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April 15 is taxing enough without blowing big bucks on paid preparers who are either overkill or overpriced.

By Stacy Johnson Feb 17, 2010 11:52AM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.

 

As long as you file your taxes on time and accurately, the IRS doesn't care if you do it with a dull pencil or with the assistance of a $500-an-hour tax attorney. But if you're going to pay a pro, don't overpay. In fact, for many people, there's no reason to pay at all.

 

It's easier than ever to find printable and uploadable coupons.

By Karen Datko Feb 17, 2010 11:01AM

This post comes from Linsey Knerl at partner blog Wise Bread.

 

You could sit and wait every week for your Sunday paper to shower you with coupons for your next money-saving shopping trip -- or you could go out there and get them yourself -- online. We checked out some of the best sites for getting both printable and traditional coupons via the Web.

 

Coupons. Just plug in your ZIP code and see what offers are available to you. In addition to getting printable coupons for cents (and dollars) off cereal, coffee, diapers and more, you can see which restaurants are offering deals in your area. Another nifty feature? Skip the printing and just upload the coupons to your chain store savings card (like Kroger, for example). Take your card with you when you check out and let the cashier scan your card. No need to stuff coupons in your purse or wallet.

 

HSBC's customer-advocacy score was a lowly 16%.

By Karen Datko Feb 16, 2010 7:25PM

This post comes from Mark Huffman at partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

One year after the financial meltdown and resulting bank bailouts, consumers have regained some trust in some financial institutions, according to a report by Forrester Research.

 

"But the positive sentiment is not evenly distributed," the research group said in a statement accompanying the report.

 

Retailers from Wal-Mart to Staples are increasing the number of private-label products and cutting back on name-brand goods.

By Teresa Mears Feb 16, 2010 3:48PM

Are you noticing more store brands and fewer national brands on shelves when you shop?

 

We’re not sure which came first, but as customers seek to save money by turning to cheaper store brands, retailers are seeking to maximize profits by increasing the number of store- brand products they offer. In some case, that means some national brands are being pushed off the shelves.

 

If you decide to keep the card, here's a hack for fulfilling the requirement and avoiding an annual fee.

By Karen Datko Feb 16, 2010 3:42PM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.

 

As we mentioned last year, credit card issuers are beginning to institute annual fees they are willing to refund if you make enough purchases in a year. The first issuer to start doing this was Citibank, which recently sent notices to cardholders about a $60 fee starting April 1. If cardholders spend $2,400 in a 12-month period, the fee will be waived. The Consumerist had the full text of the letter cardholders received.

 

I received an e-mail from a reader asking if I knew what she could do:

 

Need your refund quickly? There are better alternatives to refund anticipation loans.

By Stacy Johnson Feb 16, 2010 2:31PM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.

 

You wouldn’t borrow from a loan shark operating out of a downtown pool hall. You wouldn’t borrow from that payday loan place next to the liquor store. You wouldn’t hock Grandma’s china at the pawn shop down by the tracks.

 

Then why would you get an income tax refund anticipation loan from your tax preparer?

 

Could giving up small indulgences for Lent be a successful saving strategy?

By Karen Datko Feb 16, 2010 10:26AM

This Deal of the Day comes from Sarah Morgan at partner site SmartMoney.

 

Are you giving up anything for Lent? For Christians, the traditional 40-day period of fasting that leads up to Easter begins Wednesday. This year, with budgets still tight for the faithful and secular alike, the practice of giving up some cherished self-indulgences could be a chance to practice fiscal, as well as spiritual, discipline.

 

Living without them may be easier than you think.

By Karen Datko Feb 16, 2010 9:49AM

This post comes from J.D. Roth at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.

 

For nearly a decade, I lived without a personal credit card. In 1998, I destroyed all my cards and canceled my accounts in a last-ditch effort to curb my compulsive spending. It worked (sort of), and it wasn’t until 2007 that I finally felt like I was responsible enough to use credit wisely without going into debt. (And so far, it’s been smooth sailing.)

 

What was it like without credit?

 

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