7 Ways Your Finances are Scarier Than Zombies

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Thanks to the Walking Dead zombies are more popular than ever this Halloween.

You might even say they’re cool.

But do you know what’s scarier than zombies?  Facing yet another Halloween with your financial demons!

Here are 7 Ways Your Finances are Scarier Than Zombies…Read on…IF YOU DARE!!!

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How the IRS Decides Whether You Have a Business or a Hobby

As the end of the year approaches, and tax season rears its head, it’s important to start figuring out what deductions and credits you are eligible for.

Many consumers are excited to learn that they can take deductions for hobbies as well as for businesses.

However, what is allowed when it comes to these tax deductions depends a great deal on whether the IRS thinks you have a legitimate business, or whether what you are doing is really a hobby.

Tax Deductions: Business vs. Hobby

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11 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Winter, Conserve Energy, and Save Money

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The changing of seasons is the perfect time to check your home’s energy efficiency, especially when much of the country will be facing cold temperatures in a few months (except for those lucky few living in warmer climates).

As temperatures cool, now is the time to make some updates to your home to save energy and efficiency and avoid costly repairs.

Here are 11 ways to prepare your home for winter and conserve energy:

Clean the gutters

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Would You Sell Yourself to Pay for College (or Anything Else)?

During my freshman year in college, while visiting another college campus, I grabbed one of the school newspapers.  While looking through the pages, I noticed an ad, asking for women to allow their eggs to be harvested.

Women of average height, in good health, and possessing a good GPA were encouraged to basically sell their eggs.  Not only would the medical procedure be covered, but there was also a stipend involved.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine points out that egg donors can receive between $5,000 and $10,000, depending on what is involved.

I was briefly tempted to participate.

I met the requirements listed in the ad.  I cut out the ad and took it back to my own school.  Then I did the research on what donating entails.  There are risks involved with becoming an egg donor, from health issues, to medical screening, to injections.

I decided that, between the scholarship and the student loans, not to mention the part-time job, I would be just fine.

But that experience has stuck with me, and I know that many others find that they can do reasonably well if they are willing to sell a little bit of themselves to help pay for college (and other things).

What Can You Sell of Yourself to Pay for College?

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Using a Roth IRA as an Emergency Fund – Pros and Cons

Roth IRAs are by far my favorite type of investment holding account available.

I love the idea of setting aside $5,000 in after-tax money in order to never pay taxes on the amount ever again.

There are other perks to using a Roth IRA besides never paying income tax on your nest egg.  One of the most prominent: you can withdraw your contributions at any time, even before retirement.  (This isn’t recommended, of course, but it is possible.)  You won’t pay any penalty or taxes for withdrawing your contributions under normal situations.  You will pay tax and penalties if you withdraw your investment earnings, so never do this.

This unique withdrawal capability has some people counting on their Roth IRAs as an emergency fund.

But is this a wise choice or a fool’s gamble?

Should I Use My Roth IRA as an Emergency Fund?

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Is the Curtain Finally Coming Down on the Payroll Tax Cut?

In what seems like an annual rite in Washington, DC, the extension of the social security payroll tax cut—a.k.a., the “payroll tax cut”—is once again up for debate.

The cut was first implemented in 2010 under the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010.  It provided for a 2% reduction in the employee portion of the social security payroll tax, from 6.2% to 4.2%.

The cut was set to expire at the end of 2011, but was extended to the end of February, 2012, and then ultimately through the end of the year.

But this year it’s looking like an another extension of the cut may not happen.

No political consensus to extend the payroll tax cut

With the presidential election and the prospect of a lame duck Congress looming there is little debate on the Payroll Tax Cut extension.  Concern is also centering on the still large federal budget deficits which will be partially reduced through the expiration of the payroll tax cut.  If anyone has serious intentions of extending the cut they’re laying low right now.

Very low.

If things stay as they are on January 1st, 2013 the Payroll Tax Cut will expire.

Why the payroll tax cut is a true middle class tax cut

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Is a Part-Time Job in High School Really the Best Use of Your Teen’s Time?

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Getting a part-time job is often a rite of passage. 

If your parents don’t shower you with money, that part-time job is your ticket to some financial independence.

My first part-time job was when I turned 16.  I worked at a pizza shop until I was let go after I took an approved one week vacation.  Then I moved to the classic teenage job, McDonald’s.  After being scheduled one too many double shifts, I changed jobs to work at my friend’s grandmother’s dry cleaning business (until my friend tried to steal jewelry that a customer left in the pocket, and I decided I didn’t want to work with her anymore).  From there, I moved to the cafeteria at Montgomery Wards.

On and on it went.

By the time I went to college, I had easily worked 10 to 15 different low end jobs.

Many people encourage teens to take jobs to learn responsibility.

However, I was already a responsible teen and working all of these crummy jobs didn’t teach me much.  (There is not much to learn about following McDonald’s rote directions for every task in the restaurant.)

Maybe instead of encouraging our teens to get low end part-time jobs, we should be encouraging them to spend their time differently.

Detriments of Teens Working Part-time

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