Should Unemployment Benefits Be Extended?

The 2009 Stimulus packaged passed last year authorized up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits to those who have lost their jobs. Now almost 2 years later, some people are still unemployed, collecting at least $250/wk to stay out of work. That in my opinion is not a bad deal. These people have time to pursue new training, educating themselves for a different, more needed job, or to begin a business on their own. But do they want to do that? I'm not so sure.
 
Before you cast stones and say I'm being mean and I don't know what its like to be unemployed, you're wrong. I worked for fifteen years in the food industry and in the beginning of the decade I was laid off from 4 different jobs within 2 years. The companies eliminated my research and development position, or closed the facility to move operations to another state, or cut back on quality control since it was an expense. I was on unemployment briefly for a month before finding another position. But now I make 25% less money than I did in the food industry. But I have a job. Luckily its a stable job. But I certainly didn't take it for the money, or for the stimulation. I make the same amount of money now that I made just a few years out of college. But I know better than to quit in hopes of making more money, or getting more personal satisfaction from a job - its too risky for me. So I hang out in a terribly boring job.
 
I don't think Congress should extend the unemployment compensation past 26 weeks for people. There are jobs out there and they need staff. I have other part time jobs doing security for concerts and sporting events, and secret shops at restaurants. Its not much money, just over minimum wage - but I do it for the event, not the money. But my part time employers are contacting us weekly because they need more people to work.
 
Most people on unemployment don't want to lose their full benefits to work and only earn half as much. I can understand that. The government is demotivating people from working, when they can stay home and not work - but bring home more money.  So the incentive to not work needs to go away. Unemployment compensation needs to stop after a reasonable amount of time. I think 26 weeks is reasonable.
 
By the time Congress returns from its July 4 recess this week, more than 2.1 million unemployed people will have missed checks. The House passed a bill to reauthorize the benefits last week; a similar bill did not pass in the upper chamber due to a Republican filibuster. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that as soon as there is a replacement for the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), Democrats will have the 60 votes they need and the bill will pass. If Reid is correct, layoff victims will be paid retroactively for any missed checks. Without a reauthorization, 3.2 million long-term unemployed will have found themselves ineligible for extended benefits by the end of the month.
 
Maybe when the unemployment gravy runs out, people will get back to work.

Publix Sneak Peek 7/15-7/21

I was getting a new box of cereal off the stockpile shelf and noticed I'm getting a little low on supply, less than a dozen boxes. So, lucky for me I have some of the good peelies for GM cereals because they're going to be BOGO this coming week. For a complete listing with most of the coupon matchups, check out True Couponing.

That One Coupon...

You know how sometimes you're reading the store sales with the coupon match ups and think, I wish I had that one coupon. That happened to me this week since Publix finally has the 18 lb bag of Purina One Dog Food on sale. The salmon flavor is the only one my dog should eat because other brands and flavors irritate her skin allergies. Anyway, there was a single page flyer available in Publix last month for $3.50/1 and I never was able to locate a copy. I have a bunch of the $2/1 but that was almost half the value of the elusive $3.50 Q.
 
I looked every time I was at Publix, which is about 3 or 4 times a week, but never found the Purina flyer. I finally figured I needed to try to buy some. But it wasn't listed on any coupon clipper sites. I did see it for sale on ebay, but the price was too high and shipping killed the deal. Plus I needed it this week - I haven't had the quickest deals ever go through on ebay. So I started perusing the forums, like Slickdeals and Hot Coupon World for trades. But since I've never traded, I don't have much clout. I signed up on some blogs on the trader wall for ISO (in search of) coupon and no response.
 
So how did I get the coupon, you're wondering. Well, I PM'd one of the forum members who happened to make an entry about the seeing the Purina coupons. Sure enough, this person had nine copies of the coupon I needed, and she wasn't going to use them. We agreed on 10% cost (0.35 ea) and the cost of a stamp. I used paypal to pay her (use personal, gift check boxes to ensure no fees are added), and she mailed the coupons.
 
Sometimes, if you really need THAT ONE COUPON, try searching the forum for a keyword. Ask individuals if they have them. It works, but you need to think outside the box and be persistent. If you're frugal you're persistent anyway so that shouldn't be a problem.

Free Food But No Free Beer

For our daily exercise yesterday, we decided to take a lap around Busch Gardens. I happened to notice all sorts of people with the bright neon wristbands indicating they had purchased the Play All Day & Dine For Free offer. Since the takeover of Anheuser Busch last December by Merlin, there have not been many improvements and upgrades in the theme park. Granted they did have the spring concert series, but nothing special on July 4th this year - just fireworks.
 
Anyway, I find it ironic that they stopped serving free beer samples in January of 2009 and their attendance tanked. The former hospitality house has been empty most days, and no one dances to Dr. Dave or Andre as they play the piano by the bird gardens. But now they want to get more business since it has not been the same since. So if you're willing to shell out $74.99 for a full price ticket, they'll give you a $30 meal plan. The plan is actually pretty good, and if you can be frugal and "share" the food with your partner, its not a bad deal.
 
But Busch Gardens certainly doesn't act like they appreciate Florida residents at their park. Even people who don't spend hundreds of dollars when they visit, are good for making it seem like the place is crowded and a cool place to be. They take away the free beer, but now they give away free food. I've got to think the food deal costs them more than a few 10 oz beers.
 
By the way, if you haven't gone to the Summer Nights events, you're missing out on some good entertainment. Jeff Civilico the juggler, was there last year and now has shows on Fri, Sat & Sun only. Each of the three daily shows is different and funny. I like the 6:30 pm show where he gets male audience members to help him get up on his unicycle.
 
We haven't been to the Kinetix show yet, but were intrigued by the preview of three jugglers with glowing face paint and glow in the dark clubs. We're planning on seeing it this weekend.
 
Meanwhile, I'm waiting for the free beer.

Another 10 Strikeouts for the Rays!

They're updating the form HERE right now so you can get ANOTHER free pizza!. The Rays got 10 strikeouts again tonight against the Boston Red Socks. So, don't procrastinate - print your certificate now. You have through FRIDAY to bring in both certs for Tues & Wed games, to get 2 pizza coupons.
 
This is getting fun isn't it?

Go Rays! Get Your Free Pizza

Once again the Rays have 10 strikeouts. And we know what that means - Free Pizza! Go to http://www.kanesstrikeoutcontest.com/ and fill out the form and print TODAY. I suspect they'll get 10 strikeouts again either tonight or tomorrow, so hold onto your certificate and turn in a couple at once at your nearest http://www.kanes.com/ within 3 days of the game for a Free 10" cheese pizza at Papa Johns.
They beat the Boston Red Sox to advance to 2nd place in the standings, those pesky Yankees lead for now.

Free Workout Music Download

Subway and The Biggest Loser have come up with a pretty good workout mix of songs for you. I just downloaded them and then you have to unzip the file. Then just import the folder into itunes, and you can put it on your ipod!. It may seem like a few steps but it only just took a couple minutes. And the workout mix is great!. I am so tired of my same 200 songs on my ipod while biking to work, this will be a nice change.

1. Telephone Lady Gaga

2. In My Head Jason Derulo
3. Revolver Madonna
4. Empire State of Mind Jay Z Feat. Alicia Keys
5. Hard Rihanna
6. Bulletproof La Roux
7. Hey Soul Sister Train
8. Blah Blah Blah Ke$ha
9. According To You Orianthi
10. Whataya Want From Me Adam Lambert
11. Russian Roulette Rihanna
12. Need You Now Lady Antebellum

So go ahead and download from HERE, you'll love it.

Publix Sneak Peek 7/8-7/14

Not a lot of interesting stuff this week for me, lots of it junk food. Maybe the Yoplait Yoplus 4pk of yogurt BOGO $2.50, or the Simply Potatoes BOGO $2.50, and the Natures Own Bread 20oz is BOGO $2.75, but use the $0.75/1 MQ from 05-16 RP to make it $1.25 for two loaves of bread. But you'll have to head over to TC to see the listing of Publix Sneak Peek BOGO's.
Don't forget to clip the $5 off $40 Sweetbay coupon that was on page 6A of the Saturday paper to use as a competitor coupon at Publix this week. You can print it HERE. Expires 7/9/10.

Happy 4th of July

Hope you all have a great 4th of July!
 
I woke up this morning to NOT find my Tampa Tribune on my driveway. I had stopped all my extra copies except for one. But they always screw up the paper on these holiday weekends. The stupid carrier sees the suspension on her list and just rolls on by my house. My DH is on the phone now a few minutes before the circulation office closes and it looks like we won't get a paper. No wonder the circulation of newspapers is down.

Home Depot Haggling

Home Depot Movers
 
I've been wanting to get a shade canopy for when we go to NASCAR races and tailgate, but I could never find a cheap one on Craigslist. To me the thing is just not worth $100. Well, with the weekend 4th of July parade coming up Saturday, I decided it was time to indulge in a canopy to watch the parade in the shade. So we trudged down to Home Depot with my new wallet (since mine was stolen on Sunday) full of gift cards, store credit and a couple $10 off $50 competitor coupons. The coupons clearly state they can not be combined, but I planned to ask anyway, since we were going to spend $100.
 
So we ask around, and finally a smart dude who works there directed us to the back shelves of the garden center to find the canopy. So we're looking and looking and finally spotted this grungy, ripped open, worn out box on the second shelf with a canopy. The box was in such bad shape, I told DH that we should open it up and make sure the canopy wasn't damaged. The way that box looked, it had been tossed around back there for a long time. Anyway, the canopy looked good - the feet were new and not scuffed, the canvas was still in its factory sealed plastic bag and the wheeled carrying bag was too. So, I tell DH my plan to ask for a discount based on the fact that it was the last one and the box was damaged. He said fine, I'm staying out of it.
 
We're at the counter with a young man and I asked if I could use both coupons because my item was more than the value the coupons required. He read the back and said no. I politely asked him to get a manager to get approval. When Mary the Manager came over, I explained how I would like to ask for a discount for the item due to the damaged box. I proposed that she allow me to use both coupons toward the item, and she thought about it 2 seconds and said "That's Fine". She instructed the cashier on how to enter it as a "customer satisfaction" code and they took $20 off my total. That was it, simple and quick.
 
After my haggling, coupons, gift cards and store credit, the canopy was $39 - right in my price range.
 
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