Master Lock knows exactly how important tax season is. With the deadline looming right around the corner, here are a few top tax tips to make sure that you are on the right track with your taxes for 2013.
1. Request electronic copies of your tax forms. Many employers offer employees the option to receive their W-2 forms electronically, instead of by mail. By eliminating the risk of postal delays or missed deliveries, this ensures that your W-2 will be delivered securely as soon as it is available. Plus, faster W-2s can mean faster tax returns.
2. Securely store documents online. Avoid the mess of a mound of paperwork by storing – and organizing – all of your tax-related documents online. By utilizing a free, secure service such as the Master Lock Vault (www.masterlockvault.com) you’ll have easy access to all of your files wherever you are and help ensure that none of your paper documents will ever be lost, misplaced, stolen or damaged. Not only can you upload PDF forms, but you can upload photos from your phone of important receipts and expenses for your records. All data is instantly synchronized between the website and the App. Bonus: securely store log-in information for your bank accounts and tax filing site in the Vault so you’ll never have to worry about forgetting your username or password.
3. Think taxes year-round. Don’t wait until you’re ready to file your taxes to start collecting and organizing the supporting documents you’ll need to complete your return. Avoid the scramble by capturing and uploading a digital image of your receipt each time you pay the babysitter or have a tax deductible transaction, fill a prescription at the pharmacy, or make a charitable contribution such as dropping off a clothing donation to your local thrift store.
4. Opt for direct deposit. If you’ve done everything else online, why request a hard-copy check when it comes time to claim your refund? When combined with electronic filing, direct deposit is the fastest way to get your refund. If you’re on the other side of the spectrum and find that you owe taxes, opt to pay online and you can avoid the long tax-season lines at the post office.
5. Call for help. Sometimes, outside advice is necessary, and you can now get the help you need without leaving home. Based on the complexity of your question, there are a variety of resources to turn to. For example, the IRS offers a toll free hotline for tax questions during weekdays. Several tax-prep software providers also offer guidance via online forums or on their social media feeds.
Enter to win a chance at $1000
Want an extra tax refund? Sign up for the free secure online storage and organization service called Master Lock Vault and you can enter for a chance to win one of five, $1,000 prizes in the “Tax Relief Rewards” Sweepstakes. Enter at http://bit.ly/13tV0rX
What is the Master Lock Vault? It is a safe and secure online storage and organization system. With the popularity of filing taxes online continuing to rise, Master Lock is providing consumers with the digital tools and top five tips to simplify the filing process and keep private income information safe.
I was sent a locking safe from Master Lock for files in order to share this post with you. All opinions listed are my own.
When I was 16 and got my first car, gas was only 1.00 a gallon. That honestly seems like such a long time ago now that gas is around $3.50 a gallon! Every year gas costs seem to rise more and more. It makes me want to stay at home and NOT leave! There are a few things that you can do to help save money on your fuel costs. I have listed 5 of my favorite ways below.
5 Ways to Save Money on Your Fuel Costs
Plan Your Route
I can’t tell you the countless times that I have run out to go do my errands only to find myself driving and backtracking. On a day when you know that you have to go run errands, make yourself a map of all the places you have to visit. Put them in order so you can just make a round trip without having to backtrack. It will save on gas in the long run.
When You Can — Carpool
My friend and I like to take shopping trips to the city. She always offers to drive, so she and I split the gas when we go. This helps me from having to pay the full price for a tank of gas.
Change Daily Trips Into Weekly Trips
I am THE world’s worst about making a daily trip into town, simply because I live right here in town. However — it still costs me gas to do that. The best thing you can do is start planning out your trips and only go once a week instead of daily. Do all your shopping, bill paying, and whatever else you have to do all in one trip. This will also help you save money at home as well because you will be less tempted to eat out. You will fix more meals at home.
Buy Your Gas During the Week
Try to buy your gas during the week if you can. Our local stations have always pretty much raised their prices on the weekends, and especially on holiday weekends. So wait to fill up until they come back down a bit, maybe on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.
Join a Fuel Rewards Network Program
I was recently introduced to Fuel Rewards Network Program.It’s really easy to use. Simply shop with participating Shell stations, restaurants, online merchants and more to earn fuel rewards savings redeemable at Shell Stations nationwide. It’s like you are getting paid FREE gas just for doing what you do everyday!
With the Fuel Rewards Network Program, you can earn rewards just for the things you buy. If you dine out, you can earn .10/per gallon off for every $50 you spend. For my family of four — that is not hard to do at all. If you do a lot of shopping online, Fuel Rewards Network Program has an online mall. Shop through major name brands like Gap, Old Navy, Home Depot, and Best Buy, and you can save .5/per gallon for every $50 spent.
Enter to Win
Right now, I am giving away 5 Fuel Rewards Network Program Cards that are already pre-loaded with $1.00 per gallon in fuel savings. All you have to do to enter is use the Rafflecopter form below. It’s really very easy! This giveaway will close on 3/17 and all cards will be mailed out to the winners.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I was provided a Fuel Rewards Network Program card to use for my review and 5 to give away. All opinions listed are my own.
Clipping coupons is no longer the thing you mom did if she found a good deal on a cake box mix she likes in the Sunday paper. It’s now a verb. Couponing. As in to “coupon”. It really became a ‘craze’ once the economy hit a low, and has taken hold since. Now, it’s not so strange to be standing in line next to a mom who has so many coupons she actually saves more than she spent. While we all might not be as enthusiastic about couponing, there are definitely some benefits to spending a little time checking deals and discounts. The grocery bill is where we’d all like to see a bit of a drop in price. Here are some tips to help you accomplish that at the checkout counter.
5 Tips to Save Money on Your Grocery Bill
Check Your Local Listings
The Sunday newspaper is still a go-to-guide for some of the best coupons you can find. All of the grocery stores as well as department stores post their sales and coupons in the Sunday mailer. In addition to looking in the local paper, check out national magazines. Magazines like Redbook or Good Housekeeping frequently carry manufacturer coupons. No matter where you get your coupons from, check the date.
Read the Fine Print
What many folks aren’t aware of is their ability to double dip. If you’ve got a store coupon, many times you can couple it with a manufacturer’s coupon, and save yourself even more money. Many stores also carry in-store coupons. Again, make sure you read the fine print, but it’s another way to double dip. Obviously searching for coupons that match the weekly specials may take a little more time, but it can definitely be done.
Another place to look for great deals and coupons for your groceries is online. Many companies like WalMart carry grocery items online. You can find lots of coupons from WalMart. You may not even need to leave your home to get a great deal.
Check Couponing Sites
Spend a little time on your weekend before you run the errands to check couponing websites. Sites like savings.com or couponmom.com can help you maximize your coupons with discounts on specific items or at certain stores. Sites like these are operated by people who spend a lot of time trolling the internet for the best deals for their readers. It may surprise you some of the deals you didn’t know about.
Clip and File
One of the most important things you can do to save time and money is to clip the coupon as soon as you see it and save it. You may not need it right now, but next week. It also helps to keep all of your coupons in one file, so when you’re ready to shop and make your grocery list, you’ve got all of your coupons ready to go.
Spending a little time couponing may end up saving you a lot of money.
My hubby is an avid tool buyer — especially Craftsman brand. What can I say? His tools do make us money to the pay the bills so when he wants to get a new tool, I say okay
Sometimes his tools can be quite expensive, so I am always looking for ways to save money. For us, that is the Shop Your Way Rewards system that is offered through Sears and KMart. I use it for ladies’ items and he uses it for his tools.
If you are a member, you can get a sneak peek on some really great buys for the holidays!
THE GREAT MEMBERS-ONLY LAST-MINUTE GIFT GRAB at Sears
Hey early bird! Members get exclusive access to some hot deals on cool last minute gifts on December 17 from 1am until 11:59pm CST.
All day on the 17th, you can check out cool Christmas gift ideas and items that are on sale, but you can only snag these if you are a Shop Your Way Rewards Member — so get signed up so you can get in on this deal!
Shop Your Way Rewards are a HUGE Help
I cannot tell you how often I have used my Shop Your Way Rewards points to get coupons and dollars off our order. It definitely comes in handy when we need to make a purchase, but need a huge discount
Get set to shop on the 17th to grab those last minute deals.
“This is a sponsored post with http://brandfluential.com, I am a Sears blogger, though all opinions are my own.”
I use Retail Me Not like it’s my third arm — especially when I am shopping for a great deal. I discovered this little beauty when I was working at JC Penney. There was always a $10 off coupon on there somewhere, and these always came in handy during the $10 off $25, plus they could be combined with my store discount, and my rewards points, so I always saved these for when I needed to do some mega shopping. Because I used all those items combined, I could walk out with 3 bags of clothes (enough to outfit my daughter for 2 years) for around $50-$60.
RetailMeNot.com, the largest online coupon site in the United States, recently announced the launch of the company’s latest innovation – a location-based coupons app for iPhone. Version 2.0 of the app includes geo-fencing capabilities that enable consumers to receive local coupon notifications for nearby stores at hundreds of shopping malls across the United States. Get the iPhone app now and Save When You Want, Where You Want!™
Features of the Updated RetailMeNot Coupons app for iPhone include:
- Location-based coupons available at more than 500 geo-fenced shopping malls across the country by Black Friday
- Map services that identify nearest store locations to redeem in-store coupons
- Simple, easy-to-use interface with curated “Hot Deals” from popular stores and access via search to RetailMeNot’s best online and in-store coupons from thousands of merchants
- Ability to save coupons for later use, helping consumers organize their shopping excursions
- Coupon expiration alerts that message you when your saved coupons are about to expire.
- Push notification to consumers of relevant coupons
- Ability to add RetailMeNot coupons to Apple’s Passbook
- Supported on iPhone 5 and iOS 6: optimized for new screen size and features.
How the App Works:
A geo-fence is a virtual perimeter set around a physical retail location.. When functionality is enabled, a consumer entering a geo-fenced location, like a shopping mall, with the RetailMeNot coupons app is immediately alerted about relevant offers nearby. Coupons can also be added to Apple’s Passbook for better organization, storage of offers and later use at the point of purchase.
(Please note: Android users can also get the app but it does not have the new location-based coupons upgrade, yet.)
Download the app and you could win an Iphone5
Come on get h-App-y! RetailMeNot is giving away an iPhone-A-Day for 8 days. Click here to enter! Sweepstakes starts Monday, November 19th and runs through Monday, November 26th.
This is a sponsored post from One2One Network and RetailMeNot.com. All opinions stated are my own.
Christmas–with no debt, less stress, and more joy!
Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also one of the most stressful–and most expensive. Expectations run high, and it’s tempting to whip out the credit cards to create the perfect Christmas, with lavish meals, new decorations, and the latest, greatest gadgets and fashions for everyone on your gift list.
But you don’t have to overspend or go into debt to have a fabulous holiday.
Financial expert Mary Hunt shows you how to assess your situation, commit to no new debt, and think creatively about gifts. With Mary’s guidance, you’ll discover what caused you to overspend in the past and how to approach this Christmas with a plan. It just might be the best gift you can give yourself and your family.
Christmas has become so commercialized. Spend, spend, spend. It almost makes you NOT want to do Christmas. However, Mary takes the time to teach us what we can do to celebrate Christmas without breaking the bank.
I love Mary’s books. Her tips and information have always been so helpful in teaching me how to stretch my dollars and still have a memorable experience. In her latest book, Debt Proof Your Christmas, it’s no exception.
One of my favorite ways to debt proof my Christmas is by making homemade Christmas goodies for my friends. The gift means more than something store bought, and the money that I do spend is in my budget and the love that is displayed in my homemade goodies says it all. You can have Christmas without breaking your pocketbook!
About the author:
Mary Hunt is an award-winning and bestselling author, syndicated columnist and sought-after motivational speaker who created a global platform that is making strides to help men and women battle the epidemic impact of consumer debt. She is founder and publisher of the interactive website Debt-Proof Living, which features financial tools, resources, and information for her online members. Her books have sold more than a million copies and her daily newspaper column is nationally syndicated through Creators Syndicate, and is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of Everyday Cheapskate readers. Hunt speaks widely on personal finance and has appeared on shows such as Good Morning America, Oprah, Dr. Phil, and Focus on the Family. She and her husband live in California.
I received a copy of this book in order to write my review. All opinions listed are my own.
When I was young, I used to go to the movies all the time. As a teenager, that was just what we did to have fun. Of course, nowadays, it is ridiculously high to even think about going to the movies. A regular ticket now costs an average of $12 to get in, and if the movie is a 3D movie, you can expect to pay a whopping $15-$20 per person.
Don’t even get me started on the popcorn.
There are ways to cut costs and still be able to go to the movies. I look at it this way — God wants us to use our money wisely. He didn’t say we can’t have fun, but we do need to find ways to save if it’s at all possible! I have chosen my 5 favorite ways to save and still be able to have a fun evening at the movies
1. Always check for coupons first! Many sites like Groupon and daily deal sites will have movie tickets sometime for as little as $3 per person. You can usually score between 2-4 during that time. These are good for about 6 months or so, so if there is a movie coming out later in the year that I know I want to see, I try and buy up a few to save money.
2. Visit the Matinee movie instead of the evening movie: Matinees are not as cheap as they used to be. I remember a time when the matinee was only $4, now a matinee movie will cost you around $7-$8. Regardless, it is still cheaper to hit up the matinee during the day. Not only do you save money, but you also avoid the crowds.
3. The Summer movies have advantages: If you have kids, check your local theaters for summer programs. Many times they will have movies that play free all summer long. You do have to get there a bit early in order to get in, but it is a good way to go to the movies and get in for free.
4. Forgo the popcorn and candy. Snacks are overrated at the movies. I mean who wants to pay $10 for a small popcorn and drink? NOT ME! You can check online for coupons for a free small snack pack, etc. Sometimes movie theaters will post these freebies on their facebook page and it does save you money. If not, you can just do without the snacks and then make a date for an ice cream run afterwards Plus, your wallet and your waistline will thank you.
5. Try visiting a drive in instead. I went to my first drive in move the other night. It was amazing and SO cheap! Where we live, they have double feature movies. The cost to get in is $5 per person and you get two movies for the price of one. The snack bar is cheap, so my entire family got to have a night out, 2 movies, and dinner for only $30. You cannot beat that. Check around and see if there is a drive in around your area. They do tend to be a little less expensive than going to the movies, and for me — it was a lot more comfortable
So what movie money saving tips do you have to share? I would love to hear them!
This post is linked to Frugal Fridays at Life as Mom, Coffe’s On at Home Sanctuary, Caffeinated Randomness, Favorite Things Friday, Weekend Whatever, Faith Filled Friday, Just for Fun Fridays, Homemaking Link Up, and 5 Minute Fridays. .