Archive for the ‘Money matters’ Category

Tax Prep Dilemna

by on Thursday, February 1st, 2018

It is that time of year again. It’s time to gather up all of those statements that have been arriving in the mail every day since Mid January. I’ve been doing my taxes myself for several years using a website called FreeTaxUSA. It is free for your federal tax return and charges about $13 to complete your state tax return.

This year I wanted to look for professional help because I had some things come up last year that were not typical for me. I did not make much money but I have a lot of 1099’s and such forms. So I made a trip to Jackson Hewett for an estimate of the cost to prepare my taxes. Although I didn’t make much money, and certainly won’t be getting a big tax deduction, it would cost $300-$400 to prepare my taxes. That’s highway robbery!! The only benefit for me for filing through Jackson Hewett is that you can get an advance on any return due you.

So, now I’m stuck with a dilemma. Do I attempt to prepare them on my own hoping that the computer software prompts me for all of the possible situations that may develop or do I pay thru the nose to have them prepared? I sure don’t want to get into any tax situation with the IRS and I don’t want to owe them money down the road.

No More Paper Receipts

by on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Kudos to K-Mart for stopping the waste of paper by not giving out paper receipts any more. You are supposed to sign up for their shopper card and give them an email address. Once you are signed up, your receipt is sent by email to you and they don’t waste the paper from the cash register.

I think that is a great idea. How many people just automatically throw the paper receipts into the trash as soon as they get home? I don’t know about you, but I only keep receipts if they are a tax deduction or a big ticket item that I want to have proof of purchase in case something goes wrong with the item and I need to return it or call on the warranty.

The extra benefit of paperless receipts is that every purchase gives you bonus points that accumulate over the year. The points can be redeemed for immediate cash credit against your purchase at any time. So, today I bought about $30 worth of household stuff and applied my bonus points to get a cash credit of $13. That was like getting 40% off all the stuff I bought, and I didn’t have to cut out coupons or just shop for sale items. It just went off my bill and all I had to pay was $17 at the register.

New Car Clearance

by on Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Ads for the cars dealerships around here have really increased this month. It is the end of the model year and they are desperate to get rid of all the 2012 year mode inventory and make room for the new 2013 model years cars and trucks.

The TV models are almost always local girls who are pretty but have very little training on how to walk and talk at the same time for a dealership ad.. As long as they have a pretty face and big tits, they get on the air.

The next model years cars are not all that promising I haven’t seen any news from car shows about any big improvements or new concepts. Even the hybrid models are not selling as well as hoped. Its partly the blame of the manufacturers but I think it is also a reflection of the bad economy. People just can’t risk taking on a new car loan for $20K when they don’t have a good, full time job or their job is in jeopardy.

Once this economy starts getting better, we should see a pent up demand for new cars. They just have to wait a while longer – we should see things changing after the elections – one way or another.

Store Credit Cards

by on Thursday, January 19th, 2012

This past week I was shopping at various stores almost every night after work. It seems like this was the week to get all the errands run and all the things bought that I’ll need for the ever growing “honey do” list.

It seems like every store I went to tried to pitch me on signing up for either their store issued credit card or their store’s special frequent customer card. I already have a key chain full of those frequent customer cards and frankly, I don’t want any more garbage hanging on my key chain.

Store credit cards are another matter. I have read the terms and conditions for all the major retailer’s cards and not any of them are a good deal for the consumer. The interest rates are very high and late fees and penalties are extremely high.

I seriously do not recommend getting any of the retailers credit cards, except for possibly the convenience of a gas station branded card. If you get a gas station card, make sure you pay the balance in full every month, or the interest and fees add up really fast. Unless you like paying double the price at the pump over the course of a year, be extremely careful how you use and maintain a gas station credit card.

Check the Statements

by on Monday, November 21st, 2011

Most of the time I get my bank notice that my statement is ready for review and I just dlete the notice and don’t worry about. I manage my money closely and know what I put in thee ans what I am taking out. Therefore, I should know pretty close to the balance without going througha lot of drama once a month to balance the account.

For some reason I took a longer look at last month’s statement and damn, there is a $6 charge against that account by the bank. I’m thinking, WTF?, and called the bank. They said they are now charging $6 a month for me keeping a checking account at this bank. There’s no way to get rid of that charge except to change banks and find someone who will give me an account for free. So, now I’m on the hunt. I’ll be damned if I’m paying this bank $6 every month just for the privilege of them holding my money for me.