Live More, Commute LessLive More, Commute Less

Aug
29

Loudoun Coupons for Hope: Livemore Through Couponing

When you watch shows about extreme couponing, you are left with the impression that it is either too difficult for mere mortals to accomplish, or simply too good to be true. But when you start to understand the basic concepts behind these amazing savings, you can start to see how you can apply these concepts to your shopping needs as well. Here are a few ways that everyone, even you, can start to find the deals that you hear about.

Lesson 1- It’s Not Just About the Coupons

You watch Extreme Couponing, get passionate about coupons, diligently cut out a handful of coupons for things you need, and head to the store, only to save the .50 cents listed on the coupon. What went wrong? You probably forgot the second half of deal making… the sales.

See, coupons are just to steer you towards certain brands; they don’t make a big dent on their own. The important component is to learn to love the local grocery ads as your guidelines to the bigger savings. For example, this summer there was a 2 dollar off coupon for diapers. Before that coupon expired, there was also a sale at CVS for that brand, with a Buy One, Get One Half Off deal.  Plus if you spent 30 dollars, you got ten dollars in Extra Care Bucks (which is ten dollars you can spend at CVS later). With this deal, our non-profit founder was able to buy 4 packages of diapers for a total of $19.47!

Lesson 2- Shop at the Right Place

Going beyond the sales, where you choose to shop can make a huge difference in your bill. There are some stores that double coupons, and some stores have certain weekends where they double coupons, like Harris Teeter.

A coupon used at CVS will save you some money, but did you know that Dollar Stores are also obligated to accept coupons? Yes, that does mean that for certain items, if you are lucky enough to find a dollar off coupon for a Dollar Store item…you will in fact be getting it for free.

Lesson 3- Donít Forget About Technology

In this modern era, you have an abundance of ways that you can use technology to save money. Cartwheel for Target is awesome!  You can save coupons to your app, and then scan it at the checkout for the savings. Ebates and Ibotta will give you cash back for what you spend, and apps like Favado will search for deals for you at your local preferred stores and even tell you what coupons you can use with the deals! Plus, even if you don’t get the newspaper, there are plenty of websites to print out coupons you want at home.

Lesson 4- Join a Couponing Community

Our non-profit Loudoun Coupons for Hope is all about supporting the community through couponing. We hold classes to teach couponing skills, and we even have regularly scheduled couponing trips, where we physically hand you the coupons and tell you what deals are the best ways to use the coupons that shopping trip. We also support our local community by using monetary donations, combined with the saving power of coupons, to purchase items for low income families in the area, and then give them personal care supplies, Easter basket items, or other seasonal needs. You can follow us on Facebook, and see the deals we find on a regular basis, find out when we have events, or learn more at
loudouncouponsforhope.org.

Aug
29

Planners to Revisit a Second Potomac River Bridge – Again!

For over half a century, local and regional elected officials and planners have studied and debated the need to construct a second Potomac River bridge upstream from the I-495 American Legion bridge.  Proponents contend that workers who live in Maryland, or vice versa, sit in grueling traffic jams every day, which are only going to get worse over time.  Opponents, particularly those in Maryland’s Montgomery County, argue that it is simply a “developers’” tool to help foster growth in an area of the county that has been designated as an agricultural preserve.

In early July the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors resurrected the topic while considering options for the county’s long range transportation plan.  Supervisors voted unanimously to add the project to the Countywide Transportation Plan and have instructed staff to study
potential routes for the new river crossing.  Earlier this year the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, a regional entity that prioritizes and funds regional transportation projects, included the bridge crossing in its draft TransAction 2040 plan.

Political support for the river crossing is strong in Loudoun County, as is the backing from the business community.  Loudoun Supervisor Ron Meyers indicated it was his number one priority and intended to ask that the project be included as one of the “ten large-scale transportation and land-use initiatives identified by the task force for further study” by that the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB).

At the July 15th meeting over an hour debate ensued concerning inclusion of the bridge project. The debate, as recorded in a TPB meeting summary included:

“Board member Marc Elrich (Montgomery County) proposed removing the crossing from the list altogether, saying that it would yield more congestion and more sprawl in Montgomery County and would not be politically or financially feasible.

Some board members spoke passionately about the need to study the bridge. Others acknowledged the many concerns but reminded their colleagues that the task at hand was not to look at feasibility, but rather to evaluate at a high level the relative effectiveness of the different initiatives to aid further consideration and deliberation.

The board also heard extensive public comment both in favor of and opposition to including the bridge on the study list. Montgomery County Councilmember Roger Berliner was among those who testified against including the bridge, citing increased congestion, environmental damage, and sprawl as his main concerns. Others said the bridge was needed to provide another way for people to move between Virginia and Maryland, both for economic development reasons as well as for security and emergency preparedness.

Ultimately, the board voted to accept the recommendations for further study. Staff has already begun work on the comparative study and will report back to the task force in September.”

It should be noted as well that Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said “the state has no plan to build a new Potomac River crossing in the county and said any such crossing would require federal funds even if it were supported by the state and local governments.”  Needless to say, the planning and research continues; stay tuned.

Jun
23

July 4th Events

Alexandria – Oronoco Bay Park, 100 Madison St., Alexandria, Virginia. Celebrate Alexandria’s Birthday & the USA’s on Saturday, July 8, 2017, 7-10 p.m. Enjoy a concert by the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra at 9 and fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

Fairfax – Fairfax City, Independence Day Parade through the downtown area beginning at 10 a.m. Musical entertainment begins at 6 p.m. at Fairfax High School with a spectacular fireworks display at dark.  Tuesday July 4, 2017 – rain date – July 5th. (703) 385-7858.

Falls Church – George Mason High School, 7124 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, Virginia. Live music will start at 7 p.m. followed by fireworks at 9:20 p.m.  Tuesday July 4, 2017.

Herndon – Bready Park, Herndon Community Center, 814 Ferndale Ave. Herndon, Virginia. (703) 787-7300. Face painting, balloon sculpturing, bingo and crafts begin at 6:30 p.m. Music at 7 p.m. Fireworks at 9:30 p.m.  Tuesday, July 4, 2017.

Leesburg – Ida Lee Park, Rt. 15 (King Street) and Ida Lee Drive, Leesburg, Virginia. (703) 777-1368. Parade on King Street at 10 a.m.  Gates open at 6 p.m.  Music starts at 6:30 p.m.  Fireworks around 9:30 p.m.  Tuesday July 4, 2017.

Leesburg – Lansdowne Resort, 44050 Woodridge Parkway, Leesburg, VA. (703) 729-8400. July 2, 2017. Live concert from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. followed by fireworks at approximately 9:45 p.m. Food and drink vendors on-site. No outside coolers allowed.

Mt. Vernon – 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway Mount Vernon, Virginia. Mansion tour and fireworks $34 for adults; $24 for youth; No Mansion Tour: $30 for adults; $20 for youth. June 30 and July 1, 2017, 6:45 – 9 p.m.

Manassas – 9431 West Street, Manassas, Virginia. (703) 335-8872. Enjoy live music, children’s activities, food and fireworks. Entertainment begins at 3 p.m. Fireworks at 9:15 p.m.  Tuesday July 4, 2017 – Rain Date – July 5th.

Reston – Lake Fairfax Park, 1400 Lake Fairfax Dr., Reston, Virginia. (703) 471-5415. Fireworks begin around 9:15 p.m. Saturday July 1, 2017 – Rain Date – July 2.

Vienna – Vienna Community Center, 120 Cherry Street Southeast, Vienna, Virginia. Arts and crafts, food, live music, vendors, and games. Celebrations start at 11 a.m. Fireworks at 9:15 p.m. at Southside Park on Ross Dr. Tuesday July 4, 2017 – Rain Date – July 5th.

Jun
23

Dulles in the Spotlight at Nation’s Premier Travel Industry Convention

By Rob Yingling

As summer heats up, international travel increases from Dulles International to destinations in more than 40 countries all around the world. With service on 31 airlines to more than 125 cities, Dulles Airport’s strong air service connectivity is of major interest to thousands of travel industry buyers and journalists who recently convened in Washington, D.C. The convention, called IPW 2017, featured more than 800 meetings between travel planners and local tourism promotion organizations like
Destination D.C., Virginia Tourism Corporation, Visit Fairfax and Visit Loudoun.

 The convention instilled a positive and lasting impression on attendees. Dulles rolled out a first-class welcome for arriving delegates, tours and cultural experiences showcased the best of the region’s offerings and signature events celebrated the unique appeal of the National Capital Region. Tourism to the region is already strong, but IPW’s research shows that the host city typically gains one million additional international visitors within three years. That’s great news for airlines, hotels, Virginia wine country and downtown D.C. attractions. The arrival of new visitors through Dulles will ultimately benefit the regional economy and job market.

Visitors to the region are encouraged to check www.flydulles.com and read the airport’s free magazine at www.flywashington.com to learn about the airport and interesting ways to maximize their stay.

Jun
23

Hey Kids! Let’s Get Out And Explore Nature!

Fairfax County Libraries Now Check Out Nature Backpacks

Remember when mom told you “It’s a beautiful day, go outside and play”?  Fairfax County’s public library system is doing the same, but one-upping mom by loaning free nature-themed backpacks so kids of all ages can enjoy the outdoors and learn about nature and science. It is a great outside activity for families and groups such as Scouts and other youth organizations.

The 32 backpacks were provided to Fairfax County by the Library of Virginia through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Each backpack contains great resources for exploring your local parks or open spaces near your home.  The contents include:

  • A parking pass that allows the library customer to visit any one of 36 Virginia State Parks at no cost
  •  You can also use the backpacks at one of the Fairfax County parks, always free to  County residents
  • Pocket guides: Edible Wild Plants, Medicinal Plants and Weather
  • Tarp and paracord
  • Big Foot Leave No Trace Ethics Card
  • Port-a-bug field observation container
  • Dip net and magnifying lens
  • Learn & Live outdoor skills card
  • Other nifty things like star charts and activity guides
  • So grab your sense of adventure…and “check it out!”