Sticky Situation – Family Safety

Summer is Here! Vacations, day tips and fun travels are quickly approaching. Keep your family safe with important vehicle safety:

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This is a sponsored post for which I was compensated, all opinions are 100% mine.

Counterfeit Coupons

Counterfeit CouponsI know about coupons. You probably do too.  You cut them out, buy the product,  and hand them to the cashier to save money on your food and other purchases.  Is there more to know?

Yes, I think you should be aware that there are counterfeit coupons in circulation.  People who do not know they have a counterfeit coupon become guilty of coupon fraud when they try to use it…. and to me, that’s simply not fair.  I never know definitively if the coupon I printed or any other coupon I possess  is counterfeit.  There is no 100% sure way to tell.   All the advice I have seen to avoid coupon fraud says, “Don’t buy coupons from anyone.”  I have never purchased coupons from anyone, does this mean I am safe?  — no.  Because if I search the internet for a coupon, and the site looks legitimate, and the coupon looks like every other coupon I see distributed on the internet….it could still be counterfeit but how would I ever know?

Counterfeit Coupons

 The Internet has become the most cost effective way to distribute coupons.  This method saves money by not having to design, print, and hire a firm to place their coupons in local newspapers.  But, where there is money to be made, it’s just a matter of time before someone figures out how to get around the system.  Coupons are counterfeited with the express purpose of either selling them to unsuspecting victims and to “steal” products from the stores.  Getting away with it, is as easy as bringing in a printed piece of paper…or putting up an online auction ~  how easy can it get?

Counterfeit Coupons

The caveat is that  not all stores will accept internet coupons, and still others limit their use.  Why?  The ease in being able to “photocopy” and counterfeit internet coupons of course.  I don’t have a problem with limitations in theory –  although when merchants won’t accept them, that defeats the entire purpose of having a coupon.  When I buy the exact item listed on the coupon, I don’t just have “high expectations” the coupon will be accepted, I feel it should be accepted.

Looking at the list of “known” counterfeit coupons ( find it here:  most aren’t free coupons, but instead are a cents off coupon, or a buy one get one free coupon — why?  The counterfeit coupons people circulate aren’t always for a free product.  You would think they would be.  And did you notice I said circulate?  For some reason,  the people who counterfeit them, also like to share them (sometimes freely, sometimes for a fee).  And, I really don’t get it, they risk jail time, a huge fine, and their reputation in addition to the embarrassment for a discount off a purchase?

Many people have written articles lately to scare legitimate users — telling them they will be guilty of coupon fraud as well as ….”this, that, or the other thing” if they print and use them.   However, that annoys me because none of that is even close to fair to the normal user of these coupons.  If a person prints 1000 of them, and then goes to use them or sell them — that is one thing,  if another person uses one they printed when that user shared them — I don’t believe there is one shred of guilt there.  Whatever happened to common sense?  Thousands of manufacturers have chosen this method to distribute their coupons, and it saves them considerable amounts of money and works to encourage customers to try their products.   Will coupon fraud end that?

Counterfeit Coupons

The most help provided as a way to avoid coupon fraud for the average person is “don’t buy coupons”.  So  why are there still so many sellers of them on eBay?  Why hasn’t eBay shut the category?  If the CIC (link above) and the other law enforcement agencies truly believed this was the foremost way most counterfeit coupons get into circulation, why haven’t they shut the venue/category down.  My check of eBay today had 68,483 listings in coupons.

And then what do you do when even the legitimate coupons are rejected at the store level?  To an honest consumer, this is one of the biggest hassles you can encounter.  You feel like you’ve done something wrong when you haven’t — you feel accused and found guilty.  You are embarrassed for no reason.  In my opinion, and everything I write is 100% my opinion, there is no reason for a store, cashier or policy to do this to anyone.  If it happens to you, my advice is to just pick up your remaining coupons and leave.

UPDATE:  Ever hear of the universal consciousness?  My sister talks about it all the time ~ and just a few days after writing this article  – they arrested several woman who they allege were running  the largest counterfeit coupon ring in AZ!  This wasn’t ‘thousands’ of dollars, it looks like it might have be ‘millions’ of dollars.  More info, if you are interested here:  Counterfeit Coupon Ring Busted




68th Anniversay of The G.I. Bill

Today June 22, 2012 marks the 68th anniversary of the signing of the G.I. Bill of Rights, or technically the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944.   Originally meant only for those who served in times of war, it was adjusted in 1966 to extend benefits to those who serve in times of war or peace.  Since that time there have been other changes but the original intent to help those who serve in our military remains intact.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt made many reforms during his administration, but this one piece of legislation has lasting benefits for anyone who serves this country in our armed forces.

The bill was meant to not only help servicemen and women but also to avoid a relapse into another depression after the end of World War II.   The American Legion, a veteran’s organization was instrumental in forming many of the provisions of the bill.  Truth is, they fought hard to get access to funding for benefits like education, low-interest home and business loans, and the unemployment compensation package included in the bill.

The implementation of the bill opened doors, and helped veterans cope when returning to the US from World War II.  Even today, it still provides aid and help to them and their families in ways that might never have been possible without this bill.

In my opinion the best benefit of the G.I. Bill is the educational one.  I believe that this could be the one which can be the most life transforming.  Before World War II, college was an option for only about 10-15% of Americans but by 1947 veterans made up nearly half of the nation’s college enrollment.  When you have an education (formal or informal), at any cost, you move yourself up to another level.  Your ability to get a job, keep a job, make a living wage and succeed in whatever you chose increase.

The G.I. Bill was one of the major forces that fueled expansion in the U.S. lasting over 30 years.  The impact on America in 50+ years has been enormous.  Over 20 million veterans have taken advantage of the provisions for education, and a whopping 14 million homes were able to be purchased through it’s loans guarantees.

The newest revision of the bill  (signed in 2009) extended benefits to veterans of the war on terrorism, post 9/11, including those who served in Afghanistan and Iraq and their families, reservists and National Guard members.



Food Stamps

SNAP or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is known in New Jersey as the Food Stamp Program.  Food Stamps were always meant to be a safety net to those who’s income isn’t quite enough to pay for this necessary and vital expenditure.   However, some of the richest counties in this country are showing marked increases in applications for this benefit.

Just today I read about Morris County, NJ (where I grew up) and it’s increase in Food Stamp or SNAP recipients.  Morris County was the 8th. richest county in 2009 with a median household income of $96,000.  By 2012 with $91,000 as the median household income, it had dropped to 10th.  You might not think that’s much of a drop, but it was enough to triple the amount of food stamp recipients.  A worker at the Dept. of Human Services Office of Temporary Assistance said that their caseloads have increased 240% since the recession began and in all the years she has worked there (27) this is the worst she has ever seen it.

A substantial number of those who receive SNAP assistance never thought they would have to even think about putting themselves in that position. “It’s not that I want to take government help, I simply have no choice,”  is said over and over as the lines and the rolls for these and other government benefits swell.   But even now, as unemployment rises due to the unwavering recession, more people in rich counties are asking for this help.

But because I am a saver, a planner, and a believer in always living below your means, I think maybe a substantial number of these “rich” people put themselves in that position.  Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against my tax dollars being used to supplement someone’s need for food or any assistance for that matter.  But it’s annoying to  me that some of these people never used common sense with their finances before this whole recession hit. 

Common sense with your finances is imperative, for everyone ~ all the time, and not just in times of crisis.  If the information in this article is to be believed,  the  breadwinner in this family,  had a 6 figure income ($130,000), and 20 years at a major company before losing his job.  And that makes me think, if you lived under  your means for those twenty years, could you have saved enough to make it through this financial fiasco we refer to as a recession?   Even if you didn’t, this particular  family in the article stopped paying their mortgage in 2009 (that would have been approximately one year after losing his job) and he “blew through” his 401K.  Where’s the planning in that? 

I don’t begrudge the man the $250 dollars a month New Jersey will give him because he needs the assistance, but I do believe this family needs financial planning help.  There are hundreds of ways to cut your  expenses and stretch your dollars, but believe me, if you never had to do it, it’s  harder than if it becomes a way of life.  I sure hope this family started planning a little better now that he’s gotten himself and his family down to the poverty line because getting back to that 6 figure income may never materialize.

All opinions in this post are 100% mine and have not been influenced by anyone.


Dr. Scholl’s® Massaging Gel® Insoles

Do you always believe the reviews you read? Should all reviews be honestly written? I believe they should!

Today this review is for Dr. Scholl’s® Gel® Insoles. I received the pair I am currently wearing as part of a BZZagent program. However that has no effect on this review.  All opinions are 100%  mine.

I have used insoles in the past.  Some of those were made by Dr. Scholl’s®, but they weren’t the only brand I have tried.   I probably tried every brand sold because I was trying desperately to stop my feet from being achy every evening.  But, for some reason, I never really felt compelled to try the gel insoles.  My reasons were the price, and I thought they would be squishy and my foot would not feel stable in my sneakers.   In other words, I’d wobble.  If you know me and are picturing that… no laughing, wobbling is no laughing matter!   The good news is I am in week two of wearing this complimentary pair and guess what… no wobble and I love them!

These particular ones, the massaging gel insoles are working for me and my achy feet.  For now the memory of those tired feet is fading into the past and I really do have Dr. Scholl’s ® Massaging Gel®  Insoles to thank.  From now on, they are the insole I will be using.  Thank you Dr. Scholl’s ® for this opportunity as I am pretty sure I never would have tried these without the BZZAgent program.