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How We Broke the New and Shiny Cycle


See that pic? That’s the odometer on our 2005 Chevy Suburban. It just hit 200,000 miles this last month.  I love our 2005 truck. It runs great. Looks good. And fits all of our needs. The fact that it’s eleven years old doesn’t phase me a bit, but it wasn’t always that way.

For years we were addicted to “new and shiny”. In our defense, we stayed mostly away from “big” new and shiny things after we moved to our McMansion in 2001. We moved to the McMansion right along with our 1999 Ford Windstar and our 2000 Chevy Silverado, both of which were bought new and shiny off the showroom floor. Read more

Why You Should Consider DIY Tax Filing

Save Money with DIY Tax Filing
Save Money with DIY Tax Filing

This post is part of the TaxAct #DIYtaxes blog tour which empowers you to take ownership of your finances by doing your own taxes. TaxAct provides the tools and guidance to help you confidently file your taxes easy and fast. Do your own taxes today at TaxAct.com. You got this. 

 Hey, frugal friends!!  We’re nearing the deadline for personal tax filing, so I thought I would share with you our own DIY tax filing experience and why I think doing your taxes yourself with a trusted company like Tax Act can be a smart idea.

Let me start by saying that I’m the primary handler of the money in our household. Rick has absolutely zero interest in the management of our money. Personal finance just isn’t his thing.

Since this task is mostly left to me, I’m the one who had to face the question of:  Do we or do we not file our own tax returns?

 I love the guy that does our taxes. He’s knowledgeable, friendly, gets our taxes done quickly and is relatively inexpensive. We’ve been going to him for nearly twenty years, so he knows our returns inside and out and does a great job.

The Benefits of DIY Tax Filing

So, why would I consider doing our taxes myself?  Two reasons:

  • Money
  • Knowledge

Cost Savings

Although our guy does charge reasonable prices for our area, we still have to pay him $130 a year to get our taxes done. If we use a do-it-yourself tax system like Tax Act, we’ll only pay a maximum of $50 to file state and federal taxes.

Those needing to file a basic EZ or A form pay far less than that.

Knowledge Gained

The other reason I decided to try DIY tax filing was because I really wanted to gain the knowledge that comes from learning to file your own taxes.

After all, I figured, if I could master filing my own taxes, it’s a skill I would have for a lifetime. And the more in tune we are with our personal finances, the easier it is to manage them in a way that helps improve our financial situation.

DIY Tax Filing Today vs. Yesteryear

In full disclosure, we did partake in DIY tax filing one other time, about twenty years ago. We did it for the purpose of comparing the results we received with our preparer with the results we received by doing our taxes on our own.

The experience wasn’t good. The company we used at that time had a less-than-user-friendly system in place, and if we would’ve ended up filing with them, we would’ve received far less back on our refund than we did with our tax guy.

Being so many years had passed, I was eager to see how things have changed. I found that DIY tax filing is MUCH easier in today’s world than it was twenty years ago.

We tried the Tax Act system and found that it is SO easy to use! It tells you exactly what to put in, and exactly where to put it.

The other thing I found highly beneficial with Tax Act is that they have a thorough support system available if filers should have any questions at all. Answers to questions are easy to find and readily available with Tax Act’s online support system.

If you haven’t tried DIY tax filing before, I encourage you to make this the year you test it out for yourself. Tax Act allows you to start your return for free – you pay nothing until you file your return.

So take a chance on saving some money and gaining some knowledge and try DIY tax filing today!

Beating the tax deadline doesn’t have to be stressful. With TaxAct, everything you need to confidently prepare and e-file your taxes is right at your fingertips. You got this. File your simple federal and state return FREE today with TaxAct. 


Image Credit: Flickr 401(k)2012

men in food line

Rational Prepping: Part 1, Financial

men in food line
How to Prepare for Financial Disaster

I read an article this week about how preppers are “crazy”. The article’s point was that many people are going overboard, spending gazillions of dollars on prepping for Armageddon-type events and circumstances. I get the author’s point: there are indeed some preppers out there – probably more than we know – who aren’t “rational prepping” by any stretch of the imagination. The stories are available everywhere; stories of people who are so full of fear that they’re preparing in ways that are more about fear than about logic.

I read about one guy who’s storing up millions of dollars of nickels because he believes it’s a safe metal to invest in. And then there’s this story about the multi-million dollar underground condo bunkers, complete with a full gym and state of the art security team. With all of these stories floating around online, I can see how people would brush aside the prepping community as a bunch of nutcases. But not all preppers are wasting their entire life savings on precautionary measures for Armageddon-type events that may or may not come. Read more

Getting it Right: Goal Setting for the New Year

It’s only November, my friends, but now’s the time to set your Fruclastic money and other goals for 2016. I’m a bit of an expert at setting goals. More accurately, I’m an expert and setting  and then failing at accomplishing those goals.  🙂  So I thought I’d share with you today a bit about what I’ve learned regarding goal-setting mistakes and goal-setting successes. My hope is that this information will help you accurately set (and achieve) your 2016 financial and other goals. Read more

How to Sell Your Car on Craigslist

SSCN5522Selling your car on Craigslist is a great way to make fast money, provided you sell it using the following valuable tips. Cars generally sell pretty quickly on Craigslist when they’re listed properly, in my experience. Getting top dollar for your car and selling it quickly is all about prepping your vehicle well and marketing it well.

To read the rest of this awesome post, click here. 

Sunshine Blogger Award!

sunshine-blogger-award-300x300I am so honored to be nominated by my friends over at Slowly Sipping Coffee to be a recipient of the Sunshine Blogger Award! Mr. and Mrs. SSC have the same kind of lifestyle goals that we do:; ditching debt, dumping the rat race and enjoying the peaceful life. Like us, they like to spread sunshine and laughter to the blogging world as they share their progress toward financial independence. We give a hearty thanks to Mr. and Mrs. SSC for this nomination. The rules of the Sunshine Blogger Award are simple: Read more

Dealing With Shame

slogan2Last week over on Fruclassity, Ruth wrote an AWESOME article in which she interviewed Leanne Brown about her book, Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day. In Ruth’s interview, the author talks about her research into the world of food stamp recipients, and the struggles food stamp recipients often go through as they work to eat within the food stamp budget they’re given and at the same time deal with the shame that often comes upon people surviving on government assistance. Read more

The Greece Crisis: Could it Happen Here?

The Greece Crisis: Could it Happen Here?
The Greece Crisis: Could it Happen Here?

Most all of us have seen the photo at the right; the photo of a crying elderly man, hurting for his country, and upset because he could not withdraw his wife’s pension check due to the lack of cash pertaining to the Greece crisis.

Here is some of what the man had to say as he was interviewed about his collapse on the city streets of Greece: Read more

36 and Mortgage Free: One Family’s Journey

unnamed-1-700x525On Fruclassity today, we’re sharing the story of one family’s journey to mortgage free.

Our guest today is Will, a colleague at the high school where I work. As a teacher, I find it interesting to see different people earning similar incomes navigating their finances in such radically different ways from one another. Will stepped up the ladder to become a department head a few years ago. He is 40 years old, and he and his wife Rachael, who have lived on a single income since their first child was born eight years ago, have been mortgage free for four years. 

Read more