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Archive for June, 2006

Schwan Food Contacts

June 25th, 2006 at 03:54 pm

Some more coupon and newsletter contacts courtesy of Flash - this time for Schwan Food which includes the following brands:

Asian Sensations, Edward’s Pies, Freshcetta, Larry’s Potatoes, Mrs. Smith's, Red Barron, Tony's

As mentioned before, these can be used to get coupons and special deals if you use these brands.

Volatile Stock Markets Are Good

June 24th, 2006 at 07:57 pm

I received an email article submission in response to the Investing In A Volatile Market article that was placed on our Investing page a couple of weeks ago. The title of the article is A Volatile Stock Market Is Your Dearest Friend which makes a number of points includiing:

Call it foresight, or hindsight if you want to be argumentative, but a long-term view of the Investment Process eliminates the guesswork and points pretty clearly toward a trading mentality that keys on the natural volatility of hundreds of Investment Grade Equities. During corrections, consider these simple truths:

although there are more sellers than buyers, the buyers intend to make money on their purchases
so long as everything is down, don't worry so much about the price of individual holdings
fast and steep corrections are better than the slow attrition variety
always accept even half your normal profit target while buying opportunities are plentiful
don't be in a rush to fill your portfolio, but if cash dries up before it's over, you are doing it "correctly".

Ford Hybrid Cars Qualify For Tax Credit

June 24th, 2006 at 06:23 pm

A bunch of new IRS tax press releases, most of which were job position announcements, but there was one that may be of interest to those looking to purchase a hybrid car. The IRS announced that three new Ford / Mercury hybrid vehicles had been approved for IRS energy tax credits:

Ford Escape Front WD Hybrid Model Year 2007 $2,600
Ford Escape 4 WD Hybrid Model Year 2007 $1,950
Mercury Mariner 4 WD Hybrid Model year 2007 $1,950

Unilever Coupon Contacts

June 20th, 2006 at 08:38 pm

We have another set of contact links which you can use to get coupons - this time for Unilever. That includes the following brands:

All, Axe, Ben & Jerry’s, Bertolli, Breyers, Caress, Degree, Dove, Finesse, Good Humor, Best Foods, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, Klondike, Knorr, Lawry's, Lever 2000, Lipton, Ponds, Popsicle, Promise, Q-Yips, Ragu, Shedd’s Country Crock, Skippys, Slim Fast, Snuggles, Suave, Thermasilk, Vaseline, Wishbone, Wisk

Money Saving Game

June 20th, 2006 at 04:47 pm

Wixx has put together a new money saving game for those who need a little motivation to make the calls to service providers that can save you a lot of money. Called the You Make The Call Game, you use a spinner to decide which service provider to call and try and get a better deal.

This is a simple way to save hundreds of dollars, if not thousands, on what you currently pay. I recently made a 15 minute call to the cable TV company for my mom and was able to save over $200. It's a great habit to get into and the worst that can happen for your call is that you pay the same amount that you're currently paying

2005 Taxes and Hurricanes

June 19th, 2006 at 11:47 pm

A couple of new tax releases from the IRS both dealing with last year's hurricanes. One was guidance on how to use the safe harbor method when claiming casualty and theft losses due to hurricanes while the other was an extension for those individuals who were living in the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina last year.

While I hope that no one reading this was in the area and will need this information, it's best to pass it along in case someone does...

Organic Gardening and Costs

June 19th, 2006 at 05:16 pm

contrary1 has put together a little piece over at Frugal Gardening that shows that organic gardening is also frugal gardening when it comes right down to it:

Creating good soil is cheap
Good soil makes for healthy plant roots
Healthy plant roots make healthy plants
Healthy plants resist drought, disease & pests

This all means there is no need to purchase expensive chemicals to help the plants grow or to fight off pests which means more money in your pockets while still having a beautiful and healthy garden.

$300 In Groceries For $27 Details

June 19th, 2006 at 04:31 pm

Flash wrote an entry in her blog a little while back on how she was able to get over $300 in groceries for $27, but didn't go into detail on how she was able to manage it. She sent me an article on the details that is now live at Grocery Coupon Guide:

$330 In Grocercies For $27

Flash and I are also starting up a little experiment. Since there aren't any coupons in Japan, they are something that my wife has never used. We're going to see how much a person who has never used coupons before can save and the steps that need to be taken to achieve those savings - basically a how to for anyone that knows absolutely nothing about coupons and saving money with them. it should be an interesting process.

Margot The Financially Savvy Baby

June 17th, 2006 at 04:04 am

One of the fun things of coming back to the US is that I have the opportunity to see my niece a bit more. You may be wondering what my niece has to do with money, but she is one savvy saver already. She's also a cutie!









That last photo is me with mom (my sister).

Tax Surveys To Be Released

June 17th, 2006 at 01:08 am

A couple more tax updates that probably have limited significance to most people, but I also wanted to place a warning out to all (hopefully most of you already know this, but a little reminder never hurts. The IRS will be sending out 50,000 surveys to try and improve taxpayer services:

Taxpayers chosen at random will be asked 25 questions about how they use IRS services and how they would like to use IRS services. The questionnaire will be mailed to the taxpayers by an IRS-approved contractor. The survey to taxpayers does not ask for any financial or personal information nor should any be divulged. Individual responses will remain confidential.

This is important because when things like this get into the news, scammers always try to take advantage and I'm sure there will be some phishing schemes that use this survey to try and steal confidential data. Be aware that if you receive a survey that asks for any of this information, it is not a real survey.

The IRS also released another press release on the senate testimony of the IRS regarding Business Compliance Concerns

Cable Bill Reduced 50%

June 17th, 2006 at 12:24 am

My mom is one of those people that don't like to make phone calls to save money. I wrote last September that by making a simple call to the cable company I was able to reduce my mom's cable bill from $65 to $39.95 a month. Of course, that only lasted three months and I specifically told her that she needed to call back after 3 months to get a better rate again - something that she failed to do. In the meantime, she decided to upgrade her account to include some premium movie channels and on my return back to the US found she was paying $79.20 a month for cable.

Since there were other competing offers of a free month and $29.95 a month thereafter for similar service, I decided that I needed to make another call. I used the exact same strategy I have always used in the past. While I wasn't able to get them to match the deal, they did drop the rates significantly over what she had been paying.

I ended up keeping the exact same service that my mom currently had(including the premium channels my mom likes) for $39.95 a month rather than the $79.20. The deal is good for 6 months which equates to a total savings of $235.50. Certainly not bad for a 15 minute phone call.

While I know it is difficult for some people to call to try and get discounts, it's a skill worth mastering as it will save you literally hundreds (and most likely thousands) of dollars a year. I'm not sure that I'll be able to teach my mom how to do this, but I'll certainly give it a try since it is something that she should be able to do on her own.

Pinnacle Foods Contacts

June 15th, 2006 at 04:37 pm

Another list of contacts for brand named products that you may use from Flash, this time for Pinnacle Foods which include the following brands:

Armour Star, Aunt Jemima, Celeste, Duncan Hines, Lenders, Log Cabin, Mrs. Butterworths, Mrs. Pauls, Open Pit, Swanson, Vandecamps, Vlasic

Remember, these contacts are good for getting on the mailing list of these brands which will often get you coupons and other information that you might not normally have access too. Enjoy!

Reckitt Benckiser Coupon Contacts

June 11th, 2006 at 10:42 pm

Thanks to Flash we have another set of coupon contact websites - this time for Reckitt Benckiser. This includes the contact for the following brands:

AirWick, Calgon, Easy-Off, Electrasol, Jet-Dry, Lysol, Lysol Ready Brush, Old English, Rod-X, Spray ‘n’ Wash, Veet, Woolite, Cattlemen’s Barbeque Sauce, Frank’s RedHot, French’s Foods

Investing - Know Yourself

June 11th, 2006 at 06:00 pm

Another article by Roger Sorensen on investing, this time issues that you should know about yourself when deciding to invest:

Income
Financial Needs
Existing Insurance Coverage
Age
Goals
Credit Standing

Taking these issues into account will help you to figure out what investments are right for you.

Real Estate Investing

June 11th, 2006 at 05:01 pm

A new article over at Investing Page from Roger Sorensen who is the editor there on Real Estate investing on some of the options you have if you purchased a second home that you're considering selling:

If you bought the house because you wanted rental income, or had a good tip from a friend, perhaps you should sell. Housing is a cyclical market and what goes up will come down. At this time, the fourth quarter update of the 2005 Global Insight/National City Housing Valuation Analysis notes that affordability is at its lowest point since 1991. This is due to the twin factors of rising interest rates and high home valuations.

Timeshare Nightmare

June 11th, 2006 at 01:11 pm

Imagine if you purchased a timeshare with a beautiful view and had been promised that the view would never be obstructed only to find out the vacation resort timeshare planned to build another building that would obstruct your view as soon as all the timeshare units in your building were sold. This is what has happened to several thousand timeshare owners as updated on Timeshare Trap. Yet another reason you should always get all promises in writing if you decide to purchase a timeshare (although I highly recommend that you don't)

Making Taxes Easier

June 9th, 2006 at 03:52 pm

Yet another IRS tax release, this time explaining how the IRS is making your taxes easier.

AMT Assistant for Individual Taxpayers
Streamlined Extension of Time to File
Simplified Tax Filing Requirements for Small Employers with Form 944
Revised Schedule K-1 for Partnerships, S-corporations and Trusts

Now while the IRS is claiming a simplification here, I feel that taxes are so much more complicated than they need to be. It really doesn't make since why taxes have to be so complicated - seems that they should be focusing on the overall state of taxes rather than individual areas...

Stockpiling To Savings

June 8th, 2006 at 07:09 am

Flash (with the help of her husband) has put together an extremely informative article on stockpiling groceries that is well worth the read. It explains why it's difficult to achieve the huge savings you often hear about in the beginning when you start to stockpile with coupons and sales, but becomes easier as you build your stockpile (because once you have a stockpile, you can purchase only when the deals are the very best which is not necessarily the case as you're building your stockpile). For those interested in getting the greatest possible savings in their grocery shopping, this is a good place to begin.

Debt Reduction - Small Savings

June 8th, 2006 at 05:35 am

Wixx has a new article up on small savings debt reduction showing that many people that want to reduce debt could do so at a quicker rate if they took the time to search for all those little savings.

More Tax Release News

June 8th, 2006 at 05:15 am

Lots of new tax releases, but most probably not applicable to the majority here unless you are considering buying a hybrid car or you owe the IRS money:

The IRS announced that there will be an increase in the interest rates for the calendar quarter beginning July 1, 2006. Each of these interest rates increases by a single interest point over the rate in the second quarter.

The IRS also announced that Ford and Mercury Sold 6,100+ Hybrid Vehicles while Toyota and Lexus Sold 41,000+ Hybrid Vehicles this people can continue to claim the hybrid tax credit during the next quarter if the purchase a qualifying vehicle.

Lastly, the IRS had released updated information on the special enrollment exam

More Entries

June 4th, 2006 at 03:57 pm

You will see at the bottom of the main blog page that there is now a link for "more entries" where you can now easily find the latest entries made. As the blogs have grown, the new entries don't even last a day now before they go off the front page. We expanded the list 2 times, but the number of entries being made has kept expanding too. We decided that the front page can't be forever long, so the more entries link was placed in. Hopefully this will make it easier so you don't miss any posts you want to see.

We will also be building a system where you'll be able to mark you favorite savingadvice blogs and hopefully this too will help you not miss entries.

New Family Member

June 3rd, 2006 at 10:18 am

Leave it to my wife to find us a new family member in the days before going back to the US. While we already have a houseful of Hello Kitties, we're also working on the real thing.

Our latest family member arrived this afternoon when my wife found a stray kitten sticking out of a water drain pipe of a cement wall next to a busy street. That meant instant new family member. He comes home to the current family which consists of three other stray cats and a stray dog which have been adopted over the years as they crossed our paths when we've been out.



His name is TsuTsu - which means drainpipe (the pronunciation) in Japanese. Now my wife likes the sound of tsutsu, but there was no way she was going to name the kitten "drainpipe" so she changed the Japanese characters to have the same pronunciation, but different Japanese characters.



Tsutsu appears to be about a month old or so - his teeth have all grown in, but still tries to nurse. The other cats don't seem to be too thrilled to have a new brother, but that always seems to be the case when a new stray arrives. Here are a couple more photos:



Rich Seapak Foods Contacts

June 3rd, 2006 at 05:43 am

Another list of contacts provided by Flash (for coupons, newsletters and special offers)is now live - this one for Rich Seapak Foods which includes the following brands:

SeaPak, Farm Rich, Casa DiBertacchi, Rich’s Eclairs, Byron’s Barbecue

IRS Tax Press Releases

June 3rd, 2006 at 05:23 am

The IRS has released three new tax releases - probably won7t apply to anyone here, but have updated our sister site with the information:

There are seven Honda Hybrid Cars that have qualified for the hybrid car tax credit.

Charities have been reminded by the IRS not to participate in political campaign activities and has set up an enforcement program to make sure that charities don't do do.

The IRS has put in place an explanation on how commercial property owners can participate and receive the energy efficiency deduction for their properties.

More Gas Tips

June 2nd, 2006 at 08:14 am

I've decided on a goal of finding and writing about 101 gas saving tips along with some issues to think about with each one before going out and trying to adopt it. I listed Gas Coupons and Gas Discount Days as ways to possibly save and also wrote the first one where you're not likely to save money - Shop Around For The Best Gas Price - which is often given as a gas saving tip, but will likely cost you money in the long run. I'll keep adding these as I find time between my packing...

SC Johnson Contacts

June 1st, 2006 at 06:16 pm

Another set of contact websites for those looking to get on newsletters and receive coupons from their favorite brands - this time for SC Johnson courtesy of Flash:

Drano, Edge, Fantastik, FloorCare, Glade, Grab-It, Pledge, Off, Oust, Raid, Saran, Scrubbing Bubbles, Shout, Skintimate, Windex, and Ziploc

Environmental Investing

June 1st, 2006 at 03:52 pm

It's not often that you come across investing articles that are also entertaining, but Green Investing is one of these. Instead of a straight article, it is written as if a investor and analyst were talking to one another with the theme being environmentally friendly companies that van be invested in:

Triple bottom consists of a company's social, financial, and environmental return. Green is good, right? All kinds of green. Cash green and Mother Nature green, as in environmentally friendly products...

A fun read even if you aren't into investing...

Vacuum Cleaner Buying Tips

June 1st, 2006 at 03:43 pm

Placed a new article up on vacuum cleaner buying tips for those who are currently in the market (or soon will be) for one:

Match The Vacuum To The Job
Power Ratings: Fact or Fiction
Serviceability
Maintainability
Cost of Ownership
HEPA Filtration and Performance
Bagless or Bust
Warranty
Mass Market Hype
Add-ons You Need (or don't)

Currently going through packing and cleaning-up with the move, I can attest that a good vacuum cleaner makes a world of difference. This is one item I would pay more for to get quality and not opt for the least expensive unit you could find. There's nothing worse than a vacuum cleaner that doesn't pick up dirt...

Monster Debt

June 1st, 2006 at 09:14 am

While debt isn't a fun topic, it makes it a bit more enjoyable to read about when a good analogy is thrown in as with Taming the Debt Monster:

...The other scare process - the real scare process - is worse than anything Saw II or The Hills Have Eyes has to throw at you. No, the real scare process has to do with that hideous monster lurking in your life at all times.

Debt.

Debt really can be a monster when you have it weighing on your shoulders 24 hours a day, but there are ways to get rid of the monster - the first being to admit that the monster exists and it was likely of your own creation.

Take the steps to start reducing the monster's size and you'll find that it isn't near as scary as you once thought - at least in the sense that you are able to tame it when you take action to reduce it.