Get Ready for Tax Time

In today’s economic climate it pays to be smart and could mean the difference between an okie dokie tax refund and a real nice fat one.


Lots of people have taken jobs where they get tips: waitress, waiter, delivery person, etc… You’ll want to keep track of those tips. Not only are you supposed to claim them, but  it could make you thousands of dollars. The figures vary every year, so I won’t bore you with the numbers but in order to qualify for the earned income credit, you have earned income. Right?

Well, up to a certain point, the more you make, the more earned income credit you get. So, claiming that extra $5,000 in tips could net you a tidy sum when it comes to tax time.  Every little bit helps. I’ll tell you another secret.

We keep all our  receipts, that way when we do our taxes some things that we didn’t think were tax  deductible  were actually deductible. I just put them in a folder marked business or personal, but I always check back through the personal stuff, just in case I missed something.

If you find a mistake, you can go back and amend a return for three years.

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Crazy Shopping Day…

Have you been out shopping?  I drove down the hill today to pick up some chicken base, so while I was at it I figured I might as well do a little grocery shopping. I remembered I wanted to bake some  Blackberry Bliss Bars  —  they looked so good — so I needed some coconut as well.

English: Front entrance of a Save Mart superma...

First I stopped in at Cost U Less (I love that store), for the chicken base. It seemed like everything was on sale. I walked in the door expecting to buy three items and ended up spending $75.  I can’t believe how expensive everything has gotten.  I saw they had chips on sale 2 for $5, I thought to myself, “that’s more like it.”  Only to find out when I opened one that they’re only 9 oz. I couldn’t believe it!    Guess we won’t be eating chips unless I make them at home.

On the way out of the store, there was a woman going through the boxes stacked up in front of the store.  I was putting away my receipt in my purse, while walking out of the store and accidentally ran over the  woman’s  toe.  I told her I was sorry and kept walking.  She got all ticked off, acting like a jerk. I don’t know what else she wanted me to do —  I said I was sorry.  I sure wasn’t going to kiss it for her.

Then I went to Save Mart.  Big mistake. I had to get coconut and they didn’t have it at Cost U Less.  I went down the aisle where the baking items are and the only coconut on the shelf was their store brand and I wanted the real deal — Baker’s — I think it tastes better. There was a sign that said more coconut could be found at the front of the store.

So, I walk around, and around these little islands they have set up at the front of the store but I’m not finding any coconut.  I asked a stock boy to help me, he turned around, then met up with some co-workers and I was a distant memory.    I asked another person’s help and they ignored me outright.

At the checkout counter, I told the cashier about not being able to find the coconut and you’d have thought I was invisible. It was really strange.  So, as I was leaving the store, I asked another cashier where I could find a manager.  She finally put me in touch with some — I don’t believe he was a manager but he said he was. I told him what had happened and I kid you not, his eyes just glazed over.

I ended with … “that is why I won’t be shopping here any more” and walked out.  He never said a word.

It went downhill from there.

I promised the hubby I would stop at KFC for a bucket of chicken. I left my son to wait for it while I went to Price Co. for the coconut.  Bad mistake.  I was getting frazzled by this time.  There were cars everywhere, so I slipped in between them all to park but I didn’t quite make it into the spot.  I was in fact parked almost diagonal. Some guy took me to task about it.  He quipped that I should slow down.

Well, I’ll spare you the details, let’s just say he didn’t have anything else to say to me after I told him to mind his own business…

By this time, I’m in a foul mood. Everyone else is in a foul mood. Merry Christmas.  If this is how things are out there NOW, what are they going to be like in a couple of weeks?  I know I won’t be venturing out again any time soon.  It will come in the mail (thank you Amazon!) or I don’t need it.

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Sneaky Tricks Hackers Use to Target WordPress

Security is on everyone mind these days, but be careful where you’re getting your information from. Be sure your getting expert advice before you proceed or you could find yourself in trouble.

3 Sneaky Tricks Hackers Use to Target WordPress Sites

The open source nature of WordPress has one downside, and if you’re not careful it could ruin your online business. I know this because it happened to me. Just a few months ago, I had a hacker hijack a WordPress site that was consistently earning me several hundred dollars a month.

The hacker:

  • Blocked all logins from my IP address
  • Deleted 217 pages of content, including over 50 pages of premium membership content.
  • Posted 182 spam articles on my site, all which were visible from the home page and which tanked my search engine rankings.
  • Changed the admin account to their email so that I could not update my password OR get back into the site

English: The logo of the blogging software Wor...

Brute force authentication attacks are pretty simple to avoid – at the server level. If your host doesn’t already provide some form of brute force protection, talk to them about it or get a new host.

If an attacker has the ability to gain control of your site thru a vulnerability on another site on the same server, your permissions are setup *very* wrong. Get a new host.

MD5 and SHA are *hash* methods, not encryption methods. There’s an enormous difference between the purpose, function and operation of these techniques. Notably, hashes are not reversible. WordPress “salts” these hashes to make it more secure. On this point, it would be better for users to ensure they’ve properly created their keys and salts in wp-config.
@3 – You can’t completely control username exposure on multisite, and even on regular wordpress some themes render the username within the output.

@5 – Domain privacy offers NO protection whatsoever. It takes all of a few minutes to file a request with the registrar for the actual data and in many cases they’re obliged to provide it. And most registrars (notably godaddy) that provide domain privacy do so at the cost of not effectively relaying domain contact attempts. This is important because it means that an attacker can send (and they do) fraudulent DMCA takedown notices to the registered “private” domain email address, CC
the registrar and webhost, and since you don’t receive or respond to the message in a timely fashion, your host and/or registrar will disable the site. This is just as bad as getting hacked.

Even if domain privacy did protect your contact information, your site could not operate if your name servers were not exposed, which is how visitors are able to find out the IP address, which is what your point here is really about. There’s no way (outside of perhaps setting up your domain behind a proxy) to prevent direct access to your content.

@6 – If you aren’t familiar with managing wordpress, you probably shouldn’t be responsible for an entire server, and all the other services and applications you would need to maintain for it, either. It would be better to look into a “managed” provider.

@8 – While updating plugins and themes is important, blindly installing updates is not good either. Several times in the past have updated plugins or themes included exploits or security regressions (si-captcha, addthis, w3tc and wptouch for example). If you’re a security-minded coder, review the code before you install updates. If you’re not, you should probably find someone that can help keep an eye out for you.

@9 – The implication here is that just because a theme or plugin is “paid” that it’ll be of higher quality. Sadly, that’s not the case. had an article on this very topic only last year.

While you’ve included some good advice here, too, I’m afraid you’re mixing too much myth and misunderstanding in to be ultimately good for the typical user.



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