What Can You Get from Personal Finance Blogging

People who put up their personal finance blog would definitely say that they decided to take that route for their…

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What $300,000 will buy you

JLP at AllThings Financial started a meme on what $300,000 will buy you. There are several others participating.

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H&R Block Sued for Fraud

Eliot Spitzer, the States Attorney for the State of New York filed a suit claiming that the nation’s largest tax…

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Adjusted your W-4 lately?

Many people only adjust their W-4 for withholding when they begin new jobs.  However, if you received a tax refund…

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What Can You Get from Personal Finance Blogging

People who put up their personal finance blog would definitely say that they decided to take that route for their business. This is the usual reasoning for it. Who would not love to write about being frugal? From money saving tips, up to expenses, there are really so many topics to talk about when it comes to this discussion. It sure is not limited. Blogs are written on a daily basis. To make it better, time is an utmost requirement. However, apart from acting as a loan advisor, there are many benefits to putting up this kind of blog that most individuals should learn about. What are these? The Benefits of Personal Finance Blogging Here are some of the advantages you may get from personal finance blogging. Check on these and more: Meet new friends. Once you leave comments on the sites of other bloggers, you would be surprised with the ongoing conversation that you can actually start. The response and the follow cannot be underestimated. It would feel as if they are talking directly to you. You will also be touched about the feedback given from time to time. This is a way to learn how you can improve. Interaction is a key and you must consider it. read more

What $300,000 will buy you

JLP at AllThings Financial started a meme on what $300,000 will buy you. There are several others participating.

H&R Block Sued for Fraud

Eliot Spitzer, the States Attorney for the State of New York filed a suit claiming that the nation’s largest tax preparer fraudulently marketed retirement savings plans that caused hundreds of thousands of mostly low-income clients to lose money. Even though this is unrelated to their actual tax preparation, I find myself really glad that I did my own taxes.

Adjusted your W-4 lately?

Many people only adjust their W-4 for withholding when they begin new jobs.  However, if you received a tax refund this year, that means it’s time to make some adjustments.  Many people seem to think that taking more than they need out of their paychecks is good practice and a pretty good savings plan.  They couldn’t be more wrong. Allowing the IRS to withhold more than you need to is the same as loaning money to someone for 0%.  And it doesn’t take a financial guru to figure out how good of a savings plan that is.  There are several options for much better savings plans.  ING Direct is currently paying over 4%.  Loaning your money through Prosper.com can pay more than 10%.  If your worried about spending that money right away instead of getting it all in lump sum in April, set up a automatic deduction or transfer out of your normal bank account and into a savings.  Make it as automatic as a tax deduction and you won’t notice it.  And it will still be there in April. So adjust your W-4 already!  You really should do it every year.  Make it a part of your tax preparation eah year.  You’re already working on all the numbers so do that little bit more.  You could net yourself an additional 4% or more! read more

Festival of Frugality #120

Welcome to the Festival of Frugality #120. That makes this one of the longest running blog carnivals ever. A Penny Saved is lucky enough to be the host this time around, and I’ll try to be a good host. Without further adieu, here’s the frugal posts: William Blake presents: Time to Examine The Way You Spend at Becoming Debt Free. Pants in a Can presents: Find IT on eBay at Pants in a Can. That ranks up there as one of the coolest blog names ever, by the way. Tejvan writes about haggling: How To Haggle and Pay a Lower Price. Bryce writes: Avoiding Impulse Buys at Save and Conquer. Steve writes: Tips on Saving Money at Loan Advisor Betsy writes about saving money on your child’s prom: The $300 Prom Challenge. Sally writes: The Freeloader’s Toolbelt: 50 Tools to Help You Get Anything Free Online. No better way to save money than to get everything for free, right? Margaret offers up some great money saving ideas: 5 Money Saving Alternatives to Stuff We Do All the Time. Penelope writes: Homemade Coin Bank for Saving Wayward Coins. Save money on a piggy bank, and save cash at the same time. read more

What to Remember about Personal Finance Blogs?

There are personal finance blogs which pop up on a daily basis. Some of them are meant to discuss how you will be able to generate millions of dollars. There are those on the other hand which is to teach you how to save money and is frugal. On the other hand, there are those which focus on settling the debt. Needless to say, it would be a good idea to be interested in personal finance. This is going to be fantastic for as long as individuals will be an observer when it comes to taking the step-by-step procedures. One thing is to always be conscious to read various personal finance blogs because some of them are not written by professionals. Do not worry though because the tool has its own strengths too. They would feature true accounts which are about systems, products, and strategies. Most of them might have worked for the author and the reader too. It is crucial for individuals to understand that diligence is the key here. If one would take necessary measures, this will not be a problem at all. read more

Started My Taxes

My meeting last night was canceled because of bad weather, so I had a free night. How sad that I would spend a free night starting my taxes! The last several years I had been using H&R Block’s software, but last year they really frustrated me – they kept making me fill out a form that I didn’t have to fill out, and they wouldn’t let me e-file because of it. So I tried using the free software I got from TurboTax, their basic. Unfortunately,the Basic Turbo Tax already made one mistake on my taxes! It did not handle my Housing Allowance (a deduction from taxes for clergy) correctly. If I would have let the program go, it would have royally messed up my taxes! They were trying to tell me that I was going to get over $5000 back, when in reality it is probably going to be closer to $600 (the program did not take Social Security Tax off of my Housing Allowance which caused the discrepancy). I was a little frustrated to say the least. As I mentioned awhile back, my Dad does taxes for a few other people and he uses the more advanced TurboTax software, and he has not run into that problem. So I will hold out final judgment on TurboTax until I can use the better / more advanced software. I am basically using the free version to help me make sure that I have all the stuff I need before I drive 1-1/2 hours to use his software (and let him see the grand-kids!). read more

Turbo Tax Review

I just finished doing my taxes with Turbo Tax and I was very impressed with the ease of use of this software. It didn’t make doing taxes fun, but it did make it bearable. Not counting pulling all my information together which I had already done (that took several hours in and of itself), it took me about two hours to do my taxes, then a little bit longer to print everything out. I let the program guide me step by step of the way – that takes a little longer but it does make sure that you don’t miss anything. Now that I am a little more comfortable with the program I may not have to use that feature – I can just skip to what I need. I like that it does give you the choice. It handled my parsonage allowance correctly (tax break for ministers), which H&R Block did not do last year (and their software made me file by mail verses electronically). Next year should be even quicker to do my taxes because Turbo Tax will pre-fill a lot of the information fields for me – that will save time and typing errors! I also used Turbo Tax to do my state Taxes (Pennsylvania), but I did not use the software to file them – Turbo Tax charges $20 (or so) to file them, so I just printed a hard copy and filed my state taxes for free using the state online e-file using the information off of my hard copy. it was a little duplication of effort, but I saved $20, and it was helpful to have the hard copy since the state e-filing program was not always clear (hard to believe that the state could be confusing!). read more

Energy Peak Saver Device

A while back our utility company offered a promotion for us to install an e-peak saving device on our central air conditioning unit. Well, since the heat wave has hit the northeast, the device has been activated multiple times for various periods of time. It is only utilized during “normal” work hours, usually in the afternoon (we were told never in the evening and not on weekends and that has held true). So far they call us in advance to tell us through a recording when the “event” will take place. What the device does is cycle our air on and off, that way by doing this with thousands of other customers they can reduce the peak demand and prevent brown outs, etc. We have not noticed any difference in comfort within our home. Now most of the time I am at work and the family is at the public pool, so most of the time we are not even around. But on several occasions I have been present and I do not notice a difference. So for us, there is no difference in comfort, and we received a $50 check and will receive another $35 this Fall after the cooling season ends. So far I am very pleased with our decision. read more

Refinancing Again

With mortgage rates near record lows again I am looking into refinancing again. Although I had refinanced just over 13 months ago, it looks like I can save some significant money by refinancing again. Running the numbers quickly, I can go from a 30 year mortgage down to a 20 year mortgage and not pay much more in monthly payments, while saving about $45,000 in interest over the life of the loan. The breakeven point (between financing and not financing – covering the refinancing costs) for this refinancing is about a year. So it looks like a good deal for me. Hopefully I will know next week whether it is a go or not – I am waiting on the company to get back to me with final figures and approval.