Monday, February 28, 2011

Low Income Tax Help

More and more individuals are finding themselves having to make do with less. I am no exception. Before making a purchase, they scrutinize whether or not they truly need an item. Not just luxury purchases like chocolate, but mainstays like rice, vegetables or toilet paper. Is the product a good value for their money? Do they already have a bag of rice at home or a few rolls of toilet paper?

These should not be decisions we should have to ponder, yet many are faced with these choices everyday. Some families have to endure more than just food selection. They must decide if they should purchase much needed medication or pay the water or electric bill. With rising gasoline costs, they must now choose fuel for their automobile or fuel for their stomachs. It's a catch 22.

When almost everything has increased there is still a value for those in need for filing income taxes - The Accounting Aid Society.

The Accounting Aid Society is a metro Detroit non-profit that assists low-income residents file federal and state income taxes for free. That's right, free. If you make over $25,000 you cannot qualify for this service performed by trained volunteers. Volunteers that bring their CPA expertise, finance and other background credentials together to help people get optimum refund at no cost.

The beneficiary's are usually living paycheck to paycheck. The refund they receive is mostly used to buy essentials like food, rent, or gasoline - not a high definition television or vacation in Aruba or iPhone. They need the refund to survive. These are proud people, working or retired just squeaking by in this economy.

Consider some of the stories of people I have helped as a volunteer. A young couple with two children, one of which is permanently disabled, facing foreclosure. The husband can only get part-time work and is desperate to find a job with benefits to help his family. The only clothing they get is free from the church. The wife developed cancer and needed surgery.

An older husband and wife came to my table and told me of how they were a single family household. When their son lost his job, he and his family moved back with the parents. Then, another child lost their job and moved back home with their spouse. The parents should be enjoying retirement. Instead, they help provide for two families. All the adults in the household work just to meet the mortgage payments and other bills.

Michigan's Governor Snyder touted about balancing the state's budget and cutting much needed funding to energize the economy and create jobs. What do people do until these jobs emerge? How do they survive?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Who Owns Trader Joe's

I found an article yesterday on Yahoo's "Shine" page that had some interesting information on Trader Joe's grocery stores/food emporium's. Did you know that the same family in Germany that owns Aldi Markets also owns Trader Joe's. They have since 1979. The article mentioned what food were good deals at Trader Joe's. Turns out that only some of the pre-made, ready-to-eat foods, bulk items like rice and flaxseed, as well as certain meats were reasons to shop at this market. I know that some of the wine is reasonably priced. The article further said the produce, gourmet foods, sweets, cheeses and boxed items like Amy's are over-priced and can be purchased at other major grocery stores for much less.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

One of My Favorite Necklaces

This multi-strand turquoise necklace is one of my go-to necklaces. When I don't know what will work well with an outfit, I wear this necklace. It adds vitality and warmth to black clothes, shine to beige ensembles and sparkle to vibrant colored threads. So versatile.

And I have my friend Stacy to thank for making this lovely creation. She made the piece a few years ago and it has become a wardrobe staple. It sits just below my collarbone and is the perfect length. Take a look at more of her work at her Etsy shop. (Love, love, love all her earrings.) Right now, she's having a sale - even better! Her jewelry would make a fabulous Valentine's Day gift.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Crocheted Child's Hat

When I am stuck in bed with a cold or the flu, I start a crochet project. This little hat took me seven days to complete. It should have taken a day, but being under the weather I did the ski hat in tiny bits and pieces. The front view of the hat shows a more true-to-life representation of the yarn colors.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Don't Lie to Me - Be Honest

I have been under the weather lately fighting the same cold/flu that everyone seems to have. As a result, I have watched more television programs.

One of the recurring phrases I hear on talk shows, sitcoms or even the news is, "don't lie to me", or "be honest." At first I didn't pay much attention to these words then I realized that the hosts, characters or news people must encounter a lot of people that are dishonest and tell falsehoods. So much so that they feel by demanding someone, "be honest" that the person will actually tell the truth.

Now really. How naive' is that?

Or do television producers and politicians believe they have the power to make individuals give them factual information by just uttering these words.

Now, tell the truth.