Cleaning Up On Earth Day

Next year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. One of my aunts has told stories about going out with her class to clean up a wooded area near her elementary school during that first Earth Day.

The idea for a day to focus on the environment came from U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, of Wisconsin, after he had witnessed the damage caused by a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, in 1969.

Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media, and recruited Denis Hayes from Harvard as national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land. April 22, falling between Spring Break and Final Exams, was selected as the date, according to earthday.org.

On April 22, 1970, an estimated 20 million Americans took to the streets and parks to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies, according to earthday.org.

Today, Earth Day is considered the largest secular observance in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year, “and a day of action that changes human behavior and provokes policy changes,” according to earthday.org.

So what can you do on Earth Day – and every day, for that matter – to help save the Earth?

Here are just a few suggestions. (If you have any things that you do to help the environment, let us know by adding a comment.)

  • Recycle!
  • Reuse!
  • Reduce!
  • Stop using plastic straws
  • Switch all of your bills to paperless
  • Start a compost heap in your garden
  • Walk or ride a bike
  • Plant something
  • Opt out of getting “junk mail”
  • Change your lightbulbs to compact florescent or LEDs
  • Use reusable water bottles/coffee cups/shopping bags
  • Wash laundry with cold water
  • Plant flowers and plants to help save bees

Remember: Even the smallest of things – like not littering or leaving the faucet running while brushing your teeth – can help!

Have a great weekend and a great Earth Day.

Best Regards,
Taylor

It’s Tax Time

Monday is April 15th, the day our income taxes are due. I certainly understand this isn’t everyone’s favorite day of the year. But we do what we gotta do!

Anyway, tax day has an interesting history.

In 1894, Congress passed a national income tax, which was ruled unconstitutional the following year by the U.S. Supreme Court. Following that decision, Congress proposed, and the required number of states ratified (in 1913), the 16th amendment to the Constitution, which made income tax legal.

The first tax day was on March 1st. It was later moved to March 15th in 1918. Then, in 1955, the deadline was pushed back to April 15th, so the Internal Revenue Service could spread out the work involved with processing all the forms, according to constitutioncenter.org.

The very first tax form was four pages long, including instructions, according to constitutioncenter.org. At the time, the average annual income was $800.

Meanwhile, the highest ever tax rate was during World War II, when the highest tax bracket was taxed at 91% and the lowest tax bracket was 23%.

Here are some other taxing things to think about (from wallethub.com):

  • $1.76 trillion – Estimated revenue from individual income taxes in 2019 ($1.68 trillion in 2018)
  • 150M+  – Individual income tax returns are expected to be filed in 2019
  • 90% of returns this year are expected to be filed electronically
  • $2,957 – The average tax refund as of March 15, 2019
  • 91% of refunds are paid through direct deposit
  • 8.1 billion hours – Estimated total time that Americans spend preparing tax returns each year
  • 11 hours – Estimated time spent filing a tax return
  • 49% of taxpayers prepared and e-filed their own tax returns in 2019

Speaking of taxes, here’s a sales tax scanning tip …
When asked about the total amount spent when recording your shopping trip, please include the sales tax for all items purchased, even the ones that you might not have been able to scan.

If you have any questions about recording coupons and sales, please see our FAQ:

http://www.ncponline.com/wbcnt/Members/deals.pdf

Have a great weekend!

Best Regards,
Taylor

Meal Kit Mania

As I’m sure you know, it’s difficult trying to find the time to get something healthy on the dinner table. So that’s why the meal kit market has exploded recently. Meal kits, which are easy-to-prepare “kits” that are filled with fresh, pre-portioned ingredients, make it easy to create a healthy “home cooked” meal.

Originally a mostly web-based offering, meal kits are now often showing up in retail outlets.

According to the latest Nielsen data, 187 new meal kit items were introduced within in-store retail outlets alone during the 52 weeks ended Dec. 29, 2018.

Interest in meal kits through both online and retail outlets continues to be strong. According to NCP data, meal kit users have increased 36% over the past year. In fact, NCP data estimates that 14.3 million households purchased meal kits in the last six months of 2018, reflecting a marked increase of 3.8 million households from the end of 2017. And there is still a lot more interest beyond that, with 23% of American households saying they would consider purchasing a meal kit within the next six months.

So have you purchased any meal kits? If you’re an NCPMobile App user, you can use the Non-Barcoded Items listing to record these types of purchases! (See image below.)

Note: If you use the Barcode Reference Booklet to record non-UPC barcoded items, you cannot tell us about meal kit purchases at this time. The booklet might be updated in the near future.

Thanks, and have a great weekend!

Best Regards,
Taylor