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Consumer Tips

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Penny

Trying to stretch those dollars?  We want to help.  We're pulling the County's many free services and money-saving resources together on this one page.

We'll keep adding to this list.  You can check back, or sign up to get our Consumer Tip of the Week e-mailed to you.  Like many of our programs, it's free!


Don't Get Burned Buying Firewood.  If you buy a cord, do you really know how much that is?  The County has tips on what to watch out for when stocking up.    

Check Your Receipts.  County inspectors found 25 percent of stores checked for pricing accuracy had errors.  Check your receipts - and a list of businesses with overcharging violations.

Safe Holiday Dining. A local survey finds some common mistakes in food preparation.  Review simple tips to keep you and your guests healthy. 

Free Movies and Music.  County libraries have much more than books.  Search the catalog and choose from thousands of movies and music CDs, all available for you to enjoy at no cost.

Trick-or-Treat Tips: Make sure little ghosts and ghouls bring home safe sweets.

Safe & Free Halloween Fun: County parks and libraries offer costume contests, spooky crafts, trick-or-treating and more free events.

Free Microchipping for Your Cat in October: Few lost cats are reunited with their owners. You can improve your chances at no cost.

Financial Grab 'n' Go Kit: Gathering important documents now can save time and money later. Watch and learn what to include in your emergency kit. 

Financial Planning Week: The County Library is holding a series of workshops to promote financial literacy.

Stelzer Park Family Day Trips:
Nickelodeon has named this Lakeside park the most family-friendly in the county for its children's program, playgrounds and hiking trails. Watch a video to help plan your visit!
 
Free or Low-Cost Immunizations
: County Public Health Centers offer walk-in whooping cough, flu, polio, tetanus, measles, mumps and chickenpox vaccinations. Children under 24 months can be immunized free. The flat fee for everyone else is $10, regardless of how many shots are given. Don't wait - vaccinate!

Affordable, Healthy School Lunches: Learn how to cut costs and calories with tips from County health experts.

 
Back to School Without Breaking the Bank: The County's consumer expert has tips to help you stretch your dollar when shopping for the new school year.

 

Water-Saving Garden: The drought doesn't have to mean giving up an attractive yard.  The County Television Network's "Down to Earth" program has several episodes that teach you landscaping and gardening techniques that can lower your water bill.  Watch and learn!

Home Vacation Checks: If you live in an area where the Sheriff's Department provides law enforcement, a senior volunteer can check your home regularly while you're away on vacation.  

Safe Barbecue Tips: Avoid wasting money on spoiled food or upset stomachs by following the five steps to food safety this summer.

Free Movies Under the Stars: Parks and pools around the County are hosting free, family-friendly movie nights this summer. Check the showtime schedule!

Home Composting: Looking to make the most of what you already have these days? Learn how to compost and where to find workshops and low-cost bins.

Passport Services: You can apply for one at the County Administration Center.  We have photo services and two-hour free parking.  As of June 1, 2009, passports are required when returning from Mexico or Canada.

  Auctions
  
Buy a truck, musical instrument, or electronics gear on the cheap!
 County personal property estate sales are held on the third Saturday
 of odd-number months.


Employment Search Assistance: The County Library now offers resume reviews, live interview coaching, and job search help.  Don't have a County Library card yet? Don't worry - you can register online for free access.

Appeal for a Free Property Tax Reassessment: If you receive an "official-looking" letter in the mail, don't be fooled. Get the application and comparable sales information, and file for absolutely no cost with the County Assessor.

Get What You Pay For at Farmer's Markets: That basket of strawberries may look succulent, but was it safely grown and locally harvested? Find out.

Steer Clear of Scams: Phishing, phony government bailout sites, foreclosure prevention scams. Stay in the know with the District Attorney's Office Alerts & Advisories.

Unclaimed Monies
Thousands of dollars in County payments have never been cashed.
Does some of the unclaimed money belong to you? Find out!

Cut Your Grocery Bill
There are many tricks to saving money on groceries - and they don't have to involve coupons.

Recycle Batteries for Free at County Libraries
Through March 31, all branches are serving as free collection sites for batteries, which are considered household hazardous waste.

chaparral pea flowerFields of Flowers Are Free Fun for Hours
Don't try to say that three times fast, but do pack up your family for a quick trip to a County park. Wildflowers are in full bloom after a wet winter, from the coast to the mountains and deserts.

Help Easing Foreclosure Crisis
The County just got more than $5 million to help families and operators of affordable rentals buy foreclosed homes.

County Library Happy Hour
There are no fines for overdue materials returned on the last Friday of the month. Return late books, videos and DVDs to any branch, all day long, for free!

Down Payment and Closing Cost Help
The County offers low-interest deferred payment loans for low-income first-time home buyers.

Scam Alerts
Heard of "car cloning?"  The Jury Duty Scam?  Thieves keep coming up with new ways to go after your money.  The District Attorney's Office has details on common scams going around. 

Refinancing Dos and Don'ts
When interest rates drop, should you get a mortgage makeover?  It depends.

Low-Cost Pet Clinics
Every Thursday from 1-3 p.m., County Animal Shelters offer inexpensive rabies vaccinations, dog licensing and microchipping.

Senior Expo: Protect Yourself & Your Wallet
Learn physical and financial self-defense techniques from the District Attorney’s office and Adult Protective Services.
Call (800) 510-2020 and press 4.
Watch a previous seminar!


Help for Homeowners Facing Foreclosure
Workshops offered through April provide homeowners counseling from legal experts, mortgage professionals and housing agencies, all at the County Library.
Watch a previous workshop