Keep Your Cash

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Get a Library Card

Have you visited your public library recently? I did a couple of weeks ago and was amazed. They have the newest DVDs, Audio Books and CDs. You can also order books from other banches for free and keep books for up to three weeks. They also have internet access and a plethora of magazines. Why pay for a book when you can barrow it? Its your tax dollars at work.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Worst Financial Mistake

My worst financial mistake was not exercising my stock options when they were up about $5 a piece. I lost about $10,000 due to my greed. I kept thinking the options would go higher. By the time the trading window open for employees to trade the stock was below my exercise price. a year later they expired. I did not make that mistake twice, this time I exercised my options when I got the chance. My profit was only about $3700 after tax but the money was secure in my account. Greed is very hard to overcome when it comes to stock and money in general. My lesson learned was that money in the bank is worth a lot more that potential profits. What is your most expensive Financial Lesson?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Identity Theft Victim

Be careful with your mail!!!!!!! I recently received a call from Citi Identity Theft Solutions questioning me on some "Suspicous activity" on my account. They asked me if I had my card and if I had made some purchases and balance transfers. I replied that I had my card but I had not made any balance transfers or big purchases. They immediately closed my account and send me an affidavitt to sign, notarize and return to them. It took them about three days to take it off my account and I received a new card within a week. The only explanation I could think of was that someone got a hold of the checks that they send me in the mail and used them to do a purchase of $1200 and a balance transfer of $1100. The weird thing was that the purchase was made near my zip code.

$200 Dollars for opening Two Citi Cards

I recently opened the Citi Professional and the Citi Diamond Preferred Cards. I made a purchase as soon as I received them . The two cards rewarded me with 20,000 Thank You points or $200 in Gift cards. The points showed up at the end of the first billing cycle. i requested my cards and received them in about 7 business day. The whole process took under 10 minutes. The Diamond Preffered offers 0% on purchases and balance transfers for a year. The also offer 5 points on Gas, Groceries and drugstores but only for the first year. I plan to close it after the year is over. The nice thing of the the Citi Professional Card is the 3% cash back on restaurants. I will use my $200 of Target gift cards to buy my groceries for the next two months. To apply just go to their main site.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Flex Plan or Cafe Plan

Its about that time when most companies renew their health insurance. Pay close attention or ask about the Flexible Spending Account program. Most Companies have this bundled with their health insurance. You can save a lot on taxes by planning ahead. Paying for $2,000 in out-of-pocket expenses with income that was never taxed saves $500 in federal taxes for a person in the 25 percent bracket.

There's one catch: FSAs operate on a "use it or lose it" basis.

So if you still have money in your flexible spending account for 2005, it's time to get cracking.

The IRS sets guidelines for what is and isn't eligible for FSA reimbursement. And you'd be surprised by just how many items make the list, including acupuncture and contact lens solution.

But while most employers follow the IRS's guidelines for deductible medical expenses, employers ultimately determine what is and is not covered by an FSA.

Here are some common -- and not so common -- expenses to keep in mind.

Over The Counter Items: Cold and Flu Medicines, Muscle creams, Contraceptives, Alergy Medicines, Antacids, Pain Relievers, bandages, wart removers, and many more.

Standard medicine: With costs rising as they have been, a relatively healthy family could save hundreds of dollars a year by saving for out-of-pocket medical expenses in an FSA. Premiums are not eligible for reimbursement, but deductibles, cost sharing for office visits and prescription drug co-payments are. If you haven't saved receipts, the "explanation of benefits" sent by your insurance company should have information on what you paid on your own.

Perfect vision: Most plans will let you claim the costs of an eye exam, new frames, new lenses, contact lenses, prescription sunglasses, even contact lens solution. Or you can fix your eyes for good with laser surgery, which is not covered by insurance but is an eligible FSA expense.

Pearly whites: Your FSA money will also help fill in where your dental plan leaves off -- a big help if your kids need braces and other orthodontia or you need artificial teeth. Whitening procedures, however, are generally not covered. Nor are toothpaste, mouthwash and do-it-yourself teeth bleaching.

Weight loss: Most plans allow you to claim the cost of weight-loss programs like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig, as long as your doctor prescribes it. Diet-plan booklets and weight-loss drugs may also be eligible expenses. "If you're 10 pounds over weight that's not counted," said Jay Coldwell, product director for Wausau Benefits. "But if you've been diagnosed as morbidly obese it probably is."

Smoking cessation: Smokers can sign up for smoking cessation programs and pay for it with FSA money. Depending on your employer's policy, you may now be able to claim over-the counter nicotine gum or patches.

Alternative medicine: There are all sorts of alternative treatments you can pay for out of your FSA, as long as they are viewed as medically necessary. Among them are acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, Christian Science practitioners and even massage if it treats a certain condition.

Cosmetic procedures: Generally, cosmetic procedures or products, such as plastic surgery, are not a legitimate expense. There are, however, exceptions for certain injuries, diseases or congenital abnormalities. If, for example, you lose your hair as a result of chemotherapy, you should be able to put FSA money toward a wig.

Assistance with disabilities: Guide dogs (and their vet bills), certain home improvements and school tuition are just a few examples of legitimate expenses if they are needed to accommodate a physical or mental disability.

Thursday, February 16, 2006 No more Registrations

Recently I was trying to log on to Forbes and CBS Marketwatch but they require you to register. I found this process annoying and time consuming. I found this cool site called was created as a mechanism to quickly bypass the login of web sites that require compulsory registration and/or the collection of personal/demographic information. This is how it works. Have fun and enjoy all the cool financial content on your favorite pages.


STEP 1: Make a note of the website address your are trying to access. For example:

STEP 2: Visit

STEP 3: Enter the address from step 1 into the box and press the "Get Logins" button

STEP 4: You should now be presented with at least one username and password. Make a note of them.

STEP 5: Go back to the site you were originally trying to access in step 1 and proceed to login with the username and password you noted in the previous step.

With any luck you should be able to access your article now!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Free E-file With TurboTax

If you qualify you can get your taxes e-filed for free through Turbo Tax. I know its free to e-file through the IRS but you get the added benefit of Turbo Tax's software. The site is taxfreedom.
You qualify if :

If any of these apply, you qualify for FREE federal tax preparation and e-file!

In 2005, did you:

1. Qualify for the federal Earned Income Credit (EIC)?
What is this?

2. Earn $28,500 AGIAGI
Your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is the amount from line 37 of Form 1040 (or line 21 of Form 1040A). It represents your gross income less allowable adjustments, such as moving expenses, IRA's and alimony paid.
or less?

3. Serve as Active Duty Military Active Military Duty
  • Includes Reservists and National Guard
  • You must have a 2005 Form W-2 from the military
and earn less than $50,000 AGI?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Maximize your tax return With Turbo Tax

If you get a tax refund, you can apply part or all of it to gift cards for certain retailers. Turbo tax offers the cards at a 10% to 50% discount depending on the retailer. There is a $14.95 shipping and handling charge, which seems a little steep. My total Bonus Dollars were 92.00 but my net came to be 76.05 after the shipping fee. Here is a link to the retailers TIP- If yoo go through the fidelity link for Turbo Tax they give you a 50% discount.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Save on Valentines Day Gifts or Flowers

Receive $10 off your final order at with coupon code Friend10a on orders over $50 or 20% off with code GPMJ. If you are a member of fatwallet or Mr. Rebates you get an additional 8% rebate with them. Make sure you use your rewards card for the 1% casback from them also. Impress your grilfriend or wife for 25-35% less. You can use your savings for the dinner bill. Tip: try it out for free to see which one will give you the biggest savings. I entered fake info until I was sure of my purchase.