Blogging Challenge (Day 15): Inspection Stickers are a Tax on the Poor

Today is the last day of November, which means I have to get my car inspected. Every year around this time, I start thinking about vehicle inspections and how stupid they really are. The idea behind them is to make sure you aren’t polluting the world really badly and that your vehicle is “safe” to drive.

Right?

Wrong. The idea is basically a tax on the poor. A way to oppress the lower classes that can’t afford brand new vehicles. The people that fail the inspection are the ones that can afford it the least. They’re the ones with the older vehicles that are just hoping the car makes it to work, not that they aren’t ripping a giant hole in the ozone by operating it. They’re the ones that look at the tires and hope they’ll last another month, but while they’re planning to replace them in the future (because they’re poor, not stupid), they can’t necessarily afford to do it RIGHT NOW.

They need those tires to last another month so they can get to work so they can make money to put food on the table, pay the mortgage and hopefully have enough left over for the cheapest tires they can find in another month or two.

Meanwhile, special interest groups representing auto manufacturers, environmental groups and labor unions are getting rich off of this. How many repairs are being made because of failed inspections? How many of those repairs aren’t necessary to get the driver from point A to point B?

People need to be able to get to work if they’re ever going to advance in their field, maintain steady employment and be financially stable for their families. Don’t get me wrong – rah rah, environment! But realistically, I don’t think anyone gives 2 shits about the ozone when their kids are crying because they’re hungry and they lost their job because they couldn’t get to work because some rich politician decided their 8-year old Ford needs a $500 repair to “run better”. Hell, you even need a car to get to the social services office to sign up for food stamps.

Stop taxing the poor and making it any harder to crawl (or in this case drive) out of poverty or off the edge of a major financial ruin. For the working poor that live outside of the city limits, not having a car isn’t an option and inspections put many people in the position where they have to find a way to afford a repair that’s way outside of their budget when the car still runs.

I hope every politician and every tree hugger sleeps better at night knowing there are children – thousands of them, actually – that are hungry, wearing shoes that are worn out, pants that are threadbare and jackets that are too small and not warm enough because they decided that a special interests environmental group or big-business labor union was more important to you than taking care of your neighbors.

If you don’t live in the city – which many working poor and lower middle class families don’t – you can’t survive without a car. Vehicle inspections are a tax on the poor and an unnecessary burden.

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Blogging Challenge (Day 14): Holiday Rundown

Like many people, we went Black Friday shopping over the holiday weekend. Like most of the people at the stores, we didn’t get everything we went for and our list was a little less than organized.

While we didn’t get everything on our list or cross everyone off our list, we did make a pretty nice dent in our holiday shopping. We shopped online for the 1 big-ticket item on our list and were able to snag it (fingers crossed that our order doesn’t get canceled like everyone else’s). We waited a couple hours after the madness started and were happy to find that the lines weren’t too bad in most stores – Kohls excluded. The lines there sucked, but the had the most good deals on non-TV items.

 

One thing that has always bugged me in the past is that my husband and I have shopped for ourselves on Black Friday. This year is no different, even though I said that we shouldn’t do that.

This year he bought himself: A Roku, 3 flash drives of varying sizes, a video game and a movie. I bought myself a coffee maker.

Overall, not too bad. I think there’s plenty of room to surprise him with a few things and the same for me.

Do you Black Friday shop? If so, what were some of the best deals you got?

Blogging Challenge (Day 13): Swagbucks For the Win

I haven’t posted about Swagbucks in a while, so I thought this might be a good time to do so. I just redeemed some points for a $25 Amazon gift card and the best part is – I didn’t do anything to earn it!

You heard that right – all of the points I needed to get the gift card, I earned passively. I signed up for Swagbucks and installed their search tool. I set it as my default search engine so I never have to think about it. Sometimes when I search I see a little message at the top of the results saying I won some points.

I ignored that and after a while I had enough to get a gift card. It’s that easy! Now $25 to Amazon might not seem like a lot, but if you’re just using Google right now, you’re not getting anything. I’d rather get a little something a few times a year than nothing at all! And since the gift card doesn’t cost me anything, I don’t feel bad spending it on myself or getting my husband a surprise Christmas gift with it.

Sign up now, let your points accumulate throughout the year and you’ll have a nice gift waiting for you at Christmas.

Use my referral link to say thanks for telling you about Swagbucks, and I’ll get a little bonus when you sign up. 🙂

Blogging Challenge (Day 12): Black Friday

It’s no secret that I love a bargain and today is Black Friday – the bargain-hunters holy day. I love the rush of competing with 4,000 other people to get the one of the 10 rock-bottom priced items in the store. There’s just something exhilarating about being with that many people doing something so crazy for a common goal. It’s wonderful.

In the past few years we haven’t been after any big ticket items, but this year is different! We’re looking for a Nintendo WiiU and while I don’t think that will be as big of a seller as some of the TVs and things on the market, I know it’ll be big enough to provide a little challenge.

I’ve also heard people talking about doing all of their Black Friday shopping online. This idea intrigues me. I’m a planner and I could totally get behind that. My husband on the other hand, is not. He is more of a see-and-grab shopper. So being in the store is how he does it.

Maybe we’ll hit a happy medium, a little online and a little in-store? Who knows! Only time will tell… so let the countdown begin!

Blogging Challenge (Day 10): Half Days?

My daughter, like most kids in this country, has a half day at school today. Except for some reason, at her school it’s really more like a 1/3 of a day. She’ll be there for 2 hours. You heard that right – 2 hours. What’s the point? Does the school get credit towards their 180 days of required school days if they have a 1/3 day and keep the kids there for 2 hours? I really don’t get it.

So we had to get up, get ready, pack a snack and a drink and get on the bus nice and early so she could go to school for 2 hours. I can’t imagine that working parents enjoy this madness. There’s no way you could just go into work for 2 hours. The ones that can work from home might get something done today, but everyone else? Forget about it!

Fortunately, I’m a stay-at-home mom anyway, so it’s not such a big deal for me. I still can’t run to to the grocery store or Walmart, but at least I can have a couple hours with 1 less child running around while I get stuff done.

Silver linings, right?

Blogging Challenge (Day 9): Fried Spaghetti

Guys, I just learned that not everyone fries their spaghetti. This is like earth shattering to me.

Growing up, I loved spaghetti night as much as the next kid, but what I really looked forward to was the leftovers. Reheated spaghetti in the microwave is just blech, but fried on the stove? Bellisimo.

 

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Best of all, it’s super easy to make. Just heat some olive up in a large pan and dump in your leftover spaghetti. Fry on high until it’s all warmed up and delicious (not crunchy). Serve with grated parm… mmm mmm.

Your meal can be ready in less than 10 minutes and the flavor from frying the spaghetti is simply divine.

So who else fries spaghetti? Let me know! If you haven’t heard of it, give it a try… you’d be amazed at how heating it up a different way can completely change the flavor.

 

Blogging Challenge (Day 8): Whiny Kids

My kids whine about everything and I’m not even exaggerating. It is 10:27am and I’ve already heard a litany of complaints, including:

  • But I went to school last week!
  • He stole my spot!
  • I don’t want to put the crayons away!
  • Give me milk!
  • I don’t want to brush my teeth!
  • I don’t want to watch that show!
  • He hit me!
  • She hit me!
  • My foot hurts!
  • I said I wanted waffles!

It just never ends. Ever. I have 3 kids and it seems like at least 1 of them is crying at any given point. My oldest is in school, but the other two are still home. I couldn’t put my middle child in preschool this year (she’ll go next year) because 2 years of preschool is just too expensive. Plus, we have to drop off and pick up in the classroom, which is a pain when you have more than just the 1 child with you. The kids with IEPs get to ride the bus (for free) and go to preschool for 2 years (for free), but don’t even get me started on that.

My kids aren’t bad kids. They just whine excessively. Less than some other peoples’ kids, but I guess I have high expectations of my own. It would be nice if they could go an entire day without fighting, whining or freaking out about something.

I’m also sick of being in the house. The stores were packed this weekend, so we didn’t do all of our errands either. I’m itching to go out, but can’t because I have a laundry list of work to do. I can’t win. I wish I could hire a mother’s helper to keep an eye on the kids while I just buckle down and get stuff done, but that would cut into my meager earnings and really throw off the paper-thin budget.

Deep breaths, things will get better. I’m going to break out a good book and alternate work and reading to power through my to-do list today.

Blogging Challenge (Day 7): Busy Season

Today is the last day before the holiday rush officially kicks off – the calm before the storm if you will. After this we’ll have a couple days of school before we rush off to my family’s house for Thanksgiving. We’ll leave the kiddos with the grandparents and go black friday shopping.

Normally, we’ve already started our holiday shopping at this point.

Normally, we just finish things up on black friday.

This isn’t a normal year. I’ve been so bogged down by work that I’ve barely ordered 2 things for my husband online. I haven’t done any other in-person Christmas shopping. I’m very behind. Very.

So, fond readers – wish me luck as I scramble to make lists, look at black friday ads and muster up the courage to fight crowds and get the holiday shopping done with.

After that, it’s cookies and caroling. Let the games begin!

Blogging Challenge (Day 6): Traveling

I’ll start off with a confession: It’s Friday. I’m writing this a day early and scheduling it to be posted tomorrow. Why? Because I’ll be in a car all day and then visiting a hippy friend that doesn’t have the internet at his house unless he actually turns it on. It feels weird to be there because I’m used to always being connected. I have a phone with data, but it’s unreliable in that particular area and pretty darn slow. But, he’s a friend of my husband from high school and we visit once or twice a year.

The car ride to get there will be about 1.5 hours long with 3 kids. You can imagine how much fun that will be!!

I’ll post again tomorrow (well, on Sunday) if I make it.