The Treasury Department and the IRS began this initiative last year, but they are really making a push for it this year, that is encouraging taxpayers to use part or all of their tax refund to purchase a treasury bond. For more information, read Emy’s post and go this website. If you are interested, be sure to let your tax preparer know, whether he or she is a paid professional or an IRS-certified volunteer. And if you are filing your own taxes, be sure to use Form 8888 so you can split your refund between the bond purchase and a direct deposit/paper check.
Possibility the most sought after chart in the tax season, it shows when you should expect your refund (if you overpaid your 2010 taxes), provided your return is not rejected by the IRS. As you can see, a paper check takes twice as long as a direct deposit, so I would encourage all of you to file electronically and opt for direct deposit, which is completely secure.
Transmitted and accepted (by 11:00 am) between . . . Direct Deposit Sent* Paper Check Mailed*
Jan 14 and Jan 20, 2011 Jan 28, 2011 Feb 4, 2011
Jan 20 and Jan 27, 2011 Feb 4, 2011 Feb 11, 2011
Jan 26 and Feb 3, 2011 Feb 11, 2011 Feb 18, 2011
Feb 3 and Feb 10, 2011 Feb 18, 2011 Feb 25, 2011
Feb 10 and Feb 17, 2011 Feb 25, 2011 Mar 4, 2011
Feb 17 and Feb 24, 2011 Mar 4, 2011 Mar 11, 2011
Feb 24 and Mar 3, 2011 Mar 11, 2011 Mar 18, 2011
Mar 3 and Mar 10, 2011 Mar 18, 2011 Mar 25, 2011
Mar 10 and Mar 17, 2011 Mar 25, 2011 Apr 1, 2011
Mar 17 and Mar 24, 2011 Apr 1, 2011 Apr 8, 2011
Mar 24 and Mar 31, 2011 Apr 8, 2011 Apr 15, 2011
Mar 31 and Apr 7, 2011 Apr 15, 2011 Apr 22, 2011
Apr 7 and Apr 14, 2011 Apr 22, 2011 Apr 29, 2011
Apr 14 and Apr 21, 2011 Apr 29, 2011 May 6, 2011
Apr 21 and Apr 28, 2011 May 6, 2011 May 13, 2011
Apr 28 and May 5, 2011 May 13, 2011 May 20, 2011
May 5 and May 12, 2011 May 20, 2011 May 27, 2011
May 12 and May 19, 2011 May 27, 2011 Jun 3, 2011
May 19 and May 26, 2011 Jun 3, 2011 Jun 10, 2011
May 26 and Jun 2, 2011 Jun 10, 2011 Jun 17, 2011
Jun 2 and Jun 9, 2011 Jun 17, 2011 Jun 24, 2011
Jun 9 and Jun 16, 2011 Jun 24, 2011 Jul 1, 2011
Jun 16 and Jun 23, 2011 Jul 1, 2011 Jul 8, 2011
Jun 23 and Jun 30, 2011 Jul 8, 2011 Jul 15, 2011
Jun 30 and Jul 7, 2011 Jul 15, 2011 Jul 22, 2011
Jul 7 and Jul 14, 2011 Jul 22, 2011 Jul 29, 2011
Jul 14 and Jul 21, 2011 Jul 29, 2011 Aug 5, 2011
Jul 21 and Jul 28, 2011 Aug 5, 2011 Aug 12, 2011
Jul 28 and Aug 4, 2011 Aug 12, 2011 Aug 19, 2011
Aug 4 and Aug 11, 2011 Aug 19, 2011 Aug 26, 2011
Aug 11 and Aug 18, 2011 Aug 26, 2011 Sep 2, 2011
Aug 18 and Aug 25, 2011 Sep 2, 2011 Sep 9, 2011
Aug 25 and Sep 1, 2011 Sep 9, 2011 Sep 16, 2011
Sep 1 and Sep 8, 2011 Sep 16, 2011 Sep 23, 2011
Sep 8 and Sep 15, 2011 Sep 23, 2011 Sep 30, 2011
Sep 15 and Sep 22, 2011 Sep 30, 2011 Oct 7, 2011
Sep 22 and Sep 29, 2011 Oct 7, 2011 Oct 14, 2011
Sep 29 and Oct 6, 2011 Oct 14, 2011 Oct 21, 2011
Oct 6 and Oct 13, 2011 Oct 21, 2011 Oct 28, 2011
Oct 13 and Oct 20, 2011 Oct 28, 2011 Nov 4, 2011
*The IRS does not guarantee a specific date that a refund will be deposited into a taxpayer’s financial institution account or mailed.
For a printable PDF version, click here.
As a result of April 15, 2011 being Emancipation Day, the deadline to file your federal individual tax return and pay your taxes has been extended to April 18, 2011. Deadlines for state individual tax returns have also been extended accordingly, with the exception of Massachusetts and Maine, where the deadline has been further extended to April 19, 2011 as April 18 is Patriots Day.
CVS recently started a new Beauty Club as an extension of its ExtraCare customer rewards program. It is essentially a separate program where you can receive a 10% coupon off your first beauty shopping purchase, $5 Extrabucks for every $50 beauty purchase, and $3 Extrabucks on your birthday. Products that are considered part of the Beauty Club are those in the following categories:
- Ethnic Hair Care,
- Hair Accessories,
- Hair Appliances,
- Hair Care,
- Hair Color,
- Healthy Skin Care,
- Skin Care, and
- Sun Care.
As you can see, the definition of a beauty product is quite broad and you will accumulate many Extrabucks before you know it. Finally, CVS has a beauty guarantee, where it will refund the full purchase price of any beauty product returned (opened or unopened) with a receipt or invoice, no questions asked.
I know we’ve posted about Sephora’s Beauty Insider program in the past, but I feel that this program is comparable, if not superior, to Sephora’s program. First, the purchases translate into currency that you can use at CVS to purchase anything. With Sephora, you can only redeem your points for a limited selection of products. Second, while women do splurge on make-up and skin care products at Sephora, CVS contains many essential, everyday products that people, MEN and women, cannot live without, such as shampoo and conditioner, baby oil, vaseline, etc. Moreover, there are plenty of drugstore products that work just as well as the high-end stuff.
That said, you can sign up online by providing your ExtraCare card number or sign up at the store by filling out a quick form.
The start of the new year is the best time to start tackling some of the your financial goals that may have fallen to wayside during the year. Here are some of my top five that you might consider adding to your list of resolutions.
- Check your credit report: Go to www.annualcreditreport.com to order your free credit report online. According to federal law, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report (but not your credit score) each year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies – Transunion, Experian, and Equifax. You can order all three at once so you can compare or one every four months so you can monitor for any suspicious activities.
- File your taxes early: The early bird gets the worm. And the earlier you file, the faster you can get your refund. You can go to the IRS website to learn how to file on your own, go to a paid preparer, or have an IRS-certified volunteer prepare your taxes for free. (Call 1-800-906-9887 for the nearest VITA site.)
- Start a rainy day fund: A tax refund is a great way to start one. A rainy day fund is essentially a savings account where you will set aside a little money each money and earn a little interest. The key here is accessibility and liquidity. The rainy day or emergency fund should be something you can get to quickly. But you don’t want to use your checking account where you can withdraw money anytime of the day with just an ATM card.
- Fund a retirement account: If you company has a 401(k) plan, check to see if it offers matching. If it does, you should start contributing. And if not, you should open your own Roth IRA account and contribute on your own.
- Improve your financial record-keeping: Create an organization system so that all your papers are in once place. Use different files for different categories, such as bank statements, credit card statements, tax returns, insurance policies, credit card receipts, medical care expenses, anything car-related, anything house-related, etc. And then sort through your documents each month accordingly. It does not necessarily have to be very neat, but the system will allow you to at least locate documents quickly and nothing will be misplaced or thrown out. And when in doubt, hang onto to a piece of paper. It is easy to throw things away but much harder to get them back. And finally, I recommend keeping documents for up to three years, which is the usual limit if any tax or legal questions come up. But personally, I like to keep things as long as I can.
And whatever your resolutions and financial goals are, MUYF wishes you a happy and healthy 2011!
This Fall, Amtrak is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its loyalty program, the Amtrak Guest Rewards. To commemorate, Amtrak is running a “Take Ten” promotion, which offers bonus and double points for rides taken between October 1 to December 14, 2010 (inclusive).
- You can earn double points – so 4 points per dollar spent – on any Amtrak trip taken during the period. They should post with your regular points earnings.
- If you take 10 one-way trips of at least $40 each, you earn 10,000 bonus points! This is of course only relevant to serious Amtrak travelers, but it is a very generous deal. A regular one-way ride through the Northeast Corridor on Amtrak nets you about 200 points (for spending $100). Usually, 10 rides would give you 2,000 points, but with this promotion you can earn seven times as much: 14,000 (10,000 + 400×10) points.
To receive the double and/or bonus points, you must sign up for the Take Ten with Amtrak Guest Rewards during the promotion period (click here for the registration page). Once registered, all rides from October 1 to December 14th are eligible, even those taken before registering.
We don’t usually post contests here, but this one seems fun and straightforward enough to be worth some consideration. To celebrate Halloween, Zipcar is currently offering $200 in driving credit [link removed - contest closed] for the “spookiest zipcar themed pumpkin [carving]“. The instructions:
Snap a picture of your Zipcar-inspired spooky squash and we’ll choose the best of the patch on 10/29.
Send your name, city, and photo to firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight on October 28, 2010 to be considered in the contest.
If you think you have some pumpkin-carving skills, get your knives out and get started!