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Archive for May, 2006

IRS Expands Direct Deposit Options

June 1st, 2006 at 04:06 am

Good news for those that get tax refunds and would like to direct deposit a portion of it into your savings or retirement accounts. Until this year if you had your tax refund directly deposited, you could only do so into a single checking or savings account. The IRS announced today that starting next year, you can have your tax refund deposited into up to three different accounts:

The IRS will create a new form, Form 8888, which will give taxpayers greater control over their refunds. Form 8888 will give taxpayers a choice of selecting one, two or three accounts such as checking, savings and retirement account. Taxpayers who want all their refund deposited directly into one account can still use the appropriate line on the Form 1040 series.

This is good news for those who are better at saving when they money never goes into their general banking account.

Sara Lee Contacts

June 1st, 2006 at 03:43 am

Flash has put together another contact list for contacting companies about their brands and getting onto their newsletters. This time the list is for Sara Lee:

Ball Park Franks, Bryan, Earth Grains, Hillshire Farms, Jimmy Dean, Sara Lee, Senseo Coffee, Bali, Barely There, Champion, Playtex Bras, Wonderbra, Kiwi

GE E-Files Largest Tax Return

May 31st, 2006 at 05:01 pm

A Tax Press Release today from the IRS saying that General Electric (GE) filed the nation's largest tax return by e-filing it this year:

On paper, GE’s e-filed return would have been approximately 24,000 pages long. After filing, GE received IRS’ acknowledgement of its filing in about an hour. The file was 237 MB

And I thought my tax returns were difficult... Wink

Debt Counselors

May 31st, 2006 at 01:20 pm

When it comes to trying to reduce debt, there is nothing worse than being taken and finding yourself worse off than when you began to try and resolve the problem. Unfortunately, there are a lot of debt counselors out there that are a lot more interested in making a buck rather than helping those in debt out.

To avoid being taken for more money, you need to do your homework if you decide to seek help from a debt counselor. Roger Sorensen puts together a few things you can do to help make sure the debt couselor you choose is on the up and up.:

Call the Better Business Bureau
Check with the National Association of State Charities Officials
Understand your contract completely
Get all oral promises in writing
Be wary of "voluntary fees"

Taking a few steps can mean a lot less hassles down the road and make sure that the debt counselor you pick is one that is there to help you rather than their own pockets.

No Spend Days

May 31st, 2006 at 11:03 am

Wixx takes the concept of "no spend days" and shows how you can turn them into a family saving money game.

No spend days are an excellent way to figure out where all those little leaks are in your budget. They are a lot more difficult to accomplish than most people think, but just as with everything else, the more you practice, the better you get at them.

Where To Invest College Money

May 31st, 2006 at 09:20 am

Roger Sorensen who manages Investing Page answers the following question: "Should I put it in EE bonds, the I-Bond or would the stock market be better?" over at Reduce College Costs

Playtex Contacts

May 30th, 2006 at 04:54 pm

Another set of contact websites - this time for Playtex products courtesy of Flash. The list of brands includes:

Wet Ones, Playtex Gloves, Banana Boat, Playtex Feminine Care, Playtex Infant Care

Huge Timeshare Scam

May 30th, 2006 at 02:42 am

Our sister site the Timeshare Trap has been updated with a mention of a huge timeshare scam broken up in Europe that is believed to have cost thousands of people their life savings. As I have mentioned a number of times, timeshare resort vacations are a subject that I probably receive the most mail about with people desperately trying to get out of their timeshare units. While they may seem to have appeal at first glance, take the time to thoroughly research and you'll likely find that they are not something you want to get involved with if you don't want to waste your money.

Gift Cards To Save On Gas

May 30th, 2006 at 02:06 am

if you're willing to do a little searching on online auctions and keep an eye out for special promotions, you can get gas gift cards at below their retail value. The better deal you get, the more you save on gas.

When I'm back in the US, I often purchase Costco gift cards off of friends at 95% of value. Since the Costco stations offer the best gas prices in my area, this works out quite well for me.

Pfizer Contacts (OTC)

May 30th, 2006 at 12:29 am

Flash has added a list of contacts for Pfizer over-the-counter products to the Grocery Coupon Guide site. The brand names include the following:

Actifed, Benadryl, Bengay, Caladryl, Corn Huskers, Cortizone, Desitin, Doxidan, Dramamine, e.p.t. Pregnancy Test, Efferdent, Effergrip, Emetrol, Fresh’n Brite, Gelusil, Hemorid, Kaopectate, Lavacol, Listerine, Listermint, Lubriderm, Luden’s, Micatin, Myadec, NasalCrom, Neosporin, Pacquin, PediaCare, Plax, Polysporin, Progaine, Proxacol, Purell, Rogaine, Rolaids, Sinutab, SudaCare, Sudafed, Tucks, Unicap, Unisom, Visine, Wart-Off, Zantac

Gas Station Cards

May 29th, 2006 at 04:08 pm

If you frequent a particular gas station most of the time and that particular brand has a gas card or branded credit card, you should consider applying for it. Even if it doesn't pay as well as the gas reward credit card, there will likely be promotions and special offers that are tied to it that can be quite valuable. The two combined together will make it much more likely that you always get the best refund back when purchasing gas with a card.

If Your Grocery Store Doesn't Accept Internet Coupons

May 29th, 2006 at 02:33 pm

If you grocery store doesn't accept Internet printable coupons, there still may be a way to get the savings. In some cases the printable coupon can be mailed to you through snail mail. The best part of this is that the snail mail coupon is printed on special paper that can be verified as authentic by the grocery store. You can lean more about this and how to check to see if you can get the coupons mailed to at the Grocery Coupon Guide's latest article, Internet Coupon By Mail

Pepsi-Co Coupon Contacts

May 29th, 2006 at 03:42 am

Another list of contact websites and emails for coupons this time for Pepsico courtesy of Flash. The brands include:

AMP, Aquafina, Lipton, Mirinda Orange, Mountain Dew, Mug Root Beer, Pepsi, Quaker Milk Chillers, Sierra Mist, SoBe, Gatorade, Propel Fitness Water, Tropicana, Quaker Oats, FritoLay (Baken-Ets, Baked! Cheetos, Chester’s, Cracker Jack, El Isleno, Doritios, Fritos, Funyuns, Gamesa, Go Snacks, Grandma’s, Lay’s, Lay’s Stax, Light, Munchies, Maui Chips, Munchos, Oh Boy! Oberto, O’Kelley’s, Rold Gold, Ruffles, Rustler’s, Sabritones, Santitas, Smartfood, SunChips, Tostitos)

Fuel Bank Gas Savings

May 28th, 2006 at 02:22 pm

This is actually a neat little concept call the Fuel Bank. Basically what you do is purchase your gas at today's prices and they are locked in at that prepaid price. So if you purchase 1000 gallons of gas at $2.75 today and the price shoots up to $3.95 six months from now, you still are only paying $2.75 per gallon every time you fill up. While there are a few issues to look at and the program isn't nationwide yet, it is something to consider if you think that gas prices will continue to rise.

Gas Savings - Cash and Credit Cards

May 28th, 2006 at 07:30 am

I've placed up a number of short posts about how you can save money with credit cards and cash when purchasing gas including some hints of what to do to make sure you're using the method that will get you the most money back.

Some gas stations offer a discount if you pay in cash rather than by credit card. There are also cash back credit cardsthat you can use to save money and now there are even gas specific reward credit cards to save you money.

Figuring out which of these gives you the biggest discount can save you quite a bit over the course of a year.

Novartis OTC Coupon Contacts

May 28th, 2006 at 03:58 am

Flash has put together another major manufacturer contact list for coupons this time for Novartis which includes the following brands:

Gerber, Novartis Nutrition, Boost, Boost & Benefiber, Denavir, Ex-Lax, Gas X, Lamisil AT, Maalox, Habitrol, Otrivin, Theraflu, Triaminic, Voltaren, 4-Way, Bufferin, Comtrex, Excedrin, Keri, Mineral Ice, No-Doz, Vagistat

We're missing some contacts on this page, so if you happen to know any of the missing website URLs, please email me so I can make the list more complete.

Gas For Advertising

May 28th, 2006 at 03:28 am

I posted about a newer concept that is available in limited areas (supposedly going nation wide this year, but assume it will take a few years to cover most big cities) where you can place advertising on your car in exchange for receiving gas cards. You have to drive quite a bit to qualify (1000 miles a month minimum), but if you already drive this amount, it could be a good way to shave a little bit of money off your monthly gas bill.

Saving On Gas Tips

May 27th, 2006 at 06:13 pm

I just spent the last few hours surfing the Internet looking for tips to save money on gas - there are quite a few of them. I need help if you know of any other tips (whether they work or not) that I may have missed. Thanks for your help in advance.

Home Budget Tips

May 27th, 2006 at 05:49 am

Posted a new article from an outside author on home budget tips with the following recommendations:

Keep your financial records organized and your filing up to date
Avoid spending cash, unless you are good at writing down cash expenses in a journal
Give your children a set allowance for things like movies, CDs, snacks and toys instead of just giving them money on as needed basis
Have a system in place for handling the mail
Avoid going to stores where you have had problems overspending in the past
Have written, long term savings goals
Have a set time each week to review and pay the bills

The one that I think a lot of people pass over which is so important is having long term goals written down and placed somewhere you can see them on a daily basis. As the saying goes, it's hard to get where you want to go if you don't know where that is Wink

More Coupon Resource Contacts

May 27th, 2006 at 05:04 am

Here are a few more contact lists for manufacturers if you are seeking coupons. Of course, a big thanks goes out to Flash for getting the contacts together.



Nestle Waters

IRS Tax Press Release

May 27th, 2006 at 02:58 am

This is probably not something that applies to many here, but the IRS has sent out another press release (placed on our sister site), this time on Shareholder and Corporation Reporting and the changes made to make it easier. Basically, the IRS removed some outdated requirements to make it easier for corporations and shareholders to e-file their taxes.

Surprise Tax Refund For All

May 26th, 2006 at 07:54 am

...well, except fo me since I've been living in Japan. The IRS announced that they will stop charging the 3% excise tax on long distance phone bills beginning immediately and that you will be able to claim a refund for the taxes you paid on this from February 28, 2003 until now. They haven't spelled out exactly how to do this, but it looks like there will be a dual system: you can look it up yourself and use that number, or you can use an easy form they are developing that will make estimating your refund claim easy.

A thread has been started in the forums where you can aske questions and get more information.

RCI &Trading Timeshare Weeks

May 26th, 2006 at 05:45 am

When it comes to mail I receive, timeshares questions and how to get out of them still lead the list. It seems that a lot of people are having trouble with RCI and trading with different resorts for their timeshare week - so much so that a class action suit has been filed against RCI claiming that RCI takes the best weeks for themselves and resells them instead of letting people trade them. I placed up another post on Timeshare Trap about this.

For anyone who thinks that a timeshare is a good way to go, take my advice and pass - with all the mail and sad stories I get, you certainly do not want to be one of them.

Children's Life Insurance

May 25th, 2006 at 11:04 am

I've argued in the past that I think that children's life insurance is something that the vast majority of people don't need and certainly one to place in the worst investment category. Every time I bring up this topic, there are always some that vehemently disagree with me on the topic.

If you still believe that you need children's life insurance even after my arguments, getting a policy for the child is still likely the wrong thing to do. Instead, a less expensive alternative is to purchase a child rider for your existing life insurance:

Most experts agree that purchasing a child rider for your existing life insurance is a much better solution (than buying children's life insurance). A rider is an extension that you can add to the other coverages listed in your policy. Purchasing a child rider is typically cheaper and will help cover funeral costs if the unexpected happens.

While I still think child life insurance is a poor use of money, if you do decide after doing the research to go that way, be sure to evaluate whether or not a child rider is a better alternative.

Basics of Investment Assessment

May 25th, 2006 at 10:50 am

If you are going to invest, it's vitally important to assess the type of investor you are. The best place for you to invest depends a lot on a number of important factors that you should think through thoroughly before making any investment. Depending on your answers to these investment assessments, the best place for you to put your investment money could range widely. Some investment assessment basics to consider:

Your assets versus liabilities
Your personal goals
The amount of time that you've allotted for this investment
The type of diversification you desire

by understanding your answers to these questions, you can lay a solid foundation to begin picking the correct investments for you.

Saving Games

May 24th, 2006 at 05:13 am

I've always been a game player when it comes to my saving. If I can turn the saving into some type of game or competition, I can keep with a lot better in the long run. It also turns the saving from being a chore into something that is enjoyable (at least for me).

Wixx has come up with an interesting Finder's Fee Game that I think I'll incorporate into our other games. my wife and I do well at these type of games - especially if the savings go toward something like a nice dinner out.

No Spend Days

May 24th, 2006 at 04:03 am

When it comes to debt reduction, there are a variety of things that you need to do to help reduce your spending so that you can find extra money to put toward your debt. Making the effort to incorporate No Spend Days into your month can be one way to help you in reducing your debt.

While it obviously has the effect of making sure that no money is leaving your wallet that day, it will also emphasize the areas where you might be spending money without ever realizing it.

While no spend days may seem like a fairly easy activity when discussed, they are much more of a challenge to implement in real life and will show you how easy it is to part with your money without even thinking about it.

As you get better at them and succeed more often, they can truly be a benefit to your budget, debt reduction and savings. It takes effort, but even if you don't succeed at first, the process in itself should be of great benefit to your and your finances.

Frugal Tools For Your Garden

May 24th, 2006 at 02:38 am

When it comes to gardening, there really isn't a need to purchase a lot of expensive garden tools. While a variety of garden tools can be a convenience, you can usually get by with the following basic garden tools:

A Shovel
A Hose
A Hoe

Of course, these are the bare minimum. There are other tools that you can add, but these can get you started at very little cost.

$90,000 in the Freezer

May 23rd, 2006 at 02:48 am

Ok, so Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana had $90,000 in his freezer - there is a perfectly acceptable explanation. My guess is that he is just a follower of my blog and was attempting to cut down on his utility bill by freezer blocking Wink

Requesting Coupons From Manufacturers

May 22nd, 2006 at 04:52 pm

We have a new article up about the dos and don'ts about requesting coupons directly from manufacturers with some great common sense strategies that you might not have considered.

For example, "do not request the manufacturer to send coupons because your local stores will not accept internet printables" and "do not request the manufacturer to send coupons because you cannot print their coupons through an internet printable provider, such as SmartSource or Boodle"

Since coupons direct from the manufacturer are usually much more valuable than coupons you can find in your Sunday paper, following the rules will go a long way in helping you get the most from this source.

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