Flippy Friday – 3M Laser Transparency Paper

cg3700It has been a long time since I’ve done a Flippy Friday post. I intended for this to be a regular feature, but since the first Flippy Friday post I haven’t posted on most Fridays. I will try to do a better job on this. I have plenty of items to write about and these posts aren’t that difficult to write so I don’t have much of an excuse for not getting these posted.

The item I’m featuring in this post is 3M laser transparency film. This is my best flip yet from a return on investment standpoint. I bought this transparency film for $2 at Office Max and sold it for a whopping $65.  When I scanned this item in the store I was skeptical that it would actually sell for $65. I shouldn’t have been skeptical because this transparency film sold at the $65 price almost as soon as it arrived at Amazon.

I’m not sure why this transparency film sells for so much. I bought a couple of 3M transparency films of a different variety and they sold for $35. Since I also bought them for $2 each they also had a great ROI even though they didn’t come close to matching the $65 variety. I’ve looked at other Office Max stores and other office supply stores since then and haven’t been able to find more of these transparency films. These varieties of transparency film are difficult to find because they are a discontinued product which is part of the reason why they sell for such a large markup. There are other varieties of transparency film that are still being made that only sell for about $15.  Apparently they aren’t as good as the discontinued varieties though.

I wish I could find products like these every day. The next time you are in an office supply store you might want to look for these transparency films so you can do your own flip.

Some Simple Swagbucks Strategies

Swagbucks is one of my steadiest source of extra money. I usually get about $20 in Amazon gift cards a month from them. There are people who make a lot more than that, but for the time I put into earning Swagbucks I’m happy with what I get. Just last year I was lucky if I made $5 in gift cards a month so I’m happy with the strategies I have implemented to boost my rewards from Swagbucks.

The simplest way to make Swagbucks is from referrals. Once someone signs up through your referral link you get a percentage of the Swagbucks they earn for life. Some categories of Swagbucks earnings are excluded, but overall it is a pretty good deal. You get Swagbucks for referring the new member and it doesn’t cost the new member anything, plus the new member can now earn Swagbucks and refer people as well. There are several referral links in this post if you want to sign up through my referral link. A drawback to this strategy is that eventually you will have referred everyone you know. Even if you have a blog like I do, eventually most of the readers that are interested in signing up will have already signed up.

My biggest Swagbucks earner is Swagbucks TV Mobile. This is an app that I have loaded on my Kindle Fire. I play it each day and earn the limit of 36 Swag Bucks a day. This used to be even better when the limit was 50 Swagbucks a day. I’m hoping they don’t drop the limit again. There are a couple more mobile apps called Movie Clips and EntertaiNow that also allow you to earn a certain amount of Swagbucks a day. Unfortunately, I can’t get these apps to work on my phone or Kindle so I’m not sure how well they work.

Some SB earners that I do are the daily poll, NOSO, Daily Crave, and SwagButton. The first three can be found in the left sidebar of the Swagbucks home page. The SwagButton is an add-on for your browser that earns one point a day. These four things don’t earn a lot of points on a daily basis but the points do add up over the month.  Using the Swagbucks search engine also earns me a few Swagbucks most days.

Swag codes are another great way to earn more Swagbucks. Some days they have specials and have several swag codes released throughout the day worth a few Swagbucks each.  It can be difficult to know when a new swag code has been released. You can check on the home page. It is inconvenient and an inefficient use of time to keep checking for codes though. I have signed up for a service from swag codes spoiler that emails me each time a new swag code is released. This makes the process of collecting swag codes much easier and adds quite a few SBs to my monthly total.

If you want to find even more strategies for earning Swagbucks you should visit the BeerMoney or Swagbucks subreddits. They both have lots of information on how to earn more Swagbucks.

Here is one more shameless plug of my Swagbucks Referral Link.

Being a Movie Extra

After my recent post on my movie scene with Reese Witherspoon I received a couple of questions about being a movie extra and I have received similar questions in the past when I wrote about being an extra. I thought I had written a post about the process of being a movie extra here before, but it turns out the post I was remembering was a short post on Bank Bonuses that I wrote way back in 2006. That post didn’t have a lot of information and I know a little bit more about being an extra now so I’m writing this post to answer people’s questions on this subject.

How to Get a Job as an Extra

The most common question about being an extra is how to get a job as an extra. For my first two extra jobs were when I lived in Austin where they usually have a couple of movies or so shoot there each year. For both jobs there was an article in the local paper about a casting call for the movies. They want you to show up to the casting call with a head shot. You don’t need to get a professional headshot, you can just take one yourself. The casting employees aren’t too worried about the quality of the photo, they just want to have a clear idea of what you look like. After filling out a short application I then waited several months before I was contacted to work on the movie. My most recent job I responded to a post on the extra companies Facebook page stating that they needed extras for the next week. I found this company by doing a Swagbucks search for “extra casting” in Atlanta. Note that when you do an internet search for extra casting a lot of the results will be scams. The scams are mostly obvious, but remember you should never have to pay to work with an extra casting company. Also, I was lucky to get the last job since I didn’t live in the Atlanta area. Most extra companies only want to deal with locals since they might need you to work on the spur of the moment or the job might be canceled at the last minute.

How Long Does an Extra Job Last?

The length of the extra job will vary. My first extra job lasted a couple of weeks with weekends and a couple of random days off. My second extra job was only for one day and my last one was for seven days over a week and a half period. When you’re hired for a job they should tell you about how many days it will be, but you will need to be flexible.

Typical Day of Being an Extra

Being an extra is a pretty easy albeit somewhat boring job. Most of the day is spent in an extra holding area. This is an area away from the set where you wait until a PA comes to take you to the set for the scene. I spent most of my time in the holding area talking to other extras and reading books on my Kindle. The typical day lasts from ten to sixteen hours. These are long days, but since you are mostly just sitting around they aren’t that bad. When you are called to the set you will be given further instructions on what to do. A couple of general rules are to not bring your cell phone to the set and to not bother the actors or crew. Since the days are so long you will be given a meal at some point and they usually have snacks and drinks available throughout the day as well. The quality of the food and beverage varies by the job. The food is usually okay but not great. On one occasion when there were just a few extras working we got to eat with the cast and crew and their food was much better.

How Much Does Being an Extra Pay?

Being an extra does not pay much. My pay on the jobs I’ve done was always just a little bit above minimum wage. On the plus side, you do get overtime when you work over eight hours and you almost always work over eight hours. The overtime and the long days make the paycheck a little better despite the low wage, but being an extra isn’t a lucrative job. I think it is worth it since the work is easy and if you are lucky you might get to see yourself on the big screen with a movie star.

March Income – $3152.88

Here is a breakdown of my income for March.

Online Income

$3014.60

Interest

$2.01

Stock Dividends

$67.65

Cash Back

$30.42

Sell Stuff

$16.70

Mystery Shopping

$21.50

Total

$3152.88

My income from March was actually quite good despite the Google penalties that happened in March.  That is because the effects of those won’t be reflected in my earnings until this month.  It will probably be a long time before I see a $3000 online income in a month again.  I probably won’t even make $1000 online this month.

I’ve discussed ramping up other areas of income if my online income went down and now we’ll see if I’m actually able to do it. I need to increase income from my alternative income and passive income sources.  It shouldn’t be too difficult to increase my income from selling stuff and mystery shopping.  I’m also looking at a few different independent contractor positions.  If I land one of them it will be a big step towards keeping my income at its current level.

Online Income,Goals and Giveaways

It has been way too long since I’ve written a new post. Despite that I am having another great month of income. Don at Money Reasons and Barb at Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance were both kind enough to link to my latest online income report.

The online income is nice but if I doing more work on my blogs the income is not going to last. I have not been good about getting things done this month. Part of that is because I’ve been spending more time on our real world business. The main reason though is that I just haven’t been making working on my websites a priority. My goals for this month were to run/hike 100 miles and write 100 posts and I didn’t even come close to achieving those. I didn’t even try. Rather than set a monthly goal for November I’m going to get in the habit of doing my work first and making daily goals of what I need to be done.

A goal I’ve had for a long time is to write a book but I keep putting it off. Next month is NaNoWriMo. I have wanted to participate the last couple of years but I put it off. This year needs to be the year that I get it done. I am in a great position to do this because I don’t have to work a full-time job and make enough money to pay my bills in just a few hours a week. I may not always be this lucky so I should take advantage of this opportunity while I have it. Is anybody else participating in National Novel Writing Month? It would be great if we could have a group of bloggers doing it to support each other and keep each other accountable.

I’ve been meaning to post about some giveaways that my fellow Yakezie members are having but I haven’t had a links post for a while so I’m adding them to this post. These giveaways have some nice prizes and your odds of winning are pretty good. My wife and I were lucky enough to win a Kindle wi-fi earlier this month in a local giveaway but I’m still desiring a Kindle Fire.

The Penny Hoarder is hosting a Hallo(Wii)n Giveaway until October 30th.
The Frugal Toad is hosting a $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway until October 30th.
Retire by 40 and Buck Inspire are having a big giveaway of a Kindle Fire and lots more until November 7th.

Alternative Income – Focus Groups

It has been a while since I  wrote about a new way to make alternative income.  I made $30 for about an hour of my time yesterday by participating in a focus group.  I just had to give my opinion on new varieties of oatmeal to help the makers determine which product to develop.  There are lots of different types of focus groups.  Last year I participated in one that gauged our reaction to different advertisements by attorneys.  Focus groups are pretty easy money but there aren’t a lot of them available to participate in.  I’m signed up for a local company that has focus groups but you can’t participate in more than one every three months.  The focus group I did last year I found on Craiglist.  The site FindFocusGroups.com is supposed to help you find focus groups but I haven’t used it so I can’t vouch for it.  You  could also try the company I just did a focus group with but they only have locations in Dallas, Chicago, and Springfield, MO.  If you know of any other legitimate focus group companies please share them in a comment.