Healthcare Laws that Take Effect September 23, 2010

A few healthcare laws changed immediately with the passage of the Healthcare Reform bill, but most will take some time to take effect. Several important measures that don’t affect your taxes go into effect on September 23, 2010. You may have already received a notice about them from your health insurance company. If not, here’s what you need to know: Health Insurance for Adult Children Under the old law, children…
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Good News for Gift Card Holders

Today, the Federal Reserve announced long-awaited new rules governing gift cards. For some of you, your state laws already provided these protections, but now they will be extended to all consumers as of August 22, 2010. The new rules also apply to network cards (bank-issued cards), which many state laws do not. If you’ve got gift cards in your wallet, here’s what you need to know. Gift Card Expiration Dates…
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That Makes Me Stabby: Shop for Earth Day

I noticed a disturbing trend yesterday: a flurry of emails in my inbox encouraging me to buy something in honor of Earth Day. To be fair, I may in fact go buy a ceramic compost pail, but I was already looking for one. I’m not, however, going to buy a discounted sweater or a marked down TV for Earth Day. At what point did Earth Day become a…
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2009 H&R Block At Home Tax Software Review

This weekend was full of accomplishments, and one of them was getting my taxes done. I’ve been using online tax software for nearly a decade, so I’d become pretty handy at it. Still, this was the first time I had to itemize my taxes and had a major life change to deal with, so I was a bit nervous about finding all the deductions. That’s why I was…
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Saving Money vs. Reducing Packaging

I’ve been having an internal battle with my goal to be frugal and my goal to avoid excessive packaging. I made my own produce bags. I carry canvas bags to stores with me, and not just grocery stores. I don’t buy a lot of packaged food and try to keep the packaging for the rest of my products to a minimum. But it’s not always easy. I’m currently…
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New Homeowner – Which Tools Do I Really Need?

Most people have a few basic tools, even if they live in apartments, but once you move into your first home, you may find yourself needed a lot more tools. Here are the basics we’ve needed in our first two weeks in our new home. Screwdrivers: We needed Phillips and Flat head screwdrivers in several sizes. Fortunately, we have a multi-bit screwdriver set. It has one handle and…
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How to Budget for an Expensive Hobby

I’ve written a post in the past about inexpensive hobbies, but I happen to have a really expensive hobby. It’s also very time and labor-intensive, so I don’t get to do it often, but I haven’t given it up. In fact, I’m thinking of taking up a new project now that I have a house. Expensive Hobbies Several of my friends have very expensive hobbies. I have a friend…
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How the 2009 New Car Tax Credit Works

The new car tax credit was included on the 2009 stimulus package, and it’s causing a lot of confusion for a lot of people. I’ve studied the brief IRS explanation and several other sources to figure out how the credit works. New Car Credit Eligibility Dates The credit applies to new cars purchased between February 17, 2009 and December 31, 2009. That means the purchase must be completed,…
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Goal Motivation: the Carrot or the StickK

For the last several months, I’ve been hearing about this theory that the risk of losing money can be more motivating than the prospect of winning money. Last week, NPR reported on a website based on the theory. It was developed by two Yale professors and is called StickK. I’ll explain how it works. The Stick Theory of Goal Motivation Many people use positive reinforcement to reach their goals,…
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Persistence Pays Off with Freebie Coupons

I don’t usually have trouble with coupons for free items. Usually, manufacturers or stores send them on glossy paper or they are only good at a certain store, both of which make them hard to fake. This week, however, I had trouble with a freebie coupon that was poorly designed. I was persistent, however, and my persistence paid off. The Tropicana Free Juice Coupon As a promotion for…
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