When we began this series six months ago, the outlook was dire — home foreclosures were mounting, the stock market crashing and big Wall Street firms folding. There were even those openly predicting the start of a second Great Depression.

While the outlook is still serious, there is now a whiff of optimism in the air. The stock market is up from its lowest point this year, customers are slowly returning to retail stores and there’s little talk of the entire financial system collapsing.

That doesn’t mean that people aren’t struggling. People are still losing their jobs and homes, but at slower rates.

We began the “Tough People Smart Money” project with a promise — if you followed the entire series, you would save at least twice the cost of your six-month subscription — and we offered a money-back guarantee. If you didn’t save the cost of your six-month subscription, we would refund your money.

We promised a daily money-saving tip and projected possible savings of at least $1,000. As we near the six-month point, the savings have far exceeded that total. Judy Meyer faithfully compiled at least 186 daily tips representing possible savings of more than $7,000. That’s right, even if you used half the tips, you would have saved more than $3,000

Bonnie Washuk, meanwhile, immersed herself in saving you money. She profiled expert cost-cutters, she broke down cost-cutting ideas and compiled more than 120 cost-cutting daily recipes. And, once each week, she wrote about how to have fun on the cheap, despite the recession.

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On top of that, the Sun Journal continued to deliver as much as $100 per week in coupon savings.

But, we also realize that while things have improved slightly, this recession is a long way from being over. Many of you, our readers, are still struggling just to get by.

In recognition of that, we have decided to extend this project for a few more months, although in a slightly scaled-back fashion.

We will continue the money-saving tips on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The featured cook and recipe will move from a daily to a weekly feature within the Sunday “b-plus” section. Bonnie will return to covering the local education beat for our readers, but she will continue to do periodic features on saving money as ideas arise.

In the beginning, I said we would prove that a subscription to the Sun Journal saved you more money than it cost. We have done our best over the past six months to deliver on that promise.

As I said in the beginning, if you were disappointed with this series — if you participated and did not find the projected savings while maintaining your home delivery subscription over the past six months — we will live up to the original bargain and refund your money.

If you would like a refund, please call me the week of July 6. I can be reached during regular business hours at 207-689-2886.

On the other hand, if you have enjoyed this series and found it useful, I’d like to hear from you as well. You can call, send me an e-mail ([email protected]) or write to me at the Sun Journal, 104 Park St., Lewiston, Maine 04243-4400

We are proud of the way the series unfolded, and we hope it helped you, our readers, through this crisis. 


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