WE DO THE MATH ON COUPON CLIPPING Put Down the Scissors and Step Away From the Newspaper
If it wasn’t for coupons, you wouldn’t be able to afford everything you need, right? Well, there are two ways to look at it. Coupons can be a way to put food on the table that you otherwise couldn’t afford. But they can also trick money-conscious consumers into buying stuff they normally wouldn’t. To find out which option describes your situation, answer two questions. The first question is, “Do I need — and will I use — everything that I buy with coupons?” Coupons affect you psychologically; the same part of your brain that governs basic instincts (like hunger and pleasure) also loves a screaming good deal. That means you may spend money on things that you normally wouldn’t, because you have a coupon for them. Instead, stick to the staples — like rice, beans, oats, and salt — that you’ll use eventually and won’t go bad. If you’ve wanted something for a long time and it goes on sale, it makes sense to buy. But don’t let the coupon section dictate your desires! The second question is, “How much is my time worth, and how much time do I spend hunting down the best deals and clipping coupons?” If you’re saving $25 a week on stuff you actually need, but it takes 4 hours a week to get those savings, you’re losing money, even if you make minimum wage. That’s time you could be spending with family, picking up a half-shift at work, or finding innovative ways to make money.
Remember: Coupons come from businesses trying to trick your brain into buying more stuff. Use them wisely, but don’t let them rule you.
THE BUZZ ABOUT TOOTH VIBRATORS
The OrthoAccel Technologies’ AcceleDent System, which received FDA clearance in 2011, is a hands-free, rechargeable, removable mouthpiece that patients with braces wear for 20 minutes a day to dramatically speed up tooth movement. Patients often liken the soft vibrations to a gentle massage. “It is fast, safe, and gentle orthodontics,” Mike Lowe, CEO of OrthoAccel, said. “You get out of braces in half the time; we have consistently seen that.” The technology behind AcceleDent is a concept borrowed from the orthopedic world. Instead of using plaster casts on broken or fractured bones, a vibrating cup can be used to help reduce pain and speed up healing, which in turn results in a stronger heal in the bone. When considering the mechanics of movement, a simple mouth vibrator makes a certain kind of sense.
In a randomized controlled clinical trial out of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, this vibration accelerated tooth movement by 106 percent during the initial alignment phase, and then 38 to 50 percent later, all without adverse events. The most obvious benefit of AcceleDent is that it cuts braces-wearing time in half. For adults with braces, the decision to use AcceleDent is a no-brainer. The stigma of adult braces is still strong, and many adults would jump at the chance to reduce treatment time. Braces usually require adjustments every few months, and AcceleDent reduces the pain that can sometimes make it difficult for patients to talk and eat. Unfortunately, the amount of time you use the AcceleDent doesn't directly correlate to how soon you get your braces off. It’s
been found to be most effective with the recommended 20 minutes per day treatment, but prolonged use can actually hinder its effectiveness. As of 2015, OrthoAccel has shipped nearly 40,000 units to 2,500 practices nationwide. The device tacks on $500 to a standard braces bill, but many patients say the cost is well worth the speedy results.
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