March 2011

How to Prepare for Produce Stand and Farmer’s Market Closures

If you’ve enjoyed saving money and higher quality food by shopping at farmer’s markets and produce stands all summer, you might in for a shock this winter when the market closes. My Los Angeles farmer’s market is open year-round, so I don’t need to worry about finding affordable local produce in the dead of winter. I’ve heard that produce stands and markets in other regions do close in…
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Affordable Memorial Day Barbecue Tips

Memorial Day is the official start of barbecue season. If you can’t grill year-round, this is the time to pull out the Weber and fire it up. Of course, hosting a party can be expensive, but a barbecue can be done for much less money if you follow these tips. Shop the Manager’s Specials for Memorial Day Barbecue Meats The meat and other grillables are the most expensive part of…
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Budgeting around Tax Refunds

This year, as has happened before, some states are announcing that their tax refunds will be delayed due to budget woes. If you filed a Federal return and applied for the First Time Homebuyer Credit, you’re also in for a delay of two months or more. We filed in mid-February and the IRS says to expect our refund in mid-April.  In years past, many families budgeted around tax refunds. They planned…
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TaxAct 2011 Review

I prepared my taxes a couple weeks ago using my favorite tax software: TaxAct. I threw caution to the wind and only prepared my taxes with one type of software! I ended up getting a larger refund than I expected. As I’ve said before, I try to avoid owing taxes when I file or getting a refund, but because my husband was on disability for four months, we ended…
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What Is a CD Ladder?

I’ve mentioned CD ladders as good options for tax refunds and emergency funds. They’re a safe way to earn a bit more in interest than the basic savings account. Currently, you won’t earn significantly more, but in the past I’ve seen CD rates go as high as 7% on a 5-year CD. What is a CD Ladder? Basically a CD ladder is five CDs, each with different maturity dates.…
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13 Frugal Ways to Celebrate Spring

It’s spring! Get out your eggs and try to stand them on their ends at the precise moment of the equinox. No, it won’t actually work, but it’s a nice theory. Here are 13 more effective ways to celebrate the return of spring. Plant Fresh Flowers Whether you have a garden or a small container in your home, plant flowers somewhere so you’ll be able to enjoy the…
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