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Ditch That Spending Plan?!?

Have you drawn up a detailed budget and are struggling to keep to it? According to an article in the NYT*, it would be best to just give it up.  Well, not exactly.  But it does say that keeping to a strict budget might not be the best way to go about spending less or saving your money.  The money and pyschology experts they interview say that a budget can be like a diet — it doesn’t often last long and may just end up with you standing at the freezer late at night devouring a quart of ice cream right out of the container.

It’s human nature, they say.  We generally have trouble following through with our “best-laid plans.”  And after a long period of focusing on restrictions — we binge.  Compounding the problem is the abstract nature of credit cards and such.  Watching cold, hard cash dwindle is far more painful and thus more effective in reigning in our spending.
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Which is More Valuable: Tax Deduction or Tax Credit?

As Tax Day draws closer, many are looking for documentation and trying to figure out whether they are taking a deduction or credit for each item that they hope will bring a tax advantage.  Understanding the difference between a tax deduction and a tax credit is important — especially when you stop to consider that one is more valuable than the other.

Is That a Deduction or a Credit?

The difference between a tax deduction and a tax credit can be expressed by the way it affects your taxes.
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Send Credit Card Companies A Message By Using Cash Only

Using cash instead of credit cards

A few years ago, it was a credit card user’s world. As long as you paid on time and didn’t go over your limit, you could have your choice of credit cards and interest rates.  However, with the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act (CARD Act) that went into effect last year, meant to crack down on credit card companies, consumers are finding that they are paying higher interest rates.  In addition, it can be harder to negotiate a lower interest rate.

I had a credit card for over 15 years that routinely offered an interest rate below 10%.  Now, the interest rate is 15.99%.  When I called to have it lowered, they would not negotiate with me as they had in the past.  When I threatened to take my business elsewhere, they were unfazed.  “Sorry,” I was told, “there is nothing we can do at this point.”
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Fighting Fair: How to Disagree About Money in Marriage

Don't let money be a sore point in your marriage

Marriage can be hard enough some days. Throw money into the mix, and things can get downright ugly.  However, just as disagreements in other aspects of your married life don’t have to result in permanent rifts, disagreements over money don’t have to ruin your relationship.  As with all things in marriage, money issues need to be worked through. Here are some ideas for overcoming disagreements about money in marriage:

Know Thyself

One of the best things you can do is understand your relationship with money.  In order to articulate your position on money to your partner, you need to be able understand.  Think about why you spend (or save) money the way you do.  You should also come to grips with why you don’t like the way your spouse handles money, and determine whether or not your own preferences and money prejudices are coloring the situations.
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Continental Airlines OnePass® Plus Credit Card from Chase – Miles and More – Review

Do you fly Continental Airlines? If so then you need to look at the benefits of the Continental Airlines OnePass® Plus Card credit card!  Read on for our review.

This credit card, backed by Chase, is an interesting airline miles card, giving you benefits on Continental Airlines as well as airlines miles credit for United as well (they are merging).

[Please note: The Continental Airlines OnePass card is no longer being offered due to the merger of United and Continental.  The Continental card has been merged into the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card.]

Let’s take a look at what the Continental Airlines OnePass® Plus offers:

Bonus Miles

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What Are Dividends?

What Are Dividends?

Dividends are a portion of a company’s earnings that is returned to shareholders.  When a public company is profitable, they primarily have seven methods to invest their profits:

1.     Hire new employees

2.     Pay existing employees a higher salary

3.     Purchase equipment and/or services

4.     Merge or acquire another company

5.     Purchase stock shares on the open market (otherwise known stock buyback)

6.     Distribute the profit to shareholders (otherwise known as dividends)

7.     Do nothing and save it for a rainy day.

This article discusses primarily number six.
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Changes on the 1040 IRS Tax Form this Year…How Does It Affect You?

It’s that time of year again! Sometime in the next few months you may be preparing, or having someone else prepare, a 1040 tax return form for 2010.  First be aware of some changes that have been made since last year, says “the tax guy” from Smart Money.

First of all, in case you haven’t heard, the deadline for filing IRS taxes is a smidgen later this year.  It will be April 18th because Emancipation Day, a holiday celebrated in Washington, D.C., falls on April 15th this year.

Your tax preparer may also file electronically this year.  Congress has passed laws that are pressuring them to e-file, and it’s safe to say this is the direction we are going as a country.  On that note, you may also have noticed that your annual year-end 1040 booklet from the IRS never showed up.  It won’t.  EverAgain.  2009 was the last year it was mailed out.  If you miss it, you can still find it at IRS.gov and at their walk-in taxpayer assistance centers or participating libraries and post offices.
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