With its incredible and constantly growing reach, the Internet has so much to offer. But beware. Not everything you find online is reliable. Not to worry. I spend countless hours researching and sorting out the good from the bad for you.
You can rely on these very useful websites—all of them free—to help you and your family preserve your precious cash while improving your lives. Enjoy!
Feed the Pig. Saving consistently has become a rarity in America, and this was true even before the Great Recession hit back in 2008. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has taken a proactive approach with a certain segment of the population: Teens. FeedThePig.org is a personal finance site created to educate and inspire teens to take control of their money by learning the benefits of saving. Continue reading
I’m going to guess you’ve made a financial mistake or two in your life. Who hasn’t? For some of us, it was more than an occasional late fee or random urge to overspend that brought us to our financial knees. But I’m not talking about the kind of blunders that got us into trouble—we could list those in our sleep. Instead, I want to focus on the mistakes people make while they’re working their way back to financial health. Avoid these goofs to make 2014 a year you make financial progress!
Mistake: Not saving. You’ve heard this plenty, and here it comes again: Jump to the front of the line—in front of your creditors—when you divvy up your paycheck. Get over feeling guilty about keeping money for yourself. You need a fat emergency fund, and the only way to build it is to pay yourself first. Stuff happens, and if you’re not financially prepared for those emergencies, you’ll keep falling back into debt. Continue reading
I must be the luckiest gal in the world. I’m the one who gets to look into the mail bag to find so many clever and entertaining time- and money-saving tips from so many nice readers. Take a look at today’s selection:
You can spend a lot on fancy flavored coffee or you can make your own. I own a Victorian Bed and Breakfast and here’s my secret recipe that brings raves from all who visit: Break up a cinnamon stick in coffee grounds before brewing. That’s it. I use ordinary supermarket variety coffee and no one is the wiser. Nellie B., New Hampshire
You will never have to worry about what to do with those soap slivers again if you do this: When a bar of soap reduces to between 1/2 and 1/3 of its original size, simply lather up another bar and attach it to that one. Once dry they’ll “glue” themselves together. Combine different bars of soaps for an interesting effect. For instance, stick Herbal Rosemary to Aloe Vera! Belinda B., Arkansas [Note: This will not work if either is Dove. -mh] Continue reading
If you itemize your tax return, you probably know that you are allowed to deduct the fair market value of clothing and household items you donate to charity. But what’s the fair market value of say a pair of shoes or a lamp? More than you might think.
The law does not allow the charity to determine the value of an item you donate. The charitable organization gives you a receipt saying that you made the donation. You, the donor, must assign that “fair market value.” And that’s the problem.
If you overstate the value you risk an audit, penalties and interest. If you underestimate you’ll pay more taxes than you should.
Some years ago, my husband and I donated our antique pump organ to a church where it will be used in services and enjoyed by many. It’s more than a hundred years old so looking up the new price and depreciating it appropriately was not possible. Our accountant suggested we locate similar antiques that have sold in, say, the past year and then adjust accordingly for our specific situation. Right. Like there’s a brisk market for antique reed organs down at the mall.
But then I got to thinking …. hmm … eBay! Sure enough, several pump organs have sold in the past year. I printed the documentation and attached this to our tax return that years to back up the value we assigned and then deducted from our taxable income. Continue reading
Two women, different locations, same accident.
Both women using an ordinary commercial toilet bowl cleaner were not satisfied with the way it was removing stains. Each added household chlorine bleach and stirred with a brush.
One died quickly, the other spent a long time in the hospital.
Here’s the problem: Whenever chlorine bleach comes into contact with acid or an acid-producing substance like toilet bowl cleaner or vinegar, there is a sudden release of chlorine gas. This is not a good thing! A similar result occurs when chlorine bleach is mixed with ammonia, lye or other alkaline substances. Chlorine gas is lethal.
Now that I have your attention let me assure you: If you stay clear of chlorine bleach, you have nothing to fear by making your own cleaning products. But, you may be wondering, why should you even consider doing that? The cost, for starters.
You know that blue window cleaner sitting on your counter? You paid about 28 cents an ounce for it and it’s 95 percent water.
Your own products will cost only pennies to make and will not contain toxic chemicals that could be harmful to your family and the environment. Continue reading