Amazon and Bourbon Tasting Wrap-Up’s!

Merry Christmas to all my readers!  We hope each of you had a safe and enjoyable holiday with your loved ones!  We arrived safely in Clearwater FL on Wednesday, after 2 LONG days of driving – 850 miles!  I’ll talk about that next post!

So – I promised a few of you an Amazon financial summary and it is a promise I am keeping!  We started our Amazon experience 9/28 and it ended 12/21 – 12 weeks to the day later!   The pay-rate for Amazon employees this year was $10.75 and we worked “L” shift ( the half day/half night shift 12:15pm to 10:45pm) so we received a differential of $.75 per hour (as did night shift – but we were home by 11pm), for a total of $11.50 per hour.  We will also be receiving a $1.00 per hour worked completion bonus.  Our plan was to both work all the same exact hours but my knees messed up that plan!  So, Bill ended up working a total of  541.78 hours while I worked 455.13 hours.   Of those, Bill had 482.22 of straight time hours and the rest, 59.56, were OT.  For me, Kelly, I had 406.93 straight time and 48.2 OT.  So Bill earned a total of $6,524.67 and mine is $5,461.32 for a grand total of $11,985.99.  For 12 weeks.  For anyone who may want to know, we did turn down some OT hours that were available to us, about 40 hours for Bill and 50 hours for me (Bill took advantage of one 10 hour voluntary day) so there was an additional $1,552.50 between the 2 of us we could have earned, but choose to rest instead.  Now we have to add our completion bonus into the mix.  I kept this number separate b/c I wanted to show how much would be left behind had we left early.  Both of us together worked a total 996.91 hours so at $1.00 per hour – that’s $996.91 we will get for completing the season.  (All the above mentioned $$$ are before taxes)

There were other financial considerations.  Amazon paid our CG fees in full and there will not be a 1099 for the value of that.  There is an IRS rule that states that if you are required to live on-site to work at the location, they don’t have to (or it might actually read “can’t”) give you a 1099 for the value of the site.  That saved us a nice chunk of $$$ since we averaged $25 per night last year (see my year end summary here: Year One Summary on Stuff).   So, 12 weeks at $25 per night is $2100.  That’s a nice savings on CG fees!

Another financial perk was we didn’t do a whole lot while there.  Didn’t eat out much – and when we did – it was mostly very cheap, we saved about $190 a month off our “usual” spending for dining out.  We also did a limited amount of things b/c we were occupied with working and we were tired on days off.  The few things we did do were cheap, we saved $110 a month off our usual spending.  We also didn’t spend hardly anything on gas/fuel while we’ve been here, another big savings ($350 per month).  Another area we saved on was our food budget. A lot of that was meal planning, not just heading to the store to get “whatever”.  The savings for this was about $100 per month!  It helped knowing what we were going to make and getting those things.  That was helpful also b/c we did our cooking (mostly) on days off so our food to take for our “lunch” was in the frig and ready to heat up, either before we left and put in a thermos or ready to take cold in a heatable container.  I recommend this to anyone who is going to be working at Amazon, or anywhere that you will have a limited lunch time.   It worked out really well for us.  Our total savings (including CG fees) per month (now this is off our “usual” spending, not necessarily our “budget” amount – yes, that’s me admitting we don’t always stick to the budget!) was a HUGE $1450 PER MONTH!

Bill wants me to add all this together and give you a total for the amount of money our time at Amazon represents in our financial picture.  Adding up earnings, bonus, CG savings and other savings, the total is $19,432.90!  For 12 weeks.  That is a lot of money.  If you ever do Amazon, your “mileage” may vary.  You, like some I know that were on day shift, might eat out more.  You may go to the movies and drop $30 every weekend.  We didn’t do that.

I’ve already been asked a bunch of times, so I won’t delay answering the question everyone wants the answer to: do we want to or better asked WOULD we do it again?  Asking just me the answer is it depends.  It depends on how much we NEED the money.  It depends on other workamping jobs we find.  I won’t say I will never do this again, however, I will say I’d prefer to do it for a shorter time, say 8 weeks instead of 12 weeks.  These last few weeks have just been difficult.  Bill, on the other hand, says “Sure” right away with little thought needed.  He does agree that a shorter commitment, say 8 weeks, would be a better fit for us (read – since it would be better for ME it’s better for US).  It’s so nice when we agree this easily on the bottom line, even if we arrive there differently.

Another point, regarding doing this again, or for anyone considering it, is this: get into better shape, if you aren’t already, especially if you want to consider picking.  Start walking EARLY!  When things with my knees went bad, it took almost an act of Congress to get switched to packing.  I do not recommend that unless you have no choice.  If you cannot walk at least 10 miles per day with relative ease – do not sign up for picking.  Bill figured out that he walked about 700 miles during our 12 weeks at Amazon!  After moving to pack, I averaged about 2.5 miles per day of walking, this and other jobs do not have nearly as  much walking as picking.  If you missed it – check out my post that gives a short description of each job here: another 50 hours done.  Also, mentally prepare for not being mentally stimulated.  Even Bill, who can generally keep himself entertained with just about anything, got bored after awhile.  I am much more easily bored – and it is VERY hard on me!  If only they let us have music – I’d even listen to country if I had to (sorry country music fans, but I’m not a fan).

So there you have it – the Amazon wrap-up!  We finished up at 10:30’ish Monday night and pulled out of Heartland Campground Tuesday morning with 850 miles in front of us!  We had 2 LONG days of driving but we arrived and set up in Clearwater and will be spending Christmas here.

I realized today that I never told you how the bourbon tastings with our kids went did I?  Well, it was very fun and the results are in!  We sent the following to each of them!

Bottles with the prices and proofs on them
bottles with the numbers that correlated to the numbers we put on the little bottles we sent the kids
the original bottles and little filled bottles before mailing

So we used FaceTime and Skype and each tasted each sample together.  Bill and I knew which was which, but the kids did not.  Bill took notes during the tastings so we would know who liked what and in the end which full size bottle(s) to send.  I will start by telling you Bills favorite is the Heaven Hill Old Style Bourbon – the green label one.  And no – it’s not b/c it’s the cheapest – although that doesn’t hurt at all!  My favorite is the Makers Mark 46, which is the most expensive.  Bill thinks I like it best b/c I don’t really like bourbon and this one tastes the least like “regular” bourbon.  Also, Bill looks for something to be a good mixer for in Coke, which the Heaven Hill is good for, even to me.  When I was picking a bottle I was looking for something I could sip straight-up, maybe with an ice cube.  Michelle & Derek and Billy & Renee both agreed with Bill and liked the least expensive Heaven Hill.  None of them liked the pricey Makers Mark.  Billy’s runner up was the mid-range Devils Cut made by Jim Beam.  They all ultimately decided to have us send the Heaven Hill since that cannot be bought outside KY.  We really enjoyed this little family event and we are looking for ideas for future tastings or any kind of thing like this we can “do” together, even though we are apart!

Our time in KY is now behind us – and I am so glad!  We did meet a lot of wonderful people and we hope to keep in touch with them!  We exchanged e-mails, blog addresses, FB pages, etc.  There is really no reason not to keep in touch!  We are now looking forward to our time here with my parents and sister, our time together in the Keys, and planning for our time out west!  Hope you all keep reading!

0 thoughts on “Amazon and Bourbon Tasting Wrap-Up’s!

  1. We did Amazon about a year ago and had very similar feelings about working a shorter time, getting in shape beforehand and planning meals. Great to hear someone else thoughts. What a great idea of doing the bourbon tasting with your kids! We are always looking for ways to keep in contact with our kids! Enjoy your time of now after working so hard!

  2. I enjoyed your blog about Amazon. Thanks for the information. You are a very good writer and so I will be following your adventures.

    1. Thanks for reading Ruby and your kind words! I’ve always enjoyed writing so keeping a blog was a natural thing for me to do! I’m glad to hear you will be following our travels!

  3. Kelly. Glad you made it yo Florida safe and sound and in time for Christmas. Thanks again for the wonderful information. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and I hope you have a great New Years. I look forward to reading all the great information in 2016. Enjoy your time with family and Happy New Years. Also, if you any other questions about Alaska let me know.

    1. Thanks Chris! We had a nice quiet holiday – will post about it next time!

      Right now I am planning the trip to AZ, after that I will plan for AZ to Seattle – then north to AK! I’ll keep you in the loop!

  4. Great to hear that you got to Florida ok hope you both had a great Christmas
    Enjoy the warm weather
    Hope to see you down the road

    1. You are welcome! I’ve gotten quite a few messages, people grateful for my Amazon info – makes me happy to be helpful!
      Hope our paths cross in 2016!

    1. It was great meeting you and George, just wish our schedules hadn’t been so different – made it hard to spend time together!

      Can’t wait to hear all about your next gig!

  5. Hi, Kelly,

    I’ve got a new email address:

    The old address ( continues to work, but it gives me some headaches, so I am switching.

    Happy New Year! Love, June

    P.S. Your Amazon Odyssey was quite interesting. Keep writing! I’m looking forward to hearing about the Florida Keys.

    1. Nice to hear from you June! I will make a note of your new email! If you want to get the blog at that address you are just going to have to sign up like you did the last one – I have no way of changing that!

      Happy New Year to you and Don! I’ll let you know if/when we will be in the neighborhood!

      Since it seems people keep reading, I will keep typing!


    2. Great to hear from you June! I’ll make a note of your new email but if you want to get the blog sent there you will have to register it like the first time. I have no way to change it.
      Thanks for reading – I plan to keep up with the blog – as much for myself as anyone else!
      Happy New Year and hugs to you and Don! I’ll let you know if/when we plan to be in the neighborhood!

  6. Hello,
    Just found your blog a few weeks ago and have really found the Amazon information helpful. That’s an option we’re considering as part of our full time planning, but haven’t found such a thorough description of the conditions or earning potential. Thanks for the excellent information! Happy New Year, and safe travels!

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