New Credit Card Rules Take Effect

Today is the day credit cards change ways they do business. Most of the rules in the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009 are going into effect today.

Here is a rundown of what changes are taking effect (for more details see my article The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, And Disclosure (CARD) Act Of 2009- Effect On Credit Card Holders:
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Pay Off Highest Interest Or Highest Balance Credit Card – Analysis Paralysis

Choose

The question comes up all the time when a person wants to start getting their credit cards under control – Pay off the cards with the highest interest or the cards with the highest balance?

On the one and you have high interest credit cards – A high interest rate costs you every month and compounds the amount you owe every month you aren’t paying off the entire balance.  High interest costs you for what you borrowed.  For some people the interest rate can close in on 30%.  That’s basically agreeing to pay one third more for everything you bought on the card (or more depending on how long you owe)!

On the other hand you have high balance cards – You’ve used the card so much that the balance may be in the thousands and no matter what you are paying the balance doesn’t seem to ever go down.  Even if you have a low interest rate you may be paying a lot of interest because of your high balance.
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Who Should I Pick To Do My Taxes?

Tax+Definition

We’re right at the start of tax season.  Here’s a few questions that come up every year around this time:

  • Do I really need a CPA to do my taxes?  Could I just do the same thing myself?
  • Am I missing out on a bigger refund by doing my taxes myself?  Would a professional be able to get more for me?
  • Am I risking an audit by doing my own taxes?
  • Is it worth my time just to pay someone else to do my taxes?
  • Do I even have to pay my taxes?

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4 Ways to Enjoy The Movie Theater Experience For Less

Movie+Marquee

Going to the movies is one of my favorite past-times – since December I’ve seen four movies on the big screen: The Princess and the Frog, It’s Complicated, Avatar, and Sherlock Holmes.

I love the big screen, the great sound, and the cushy seats. But prices for movies haven’t been so comfortable for consumers.  In 2009, the average cost of a movie ticket is $7.50, according to the National Association of Theater Owners.  Southern California, where I live, is an area with one of the highest costs of movie tickets.  Tickets now cost $10-$13 for evenings and $8-$10 for matinees.
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Monster TurboTax Online Tax Software 2009 Review

Start TurboTax Online Free

[Here is a review of TurboTax 2010 online tax preparation software]  Below is the 2009 version.

Back when I started working and had to file taxes I would go to the library to pick up the necessary forms.  I’d set aside an afternoon to go through the 1040’s and see what I needed.  Then I’d spend the rest of the time getting my head around the forms and carefully filling out what was needed.  My taxes weren’t complex and there was no online filing back then (did I just date myself a bit?).  It still made my head spin a bit but that’s what I had to do.  A few years later I discovered TurboTax.  It was an expense to use at the time, but it was well worth not having to go through all of the forms figuring out what to fill out where.

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First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit – Who It’s For And What Is Needed To Claim It

On November 6, 2009 The Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act was signed into law.  This move has resulted in the extension or expansion of the first time home buyer credit which was enacted previously.  In order to receive the first time home buyers tax credit you must first understand who qualifies and how you should proceed in order to get the most benefit from the tax credit.  Here we look at two frequently asked questions regarding the first time home buyer credit.
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Eating Healthy on a Budget

fruits and vegetables

Eating is a basic human need, yet for many it is often surrounded by mystery, mystique and confusion – differentiating healthy from non-healthy is often a difficult task.  This, coupled with the challenge of eating healthy while on a budget, intensifies the issue to epidemic proportions.  Searching out the proper way to eat, while also saving on costs, can be an overwhelming task.  Below, I outline the best ways to eat well on a budget, and I hope this will aid in your mission!
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