Fall Fun At The Cider Mill The Way It’s Meant To Be

Fall is not my favorite season.  I’m definitely a summer guy.  I like warm temperatures, beaches, and long days.  Still, fall has a lot of fun things.  One of those has been to head to the cider mill.

I wrote a pretty discouraging article a couple of years ago about a cider mill ‘gone bad’.  They took a bunch of long standing traditions and scrapped everything in the name of money.  It was obvious that customers were just dollar signs.

Still, I knew that while some places turned to the dark side, not everybody would.  There had to be good cider mills out there.  Cider mills that stayed true to the roots of good cider, donuts.  And some good apple picking was a bonus as well.

We Found Our New Cider Mill

image from MorgueFile courtesy of AcrylicArtist

My wife and daughter tried a place out last year, and loved it. My son and I were off doing something, so we didn’t get to try it as a family until this year.

It’s called Hy’s Cider Mill.  It’s about half an hour from our house.    We went and absolutely loved it.

Apple Picking

First on the agenda was apple picking.  They charged by the pound.  They were absolutely cool with us taking one basket per family. We could take a ride to the apples or walk.  Since the apples we wanted were close, we just walked.

It was all low pressure and lots of fun.  On top of it, we got some great family photos as well!

Bonus.

Cider and Donuts

Next up was cider and donuts.  We stood in a very short line.  We ordered a gallon of cider and a dozen donuts.  They asked how many cups we wanted.  We grabbed a bunch of napkins.  No charge for either!

And when we went to pay by credit card, no problem.  They didn’t shuffle us off to an ATM conveniently located on property.

We headed outside and found a picnic table.  They were plentiful.  We enjoyed some great cider and probably the best donuts I’ve eaten.  Everybody had two!

Play Time

The place had some really large hay bales rolled up.  They put a few out near the picnic tables, which was great fun.  The kids loved climbing up.  My wife and I even hopped up and got a few more pictures.

A Great Day

In the end it was a great time.  It helped that the weather was great.  Everybody was in a good mood.  Nobody felt nickel and dimed.  Nobody felt rushed.  We all enjoyed some great cider and donuts and left feeling satisfied.

Since the place has been in business for years, presumably they’re making money.  Imagine that, treating customers right and still managing to turn a profit.

Some places need to take a lesson.

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I Could Get Used To This Instore Pickup Option

Ordering online and picking up in store has really picked up, it seems.  More stores seem to offer this option than ever before.  Many attribute the change to Amazon, as they need to compete with their convenience factor.

Two Stops In One Trip

I had the opportunity to use it twice the other day.  It just so happened that both stores were right down the street from one another.

Both shopping trips originated from Slickdeals.  I have an RSS feed of new deals and two deals came up that I was interested in:

  • Lowe’s had a big bag of grass seed for over 30% off.  I like to keep this on hand for overseeding and bare patches.  This should last a couple of years.
  • Kohl’s had their ‘Big Pillows’ on sale for less than $3

Both Were Easy

The ordering and the pickups were both easy.  Both let me know that my local store had the item in stock.  The

Image from morguefile courtesy of krosseel

option was free for both.  In both cases, I got an e-mail upon placing my order and another when it was ready.  Both times, the e-mail came within 20 minutes.

Picking up the items was easy as well. In both cases, I was able to go right to the service desk.  This saved me walking through the store as well as standing in line.  At Lowe’s, I did have to wait behind three other people, all of whom were making returns.  Still, I was in and out in less than five minutes.

Do Consumers Spend More Or Less Money?

My wife and I have slightly different thoughts on whether this saves you money in the end.  I think that you save money because you don’t buy anything else.  How many times do you walk through to get the item you want and end up with something else?  By taking this away, I think you save money.

My wife, on the other hand, thinks you might spend more.  By having this option and making it so easy, she thinks people will buy items that they might otherwise wait or skip altogether.

I can see both sides.  For me, I would have been buying both items regardless.  I’ve been griping about my pillow for awhile.  Plus, I’m almost out of grass seed.  Now, on the seed, I might have waited until the spring.  But, if I had, I almost guarantee I would have paid more.

Readers, what do you think about ordering online and picking up in store? Do you think it saves money or encourages more spending?  Does it save you time? Let me know what you think in the thoughts below.

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Are You Reading Money Beagle Via RSS?

Brief interruption on normal stuff.  If you are reading Money Beagle through an RSS feed (I’m not the only person that does that, right?), first, thank you for reasding!  Second, please update your feed settings.  The correct feed should be http://www.moneybeagle.com/feed

Currently, that will redirect to my FeedBurner feed, but I’m going to remove in the next couple of days as it’s been giving me problems since my host provider migrated servers a couple of months ago.  Since Google stopped updating FeedBurner about 5 years ago, it’s probably a long overdue move.

Now back to your regular scheduled blogging.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

3 Back To School Items We Aren’t Buying

I’m sure that stores lick their chops when it’s back to school season.  After all, every parent gets the same list with the same items to buy.  It definitely has to give a boost for the summer season, which have traditionally lower sales.

But, what items are really needed?  I’ve wrote in the past about how some parents barely bother with the list.  That I don’t agree with.  Even so, are there some items that you can skip or delay and save some money?  Absolutely.

Here are three items we aren’t buying (right now).

Clothes and Shoes

I’ll start off by saying that we have bought some clothes.  But, we don’t buy an entirely new set of clothes.  If the clothes from last year fit and don’t have holes, they get worn.  So, if you figure that your child needs four pairs of jeans, buy only what you need.

Besides, we’ve found that many stores will mark down kids clothes once school starts.  So, even if your child went through a massive growth spurt and you need all new stuff, you can save some big bucks by getting by with what you have for the first couple of weeks, and then scouring the stores for deals.

Backpack

Image from Morguefile courtesy of Alvimann

We have always purchased more expensive backpacks, which stand up to our kids abuse.  This means that they can use them for multiple years.  We’ve found that their change in style or taste drives the need for new backpacks.

We just washed the kids backpacks from last year, and they look almost as good as new.

Lunch Box

We apply the same principle to lunch boxes as with backpacks.  The lunchboxes definitely take on more dirt and smells, but they can be used.  One trick is to really work on cleaning them throughout the year.

So, in short, skipping some back to school items doesn’t mean that the kids go without.  They simply use what they had.  Doesn’t that make sense?

Parents, how did back to school shopping go?  Have you found any items along the way that you skip or delay?  Let me know your tricks and tips in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.