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Before you put that tax stuff away, here's an idea: It's time to go paperless.

By Stacy Johnson Mar 2, 2010 1:40PM

This post comes from partner site Money Talks News.

 

Spring cleaning is an American ritual that traditionally entails dusting places you normally don’t, cleaning out closets, and straightening up places you might have been letting go.

 

But what about your file cabinet? Before you put your tax paperwork away this year, add something to your spring cleaning list: Eliminate as much paper as possible in your life.

 

To keep clients, spas are offering deals. Try these tips to get more value from your spa purchases.

By Karen Datko Mar 2, 2010 12:35PM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.

 

Business is slow at the spa. How good are the offers designed to lure customers back in?

 

Like hotels and restaurants, spas would rather fill empty space with low-priced appointments than have staff members sitting idle. "A room empty for that hour is lost," says Hannelore Leavy, executive director of the Day Spa Association. Some locations are offering a greater selection of short, cheap treatments to entice customers who want, say, a facial but can't afford the usual hour-long service. Others are creating specials for first-time visitors or repeat customers.

 

The trade-off:

 

Is your time best spent looking for ways to save a few dimes or dollars here and there?

By Karen Datko Mar 2, 2010 10:47AM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.

 

I bet this Devil’s Advocate post, which is part of a series I do to challenge conventional wisdom, is going to ruffle a lot of feathers.

 

Frugality is a pretty big topic in the personal-finance blogging community because there are so many things you can do to trim a few cents or dollars here or there. You can buy gadgets like a Kill A Watt to find out how much energy your appliances are using and disconnect them when they’re not in use. You can make your own laundry detergent or buy a rack to line-dry your clothes. There have been books filled to the brim with thousands upon thousands of ways to save a few dollars and cents here or there.

 

However, they never get to the heart of the issue:

 

The garden-variety millionaire is shopping at Target and Wal-Mart, just like you.

By Karen Datko Mar 1, 2010 8:57PM

We’ve noticed that SmartMoney’s “10 things a millionaire won’t tell you” (a version appeared here at MSN Money) is still provoking commentary long after it was initially posted. We never tire of the inside scoop on the rich, even if they’re not famous.

 

So what’s it like to be a millionaire? Two bloggers who apparently are members of that club examined the question by asking: Did SmartMoney get it right?

Yes and no, they said, but on one point they and we can all agree: Millionaires don’t feel rich, and with good reason.

 

States are rolling out "cash for clunker" appliance rebate programs. Check the rules to see if your state is offering a good deal.

By Teresa Mears Mar 1, 2010 5:58PM

The federal government wants to help you buy new energy-efficient appliances.

 

The program doesn’t have a catchy name, but $300 million was allocated last year to encourage consumers to upgrade their appliances and save energy. Exactly how the programs will work and which appliances are included is up to the states.

 

Once an employed homeowner, blogger is now jobless and living with her kids in an RV.

By Karen Datko Mar 1, 2010 2:34PM

This post comes from Sierra Black, a staff writer at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.

 

The recession has hit families where they live. For many, it’s forced a change of address. Think about all those foreclosed homes and urban deserts: One in every 400 homes received a foreclosure notice last year. Unemployment is nearly 10%. Some families no longer have a place to call home at all.

 

That’s the situation for Jamie Alden (not her real name), a single mom of four kids who found herself caught up in a series of recession nightmares that have left her homeless and jobless, but not hopeless. She’s chronicling her adventures at The Boxcar Kids, where she writes with painful frankness about trying to find a job, help her kids thrive at school and keep her family together while living in a small travel trailer.

 

You can put your blood in the bank. You can put your money in the bank. And now there are banks for your spare time.

By Stacy Johnson Mar 1, 2010 1:12PM

This post comes from partner site Money Talks News.

 

Suppose you could earn a “time dollar” for every hour you baby-sat for your neighbor, drove the car pool or fed someone’s pet while they were away. Odds are you’d have plenty of time dollars saved up. Now imagine you could spend those time dollars getting other people to do favors for you.

 

That’s a time bank.

 

Why your 1040 should cost less this year.

By Karen Datko Mar 1, 2010 11:11AM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.

 

This year’s tax-preparation fees are next year’s deductible expense, but competition among preparers may allow you to keep more money in your pocket.

 

Tax-preparation services face a lean market this spring. Last year’s economic woes have spurred more consumers to fill out their Form 1040 solo, says Vishnu Lekraj, an equity analyst covering the industry for Morningstar. Most taxpayers are simply unwilling or unable to spend the $100 or more it takes to get help, he says.

 

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