• Posts Tagged ‘giveaway’

    Giveaway Reminder! Favorite Tweets!

    by  • November 9, 2012 • Tagged: , ,  • Comments

    Just a reminder that the $100 giveaway contest ends today at 11:00 PM CST. Read about emergency funds and enter the contest here!

    As I’ve talked about on our Facebook page, we’re pretty much all set for Thanksgiving; we’ve ordered a turkey and sides. That’ll help immensely considering the difficulty it will be to even get all the semi-prepared food ready with a toddler running around. Join in on the conversation and leave a comment there sometime.

    This week was a great week for tweets about relationships and finances. Here’s the one’s I found particularly interesting. Remember you can follow us at @lovenotdebt.

    Have a great weekend!

    Giveaway! Guest Posts! Favorite Tweets!

    by  • November 2, 2012 • Tagged: , ,  • Comments

    Happy Friday! It’s been quite the week here at Make Love, Not Debt. Here’s a wrap up of what’s been going on.

    Guest Posts

    Giveaway

    Just a reminder that you have until November 10 to enter for a chance to win $100 through PayPal or as an Amazon giftcard. Go ahead, enter now!

    Favorite Tweets

    There’s some unfamiliar faces in this list, which is great because I get to discover more personal finance bloggers! As always, these tweets have a finances and relationship spin. You can follow me on Twitter @lovenotdebt.

    Have a great weekend!

    Emergency Fund as Self-Insurance (and Giveaway!)

    by  • November 1, 2012 • Tagged: , , ,  • Comments

    emergency fund

    Ours is locked up more securely.

    In eight years, we have been extremely lucky in that we have never had to tap into our emergency fund. As such, it’s a been a while since I’ve actively thought about it. There’s a myriad of ways that our emergency fund helps us on our path to financial security. We see it as a form of self-insurance, in that it helps us to avoid financial catastrophe should an unplanned unfortunate event happen to us. Here’s some of the ways that we’re protected.

    Income Replacement

    We’ve both been happily employed at our jobs for eight years. While we’ve both had some scares of layoffs, we’ve both been lucky and have avoided cuts. We can’t always depend on luck to keep saving us, so we’ve built up a cash cushion to replace our income should we find ourselves unemployed. This is obviously the main use of an emergency fund, but it also has other, indirect uses.

    Credit Score Protection

    By having a cash supply to fall back on, we’d be able to pay our bills on time, even if that means we pay only the minimums. Credit scores are becoming increasingly important, not only for getting good rates on home or auto loans, but also for insurance rates and even to determine whether you get a job. Even paying one bill more than 30 days past the due date can have unforgivingly deliterious effects on credit scores. It would be such a bummer for one late payment to ruin years of building good credit. (By the way, we use Credit Karma to monitor our credit score – here’s our review of Credit Karma and you can sign up for Credit Karma here!)

    Ability to Keep Moving Forward

    If one of us were to lose our jobs, we would be job searching full-throttle in order to fill the income gap. Having an emergency fund would allow us to concentrate mostly on finding a new job that suited us, and not having to get a job in the meantime in order to make ends meet. This way, we can allocate all of our efforts into finding a long-term solution for employment, which in the long run will allow us to build our financial resources even further.

    Ability to Seize Oppotunities

    Once in a while, I like to imagine that I’d come across a business opportunity that I couldn’t pass up, but would be very risky. By having an emergency fund, I’d be able to pursue (with the ok of the spouse, of course) an opportunity knowing that the financial impact would be minimized. In realty, the best opportunities that have come up so far are fantastic sales that we couldn’t pass up. Either way, having the emergency fund allows us to take advantage of opportunities while minimizing our risk.

    Peace of Mind

    The most important asset that an emergency fund brings to us is peace of mind. Just knowing that we would be able to tackle life obstacles without major financial distractions allows us to sleep much more soundly at night. We already have a lot of stress on our plates and it is a relief that we don’t have to worry about what will happen should one of us lose our jobs.

    Do you have an emergency fund? In what ways are you protected by having one?

    image: Tax Credits

    Giveaway!

    We’ve partnered up with SavingsAdvice.com to offer you the chance of winning $100 through PayPal or as an Amazon Giftcard. This is a great way to start or supplement an emergency fund. Entering is easy – all you have to do it like our Facebook Page. You can get additional entries by doing any of the other activities. That’s it! The contest is open until November 10. Good luck!

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    Save Money With Us at ImpulseSave!

    by  • April 27, 2012 • Tagged: , ,  • Comments

    Oink oink

    One of the financial skills that we’ve kinda let lapse over the last few years is saving money. Pretty basic, but we’re terrible at it.

    What we’re really good at is impulse spending. We should get a medal or award for it.

    Well, from here on out, we’re going to change that. And we’re going to use ImpulseSave to help us.

    What is ImpulseSave?

    You know how when you’re out and you see something awesome like a CHOCOLATE CHESS PIE WITH A WHISKEY RYE CARAMEL SAUCE and then you HAVE TO HAVE IT NOM NOM NOM???? Then you realize ohmygosh it’s $28 for a pie? But then you remember that you have some ice cream at home? Awesome, you’ve just SAVED $28!! But how do you really SAVE that $28??

    With ImpulseSave, it’s as easy as texting “Saved $28 on ridiculously tasty but expensive pie.” Boom! $28 is moved to a savings account. Not only can you save by text message, but also by Instagram (!), going on their website, and soon by an iPhone app! That’s how ImpulseSave makes saving easy and awesome.

    Goal-oriented Savings

    In addition to making savings easy, ImpulseSave also has features that make saving meaningful and even…fun. First, you can set goals like “Startup company fund to mine asteroids” or “Box of kittens”. When you save, you can specify which goal you’d like to put the savings towards. Then, you specify how much you want to automatically save per week, minimum of $5, towards that goal. Why autosave? Let’s face it, if you can’t put at least $5 weekly into a goal, you’re not going to get serious about saving. (Don’t worry, you can pause anytime, but you should only do so if you REALLY need to!)

    To keep you updated and accountable towards your goals, ImpulseSave will send you weekly updates on your goal progress. Each time you save, you’ll get a little cheer from ImpulseSave to keep you on your way. Also, you can save socially by letting other people know when, how much, and for what you’re saving! It’s pretty awesome and when you sign up for an account through our website, we’ll be ImpulseSaving together!

    Sign Up and Security

    Signing up is easy, and dare I say…fun. Everything is done electronically, including sending over a copy of identification to open up a savings account. It’s pretty cool that I could just hold up my ID to my laptop camera and be on my way – welcome to the future! There’s no fee to join, nor are there any pesky balance transfer fees. All of your information is securely stored under Fort Knox-like conditions, and the bank is FDIC insured.

    If you sign up and stall out somewhere in the process, you’ll get friendly reminder emails to get you to finish. To my surprise, one of the emails was the following from Alysa Seeland, the community manager at ImpulseSave:

    I noticed you haven’t finished opening your ImpulseSave account, so I thought I’d take a minute to share my story.

    My husband and I are newlyweds, aka newbies to this whole finances thing. Despite our lack of knowledge, we saved $2,800 in six months with ImpusleSave – ka-ching!

    The best part is, ImpulseSave is FREE, social and totally fun: you and I can share saves, challenge someone to a save-off, or just make like the Little Engine That Could while ImpulseSave encourage us all the way!

    I think that this is awesome. These emails could have been lifeless and boring, but it is a nice personal touch.

    A Video Is Worth A Thousand Words

    Don’t feel like wading through a review? Watch the video below to learn more.

    How It Works from ImpulseSave on Vimeo.

    TurboTax Giveaway Winners! Favorite Tweets!

    by  • March 23, 2012 • Tagged: , ,  • Comments

    A big hearty congrats to Michelle, Sarah, and Liz for winning our giveaway of free federal and state preparation and e-file with TurboTax Deluxe Online on our post about TurboTax for Mac review. They will all be expecting refunds so they might actually enjoy doing their taxes. Enjoy!

    To send you off this weekend, here’s some of my favorite tweets of the week. Remember that you can always follow me on twitter at @lovenotdebt. You really should. I’m funny.

    TurboTax for Mac Review

    by  • March 16, 2012 • Tagged: , ,  • Comments

    I’ve said a few times that I was going to get a tax professional to do our taxes this year. We picked a guy from friends’ recommendations, and he gave us a worksheet to fill out. I would have had to get all of my paperwork together in order to fill it out. By the time I had everything together and looked at the worksheet, I realized that I was probably 70% of the way done and I just needed to pop the numbers in. So instead, I bought TurboTax Home and Business for Mac. I’m running OS X Lion, 10.7.3, on my 13″ MacBook Pro (early 2011). Let me walk you through it.

    Installation

    Installation is a breeze, like most programs on a Mac. You download the disk image, mount it, and drag the application from the disk image to your applications folder. I probably spent more time writing that sentence than it took for me to install it. Really.

    Getting Started

    When you first open the application, you’re met with the splash screen with the terrible simile of “TurboTax Guides You Like A GPS”. TurboTax doesn’t coo sweet nothings of “insert this W-2 here”…whoa that’s dirty. Nor does it say in a nagging voice “RECALCULATING” every time I miss a step. Anyway, it’s a splash screen with common actions. Wee. Let’s move on.

    TurboTax 1

    I’m assuming that this is the first time you’ve used TurboTax for Mac – if you’ve used it in the past, it’ll detect old tax returns on your computer and offer to import them in for you. It’s nifty. Even if it isn’t your first time using TurboTax, you’ll be asked if anything major happened in your life that may affect you tax situation.

    Turbo Tax 2

    Depending on what you pick, you’ll be given some brief information on what each category entails. TurboTax will then guide you through each section, asking you to insert data from your tax forms where appropriate. You’ll insert information on W-2′s, 1099′s, and whatever other forms you have. This is where having all of your documents together will really save you time.

    TurboTax 3

    Income Summary

    If you think you’re a tax pro and don’t need TurboTax to hold your hand, you can cruise each section at your leisure. When you click “Start”, you’ll be asked to fill in the information appropriate to that section. I often have to do this because I’ll find a miscellaneous tax document somewhere around the house and will have to fill it in. The list is quite comprehensive; I haven’t used many of the categories since our tax situation is not that complicated.

    TurboTax 4

    Deductions and Credits

    After you fill out all of your tax information, you’ll go through and see if you qualify for any additional deductions or credits. Again, you have the option of going through the “GPS” and go though each topic one-by-one, or you can scoot on over to the topic listings and jump around like a pro. Our tax life is pretty simple because we’re renters, among other reasons, so we have always taken the standard deduction. New to us this year is the Child Tax Credit, which was great since it directly reduces the tax.

    TurboTax 5

    Miscellaneous

    Finally, you’ll wrap up your tax filing by taking care of any miscellaneous stuff like AMT. Again, we’ve never had to really fill out any of this section, but you’ll have to go item-by-item to see if you need to take care of any of these.

    TurboTax 6

    Everything Else

    I’ve intentionally left out the business section, but it’s pretty much along the same lines of the personal taxes section. One of the awesome things about the business section is that you can import your Schedule C directly from Quicken. It eliminates the need to enter everything in manually.

    When you’re finished with your federal taxes, TurboTax for Mac will see if there’s anything you missed and alert you to any items that may be incomplete or may be an audit risk. When you’re good to go, then you’ll be able to proceed with TurboTax’s blessing. I guess this is an area where TurboTax is like a GPS – it’ll nag you if something not right. That’s a good thing.

    State taxes are done in the same manner of federal taxes. It’ll be a little less time intensive and time consuming since you’ve already entered in all of your information. Of course, every state is different, so I can’t really go through what exactly to expect.

    As you go through and enter information, you’ll see a running tally of how much you will owe or how much you will be refunded. It’s kind of fun to put in ridiculous numbers to see how this changes. You can see that we’re in the red this year.

    TurboTax 7

    Lastly you’ll review both your federal and state taxes, and see your risk of audit. You’ll also review how you did this year versus last year, and be given the chance to learn about ways to improve your tax situation in the upcoming year.

    A new feature this year is having the chance to get free one-on-one tax advice from a tax professional. I’m about 90% finished with my taxes, but there’s some things that I want to make sure that I’m doing correctly, so I may use that service. I’ll update this post if I end up using it.

    Overall, I’ve been happy with my TurboTax for Mac experience. It’s perfect if your tax situation is relatively uncomplicated, not much has changed from year-to-year, or if you just like to do your own taxes. I used TurboTax in the early 2000′s to do my taxes, but I switched to other software because it was better to use with the personal finance program I was using then. Now that we’re Quicken users, it made sense to switch back to TurboTax so that I could import business stuff directly into it. While I switched for that reason, I’ve been very impressed with the ease of use, look and feel, and features that TurboTax offers.

    Follow Us, Win Money

    by  • May 20, 2010 • Tagged: , ,  • Comments

    twitter.png

    We at Make Love, Not Debt have distrusted social media for a little while now. We’ve only personally embraced it in the last year or so and finally have wrapped our brains around the whole thing.

    And now we love it.

    Over the past few weeks I’ve added the oh-so-ubiquitous sharing buttons found on everyone’s and their mother’s blogs to each of our blog posts. I hope that in doing so I’ve made it easier for you to share our pearls of wisdom to the interwebs. We urge you to use them, at least for the fact that I worked really hard to get everything just right.

    We’d like for you to help welcome us to 2008 and help us be more 2010. We ask you, our awesome readers, to help us establish a presence on Twitter and Facebook. And as a reward, each week for the next four weeks we’ll be giving away a $25 gift card to Amazon.com. 

    As you may have guessed by the presence of a big blue bird for this entry, this week we ask that you follow us, @lovenotdebt, on Twitter. Each person who follows us will be eligible to win 25 smackaroos good at Amazon. The deadline for following us will be next Thursday, May 27, at 11:59 PM CST.

    Good luck, we look forward to communicating with you in 140 characters or less fewer!

    TurboTax Deluxe or Premier Giveaway

    by  • March 15, 2010 • Tagged: ,  • Comments

    tt_logo_177_216.gif

    Tax day is only a month away, and you haven’t done your taxes. Oh nos! What to do?

    Well, one thing you can do is enter to win TurboTax Deluxe or TurboTax Premier, both online editions. TurboTax has generously donated a keycode for each of their Online TurboTax Deluxe and Premier Editions that will allow you to file your federal taxes for free (you’ll still have to pay to file your state taxes). Here’s a handy-dandy comparison chart of the TurboTax products so that you can compare the similarities and differences between the Deluxe and Premier editions.

    To be entered for the giveaway, leave a comment stating which version of TurboTax you would like to win, either Deluxe or Premier. Easy, right?

    Entries will be accepted until Thursday, March 18, 9:00 PM CDT. I’ll close up the comments and choose a winner for each product by printing off the comments and tossing them into a hat and choosing a name.

    Good luck!