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65 Or Older in 2019? You’ve got a new tax form.

65 Or Older in 2019? You’ve got a new tax form.

The Bipartisan Budget Act passed in 2018 created many changes to the existing tax reporting. One interesting form that is only available to tax payers over 65 years of age is Form 1040SR.

The 1040SR Senior Income Tax form allows for reporting of several types of income and you can use it even if you are employed or collecting unemployment.

“Taxpayers who turn 65 years of age in 2019 or are older will have the option to use a new simple tax form for seniors, known as the 1040SR, when filing their 2019 taxes during the 2020 tax filing season. The new form is provided for in section 41106 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (BBA), a two-year budget agreement passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump on February 9, 2018.”
Are Tiny Houses Realistic for Seniors?

Are Tiny Houses Realistic for Seniors?

I love tiny houses. I LIVE in a tiny house, 416 square feet, right now! I’ve lived in many curious dwellings like a 16-foot airstream trailer without electricity, a Quonset hut, a pup tent for three months in a meadow near Mt. Shasta, a single-wide mobile home and now a studio condo in a nearly 100-year-old building. I GET SMALL! I have also lived in big suburban houses, smaller suburban houses, you get the idea. I prefer smallish.

I LIVE in a tiny house, 416 square feet, right now! I’ve lived in many curious dwellings like a 16-foot airstream trailer without electricity, a Quonset hut, a pup tent for three months in a meadow near Mt. Shasta, a single-wide mobile home and now a studio condo in a nearly 100-year-old building. I GET SMALL! I have also lived in big suburban houses, smaller suburban houses, you get the idea. I prefer smallish.

I love the tiny house movement and all it represents in regard to downsizing, consuming less everything, being more conscious about what you bring into your home or don’t due to space limitations.

The one thing that troubles me about all of the tiny house designs I’ve seen and granted, I’ve not seen that many, but most every photo or plan for a tiny house includes a loft and a ladder to access that loft, and THAT’s the part I’m not sure about.

Pad Tiny Houses has solved that with the Hikari Tiny House. Coming in at 184 square feet downstairs, with actual stairs instead of a ladder and sleeping up or downstairs, I think the Hikari House could be an answer for a shared senior community.

All that aside, I am so excited that in Portland, Oregon we have a wonderful Tiny House movement. Classes can be taken to teach you how to build your own tiny house. Watch this video by Pad Tiny Houses. Dee Williams and Joan Grim are the instructors who lead this weekend workshop, and there are other workshops that involve a tiny house actually being built.

Congress Just Condemed Millions of Divorced Women to Poverty

Congress Just Condemed Millions of Divorced Women to Poverty

When congress passed it’s new budget law that takes effect May 2016, millions of women who were entitled to take half the value of their ex-spouse’s social security and then switch to their fully vested social security at age 70, can no longer do this. For reasons that escape me, while congress (and yes, Obama signed it into law) wrote the changes to close a loophole for married couples where there are two social security incomes, they also thought it would be a good idea to condemn divorced women to accept a lower amount earlier dooming them to collect the lower amount for the rest of their lives.

For those now under 62, the bill extends deeming, which now ends at full retirement age (age 66), through age 70. Deeming is the requirement that if a) you take your retirement benefit and are eligible to collect your spousal benefit, you are forced to take both at once and b) if you take your spousal benefit, you are forced to simultaneously take your retirement benefit. Since Social Security effectively only pays the larger of the two benefits, being forced to take both benefits at once means that you lose one of the two benefits.

I had planned to begin collecting on my ex-husband’s social security until I turned 70 years old and then I intended to switch to my full amount, which hopefully would be more than taking his half early. Remember, you are not actually taking anything away from your ex-spouse’s entitlement. They still receive their full entitlement based on when the file. As long as you were married over 10 years and have been divorced for over two, you still can file but when you do, Social Security figures out the maximum amount you have coming to you based on when you file, sixty-two and a half, sixty-six or seventy years of age.

The earlier you file the less social security you receive, for life.

The earlier you file, the less you receive, and now that is for the rest of your days if you are divorced. This rule is not gender specific, it is not just for women, but the reason this rule exists is an acknowledgement that women earn less than men and frequently work fewer years due to child-rearing.

Now your choices are file and live with that amount for the rest of your life, or postpone filing until you are sixty-six, or seventy. With older women so de-valued in the workplace, and the natural demands of aging, where are our jobs? Target? Walmart? Where do you see our faces in the workplace?

5 Ways I increase my monthly income by $120 to $300

I’m going to tell you how you can increase your monthly income by $60 to $300, or more. 

There are so many ways you can increase your monthly cash flow, I’m not going to be able to cover them all in detail in this post but will outline some of them in detail in future posts.  Enough mysterious “them” references, let’s get down to business, but first one more caveat. I’m going to share with you the ways I have or do increase my monthly income. What does that mean?

It means I don’t always take on all the extra income methods every month if I have an active web development project for a client that requires my focus, or if I have a lot of extra-curricular activities going on. I tend to take on extra “work” when I have time or if the job is “worth it” for whatever reason or if I can mystery shop a high end candy store. We all have our priorities.

Mystery Shopping

Wait! Wait, you say, what is this mystery shopping of which you speak? Remember, in this post I’m just going to list just a few ways that I and you can bring in some extra income every month. I’ll go into detail on each of these in future posts.

Mystery Shopping, yes it IS a real thing and I’ve been doing it on and off for over fifteen years. Mystery or Secret Shopping is when you sign up with an online agency and you accept assignments where you pose as a consumer, follow all the instructions of the shop to the letter and complete a survey after the “job” is done. Often this includes uploading scanned/digital photos of receipts, and documents. These shops pay anywhere from $7 to $200 depending on the type of shop, and your shopper history and experience.

Online user product and web site tester

Again, this is real and online job opportunities are becoming more plentiful. Typically in this type of job you will be given instructions to follow for a specific web site or app. Your actions and narrative are recorded with your computer microphone and web cam. User testing used to mean a company had to hire people to come to their company and test their web site or products in house. Now they can outsource that work to us and you can do it from your home computer. These jobs range between $3 to $70 depending on your experience and the type of evaluation the company is looking for.


Yes, people still shop and buy on eBay. I list items on eBay every month and depending on my effort and if there is not a major gift holiday (when sales tend to slow down for me), I can easily generate between $100 to $400 a month. How much I earn depends on how much time/effort I spend, some amount of  luck, and understanding why someone might want to buy my products(s). What do I sell? See for yourself here.

Affiliate Product Sales

I have a website, no really, I have about four websites. Most of them are not super fancy, they’re not Amazon fancy at all. One is a subscription site, and one is a blog where you can buy actually helpful products that solve a specific problem. Affiliate product sales are advertisements you put on your website that link to the company’s products.

When someone clicks from my web site to the company site, and they purchase products, I get a small commission.

Sometimes as high as 10%. On a $300 sale, that’s $30! Does that happen every day, week or even month? No, it doesn’t. However it does or doesn’t depending on home much social media marketing I do and luck. Amazon and almost all other online stores do have an affiliate program so if you have a blog and can find an affiliate program with a product related or complimentary to your web site or blog, you will make some extra money. Some people who are active bloggers who send out emails to their followers can make A LOT of money suggesting or reviewing affiliate products.


So there you have it, four ways to earn some extra dough. Maybe it’s enough to cover a utility bill, but maybe it’s enough to cover a major expense or save for a sweet vacation, or a college fund for a grandchild. I’ve got a few more examples and again, I have and still do make extra cash every month with all or a combination of these opportunities.

I hope I’ve got you thinking about clearing out that closet a few pieces at a time on eBay, or finding out more about how to advertise on your blog. I’ll share another post about mystery shopping with you soon, but for now remember one thing – you should NEVER have to pay to become a mystery shopper. There are plenty of scams out there and you must use common sense. Never allow the prospect of making some extra money influence you to compromise your online safety.

More to come on increasing your income at home on your schedule!