 to 5 pm

Thursday, October 27, 2011

FREE Arm & Hammer Simply Saline Neti Pot

Get a FREE Arm & Hammer Simply Saline Neti Pot for
FREE after mail-in rebate (up to $14.99). Offer expires 7/31/13.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

help a kitty

Eagle City Winery will host a fundraiser for Greenbelt Humane Society on Nov. 6, form 2 to 4 pm. Wine-a-Kitty will offer samples of food and drink.

Also, the Humane Society is autioning off an embroidered nap quilt that features cats with borders of red. the silent auction will accept bids tell Nov. 1. Bids can be sent to Greenbelt Humane Society at P.o. Box 208, Alden, IA 50006 by Nov. 1.

Slurp some noodles

Lutheran Church in Ackley will host a spaghetti super on Sat., Nov. 5, for 5 to 7 pm

Proceed are used to benefit the community in various ways.

Indulge your Sweet Tooth

Aplington will hold a Chocolate Walk Nov. 3, 4, and 5 for more info call 319 347-2793

Iowa Falls First UMC Pork Dinner & Silent Auction

Pork Dinner

DATE: 10/30/2011 (Sun 4:00PM - 7:00PM)

LOCATION: First United Methodist 619 Main Street, Iowa Falls, Ia

641 648-4607 for more info

Pork Chop Dinner $8
Pork Lion Dinner $8
Pork Burger Dinner $6
includes Salad, Potato, Pie & Drink
(Carry-Out/ Drive-thur Available)

Trick or Treat

Iowa Falls Chamber/Main Street's Trick or Treat stroll through downtown Iowa Falls will be Thursday, Oct. 27th for 6 to 7 pm!

Haunted Cornfield, location 16519 185th St. Wellsburg, will be open Friday, Oct. 28 ans Saturday, Oct. 29. Tickets will be sold from 7 to 11 pm on both days. There will be $5 admission fee. Proceeds will go to eh Wellsburg Veterans Memorial project, in case of rain call 641 869-3574

River Valley Pumpkins , Lots of animals and activities including Pumpkin slingshot, corn maze, tractor rides and more! Open 9-24 through 10-31, $3 per person, Mon-Fri 4pm- dusk, Sat 10am- Dusk, Sun 12pm- Dusk, 33757 200th st, Steamboat Rock Ia 50672 or call 515 689-1498

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

(makes 2 dozen cookies)

1 cup Pumpkin
1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Oil (I prefer canola or peanut oil.)
1 Egg
2 cups Flour
2 teapoons Baking Powder
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Milk
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
2 cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup chopped Walnuts (optional)

Mix together in a large bowl pumpkin, sugar, oil, vanilla and egg. In another bowl mix together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon and salt. In a small bowl, mix together baking soda and milk and then add to the pumpkin mixture. Slowly add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture. Add the chocolate chips and walnuts. Drop spoonfuls of dough on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hy-Vee sale 10--26/ 11-01

Go Here for all the Hy-Vee coupon Match ups at Pennypinchinmom

Also If you visit the Pharmacy, get your flu shot, you will get two coupon books filled with store coupons, Flu shots are billed to your health insurance, so you can get a good deal on some items.

7- Up Products 2 Liter Bottles free with additional purchase and coupon
Hy-Vee Kidney or Chili Style Beans $0.39 ad coupon
Hy-Vee Cereal 4/ $5.00 $1.25 HyVee fund raising book $.50/1
Dannon Danimals or Danonino 2/ $4.00 $2.00 coupon
Hy-Vee Orange Juice $1.38
Dole Celery $0.99
Fresh Blackberries 2/ $4.00 $2.00
Fresh Green Asparagus 2.77 lb.
Stemilt Apple Sale 88¢ lb.
Buddig Thin Sliced Lunchmeat 2 oz. pkg. $0.59 08-21 S $0.55/2=$0.32
Hy-Vee Ice Cream $1.99 this was on sale a few weeks ago for just $.99 so this is not really a great deal

Onlind AD:
Hershey's Baking Chips $2.19
Swanson Broth $0.77
Post Selects Great Grains Cereal 2/ $5.00 $2.50
Catalina National Offers: October 13 - November 27, 2011
Post Cereal (10/29/11 - 11/28/11)Buy 4 participating products, get $3.00 off next shopping order ~ or ~ Buy 5 or more participating products, and get $4.00 off next shopping order
= if you buy 5 $12.5-4=$8.5 = $1.7 each
Kellogg's Fruit Snacks 2/ $4.00 $2.00
Hy-Vee Shelf Stable Tortillas $0.99
SeaPak Popcorn Shrimp, Tilapia or Fish $4.99 use SS 10/9 b1 popcorn shrimp get $5 off popcorn fish coupon = $2.50 each!

Campbell's Tomato or chicken Noodle Soup $0.39 Ad coupon
Hy-Vee Corn or Green Beans $0.29 Ad coupon
Hy-Vee Crackers $0.99
Hy-Vee Fruit Snacks 10/ $10.00 $1.00
Lay's Potato Chips $1.98 HyVee fund raising book $.50/1
Hy-Vee 1% Chocolate Milk $1.88
Farmland Premium Sausage Roll $0.99
Hy-Vee Garden Salad $0.77

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bass Pro Shops

Bass Pro Shops – Friday 10/21 from 4-7pm Trick or treating, from 5-7pm free Halloween reflector necklace craft, from 6-7pm Costume parade with giveaways, from 5-8pm free 4×6 photo with The Great Pumpkin Charley Brown and free coloring sheet. Saturday 10/22 & Sunday 10/23 from 11am-5pm free 4×6 photo with The Great Pumpkin Charley Brown and free coloring sheet, from 1-4pm free Peanuts trick-or-treat bag craft, at 1:30pm, 2:30pm & 4:30pm enjoy free samples of Marshmallow Roast. See store for Apple Dessert sample info.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

CORTAID mail in rebate

CORTAID: Try Me FREE Rebate wyb 1 Cortaid Product (excluding .5 oz trial size) between 10/1 and 12/31 and mail in rebate form HERE, original register receipt and UPC proof of purchase by 1/31/12. You should allow 6-8 weeks to receive your rebate which will be for purchase price up to $7.9

Hy-Vee sale 10--19 / 10-25

Hy-Vee Cottage Cheese $1.48
Kraft Macaroni & Cheese $0.79
Dole Broccoli $1.28
Grimmway Farms Baby Carrots $0.88
Hy-Vee Russet Potatoes $0.99
Barilla Pasta 12 - 16 oz. selected varieties(use 09-18 S coupon valid on Whole Grain variety only if included$0.55/1 =$0.78)

online ad:
Hy-Vee Potato Bread $1.58
Hy-Vee Sandwich Bread $1.38
Hy-Vee Wheat Hamburger or Hot Dog Buns $1.38
Hi-C or Minute Maid Coolers Juice Drinks $2.00
Old Orchard Juice Cocktail $1.77
Hunt's Tomato Ketchup $0.99
Hy-Vee Chicken or Beef Bouillon $0.99
Blue Bonnet Spread Sticks $0.95
Hy-Vee Grated Cheese $2.77
Columbine Red Globe Grapes 1.48 lb.
South African Midnight Seedless Oranges 99¢ lb.

2Day sale 20th and 21st:
Xtra Laundry Detergent $1.99
Hy-Vee Peanut Butter $1.98
Hy-Vee Shredded Cheese $1.33
Betty Crocker Helper Meals $0.88 (use 10-2 or 09-11 GM $0.75/3 =$0.55 each)
Dole Iceberg Lettuce $0.69

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Disney Rewards

Disney Rewards members can get 50 Free Points by logging in to their account HERE and entering the following codes:
AUTUMN 10 points HOOK 10 points
PUMPKIN 10 points SCARY 10 points
BOO 10 points

If you are not a Disney Rewards member you can sign up
HERE. You earn points in several ways- by purchasing select CDs, DVD & Blu-Rays, seeing Disney Movies in Select Theatres, and grabbing free codes like the one above. They offer a variety of prizes in exchange for points. So join today and enter the code to get you started

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Peanut Butter Coupons

Here are the coupons I found for PB, there's not to many as PB was at it's lowest price in September with tons of coupons

If you would like to contact the manufacture for Skippy (Unilever) and ask for coupons sent to you by mail you can at:

I always say something like I love your product and would love to have some coupons for your product... 

here some coupons in the coupon inserts or if you can get a copy of All You Mag.

10-09 S 11-23 Smart Balance Rich Roast Peanut Butter $0.75 1

08-21 AY 11-15 Peter Pan Peanut Butter any --SEPTEMBER ALL YOU MAGAZINE COUPON $0.50 1

Stock up on Peanut Butter

The time to buy peanut butter is now! The Wall Street Journal reports that prices for Jif, Peter Pan, and other peanut butter jars will be going up as much as 40% starting in a couple of weeks.
In just one year, the wholesale price of peanuts has skyrocketed from $450 a ton to $1,150 a ton, thanks to Mother Nature and human folly. As a result:
Wholesale prices for big-selling Jif are going up 30% starting in November, while Peter Pan will raise prices as much as 24% in a couple weeks...Skippy [prices] are 30% to 35% higher than a year ago. Kraft Foods Inc., which launched Planters peanut butter in June, is raising prices 40% on Oct. 31
Invest now in a few jars of your favorite peanut butter brand (and, presumably, peanuts too) before this food staple becomes a luxury item

now you can understand why I have 27 jars of pb (or a year supply!) I do expect groceries to get more expensive.

For more info on this pb issue I have found two articles that are relevant if you want to read into it further:,0,1653651.story

What a huge Bummer, I will post coupons that you can find and print that might help you save money now before next month comes around.

I usually can get a small jar 15 oz. of pb for .40-.77 cents per jar. with a coupon when it's on sale.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hy-Vee sale 10--12 / 10-18 In TimesCitizen

Midwest Country Fare Mac and Cheese $.33 each
Midwest Country Fare Cream of mushroom soup $.33 (stock up)
Hy-Vee 8oz tomato sauce $.33
Sauve Shampoo or Conditioner $.50
Betty Crocker Brounies $1

Hy-Vee coupons:

$1 of larger eggs limit 1

$3 off 3 boxs of Kelleggs /Cereals ( in Store Add = plus $3 off milk on you next transaction) Plus use one of( 09-11 RP 10-23 Kelloggs Special K Cereals 11.4 oz or larger $1.00/3
09-11 RP 10-23 Kelloggs Raisin Bran, Raisin Bran Crunch or Raisin Bran Extra 15 oz or larger $1.00/2)

coloring pages to print

FREE Coloring Pages

FREE Ebony Magazine Subscription = Lots of P&G Coupons

WooHoo! Rewards Gold is currently offering up a FREE subscription to Ebony Magazine! Just head on over HERE, fill out your info, and take a survey to score your free subscription! Hurry as these offers usually don’t last long!

New Olay $10 MIR wyb $30 Worth of Olay Products

There is a new $10 MIR wyb $30 worth of Olay Products between 10/8 and 12/31/11. The rebate does exclude the Pro-X Cleansing device and refills, and there is a limit of one rebate per name, address, or envelope. You will need to submit the rebate form that you can print
HERE, your original dated sales receipt(s), and you will need to fill in the UPC codes on the rebate form. Request must be postmarked by 1/14/12 and you should allow 6-8 weeks to receive your rebate.

The $30 threshold is BEFORE coupons, and can be on multiple receipts. As long as the original purchase prices circled on your receipt(s) for qualifying Olay products add up to $30 before using coupons, you can submit for the rebate.

Try Me Free Rebate for the Renuzit Holiday Fresh Accents Air Fresheners

Try Me Free Rebate for the Renuzit Holiday Fresh Accents Air Fresheners (Up to $2.29)**Purchase a Renuzit® Holiday Fresh Accents™ Long Last Air Freshener in Winter Berry or Festive Snow® fragrance, at your favorite retailer between: 10/03/11 and 12/31/11 and get your full purchase back up to $2.29\

HY-Vee coupon Add Matchups 10-12-11

Go to Penny Pinchin Mom's blog Here to see all the coupon Match ups for this week Adds, my favorites are: the Cheeze It's, the Duracel Batteries, and the Bertoli's soup.

There are a ton of online coupons you can print for this add!

Love the Savings!

Thanks Pennypinchinmom

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Online Saving I use and like

Kraft First Taste account
My Coke Rewards:

Pampers Gifts to Grow
Huggies Enjoy the Ride Rewards:
Disney Movie Rewards

McCormick Consumer Testing Panel

Shop through or Ebates and you’ll score cash back from other store like , Target, Walmart, Gap, etc.! *HOT!* 80% off Code + 25% Cash Back = $25 Gift Certificates ONLY $1.50 , then be sure to enter the promo code TOUCHDOWN during checkout

Go through the and you’ll score 25% cash back from your purchases or go through Ebates to get 25% cash back! That means you’ll end up paying only $1.50 (after cash back) for each $25 gift certificate purchased!

Hy-Vee sale 10--12 / 10-18

3-Day Sale price valid 10/13 - 10/15 only!

Hy-Vee 100% Natural Grade A Whole Fryer, price per lb.
price valid 10/13 - 10/15 only!
limit 2

Hy-Vee All Purpose Flour $0.99

Hy-Vee 1/2 gal Milk (ad coupon) $0.99

Duracell Coppertop Batteries B1G1

Amana 100% Natural Beef Boneless New York Strip Steak $4.98

Del Monte Gold Pineapple $2.48

weekly sale:

Hy-Vee All Purpose Flour $0.99

Milk with the purchase of 3 Kellogg's Cereal Above $3 off

Sunshine Cheez-It Crackers 3/ $5.00 $1.67

Columbine Holiday Seedless Grapes 1.77 lb.

Mission Ripe Hass Avocados 2/ $3.00 $1.50

qualifies for buy $15, get $5 off promo, price shown is before $5 savings
must use in-ad store coupon for discount:

PF Changs Home Menu Meal for 2 (9-18 RP $1/1 insert coupon expires 10/16) $6.99 =$5.99

Bertolli Meal Soups 22 or 24 oz. (10-02 RP $1.00/1)$6.99=$5.99
or print $1/1 here

Knorr Sauce or Gravy Mix 3/ $4.00=$1.33 (10-02 RP $0.50/2)

Online Ad:

Welch's Grape Jam or Jelly $1.98

Hy-Vee Apple Sauce $0.88

Prego 100% Natural Pizza Sauce $0.99

Monday, October 10, 2011

Lysol Dual Action Try Me free Rebate

I love getting things for free, this is a great rebate, only one rebate per house hold, bummer! We go through these like crazy and I love them! (side note, get the 75 count, not the 35 count to save the most money.

Go here for the rebate form

Thanks Hip2Save

Free Weight Watchers Magazine

Whenever you purchase 3 specially marked packages of Jolly Time 100 calorie Healthy Pop Popcorn, you can receive a Free one year subscription to Weight Watchers Magazine.
(Thanks, Thrifty Today, Coupon Saving Sista, The Brainy Buyer, Dania, My Free Product Samples, Alicia, Sarah, Fiskerelli Bellies, Julie, Printable Coupons and Deals, and Alena!)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Progresso Soup Rebate

You can go here and print out a Free after Rebate form for a FREE can of Progresso soup.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Produce Auction

Here at Coupon SAHM I Am we might be a bit more frugal than lets say "most" people, So we might do some SAHM things, like for example buy 120 lb of apples for $15, yep we thought that was a good deal!

We were able to to go a produce auction in Elma Iowa, (North East Iowa, 1.5 hours away from Iowa Falls.) I was all about getting apples and pumpkins and maybe some mums. We came home with all three, very lucky!

As this was the first time we have ever gone to an auction before, I was a bit worried about getting to much of one thing and having no idea what to do with all of it. They sell majority of big lots, meaning bins of pumpkins like the ones you would see in a grocery store (I was not interested in that many pumpkins, I am not running a farmer's market stand ) So once they got done with all of the big lots they moved onto the smaller lots that had like 3 bushels of apples instead of like 3 dozen bushels of apples. (yeah I don't see us doing much with that many apples.) Things were selling fast and cheap, for example, 6- 10 inch potted mums, $11 for all 6! bushels of Potatoes $4, Raspberries, 4 Pints $8 (raspberries are in season?) Squash, $2 a bushel. I got my Johnathan apples for $5 a bushel. The nice thing about the auction was that the auctioneer was able to work with the bidders, a lot of times they would try to auction off three of the bushels, like in my case, but if you didn't want all three you could say I only want 2 and then they would sell the other one to some one else, however I was on a mission for apples and thought I want all three man! yummo!

This place is actually fairly kid friendly, most of the customers were retired and maybe local, (they loved seeing  our kiddos!) However there were buyers that had bought their big lots and were loading up their stuff, but once the big lots were done it was just a small group of us traveling around each of the small lots to bid. I also that this place is kid friendly because it's clean, has a small cafe (we got a huge cup of ice cream for $1.50) my little girl loved looking at all the produce, and the horses.

 I plan on going again in the spring, May or June to get strawberries and other spring type produce, and then once in the summer, and again in the Autumn.

For more information go to their website here

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hy-Vee 2day Sale 10-6th - 10-7th

Huggies Diapers, Pull-Ups or GoodNites $5.99 STOCK UP use 09-11 S2 $1.50/1
Midwest Country Fare Granulated Sugar $1.49
Hy-Vee Pop 12 Pack Cans $1.48
Hy-Vee Shredded Cheese $0.99
Hormel Always Tender Whole Boneless Pork Loin 1.99 lb.
Dole Iceberg Lettuce $0.69

Hy-Vee sale 10--5 / 10-11

General Mills products SAVE $3 with purchase and coupon
Butter Kernel Vegetables $0.59
Hy-Vee Tomato Soup $0.39
Hy-Vee Frozen Vegetables $0.99
Hy-Vee 100% Natural Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast 1.68 lb.
Green Seedless Grapes 1.49 lb.
Monterey Whole White Mushrooms $1.39
Slimcado Avocados $2.29
Washington Golden Delicious or Fuji Apples 78¢ lb.
Kiwifruit 3/ $1.00 $0.33

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Three Money-Wasting Mistakes Shoppers Make

Provided by

The recent news that median household income has fallen probably didn't come as a surprise to most homeowners. We already know that it's getting tougher to pay the bills. And no matter how hard you try to pinch your pennies, things still break and need to be replaced. That's why it's more important than ever to squeeze the most value out of every dollar you spend. Consumer Reports can help you with that.

Our year-round testing of thousands of products confirms time and again that the price-quality relationship is far from certain. You can pay a lot and get crummy performance or pay a little and get something terrific. Two products that cost the same can perform very differently. In fact, performance can be night and day for two models of the same product from the same brand line. Here are three mistakes consumers make when they comparison shop.

Comparing Items on Price Alone

Washing machines. Our lowest ranked front-loader, the Frigidaire Affinity FAFW4011L[W], scored 27 points out of a possible 100 in our tests of washing machines. But for the same $600 you can buy the Whirlpool WFW9050X[W], which scored 77 and is a CR Best Buy. The Affinity was only fair at its chief job, getting clothes clean, but it was excellent at both water and energy efficiency. By contrast, the Whirlpool was very good at cleaning, which makes it a much better buy.

Refrigerators. Your refrigerator runs constantly so you'll want one that's an energy miser. That rules out the Fisher & Paykel E522B bottom freezer, which was an energy hog and scored a 21 in our refrigerator Ratings. And it was only mediocre at holding a constant temperature in all sections. For the same $1,500 you can buy the Whirlpool Gold GX5FHDXV, a bottom freezer that scored an 82, was excellent at energy efficiency and temperature performance and is a CR Best Buy.

Vacuum cleaners. Our tests of vacuum cleaners revealed another time-tested truth—even same-priced models from the same brand can have vast performance differences. Take these two $250 canister vacuums from Hoover for example. Both were excellent at cleaning bare floors, one of a vacuum's easier tasks. The bagless Hoover Zen Whisper SH40080 scored a 44 in our vacuum cleaner tests and was only fair at the tougher jobs of cleaning carpet and removing pet hair. Its brand mate, the Hoover WindTunnel S3670, was very good at those tasks, scored a 67 and is a CR Best Buy.

Buying by Brand Name

Dishwashers. Bosch makes our top-rated dishwasher, the Bosch Evolution 500 SHE55M1[2]UC, which scored an 81 in our Ratings and costs $850. At $1,000, its brand mate, the Bosch Integra 500 SHX45P0[5]UC, costs more and is a lesser performer, earning only a 66. Both were excellent at washing and energy efficiency. So why not pocket the $150 difference?

Dryers. We generally like Kenmore products but saw a vast difference in the scores of two electric dyers. The Kenmore 6952[2] ($380) scored a 10 and the Kenmore 8903[2] ($580) scored a 77 and is a CR Best Buy. So what made the difference? The dryer's main task—drying performance. One was poor and the other excellent. The 8903 also has a larger capacity and was quieter.

Gas ranges. Two KitchenAid gas ranges were also at opposite ends of the Ratings chart. Scoring a 31, the KitchenAid Architect Series KGRS807S[SS] ($1,700) landed at the bottom of the 30-inch models while the KitchenAid KDRS505X[SS], which costs only $300 more, scored a 71. The latter model was super at simmering while the Architect Series model was not. They baked and broiled equally well but the Architect has less usable space.

Assuming a Higher-Price Means Better Performance

Vacuum cleaners. In our tests of upright vacuum cleaners, a $50 Dirt Devil put a $400 Dyson to shame. Scoring a 63, the Dirt Devil Featherlite Bagless M085845 (sold at Target) is a CR Best Buy. It was excellent at picking up pet hair and very good at cleaning carpet. The Dyson DC24 Ball All Floors, which scored a 44, had poor airflow for tools and was only fair at pet hair. While the Dyson was quieter and matched the Dirt Devil's excellent performance on bare floors, cleaning carpets is what separates the winners from the also-rans.

Blenders. At $60, the Ninja Master Prep Professional QB1004 blender is one as-seen-on-TV product you may want to see on your counter, especially if you like icy drinks. It was also excellent at crushing ice cubes and not so noisy. We gave it a score of 73. Another multi-tasker, the DeLonghi 3-in1 DFP-950 ($300) earned only a 27 and scored poorly on the ice crush and icy drink tests. And it was noisier than the Ninja.

Kitchen knives. The knife sets in our Ratings range in price from just $30 to $785 but it was the $75 Ginsu Chikara that earned a CR Best Buy and a score of 85. Why? Well, it's simple, the knives were excellent at cutting and the handles were comfortable. The knives from the Culinary Institute of America's Master Collection Hyde Park cost $260 but didn't score as well—a 67. While they were very good at cutting and comfort, the handle balance didn't cut it.

Copyrighted 2009, Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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