As blogging became more mainsteam — first in 2000 with Blogger, then after 2001 with all the political blogs that arose from seemingly nowhere — new business models developed. On one front, bloggers have convinced the corporate world that blogs should be an integral part of a company’s marketing and public relations plan. It’s a great way to reach the customers, etc. This way, individuals who enjoy online journaling have found a way to to make themselves marketable to companies.
Warning, this is a long one.
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As I checked my bank account balance this morning, I noticed something I wasn’t expecting: a tax refund from the New Jersey 2004 FAIR Tenant Rebate Program is scheduled to be deposited on August 1.
Even though I don’t directly pay property taxes, I pay them indirectly through a portion of my rent. Here are the qualifications for receiving the 2004 rebate (for tenants), for which it is too late to apply for those who are required to submit a tax return. However, I assume there will be a similar program in 2005 and the requirements will be the same.
* You rented and occupied a dwelling in New Jersey that was your principal residence on October 1, 2004
* Your principal residence is subject to local property taxes, and property taxes are paid on that residence through rent
* Your principal residence is a full living unit with its own separate kitchen and bathroom
* Your gross income for 2004 was $100,000 or less.
If any of the following are true, then you are not eligible:
* Tenants living in dwellings owned by the State, County, Municipal, or Federal Government.
* Students living in on-campus apartments at State colleges and universities.
* Tenants living in dwellings owned by a religious, charitable, or other nonprofit organization (including on-campus apartments at private, nonprofit colleges and universities), if the property is exempt from property taxes.
* Tenants living in dwellings on which P.I.L.O.T. (Payments-in-Lieu-of-Tax) payments are made to the municipality. These payments are not considered property taxes for purposes of the FAIR rebate.
A similar rebate exists for homeowners and the qualification requirements are different.
Although it’s “only” $75 for me this year, every little bit helps.
If you like free music, and who doesn’t, and Gap jeans, then you might be exicted about this deal. Gap is running a promotion where those who simply try on a pair of one of its new styles will receive a free song from iTunes. I’ve never used iTunes to purchase music, but a song is likely about $0.99, right? Hardly worth a trip to the mall, but I suppose if you’re there anyway, it won’t hurt.
Over the last couple of months, I’ve been running a sort of experiment. My job is designed such that I end up working a fair amount of overtime. To go into the details, I work a 37.5 hour week, salaried. If I work an extra 2.5 hours in one week, I get paid my equivalent hourly rate for those hours. Any time over 40 hours I work brings me my salary times one and a half.
When I get paid every two weeks, I have been transferring out the amount over what my net income would be for a pay period without overtime. This “extra” money has been going into an Emigrant Direct account (where it earns a decent amount of interest for a savings account). The “experiment” is to see how much I rely on overtime for my regular expenses.
The experiment has shown me that I’m relying on my overtime pay too much. I’ve dipped into my savings at ING Direct (with a less favorable interest rate) in order to cover all expenses for the month, even though there hasn’t been anything out of the ordinary.
I’ve learned I have to be more diligent about cutting expenses and saving money. I’ll be keeping myself on a strict budget during the vacation next month. I haven’t been good about bringing in my lunch to the office. That should change.
My goal is for my overtime pay to be “extra” so I can put it aside for something special. I may not always have the opportunity to work overtime, so I don’t want to be required to rely on that income.