Christmas is just around the corner

And if you are anything like me you’ve waited until the last minute to do your shopping. Now I’ve also decide to do all of my shopping online when possible.  That saves me the aggravation of dealing with the shopping crowds, trying to find a parking spot that isn’t a major trek to get to the store’s front door, and trying to search the aisles for items, and finally not having to wait in the checkout lines.  Christmas can be stressful as it is, no point in adding to the stress.

I have a couple of favorite places online that I like to shop.  One of them is Amazon and the other is Best Buys.  I like Best Buys because they also have a brick and mortar location for those last minute items.  You may need to hurry because some online retailers have deadline dates that you have to have placed your orders by in order to make delivery before Christmas.  Amazon is great for purchasing books, movies, and music, but they also are now selling many other items.

On final note,  as with earning extra money when shopping always be on the lookout for shopping scams.  If something seems to be too good to be true…it probably is.

Check out some of the other deals I came across on the Web:

That’s about it for now.  If I come across any other items and deals I will make sure that I post them here.

Looking for extra money for the holidays? Beware of Scams

The holidays are upon us and many of us are looking to make a few extra bucks to have for the holidays.  But it’s tough to locate a job that you can do without interfering with your steady, full-time job.  So, you turn to Craigslist.  Now, I’m not saying that Craigslist is full of scammers but the odds are better than even that if the scammers are out there you will find them on Craigslist.  You can find legitimate positions that do pay you but you have to be on the lookout for the barracudas.  I came across a couple of them myself.  Most times when they reply and it comes off as a scam I just trash the e-mail.  I don’t see any point in reporting anything to Craigslist because their management has a hands-off approach whenit comes to their website.  They prefer to pass all of that responsibility onto their User Community, which each user has their own personal agenda/bias when it comes to policing Craigslist.  They receive no training or instructions and their attitude is that they are God-like and beyond reproach.  You would need to threaten legal action in order for Craigslist management to get involved, as did a few local law enforcement agencies in the country when they wanted Craigslist to take a more active approach to monitor pedophile activity/ads on Craigslist.  But that a topic for another time, I digress.

I came across 2 ads that, on the surface, seemed to be legit.

  1. The ad stated that they had 2 positions open to help with shipping and receiving activity. Hmm, why would scammers limit the number of people they are looking for? Again, the ad reads like the work would be local. Yes, it is local…from your home. When you reply asking for more details you get an e-mail telling you how their business has grown and that they need help in handling their customers’ orders. That the job entails receiving packages, combining them by final destination, shipping them, collecting payments and then forward the net amount (net amount being the full payment less your “commission”) to an address that they will give you. And guess how the payments are to be made? Yep, wire transfer. The one things that is a sure sign of a scam/con…wire transfer. They will always give you reasons why they cannot collect payments directly – payment gateways have not been set up in their country, there is restrictive limit in regards to payments through Internet payment companies (i.e.PayPal). And payments via wire transfer are ALWAYS a RED FLAG.
  2. The second one I came across was another one that started out as a legitimate position and had all indications that it was local. The position was a warehouse loader/unloader. The ad made it sound as if the person offering the position needed someone to be available to be at the warehouse for cases where the hirer was not available and was required to be elsewhere. Well, within about 4 e-mail exchanges the position went from a warehouse loader/unloader, to personal assistant/warehouse manager (that sounded like you were to represent the hirer when he wasn’t there and to run some errands for them), to finally being a money forwarder. The last e-mail I received from this scammer detailed how he would send me a check for $1880, that I would deduct $400 plus $50 bonus and take the balance it and wire (there’s that wire transfer again) it to an name and location he gave me. Well, I did receive a USPS Express Mail envelope with a check for $1880 in it. The only problem is that he (BTW, his name is John Rush and uses the e-mail address made 2 mistakes, at least, but 2 nonetheless:
    1. He wasn’t dealing with a brain-dead person.       Wire transfers are ALWAYS a red flag.
    2. He used the United States Postal Service to deliver his check (which was probably not legitimate).

The check and all relevant information is now in the hands of the local police department.

I can’t stress this enough,  Not all ads on Craigslist are scams but you need to know what to look for regarding red flags.  Proceed cautiously in dealing when dealing with anyone placing ads there.  If you’re looking for extra income and they are not willing to give you a specific location and name of the business or contact phone number, these are major reasons to stop and rethink the whole situation.  And if there is any wire transfers pertaining to payment involved…definitely a scam.

But always be on the lookout for scams, especially Work-At-Home Scams.


A money saving haven 

If you are like me and not some brand elitist then you look for items that meet your basic needs.  What do I mean by brand elitist?  I don’t mean it in any derogatory manner.  Brand elitists are also referred to as brand loyalists by many manufacturers. Essentially, brand elitists/loyalists will stick with a product brand regardless of the price or value.  But this blog entry is not directed toward them but to those people who work hard for their money and want to make sure they get their values worth and are able to stretch a dollar.

Some years ago I came across a store that sold items at an extremely low cost.   That store was Dollar Tree Stores.  I’ve been to many other similar stores but this one seems to be the best of the best.  Not to take anything away from stores like Dollar General, Family Dollar, etc., but those really don’t sell the majority of their goods at a $1.  The Dollar Tree Stores do.  For $5 per week I can buy lunch for each day of the week.  As an example, you can buy a packet of 8 hot dogs (why do the hot dog makers packet them in 8’s?  I don’t know) for $1 and if you add a package of hot dog rolls for another $1, you can have 1 hot dog once a day.  That comes out to about $0.25/per day.  If you want to add condiments then you have a one time purchase of $1 for either ketchup or mustard.  Now the hot dog rolls brands are not nationally known brands such as Arnold’s, Pepperidge Farms, or Wonder Bread but they are safe, tasty, and nutritious.  The hot dogs aren’t Oscar Meyers or Ballpark but brands as Bar-S.  Bar-S is not a slouch name.  I use to work for a food wholesaler and I remember that the wholesaler stocked quite a few items from Bar-S, including hot dogs.

Can you save money on all things at The Dollar Tree Store?  No, but you can if you just compare national brands but not always with store brands.  Let’s take peanut butter as an example.  At the Dollar Tree Store you can buy an 8 oz. jar of creamy peanut butter (I’ve not seen them offer the crunchy style) for $1.  Now, I don’t remember the price of 8 oz jars at my local Shop Rite but I do remember the price of 16 oz jars; the one national brand, JIF, sells for almost $3 for a 16 oz jar and the Shop Rite brand sells for just under $2 for a 16 oz jar.  To make an even comparison, you’d have to buy 2 jars of DTS items for $2.  This makes the DTS item cheaper than JIF but the Shop Rite brand is a better buy.

Another item I like to buy at DTS is the knotted rawhide bones for our pet dog, Bella.  It isn’t only the price that is of concern to me but the amount being offered.  I can buy one at DTS for $1 but when I go to Shop Rite in the Pet Section I may have to pay almost $9 for a packet of 6.  I saw prices of about $6.99 to $7.99 for a pack of 3 knotted rawhide bones at Petsmart, this comes out to about $2 to $3 per.  Of course, Shop Rite carries Hartz brand and Petsmart carries most national brands.  But Bella doesn’t care…she just wants something to chew.

Lastly, food storage containers.  You know those plastic containers with lids.  These are the ones that are sold at local groceries stores for about $4 per pack of 3.  At TDS you can get a packet of 3 for $1.  I bought 3 packs (a total of 9) of the medium sized and 2 packs (a total of 6) of the small sized ones.  They’re in perfectly fine condition even though they’ve been through the dishwasher numerous times. No distortion or melting.  Good value for the money spent.  And I like them better than plastic wrap or aluminum foil because they are reusable a number of times and survive the dishwasher.  With the lids leftovers stay fresh for a while.



Welcome to My World

-Welcome to the new & improved blog, Life In The Trenches.  On here I will be detailing things from everyday life, such as, recommendations of things that I have come across and the panning of those that I have found to be waste of time and money.  I will occasionally post some rants about things that I find annoying and raves about things that I get excited about.  I do have a political blog at the Thinking Progressive so I will keep politics, religion, and other controversial issues to a minimum on here.  I also author a couple of other blogs: My Family Research, which I use to detail my experience in researching my family history and post interesting/relevant information.  Then there is Digging Around Winslow Township which satisfies my interest in local history; my near term plans are to expand this deal with the history of New Jersey (so, yes, this site needs extensive work).  Other than that, enjoy my current endeavor and if you wish to comment, please feel free to register and post your thoughts.  However, I must say that I will be moderating all comments and determining if they get included or not.  Sorry, my blog…my rules.