Get Paid To Do What You Want

I think I've mentioned before that we have a busy October month ahead of us, and it just became a little busier since we signed up to work at Raymond James Stadium for the U2 concert coming up October 9th. One of the reasons we have a busy month ahead is because there are a lot of entertainment venues and events that we like to attend, and we are GETTING PAID to go. How, you many ask?
Years ago, we were given the opportunity to volunteer as ushers at the Outback Bowl in Tampa, and it meant we got to see the game for free. We thought it was a fun experience talking to Wisconsin Badger fans and enjoying the afternoon outside on a beautiful New Years Day in Tampa. We also talked to other staff there and found out that many were employed by Sentry Event Services and made about $8/hr to watch the football game. We also learned that Sentry did event staff and security for the concerts at the Ford Amphitheatre and Tropicana Field for baseball games. This was a great opportunity for us both to attend entertainment events, and get paid. Usually a show is about 5 or 6 hours of standing around, so about $48 each of us, so we bring home close to $100 for every event we work. We were hired in 2004 and have worked about 30-40 events each year since.
But, Sentry Events doesn't staff events at the St Pete Times Forum which hosts indoor concerts, hockey games, basketball games, the circus and skating shows like Disney on Ice. So we marched down there and applied so we also get paid to attend events we want there too. The pay isn't as good, but it still brings in $75 to $90 per evening, and the work is a lot simpler, since we are just guest services, rather than security staff.
So between the Forum and Sentry, we are both working 6 events this month that we would like to attend, and will bring home close to $500 rather than spending it on the ticket prices. Its a good gig if you are healthy and can stand for up to 6 hours and you enjoy being around crowded events and people. We've been working shows and sports events for over 5 years now and the savings in ticket prices and entertainment dollars is significant. If there is a show we really, really want to have fun at with drinking and partying, then we spring for a ticket. We have often purchased tickets for high demand shows knowing we can double or triple our money on Stub Hub selling the tickets, then we just sign up to work. If the tickets don't sell (which hasn't happened yet...) then we just would plan to attend rather than work a show.
So, if you're looking for a way to attend those football games, concerts, baseball games, contact your local venue and ask who does the staffing for guest services and security, its usually contracted out so its not necessarily the venue that employees you.

It's Not That Hard, Is It?

This weekend I passed along some coupons to a friend who had mentioned needing some razors. In fact, they use Schick Quattro and I  happened to have multiples of a $4 off MQ and a matching $4 off Target coupon, making the $7.94 razor free. I cautioned how they have to take these coupons and get the deal at Target since it is a Target coupon, and they would need to tell the cashier to do a "manual adjustment" since  there was a 0.06 overage that Target registers kick out. 
Well today I followed up with that person to find out if they got the free razors. He said they still seemed kind of expensive. I said how, they were free. Well, turns out they didn't go to Target, they went to some drugstore. Target was too far away, like a couple miles. Anyway, of course the drugstore wouldn't take the Target coupon! Duh. I'm sure the price was higher too. Oh but they took the $4 coupon.
I couldn't believe it. I try to help people understand couponing and show them matchups, do the deals first myself, so I can tell them what to expect, and they still either don't listen, think it doesn't matter where you go, or they just aren't that bright. It's not that hard is it? Are we all genius's who can figure out how to match up and stack coupons with store sales? I don't think it's that complicated, but it does take some practice and to start out with simple one item deals to make sure everything works out as planned.  But I wish I knew an easy way to share the coupon love, because I don't have the time to go shopping with everyone to train them in. I generally refuse to cut coupons for others too, since the ways I get them are accessible to all others.  They can print their own, and get extra inserts, and of course scan store aisles for blinkies and peelies and booklets.
So this friend wants me to teach a coupon class to a bunch of ladies in her neighborhood. I would love to do it and plan to do it. But since I need to figure out a way to simplify the process. I just hate to feel responsible for people who don't catch on, and they end up spending money they intended to save. There are many deals that I would never do if it weren't for the cheap cost with using coupons. Oh well, back to the drawing board on this one.

Are you ready for Tax Day?

Well its almost the end of the 3rd quarter of the year and this is a great time to assess your tax burden for the year 2009. If you are typical wage earner and have your taxes taken out of your paycheck, you can easily determine if you're going to have enough to have your taxes paid and maybe get a refund this year. We typically like to have less than a $1000 tax refund so more money goes into our pockets during the year, but I absolutely hate to pay additional taxes on April 15th.
The IRS has a nifty calculator that lets you calculate your tax burden and it takes into consideration several legislative events that occurred this year.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, introduced several changes that affect this Withholding Calculator:
(1) The new Making Work Pay Credit:   The new withholding tables that employers should have implemented by April 1 have been incorporated into the calculator.
You should use this calculator to ensure that the reduced withholding will not result in having too little income tax withheld (possibly causing you to owe taxes next year) if:
  • You are an employee with two concurrent jobs,
  • You and your spouse both work, or
  • You can be claimed as a dependent on someone else's tax return (since you are not eligible for this credit).
(2) Pension income: Non-government pension income is not eligible for the Making Work Pay Credit, and the calculator now accounts for this. If you expect to receive a significant amount of pension income in 2009, you should use this calculator so that you can adjust your withholding appropriately for the second half of the year.
(3) Unemployment Compensation:  The first $2,400 of unemployment compensation an individual receives in 2009 is now tax free. The Withholding Calculator now accounts for this, so enter the full amount into the calculator.
Purpose of This Computer Program The purpose of this application is to help employees to ensure that they do not have too much or too little income tax withheld from their pay. It is not a replacement for Form W-4, but most people will find it more accurate and easier to use than the worksheets that accompany Form W-4. You may use the results of this program to help you complete a new Form W-4, which you will submit to your employer.
Tips For Using This Program
  • Have your most recent pay stubs handy.
  • Have your most recent income tax return handy.
  • Fill in all information that applies to your situation.
  • Estimate values if necessary, remembering that the results can only be as accurate as the input you provide.
  • Consult the information links embedded in the program whenever you have a question.
  • Print out the final screen that summarizes your input and the results, then use it to complete a new Form W-4 (if necessary), and keep it for your records.
Who Can Benefit From This Application?
  • Employees who would like to change their withholding to reduce their tax refund or their balance due;
  • Employees whose situations are only approximated by the worksheets on the paper W-4 (e.g., anyone with concurrent jobs, or couples in which both are employed; those entitled to file as Head of Household; and those with several children eligible for the Child Tax Credit);
  • Employees with non-wage income in excess of their adjustments and deductions, who would prefer to have tax on that income withheld from their paychecks rather than make periodic separate payments through the estimated tax procedures.
For Special Situations If your situation is among those listed below, you will probably achieve more accurate withholding by following the instructions in Publication 919, How Do I Adjust My Tax Withholding?

  • If you will be subject to alternative minimum tax, self-employment tax, or other taxes; or
  • If any of your current jobs will end before the end of the year.
NOTE: The information you provide is anonymous and will be used only for purposes of this calculation. It will not be shared, stored or used in any other way, nor can it be used to identify the individual who enters it. It will be discarded when you exit this program.
2009 IRS Tax Withholding Calculator

I'm not on Target

Yesterday since I was going to be travelling by a Super Target, I thought I would stop to get a few coupons deals that have been blogged about lately, especially ones that stack manufacturer coupons with the target store coupons you can get using the Target coupon generator at Hot Coupon World. I was especially excited about getting my dog some dog food, and also getting some Schick Quattro razors.
Well I stroll into the dog food aisle and see all these big wide open empty spaces, right where my dog food should be. The shelves are cleared out. I suspect they've been cleared out a while since someone had left their coupons there in the blank space. Kind of like they've been checking back and the item is never there. I had 3 different brands and items I wanted and they were all gone. What a wasted trip. I went over to the razor aisle and got my razors but then I had the checkout drama. I knew there was a 0.06 overage from stacking the 2 coupons per razor, so I bought a filler item to take up the overage. However, Target cash machines don't work that way, they just kick out the 2nd coupon because it exceeds the value. You have to have the cashier manually adjust each coupon to match the remaining value of the item. What a pain. Apparently, they're getting some new software and this won't be a problem soon. But the first cashier didn't see the problem. I told her my whole bag of items should be free except for my filler, so I didn't want to finalize the transaction yet. We called over the manager, who voided the whole thing and we did it at a different register.
Meanwhile, a line of people is behind me moaning about the delay. It was a rather unpleasant experience using coupons. This type of transaction is why I don't normally care to shop the deals at CVS, Walgreens and Target. There are two many complicating factors to getting the deals you think you can get. Sure, if you roll over your rewards or ECB's regularly and know to get fillers to get more items in your purchase than coupons, they will work. But its a hassle, and I stop to think before I even head out to these stores, do I really need that item? Many times I don't, or I can get it at Publix. I love that Publix is so coupon friendly, so I'll be getting my dog food there on my next trip.

Dannon Activia Class Action Lawsuit Settled

Dannon has just settled a large class action lawsuit concerning Activia Yogurt.
They have announced that a settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit involving Dannon's Activia® and DanActive® yogurt products. The lawsuit alleges that Dannon falsely advertised the health benefits of its "probiotic" yogurt and dairy products. Activia® was sold nationwide beginning in February 2006. DanActive® was sold nationwide beginning in January 2007.
Under the proposed settlement, Dannon will create a $35 million fund to provide cash refunds to Class Members who timely submit a valid CLAIM FORM
Dannon has agreed to amend its labeling and claims of Activia and DanActive, making the scientific names of the so-called probiotics more visible; Dannon will also remove the word "immunity" from DanActive, said the LA Times. Currently, labeling for DanActive states it has "a positive effect on your digestive tract's immune system," reported the LA Times. That statement will be changed to state that DanActive will "interact with your digestive tract's immune system."
According to the LA Times, the refund will apply to consumers who purchased Activia and DanActive yogurts up to $100 per customer, citing court papers. Consumers will be required to complete a claim form, said the LA Times that will be accessible once the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio has approved the settlement.

Chinet coupons

HERE is link to get free chinet coupons

Publix Sneak Peek BOGO's 9/24-9/30

Publix Deli Southern Style Potato Salad, 16 oz container, save up to 2.49
Campbell's Select Harvest Soup, 18.6 to 18.8 oz can, (excluding bowls), save up to 2.39
Dole Fruit, Gel or Parfait Bowls, 4 pk, 4 or 4.3 oz cup, save up to 2.29
Joffrey's Coffee & Tea Company Coffee, 16 oz bag, save up to 9.99
Thomas' English Muffins The Original, Plain, 12 oz pkg, save up to 2.99
Quaker Oats Oatmeal, Quick-1 Minute or Old Fashioned, 18 oz tube, save up to 2.59
Aunt Jemima Syrup, 24 oz bottle, save up to 3.49
Aunt Jemima Pancake & Waffle Mix, 32 or 35 oz box, save up to 2.59
Post Honey Bunches of Oats Cereal, 13 to 18 oz box, or Just Bunches!, 17 oz box (excluding Family Size), save up to 3.99
Kellogg's Eggo Waffles or Special K, 9.9 to 12.6 oz box, save up to 1.99
Bantry Bay Mussels, 16 oz pkg, save up to 4.99
T. Marzetti's Dressing, 12 or 15 oz jar, save up to 3.99
Quaker Cereal Cap'N Crunch, 20.7 to 22 oz, Life, 21 oz or Squares, 16 oz box, save up to 4.49
Pillsbury Moist Supreme Cake Mix, 18.25 or 18.9 oz box, save up to 1.69
Ronzoni Pasta, 12 or 16 oz box, (excluding Lasagna, Manicotti, Jumbo Shells, or Florentine), save up to 1.39
Zatarain's New Orleans Style Mix, 5.2 to 8 oz box, save up to 1.99
Ocean Spray Juice Cocktail or Cranergy or Juice Drinks, 4 or 6 pk, 10 or 12 oz bot, save up to 3.99
La Famiglia DelGrosso Pasta Sauce, 26 oz jar, save up to 7.99
Powerade Sports Drink, Liquid Hydration + Energy, 8 pk, 20 oz bot, or 10 pk, 12 oz bot, save up to 6.79
Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 32 oz bot, save up to 11.99
Carroll Shelby's Chili Kit Original Texas Brand: White Chicken or for Beef, Fix It Hot or Mild, 3 or 4 oz box, save up to 2.19
A.1. Steak Sauce, 10 oz bot, save up to 3.75
Mt. Olive Sweet Relish or Pickles, 16 oz jar, save up to 2.19
Quaker Quakes Rice Snacks, 3.03 to 4 oz bag, save up to 1.79
Orville Redenbacher's Popping Corn, Microwave, 6 or 10 pk, 12 to 19.8 oz box, save up to 4.89
Nature's Own Bread, all natural or organic 24 oz loaf, save up to 3.49
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Miniatures or Hershey's Kisses, Miniatures, Nuggets or Hugs & Kisses, or York Peppermint Patties, Big Bag, 17 to 19.75 oz bag, save up to 5.49
Nabisco Ritz Crackers, 13.66 to 16 oz box, save up to 2.99
Keebler Fudge Shoppe Cookies or Wafers or E.L. Fudge, 8.5 to 15 oz pkg, save up to 3.49
Yoplait Yo-Plus or Yo-Plus Light Yogurt, 4 pk, 4 oz cup, save up to 2.50
Kozy Shack Pudding, 22 oz tub, save up to 2.89
Smart Balance Spread, 13 or 15 oz, or 2 pk, 7.5 oz tub, or Spray, 8 oz bot, save up to 2.59
PhillySwirl Frozen Treats, 17.5 to 24 oz pkg, save up to 2.99
New York Texas Toast 13.5 oz box, Olde World Ciabatta Cheese Rolls, 10 oz box, or Garlic & Parmesan Pizzeria Dip'N Sticks, 11.5 or 16 oz box, save up to 3.29
Kahiki Meals, 32 oz pkg, save up to 6.99
Smart Balance 50/50 Butter Blend Sticks: Omega-3, Original or Made with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 16 oz box, save up to 3.49
Purina Tida Cats Cat Litter or Box Filler, 14 lb pkg, save up to 6.99
Spray 'n Wash Laundry Stain Remover Advanced or Max with Resolve Power, 12 or 22 oz bot, save up to 2.99
Fantastik Cleaner, 26 or 32 oz bot, save up to 2.99
Lysol Basin, Tub & Tile Cleaner Aerosol, 24 oz can, save up to 2.99
Right Guard Xtreme Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant, 2 to 4 oz pkg, save up to 3.99
Birds Eye Voila! Meal, 21 to 23 oz bag, save up to 4.99
Ore-Ida Steam n' Mash Potatoes, 24 oz pkg, save up to 3.99
Gorton's Fish, 18.2 to 24.5 oz pkg, surprisingly low price

Publix BOGO Sneak Peak 9/17-23

Publix Deli Old Fashioned Lemonade, 1 gal bottle, save up to 2.99
Nabisco Family Size Crackers, 12 to 16 oz box, save up to 4.49 (Wheat Thins and Triscuit are pictured)
Kraft Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip Dressing, 32 oz jar, save up to 3.99
Perdue Breaded Chicken Breast Nuggets or Chicken Tenders or Breaded Chicken Nuggets Fun Shapes, 12 oz pkg, save up to 4.39
Hebrew National Kosher All Beef Franks Original, Reduced Fat, 97% Fat Free, or Jumbo; or Knockwurst, 11 or 12 oz pkg, save up to 4.99
Tyson Chicken Patties, 26 oz pkg, save up to 6.59
Kraft Easy Mac Macaroni & Cheese Dinner Original, Extreme Cheese, Big Pack Original, or Animal Shapes, 12.05 or 12.9 oz box, save up to 3.39
Kellogg's Special K Cereal, 11.4 to 14 oz box, save up to 3.89
Post Cereal Fruity or Cocoa Pebbles, Honey-Comb or Alpha-Bits, 11 to 12.5 oz box, save up to 3.89
Quaker Chewy Granola Bars, 8.4 or 8.7 oz box, save up to 2.99
Quaker Instant Grits, 12 pk, 12 oz box, save up to 2.79
Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks or Sunkist, 4.5 to 9 oz box, save up to 2.59
Northland 100% Juice Blend, 64 oz bot, save up to 3.95
V8 Splash Beverage or Diet V8 Splash, Antioxidant Plus, 64 oz bot, save up to 3.11
Ken's Steak House Dressing or Lite Accents, 7 or 16 oz bottle (excluding 8 oz Salad Dressings), save up to 3.19
A.1. Steak House Marinade, 16 oz bot, save up to 2.89
Chatham House Croutons, 5 oz bag, save up to 1.49
Doritos Tortilla Chips, 11.75 to 14.5 oz bag, save up to 3.99
Planters Peanuts Dry Roasted or Cocktail Peanuts, 16 oz jar, save up to 3.19
Keebler Sandies Shortbread Cookies, 9.5 to 16 oz bag, save up to 3.99
Pepperidge Farm Swirl Bread, 16 oz loaf, save up to 3.59
Entenmann's Pop'ems Glazed Donuts, 16 oz box, save up to 3.99
LifeSavers Candy or Mints, 6.25 oz bag, or Pops, 4.2 oz bag, save up to 1.89
Arnold WholeGrains Bread, 24 oz loaf, save up to 3.69
Breyers Ice Cream, 48 oz carton, save up to 4.99
Weight Watchers Smart Ones Desserts, 4.58 to 6.6 oz pkg, save up to 2.00
Purina Beggin' Strips Dog Snacks Bacon Flavor or Cheese & Bacon Flavor, 10 oz pkg, save up to 4.99
Glade PlugIns Scented Oil Refills, 2 ct box, save up to 5.49
Glass Plus Glass & Multi-Surface Cleaner, 32 oz bot, save up to 2.49
Electrasol Finish Dishwasher Detergent, Powerball or Gelpacs, 32 ct box, or Quantum, 20 ct box, save up to 7.79
Hefty Everyday Plates, 130 ct pkg, save up to 4.99
Bausch & Lomb Renu Multi-Purpose Solution or MultiPlus No Rub, 12 oz bot, (33% more free on select pkgs, while available), save up to 8.99
Del Monte Fresh Cut Vegetables, 11 to 15.25 oz can, (excluding Specialty Vegetables and Asparagus), save up to 1.29
Del Monte Tomatoes, 14.5 oz can, save up to 1.39
College Inn Broth, 32 oz carton, save up to 2.79
from Hot Coupon World.

Is it Frugal or Cheap?

Another blogger recently wrote about this subject and I thought it fitting since we just spent a week travelling to visit family out of state, and there was mention of how "You're from the cheap side of the family". I prefer to believe that my lifestyle and money management behaviors are frugal, rather than cheap. Sure we live in an older home, but everything works as designed and besides it'll be paid for in three years, less time than a car loan. We travel more than anyone else in our families, and have more toys like motorcycles, a boat, swimming pool, tractor, trailers, power tools, hot tub, nice bicycles, and cars than most. All of these things are paid for too. To me, Frugal is getting the most for your money, Cheap is being frugal at the expense of others.  Using this definition, we are not cheap.
Recently on our trip up North, we asked our families if they could host a party for everyone to get together in one place rather than us making individual plans to see everyone. We sent envelopes of coupons and a check to cover BBQ expenses, and even paid for more stuff when we found out several more people would be attending. We left a thank you cards with more cash to cover the incidental expenses and hassle of having us stay and drink their coffee, break their furniture and mess up the place. We did not want the hosts to feel like we were cheap, and expected them to cover the costs of our visit. When we visit family, we rent our own car rather than borrowing one from someone, which we could - but that's cheap in my opinion. We wouldn't dream of staying at someones house and not offering or insisting on compensating them for the trouble. We also appreciate our neighbor watching our pet and home while we were away and give a generous gift card to let her know. To not do this is cheap.
We know people who stay at others houses and just because they are family, its okay to not offer up any thank you gift or cash. We also know people who travel and expect to be picked up at the airport by their friends or family, chauffered around town and delivered back - just because they are too cheap to rent a car.
It's cheap to eat at someone's house without providing for a part of the meal. Its cheap to drink all your hosts beverages without chipping in, or bringing your own.
It's cheap to eat at a restaurant and leave too small of a tip because you don't have change, even though the service was fine. It's cheap to bring your own lunch to work and use someone else's salad dressing or mayo, or worse yet to store your condiments or beverages in their small fridge so that they don't have room for all their stuff. Its cheap to go to a potluck lunch empty handed and yet eat all you want. Its cheap to split the bill at a restaurant when you ordered drinks and your friend ordered tap water to go with the meals. Get it? If saving your money doesn't cost anyone else their money - its frugal, not cheap.

Get your FREE wildlife calendar 2010

Free 2010 Calendar
Get on the list by September 15th and your free 2010 wildlife calendar will be in your hands in just a few weeks. Click the link above and use the secure email form (Your email and mailing information will be kept confidential and not shared) or give us call at (763) 253-0222, or fax us at (763) 560-9961. You can also write to us at: Wildlife Forever, 2700 Freeway Blvd #1000, Brooklyn Center MN 55430.
Hurry. You must be on the list by September 15th