This huge and vast land of information online is hard to cover fully without the help of others and I don't like to be one to miss something that might be useful. I hate saying... "Darn, I wish I knew about that!"

Savings Bonds-
If you're bad at saving for the long term future or retirement because easy access to money is too tempting, consider a new option recently offered by the government for the first time this year.

It is offering to send tax refunds in the form of U.S. series I savings bonds this year. They would come in increments of $50. For example: if you're due a $541 refund, you can deposit $41 into a bank account and get 10 of the $50 interest-paying bonds. 

You can cash them in at any time after a year, but you will have a 3 month interest penalty, up to five years and then there is no penalty after that. To get your refund as bonds, you will need to file Form 8888 with your tax refund.


Lottery Lessons-
I found this story refreshing.
"Jay has quite a portfolio to maintain since he bought a scratch-off lottery ticket on his 19th birthday that yielded him $1 million.
Jay took the seven-figure prize in a lump-sum payment. By the time he set aside 10 percent for charity and gave $10,000 each to his parents and several other relatives, he said he still had a healthy nest egg left over."

He invested for the long term and the short term around 500-530,000 dollars of his winnings and even though his investments have tanked a bit due to the economy he is appears grounded and doesn't appear to be getting scared over the downturn. Heck he's still young and has time on his side to make up the losses. Good for him.

These stories are so rare since people would rather read about a lottery winner who went bust than one who made smart decisions and invested well. I guess they have a statistic that around 70% of lottery winners burn through their winnings and end up where they were before or worse off.

My personal back masseuse-

My back gets knotted up a lot and I have found the cheapest way to get the relief I need when I want it.

The back scratcher is a rubber cake frosting knife picked up at a dumpster and frankly I can't find my tennis ball, but they are easy to find and clean up. The tennis ball I drop into a sock (the sock is useful so I don't lose the ball and easier to reposition) and then toss between my back and a wall and start rolling around on it or I run it across my shoulders while sitting. Cheaper than anything out on the market and works wonderfully.

IRS Calculator-
Every year after doing my taxes I sit down with my year to date pay-stubs and figure out what I need to adjust for the upcoming year. Sure it is nice to get a big refund but I'd rather have the money during the year than as a lump sum at the end.
The IRS Calculator is usually pretty close within $50-$100 of where I need to be. The calculator is also handy if you want a larger refund check at the end of the year and want to know what to adjust.

7 Other Uses for a Penny- @Real Simple
Game Token, Party Ice Breaker, Makeshift Screwdriver, Tread Checker and my favorite unique use is a Birdbath Cleaner -To ward off algae, toss in a few pre-1982 coins; the high copper content retards growth.

"We (Americans) Know How to Make Money, But Don't Know How to Spend It.
"

--S.W. Straus; American Society for Thrift, founder. 1913, nytimes

4 Comments

  1. Anonymous // Sunday, January 31, 2010 8:57:00 PM  

    I was under the impression that I-Bonds could not be cashed in for the first 12 months in any circumstance, then a 3 month penalty for until 5 years.

  2. Dawn // Monday, February 01, 2010 9:06:00 AM  

    @anon
    You are correct, ownership does have to be one full year. (I will correct that)
    http://www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/products/prod_ibonds_glance.htm

  3. Hot Deals // Thursday, February 04, 2010 5:14:00 AM  

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