Paid Surveys

Pinecone Research Get Paid For Survey Participation

Pinecone Research paid surveys – This is legitimate and one of the best paid survey companies.

You get paid a flat $3 for each survey you do. The surveys only take 5 – 10 minutes. There is no minimum for payout. They will send you the first $3 via check in the mail then after that you can request a virtual visa card or choose among a wide variety of gift cards or merchandise. I prefer to get the virtual Visa cards because you can use that like cash.

Whenever you complete a survey $3.00 will be added to your account. You may “cash out” at anytime and get your Visa or gift card via email.

I have included a copy of the first check they sent. $3 is not a lot by itself but it only took 5 minutes of answering questions about grocery items to get it and I have gotten numerous more $3 credits since I got the check.

So it is not a fortune, not get rich quick but it is 100% real


Click the image to go straight to Pinecone’s website to sign up

Or use this QR code: 

Why Would A Company Want To Pay Me For Doing Surveys?

Companies compete in the marketplace to sell their products and services. To be successful marketers need to know and understand what consumers think. They can gain a better understanding of the market with the help of people like you who share their opinions. This, in turn, helps them to make more sales. For this service they are willing to pay you well for your time.

Major, well known, companies contract with various paid survey companies for their opinion polls and consumer research. The survey companies then send invitations via email to their registered members. Any member may at that time decide to do or ignore the survey. You only need do the ones you want, you are not obligated to do them all. However, keep in mind that the more of them you complete the more money you will earn.

Paid surveys are a very easy “earn at your own pace” type opportunity.

Making money in your spare time at home is easy with paid surveys. Simply complete online survey forms with your thoughts and opinions about everything from pets and family, to groceries and cosmetics and from insurance and medicine to restaurants and movies and just about anything in between.

Students, work-at-home parents or those just needing to find a source of some extra income have often found the right mix between time, effort and money by utilizing a number of the Paid Survey sites that can be found online.

Marketing Research requires input and ideas to know if their new product or idea would be appealing or if it needs to be taken back and reworked into a more marketable form. In order to acquire this knowledge the company will pay a large sum to collect the thoughts and opinions of a large randomly selected cross-section of the population. With the rise of the Internet, this task has become much simpler and more effective.

Once they have developed a questionnaire to gather the opinions and ideas they will contact one of the established online survey sites to present it to their members for completion. The company then pays the survey site and they in turn will disburse a set amount to each individual that completes the survey for them.

Join Pinecone Now


Life and Money

Free Samples Coupons and Coupon Codes

Do you want real, free samples? Real, free samples can be difficult to find if you are searching the Internet. There really is a lot of junk that you have to wade through before you can find actual free samples. Most people give up thinking that it is too difficult or worse they come away with the feeling that there is no such thing as free samples.

Fortunately, you found this website and this page and an awesome source not only for free samples but also for coupons and coupon codes!

Free Samples, Coupons and Coupon Codes

free samplesWith each new shopping trip, it seems it costs more and more to provide your family with the products they need. And, there’s probably little hope of things getting better any time soon. While you can’t do much about the price of your favorite products, you can make sure that you don’t always have to pay full price by taking advantage of freebies and manufacturers coupons.

Free Samples Here!
Free Samples Here!

Freeflys is a website that can not only help you save money on the items you use all the time, it can also help you find free samples. Freeflys itself does not offer any coupons or free samples, the do however supply you with an updated list of links to companies providing promotional offers. The site is very easy to navigate and you can find free samples and savings on everything from food and cosmetics to health and cleaning products.

The site does require registration for access to the offers, but it’s totally free and requires only basic information like name, address and email. You will also need to install a “Coupon Printer”. It’s a quick installation that will print coupons that can be scanned at the store. It’s spyware free and you can uninstall it at any time.

Another Great Source For Free Samples And Other Goodies is the Mommy Page!

All of the offers available on the site are categorized so that it’s easy to find the products you use. At the top of the page you’ll find tabs for “Samples” and “Coupons”.

Clicking on the samples tab will take you to a page with a list of categories. You simply choose the category you want to browse, click on a product offer you want to try and you’ll be given a link to the companies website where you can sign up for your free sample.

When you sign-up for your free sample you will need to register with each company. Again, only basic information is needed like you name and an address where you’d like your free products sent. Neither Freeflys, or these companies will ask for any credit card information. Also listed under the “Samples” tab you’ll find numerous listings where you can enter daily to win name brand products like Maybelline, Vaseline and Estee Lauder.

Sign up for Pillsbury’s FREE emails to receive up to $250 in yearly coupons, access to free product samples (quantities limited, one per member) and the easiest recipes sent right to your inbox.

Clicking on the “Coupons” tab will take you directly to a long list of available coupons for food, household, personal care, baby and other items. You can choose to browse through all of the coupons, or choose a category for a specific type of product. When you find a coupon you want, you simply click on it to “clip it”. After you’ve chosen all of the coupons you want just click print.

To save you even more money, you’ll also find a “Coupon Codes” tab where you can find discounts at hundreds of different stores on thousands of products. Categories include apparel and shoes, auto and travel, electronics, financial services, toys, pets and many more products. Freeflys is a great way to save money on the products you use everyday!

About the Author:

Connie Corder
Connie Corder

“With each new shopping trip, it seems it costs more and more to provide your family with the products they need.

And, there’s probably little hope of things getting better any time soon.

While you can’t do much about the price of your favorite products, you can make sure that you don’t always have to pay full price by taking advantage of freebies and manufacturers coupons.”

Written by Connie Corder, Copyright All Rights Reserved


Life and Money

How To Use Rebates To Get More For Less

Rebates are an excellent way to save money! It’s not uncommon for a shopper to combine a coupon with a rebate and save a significant amount on their purchase. Often you can also get loyalty points (Kroger Points, etc). In fact shoppers often get products “Free After Rebate.”

How To Get Rebates!
How To Get Rebates!

When you are planning to make a purchase you should consider rebates and other way ways to save money. The goal isn’t to get a cheaper item. What we want is to get the best quality at the best price. Sometimes we buy toys. Other times we buy things we really don’t want to. You don’t want to buy a new water heater or a new air-conditioner, but sometimes you have to. On the other hand we love to buy new TVs, new computers and other toys. And lets not forget about food!

So many things we have to spend money on. But if you manage your spending and put time into planning you can expand your buying power tremendously.

Rebates are a great way to buy more for less. Usually you have to wait for the rebate but it’s almost like money in the bank. Some rebate processors pay monthly, other pay quarterly. Limits and details vary among sites so be sure to read through the FAQs to find out the most important information.

It doesn’t matter whether you are looking to buy a printer, computer, or television; or if you are interested in new clothing, furniture, and garden supplies.

When spending your money make the best decision
based upon the rebate values and price comparisons.

First check the ibotta app on your phone to find rebates on things you need. Next, check with an online rebates site like eBates or SavingStar to see what they are offering in terms of rebates at a particular store(s) where you plan to shop. Don’t make a decision yet. You are researching. Next, you can compare prices and availabilities among several stores.  Generally, you would be making your purchase online but this isn’t always the case.

Keep in mind that stores often offer the same items online at lower prices than what you might see locally. This is especially true with electronics and “big ticket” items.

Here is my own experience in purchasing a new printer:

After shopping around I decided on a printer from that was priced at $89.00. I was able to get a 4% rebate through eBates. All I had to do to get that was to login to my account and click their link to go to Not long after the purchase was complete the rebate showed up as a credit in my account.

eBates Rebate – $3.56
Online Price Difference – $7.00

Total Savings – $10.56 (Nearly 12%)

It really doesn’t matter if you are buying “big ticket” items or everyday household items and groceries. Taking advantage of rebates when you shop is just good wisdom!

Join eBates
Join eBates

For more information AND to get started right away check these:

eBates Earn Cash Back For Shopping. Save At Your Favorite Stores. Plus, Sign Up Now And Get A Free $10 Gift Card!


SavingStar is the smart and simple way to save.

Earn cash back on your groceries with exclusive freebies, healthy offers, and BIG savings on your favorite brands.

There’s nothing to clip or print. Link deals to your store loyalty cards or submit a picture of your receipt to earn money in your SavingStar account. Save 20% on a fruit or vegetable every week.

Get a free product every Friday-Sunday.

And, get new deals on your favorite brands every week. You can cash out to your bank account, PayPal, or to a gift card.

SavingStar now works at over 60,000 stores nationwide.

The service is free and easy to use, so join over 5 million members and start saving money today.Click here for SavingStar.

Everyone, please feel free to post below about your own experiences using rebates to save money!


Home Business

Mystery Shopping Career Advice

An entrepreneur will make sacrifices so that he/she can live a life like others will only dream of living. You can still enjoy some of the fine things in life. Freelance as a mystery shopper in your area. Many Fortune & Global 500 companies rely on the feedback from quality certified Mystery Shoppers to help improve their level of customer service. Mystery shoppers get an opportunity to enjoy being a customer at restaurants, retail stores, grocery stores, dealerships and financial institutions or a guest at a casino, hotel or resort.

Mystery Shopping Responsibilities

Mystery Shoppers are responsible for meeting deadlines, following detailed instructions and writing fact-based reports to provide our clients with actionable data. If they do not meet the requirements any expenses will not be reimbursed. Good Mystery Shop companies will offer training and evaluations to make sure the shopper is ready for his or her assignment.

There is no formal certification to be a Mystery Shopper. A Mystery Shopper must be 21 years of age or older; must have reliable transportation; must have good written communication skills; must be able to focus on details and must have full internet access.

It is best not to use a computer located in public facilities (i.e. libraries, computer labs) due to security settings in place to protect the identity of Mystery Shoppers. Another requirement is that you need to be able to upload photographs and receipts to a website.

Companies that hire Mystery Shoppers provide training and certification for their shoppers. A representative is assigned to each state to help Mystery Shoppers. The representative will also be responsible for evaluating each report. If the report does not meet the specification of the client company the report will be rejected. Your representative from the company will provide training on how to complete each company’s evaluation. Each assignment is different. It all depends on what the client company would like to evaluate.

There are impersonators that portray themselves as reputable Mystery Shop companies.

Be careful and please do not do any the following activities:

1. Cash or deposit a check as part of a mystery shopping assignment OR for any other service (such as child care, purchase of ANY product/service, etc.).

2. Transfer funds to an account as part of a mystery shopping assignment.

3. Respond to a letter via the mail telling you that you have been selected to participate in a paid consumer research program.

4. Meet with a representative in any area of the country to complete an assignment.

5. Pay for and complete on-site training to become a mystery shopper.

Mystery Shopping is a new adventurous freelance opportunity for me. I never knew jobs like this existed. My first assignment was for National Shopping Service. I ordered and took pictures of pizzas for a local pizza shop. Just recently I discovered a website called Shadow Shoppers. This website put me in contact with many more mystery shopping companies. Recently, I have done assignments for coffee shops, dealerships, banks and shoe stores. I am creating a list of all the mystery shop companies along with their compensation plan. This will keep me organized. It helps to know when and how you will be reimbursed for your expenses.

Many companies are looking to hire mystery shoppers. If you have any questions about a freelance opportunity please contact me. I am working on an article to publish more information about legitimate companies.

Article Source:

Home Business

Is Selling Avon Worth It?

The Real Profit Percentage

Avon recruits tons of women by advertising their 40 – 50 percent commission rate. While this is true in the portion of the sale sense, it is not the whole situation. Just to get to the 40% commission rate, you need to sell at least $425 worth of Avon products every campaign. Since the average person spends around $25 per order, you would need 17 customers every 2 weeks.

Example Scenarios

The examples are going to be on the generous side. I am not going to include gas costs since everyone gets a different gas mileage. I am also going to assume that you will be delivering all of your orders on your own. However, I can almost guarantee that if you are selling enough Avon products to make a decent profit, you are not going to be able to handle it all on your own. Keep that in mind as you look at the figures.

Casual Avon Representative Scenario

You order and hand out 20 brochures. You get 5 orders for an average of $25 each. This is a total order amount of $125. You deliver each order yourself in a delivery bag.

  • 20% Commission on order = $25.00
  • Processing Fees Collected = $3.75
  • One Simple Fee = ($7.95)
  • 10 Brochures = ($5.75)
  • Bags = ($0.63)

Total = $14.42

Small Business Avon Representative Scenario

You order and hand out 40 brochures. You get 10 orders for an average of $25 each. This is a total order amount of $250. You deliver each order yourself in a delivery bag.

  • 30% Commission on order = $75.00
  • Processing Fees Collected = $7.50
  • One Simple Fee = ($6.95)
  • 40 Brochures = ($12.10)
  • Bags = ($1.25)

Total = $62.20

Medium-Sized Business Avon Representative Scenario

You order and hand out 100 brochures. You get 25 orders for an average of $25 each. This is a total order amount of $625. You deliver each order yourself in a delivery bag.

  • 40% Commission on order = $250.00
  • Processing Fees Collected = $18.75
  • One Simple Fee = ($8.95)
  • 100 Brochures = ($19.00)
  • Bags = ($3.13)

Total = $237.67

Hardcore Business Avon Representative Scenario

You order and hand out 300 brochures. You get 75 orders for an average of $25 each. This is a total order amount of $1875. You deliver each order yourself in a delivery bag.

  • 50% Commission on order = $937.50
  • Processing Fees Collected = $56.25
  • One Simple Fee = ($10.95)
  • 300 Brochures = ($45.00)
  • Bags = ($9.38)

Total = $928.42

These numbers are all based on each campaign, which span a period of two weeks. Just to make $928.42, you are going to have to find at least 75 paying customers. Imagine doing this on your own every two weeks. Every customer is not going to order something from you every campaign.

Selling Avon is just like opening up your own store. The only difference is that you wont have a physical building as your storefront. There will still be costs of merchandise, employees, office supplies, etc. If you can’t think of selling Avon as a business, you are bound to lose money and fail in the long run.

Learn more about making money from home, saving money and managing money at

Article Source:

Life and Money

Honest Information About Consumer Scams

As technology increases, we find ourselves with the world at our fingertips.

So much of what used to require at least a trip to the post office can now be done from our home or office computers.

This certainly eliminates some of the stress that our day to day routines can bring, with paying bills, shopping, and even work projects done online – however there is a drawback to the information highway.

It also makes it easier for scammers and thieves to rip us off.

Unfortunately, thousands of people fall victim to consumer scams each year, and the ‘computer age’ has only brought an increase to the amount of people that are exposed to frauds.

It’s not just the new age of technology that is to blame though. Some of these scams have been around for years and even continue once the right information is made public. A lot of that has to do with the fact that too many people take what they are told at face value without really researching the facts. Very often the truth is out there to be found, but it isn’t going to be readily available. Sometimes it requires filing a Freedom of Information Act form to get the truth while other hoaxes can be found a bit more easily. Regardless of any work that has to be done, it is worth it to find out what you are buying before you buy it.

Some of the more common scams will be discussed along with ones that you may be assuming you have the right information about. You don’t have to become a victim of a rip-off or learn the hard way if you just stop and ask a couple of questions before assuming that something is true. Be an active consumer and keep a doubting eye on anything that is asking for you to spend your money.

Be Aware of Scams

The age of the Internet has brought us a lot of access to information – and it has also brought those whose motives are less than honest access to our information. Email phishing scams are on the rise and it is important to be aware of what links you are clicking on.

The most important piece of information that you can take away from this is to NOT click on any link from your email box. Hackers will send out mass emails that are then forwarded to others and once you click on the link, all of your data becomes open season for identity theft.

Never under any circumstances send private information that is asked through an email. Other email scams involve a well publicized news story with a dangerous link that will leak your information and put you at risk for identity theft.

Another scam for homeowners to be aware of are ones involving any kind of fly-by-night companies installing alarm systems door to door. Chances are, if they are selling the product in this fashion, they are not registered and letting someone like this into your home to take note of spots where the house is vulnerable to breaking in will often lead to a later burglary.

The same goes for any person you allow in your home for service or maintenance – make sure you have double checked all credentials and never buy into door to door repairs.

By far, one of the biggest consumer scams going target people’s compassion. False charities pop up all of the time counting on the fact that people will feel sorry for anyone who has experienced a disaster or tragedy.

There are organizations such as the Red Cross and Salvation Army that are equipped to handle charitable contributions and they can be contacted directly for donations rather than through someone ‘collecting’.

Also be aware that some of these scammers will offer investment opportunities in areas hit by natural disasters such as homes designed to withstand floods or earthquakes. Anything like this is a ploy to get your money and nothing more.

Misconceptions, False Advertising, And Fly By Night

There are many products that we buy every day that give an impression of being a higher quality product when in reality there is very little difference. Gasoline is such an example. People are often fooled into thinking that ‘premium’ gasoline is superior to ‘regular’ gasoline when the reality is – there is very little difference except premium is a slightly higher octane. All this means is that cars whose manuals suggest premium gasoline are higher performance cars whose engines may experience ‘knocking’ from using regular gasoline. This knocking, also known as ‘detonation’ is created when ignition occurs in the cylinders from the compression. This can cause regular gasoline to surge rather than burn slowly, which is the main reason premium is suggested with these types of cars.

Using premium in average cars simply takes away from your wallet and does nothing to improve the engine or keep it running longer.

Along the same subject, gas saving devices are also a consumer scam. These devices, which are built in a variety of different ways, are supposed to reduce the amount of fuel being used. After more than 100 were tested by the EPA, only a very few actually showed any signs of working or slightly reducing fuel consumption. The devices themselves are either designed to pump air in the carburetor, ionize the fuel or magnetize the gasoline itself. As with many things, it sounds complicated so it must work, right? Wrong – it’s simply another scam to get you to spend your money. If you want to cut down on fuel consumption, try walking or car-pooling.

Many people have cell phones now and unfortunately it has become another opportunity for scam artists. Always beware of pre-paid phone card offers as well as fly-by-night service companies. These companies, if they are legitimate at all, will switch your provider without warning as well as adding bogus phone charges. And lets not forget one of the most long running scams of all time… the ‘prize winning lottery’ that magically appears out of nowhere that declares you a winner if you simply fill out some forms – and pay a fee? Really, using common sense will show that you don’t have to pay for money they are giving you!

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself from Consumer Scams?

The best way to take action against consumer frauds and scams is to report every one possible. There are online agencies as well as the Federal Trade Commission and Better Business Bureau’s websites that have sections where scams can be reported. Try to have as much information to give as possible such as the business name, phone numbers, addresses, and any contact names obtained. In many cases the information you have is likely fraudulent as well, but anything you can give might add up to other reports filed. The important thing is to get the truth out there on any platform available.

By doing your own research, you can find lists of scams so you will know what particular ones are presently going around. These lists are updated constantly, and are dependent upon the consumers that report them to stay current. Keeping updated on these fraudulent products and offers goes a long way in preventing more people from being taken in.

No one likes to get ripped off, and the first thing many people want to know when they find out it has happened to them is what can be done.

There are some cases, such as false charities and lotteries that, if tracked down, can be prosecuted by the law for fraudulent practices.

In other cases, the best you can hope to do is get the name out there to make others aware of the company or product.

Unfortunately the ways to rip people off are getting easier and more widespread, but those same tactics can be used to get the right information out there.

The voice of the consumer can carry a lot of weight, but it takes speaking up for that voice to be heard.

Written by Angela Sangster, Copyright 2012

Life and Money

The Salvation Army: A History Of Giving

As we hustle and bustle (does anyone actually ‘bustle’ anymore?) to get our holiday shopping done, we will see a familiar sight outside of many stores and businesses. Volunteers ringing a bell and standing in front of a red kettle with the emblem of the Salvation Army proudly displayed. This tradition is as familiar as the Christmas carols that come through the speakers in nearly every mall and store in operation.

I might be in a hurry, but I make a point of stopping and giving a bit, even if it is only a dollar or two. Regardless of the amount, I will likely get a smile and good holiday wishes from the one minding the kettle. There is something about that smile that is just as rewarding as the squeals and sighs I will hear on Christmas morning from the kids as they open their gifts. That smile represents thousands of families worldwide that benefit from the services provided by the Salvation Army – and it starts with every penny that goes in to those kettles.

The Salvation Army

By definition, the Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian based organization that offers social services, shelter, food, and clothing along with spiritual guidance. Founded in 1865 in England and originally referred to as the East London Christian Mission, the Salvation Army was coined by it’s founder, William Booth. When he was trying to dictate the purpose of the mission in a letter to his secretary, he reconsidered the sentence referring to them as a ‘volunteer army’. Booth was said to have an epiphany which he revealed aloud… that they were not volunteers, this was something that had become a regular part of their lives. The term “Salvation Army” refers to the emphasis on a person’s spiritual well-being as well as their material and physical needs.
William and Catherine Booth

The Salvation Army began as the East London Christian Mission in 1865 by William Booth, who at the time was a Methodist minister in England. Born in Sneinton, Nottingham April 10, 1829, he was the only surviving child of Samuel and Mary Booth. The family at one time had been quite self-sufficient, even wealthy – until bad investment decisions and his father’s alcoholism sent the family into severe poverty. At the age of 13, William was sent to live and work for a pawnbroker. During this same year, his father passed away. Two years later he was introduced to the Methodist sect of the Christian faith and began training to be a lay minister. He detested working in the pawn broking business, which he felt encouraged people in unhealthy and ‘ungodly’ behavior, so he focused on the lay ministry. Along with his studies, he also took to the streets, preaching in the open air for all who were able to hear.

Booth became a minister for the Methodist church, however he soon found that limitations kept him from truly spreading the message he wanted to get across. He felt that the churches were more sympathetic to those already living their lives for God rather than trying to save ones who were on a destructive path. He married his wife Catherine in 1865, and soon after was preaching on the streets for all to hear. Some of the missionaries outside of a public house heard him speaking and were impressed enough to invite him to speak in a series of tent meetings that were being planned. These meetings were held in the Whitechapel district of London, and focused on reaching the full masses, not just those who went to church on Sundays. From this, the idea of meeting the poor people of London’s physical needs such as food and shelter gave life to the ministry, preaching in deed as well as word.

It was 1878 that the idea for an ‘army’ was developed by Booth. He became the first ‘general’ or the overseer of the ministry. Other preachers held titles comparable to the military ‘officers’ and the lay-people were known as ‘soldiers’. William’s wife Catherine was also vital to the ministry. She became known in the area as the “mother of salvation” and while Booth would preach to the poor and the weary, Catherine would work at getting the financial backing from the people of means who believed in what they were doing.

Symbols and Services

The Salvation Army

The symbols for the Salvation Army are in line with their basic beliefs. The flag, which is a background of red with a blue border and gold starburst in the middle stand for the fight against social injustices and stigmas. The red signifies Christ’s blood shed for humanity, the blue represents the purity of God and the starburst represents the fire of the Holy Spirit. The crest, which has a crown with a set of symbols underneath is also significant to their basic message. The cross is at the forefront, which of course means the cross of Jesus. The “S” that is superimposed is for the salvation that Christians believe is obtainable through belief in Christ’s sacrificial death. The swords going through symbolize the belief of spiritual warfare, or a war between good and evil for human beings souls that Booth believed was being fought daily. The words “Blood and Fire” are emblazoned to further symbolize the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the fire of the Holy Spirit which Booth and his ministry believed would ultimately win out in the end.

The ministry went well beyond simple soup kitchens and shelters for the homeless. Disaster relief often comes from the Salvation Army, and was first done in the United States on a large scale for the hurricane victims of Galveston Texas in 1900 as well as victims of the San Francisco earthquake in 1906. The Army had come to the United States in 1880, and it was with these disasters that respect was truly earned for the hard working volunteers. Thrift stores and social service centers are now worldwide, helping anyone who needs a hand up. The red kettles at Christmas time have been a time honored tradition for years, with people even giving large donations of expensive jewelry or checks in the meager kettles to be re-distributed to the poor and needy.

Continuing the Legacy

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, while responsible for feeding and clothing thousands of needy people every year, is certainly not without its controversy. It has only been in the last decade that Salvation Army employees who are in domestic unions have been granted the same benefits as those who are married. Misappropriation of funds has been questioned in the United Kingdom and allegations of abuse within the Salvation Army shelters in Australia have been acknowledged. As in any organization, there are conflicts both inner and outer, that are present. Even still, it cannot be denied that many, many people have benefited from the assistance that is given.

From its humble beginnings in the East End of London, the Salvation Army has grown to a world-wide mission. There are currently 124 countries that have offices and the headquarters remain in London England where it all began. One has to wonder if Booth had any idea how far reaching his legacy would be and how many years it would continue. What started as a way to help others find ‘salvation’ through taking care of their needs as well as ministering to their hearts has grown regardless of any bumps in the road. It is now an international chain of hope and giving that shows no signs of slowing down.

So take a few minutes to stop by the red kettles that will be outside of the stores this holiday season. Times are tough these days, and the families that will benefit from these donations quite likely are ones that were in a position to do the donating in years past. Children will have toys under the tree that they would not have otherwise. People with no home will have a warm safe place to enjoy a holiday meal. More importantly, it is a testament to what the season is all about – the joy of giving so that others may receive.

Written by Angela Sangster. Copyright 2011

Life and Money

Hughesnet Lies and Has Terrible Customer Service

I live out in the “boonies”. DSL or even cable are not available here so I am forced to choose between dial-up or satellite.

I have been using Hughesnet for my internet for over 2 years now and I can honestly say without any reservation that they SUCK and I hate them. I am considering moving just so I cant cancel the service!

The local phone company has been telling me “any time now” on the DSL for more than 2 years but so far they haven’t gotten out here yet.

The Hughesnet Internet service is not reliable and is constantly experiencing problems. I am paying almost $100 per month (double or more than what DSL or Cable would cost) yet the service is crap.

Hughesnet Service Sucks
Hughesnet Service Sucks

When you call them up on the phone you will get someone in another country who can barely even speak English. You have to repeat what you are trying to say over and over and they usually still cant understand. I can barely understand what they are saying either. I have went to the Hughesnet website and contacted them with my complaints several different times – but not once have they ever replied back!

Although I haven’t actually kept count I have been hung up on numerous times. When you call you have to go through all the menus and it takes awhile to get hold of a person. Then they put you on hold and “oops” you get a dial tone or silence. I know this has happened at least half a dozen times. Too many times for it to be accidental in my opinion.

I was lied to by the rep when I first signed up and once you sign up there is not much you can do if you have problems. Yes I was lied to! I asked the guy on the phone if there were any limitations on the service and he said no. He told me that I could do whatever I liked without worrying about that. The reason I asked this question was because some other companies I had considered stated that there was a bandwidth/usage limit. well, the first time we exceeded the bandwidth and the service quit working I called support and after a lot of the “run around” I was told that I had exceeded the Fair Use Policy. It was the first time I had been told anything about that. The service we had signed up for did have a limit! I explained that the sales guy had lied and I was told basically “sorry but there’s nothing we can do.” It was really a quite difficult conversation as the guy I talked with could barely speak and understand English. FRUSTRATION OH YEAH.

In all fairness and honesty I can say that ONE time when I called them up I got good results from a tech who could speak English. He discovered a problem with my modem and had a replacement sent out to me.

Nearly every other time I called it was a waste of time. I really hate Hughesnet and other companies who outsource their support to other countries.

What do you think of Hughesnet? Have you had experiences similar or different than me? Feel free to comment below.

Sent in by “Unhappy Customer with no choice”

Life and Money

Compact Fluorescent Lights the Honest Information

The Switch to Energy Saving Bulbs

Incandescent light bulbs are joining 8-track players and Betamax VCR’s in the land of obsoletion. The switch to energy saving bulbs that last years rather than months has been in place for some time now, and the prices are not as high as they used to be. CFL’s (compact fluorescent lights) and LED’s (light emitting diodes) seem to be the way of the future in many aspects. The length of time they last and the lower amount of energy used are both very big selling points. However, before the switch is made, there are several factors to consider as well as myths that need dispelled.

The support for CFL’s has grown in the last several years, phasing out traditional incandescent bulbs. The older light bulbs would last for a matter of a few weeks, whereas CFL’s last for years. Fluorescent lighting is certainly not a new concept, as most of us are familiar with the long cylinders of bright light that are used in many businesses and schools. As far back as 1857, a physicist named Alexandre E. Bequerel was studying new theories about fluorescence and placing a phosphorus substance inside tubing to create light. There were some experiments he conducted with luminescent materials and electric discharge tubes, but the true breakthrough came at the turn of the century. An American electrical engineer named Peter Cooper Hewitt and a German physicist named Martin Leo Arons worked together to create the first mercury vapor lamp(pat. 1901).

(CFL) Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb

Fluorescent lighting is created with a glass cylinder coated on the inside with phosphorus substance and filled with mercury vapor and argon gas. At each end of the tube is a metal filament, either straight or coiled, which heats when electricity is applied. As the voltage increases, the tube begins to glow. Once the electrons start moving back and forth between the filaments, they collide with the mercury atoms, which in turn create ultra violet rays. These rays are invisible, however when combined with the phosphorus material, a bright light emerges from the tube. As time and technology has increased, this way of lighting has been made possible for the needs of the average home. Compact fluorescent light bulbs last up to ten times longer and save energy to boot, and while they are initially more expensive, in the long run money is saved because not as many need to be purchased.

These bulbs certainly save energy, and while they take a bit more to produce, the overall lifespan compensates. However, there are some flaws to the energy-saving theory, namely in regard to heating and cooling. When a fluorescent light is on, the overall heat in the room drops. Certainly during warmer months, this would be ideal in keeping cooling costs down, but in colder climates it would actually increase the amount of heating energy needed for a home or business. The energy from light usage itself with a compact fluorescent is an average of 25% less than regular light bulbs. Life spans range from 6,000 to more than 15,000 hours in comparison to a mere 700 – 1000 hours of incandescent bulbs. All in all, some very good selling points – but as with all things, there are criticisms and disadvantages.

Disadvantages to Compact Fluorescent Lights

One complaint about fluorescent lighting stems from the time it takes for one to turn on. Because it takes a minute or two for the electrons and atoms to start bouncing off of each other, it is not instantaneous light. Many people dislike the harsh lighting from fluorescent bulbs, although many CFL’s are now designed with colors to produce softer light. CFL’s do fit in incandescent light fixtures, but consumers have reported not being able to replace lamp or bulb covers due to the base of the CFL being larger. The biggest concern however has nothing to do with cost or appearance, but rather the potential for harmful mercury to be released if the bulb is broken.

How to Clean Up Broken Compact Fluorescent Lights

It is important to note, while the myth that an EPA HAZMAT team must come in to clean up the mercury released from a broken CFL is unfounded, there are crucial steps that must be taken to minimize potential damage. Mercury is highly toxic, so if a bulb is broken, do not vacuum up the pieces. This will heighten risk of the mercury becoming airborne. Instead, follow these steps in the order given to safely remove the fragments and powder.

1) Evacuate everyone (pets included) from the room immediately when the bulb is broken.

2) Open a window or door to let fresh air in the room (leave about fifteen minutes)

3) Shut off any centralized heating or cooling unit.

4) For hard surfaces, use an unyielding, disposable scoop (such as cardboard) carefully, and without touching the fragments, scrape up all of the debris and put immediately into a glass or plastic sealed container.

For carpeting, repeat above process, and in addition, take duct tape, sticky side up, and pick up all remaining visible material. Only then is it advised to vacuum the specific area, and the bag must be removed and sealed in a plastic container to await proper disposal. It is also important to remember that the next several times of vacuuming that room should be done with a separate bag that is immediately sealed and properly disposed, as well as the central heating/cooling unit being shut off while vacuuming.

5) Continue to air out the room for several hours before letting anyone back in.

6) Once properly sealed, place containers in the trash until you have contacted your local refuse service to see what is required for disposal. Some city governments require that the material is taken to the local recycling center as opposed to the regular trash service.

Following these steps will greatly reduce the risk of any damage from the mercury exposure. It is also a good idea to put some kind of paper or cloth underneath the light when a bulb is being changed. That way, if there is any breakage, it can easily be disposed of.

Compact Fluorescent Lights and the HAZMAT Myth

The myth about HAZMAT originated from a case where a Department of Environmental Safety worker in a local office advised a woman who had broken a CFL bulb in her home to call the EPA and have a HAZMAT team come out. This was, in retrospect, completely unnecessary, and it ended up causing a larger scale problem than it would have originally. Snopes debunked the HAZMAT myth, along with giving the true and accurate information for disposal of broken CFL bulbs.

The concern from possible mercury contamination is a very valid one, however it should be noted that many people use these energy efficient, long lasting bulbs with no negative results. Although they are still higher in initial cost than a regular light bulb, they have lowered considerably from their original prices. For those that are still leery of the potential mercury hazard, there are other types of energy efficient lights that aren’t powered by toxic substances. LED (light emitting diodes) lamps are preferred by some due to the safety factor and the even longer lifespan. Solid-state lighting (often used for traffic lights) are also powered by electroluminescence, or the material producing light from electrical currents. These may compete with compact fluorescent bulbs, and are going even farther in pushing out the incandescent bulbs.

If the proper precautions are taken in case of accidental breakage, the compact fluorescent bulb has many advantages. Overall, consumer feedback has been positive, and many are pleased with not having to replace light bulbs every month as well as lower electric bills. Just remember, as with any purchase, always research the information available to make an educated choice.

Written by Angela Sangster, Copyright 2011

Home Assembly Jobs

Earn Money Assembling the Disciples Cross

The Disciples Cross work from home program was started by John Raymond, Pastor of the New Horizon Christian Fellowship in Slidell, Louisiana.

He began making the Disciples Cross Necklaces in the early 90’s and selling them. They were popular and there was enough steady business to keep him busy.

But then John Raymond appeared on the CBS television show, Survivor: Thailand. And after wearing one of his unique, hand-made crosses on the show, interest skyrocketed.

You simply buy the supplies, assemble a cross necklace and mail the completed necklaces back to DC. The crosses you crafted and sent in are then inspected by quality control people and you are paid $1.25 per unit plus $1.00 to help cover the materials cost and up to $5.00 per 50 units to help cover your postage expense. Currently it takes approximately 8-10 weeks for the process and for you to receive payment. Disciples Cross sets a limit of 400 crosses per week maximum on the buyback program.

The Disciples Cross
The Disciples Cross

When you become a Certified Disciple’s Cross Producer, you’ll receive a complete start up kit that contains everything you need to get started in this incredible opportunity. Disciple’s Cross necklaces are easy to make. Once you have learned the basic steps (thanks to the step-by-step training video), you will be able to create these precious crosses in about 5 minutes.

The Disciples Cross
The Disciples Cross

Watch out for programs that use shady tactics to suck the money from your pocketbook. With Disciple’s Cross, you will never have to purchase a minimum amount of supplies each month, or pay an ongoing fee to remain “active”. We don’t require you to produce a minimum amount of crosses to get paid, nor do we require you to purchase your supplies from us.

“Because of our high volume, we are able to get quantity discounts on the materials we use, so you will be able to get them from us cheaper than from your local store. However, the materials are available at hobby and craft stores, and you are free to purchase your supplies from them if you are not planning on participating in our guaranteed buy back program. If you are planning on participating in our guaranteed buy back program you must obtain your supplies from Disciples Cross. This is to insure consistency and quality in our product.”

Many DC Producers are selling the crosses on their own on websites, at craft shows, to Christian bookstores and other markets, they are also excellent for church fund raisers. The average retail price for the crosses are $8.00 to $10.00. If you wholesale them to store owners or sell them on a consignment basis you should expect $3.00 to $5.00 for each cross.

You decide how much to earn by how much time you want to spend. Please read the Disciples Cross homepage to learn more about this program. Of particular interest to most people is the information about the “Guaranteed Buy Back.” This explains the process of buying the crafted crosses back from you. Find out how this can supplement your home’s income with the “Put Money in your Pocket” information on the Disciple’s Cross homepage.