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Bottom Line Publications

Money

No Waiting for Your 2012 Tax Refund!

It’s only a few weeks since tax time. How many of you are excitedly waiting to receive a refund?

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Unrewarding Rewards Cards

I was surprised to receive a letter last week addressed to my 20-year-old daughter, who is away at college, thanking her for signing up for a new credit card for a clothing store she likes.

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For Last-Minute Tax Filers

Tax time is less than one month away, so I was shocked when my accountant told me that a lot of his clients still haven’t given him their supporting tax materials. Being the do-bee that I am, I (almost) always get my paperwork to him in plenty of time.

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Super Savers

I recently surveyed my friends, business associates and long-time Bottom Line contributors asking them to share their favorite ways to save money. While I was looking for new ideas, nearly all of them were tips that we've already published over the years in our newsletter and I was ready to scrap the column.

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Free Shopping Spree

I saved myself several hundred dollars over the past few weeks by following some of the simplest advice that we've been telling subscribers for years: Only buy what's on your shopping list. It all started when I walked over to the mall during my lunch hour to have my shoes restored (for just under $60, I have three pairs of shoes that look brand-new yet are perfectly broken in). I had half an hour to wait, so I strolled around, walking in and out of my favorite stores. I saw a lot of attractive items on even more attractive sales. Sales are a weakness for me. I have always prided myself on buying things when they were on sale – generally buying things that I eventually use even if I didn't need it at that exact moment. The fun came when I tallied the spend. If I saved more than I spent, then it was a good shopping trip.

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A New Way to Pay

Marketing maven Joe Polish (www.joepolish.com/) is planning to test a new business model -- what he calls "pay me whatever you think it's worth" for on-line information. Hearing about this got me thinking... what if everything we purchased was priced on this same "pay what it's worth to me" basis, including clothing, televisions, home repairs, going to the movies or an amusement park. Think about this next time you go to buy something. If what you think it's worth is less than what you're about to pay, then maybe you shouldn't be buying it. Or maybe you should be nervy and negotiate for a lower price.

Big Box Store Rip-Offs

Don't assume that Big Box stores have the best prices. The toner ran out on my friend's laser printer at home, so he went to his neighborhood big-box store (happened to be Micro Center; he lives in Minnesota) to get a new cartridge. $90 they wanted! They had a new laser printer in the store for only $70! This could not be right. So he went home and went online. Not only could he get the cartridge for $24, but he could get a "toner refill kit" (a bottle of toner and instructions) for $13. Okay, shipping was $5 and he had to wait a few days to receive the refill, but that's less than the tax would have been on the $90 cartridge.

Do You Coupon?

I love clipping coupons. I find it very relaxing to shop -- with my sole focus on shopping the coupons and saving money on other in-store bargains. My “game” is to save at least $20/trip at the supermarket, and at least 30% when I buy higher-priced items at other stores.

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How I Saved $40 on My Cell Phone Bill -- Take Two Minutes to See if You Can Save, Too

Each month when I pay my cell phone bill, I always spend a few minutes reviewing the charges on each line (we have five phones in our family plan). I generally go looking for unexpected charges as well as to marvel at just how many text messages my children can send in one month.

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If You've Been Laid Off... If You Might Be Laid Off... If You've Laid Off Employees... Read This!

There's a tricky loophole in tax law surrounding structured layoffs that you may not be aware of. I only just learned about it myself.

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