Use That Tax Day Stress!
By Melissa Tosetti
 
I hope yesterday was painless for you, but from what I saw posted on Facebook, it was pretty ugly. 
 
You could pour yourself a drink and celebrate the fact that there are 364 days between now and the next Tax Day, or you could use the stress from yesterday to spur you into action to make next year so much easier.
 
Track Your Spending
April 15th is when tracking and categorizing your spending really pays off.  Using programs like Mint.com and Quicken will allow you to easily find out how much you spent on tax deductible items like  your car registration.
 
Set A Date
Did you wait until the last minute to do your taxes... again?  Set an appointment on your electronic calendar for February 1, 2015 that says "Do Taxes".  Include a note reminding you how much this year sucked because you waited until the last minute.  If that isn't enough incentive, be willing to bribe yourself with a reward such as, if you finish by February 7th, you'll take yourself out to dinner.
 
Adjust Your Withholdings 
If yesterday was painful because you had to pay, talk to an accountant to see what adjustments you can make to minimize or negate "the damage" for next year.  Even if you have to pay for one hour of their time, it will be worth it.  But do it now while it can still make a difference.  There are only 8 months left in this tax year!
 
As human beings, we're driven by two things - pain and pleasure.  Take yesterday's pain and use it as a catalyst to make next year, if not pleasurable, then much more tolerable.
 
 
Movies & Train Travel

By Melissa Tosetti

Last week I was in Wichita for the second of a series of Savvy Life presentations that I'm giving there.  The focus of Thursday's talk was Savvy Travel and Entertainment.  Two questions popped up after the presentation that I thought were worth sharing the answers.  

The first question stemmed from a comment I made about how much I love trains.  I talked about the phenomenal experience we had in Alaska on the White Pass Railroad.  There was another train aficionado in the room and he asked if I knew of any good resources for train travel.  His timing was excellent.  A few months ago I stumbled on a fantastic travel website focused on trains.  Vacations By Rail has the largest selection of train vacations in the US, Canada, Europe and beyond. 

The other question came up when I mentioned that you can save 25% or more on movie tickets by purchasing them at Sam's Club or Costco (if you are a member).  When one of the attendees mentioned that he had not seen movie tickets at his local Sam's Club, I offered to do a little research for him.

I found that he could actually order the movie tickets through Sam's Club's website and the shipping is free.  You can also order movie tickets at Costco's website.

 

 
Savvy Shopping for April

One of the aspects of Savvy Shopping is the habit of timing your purchases to coincide with seasonal sales.  During the month of April, there are plenty of opportunities to save on Food, Wardrobe Items and more. 

Food
All things baking will be on sale this week.  It's likely that prices won't be this good again until Thanksgiving.  Depending on how much you bake, it might be worth stocking up.

Ham will be at the best price of the year.  Consider picking up an extra ham and putting it in the freezer.  Last year, I did just that and we enjoyed a beautiful ham dinner and then sandwiches with the leftovers the week after 4th of July. 

You'll also see great prices on some canned items. 

Clothing
According to DealNews,  retailers began stocking spring items in February, so mid-season sales are starting now and you can save 25% - 40%. 

This is one of the best times of the year to purchase dress clothes and shoes for men, women and children. 

Yard and Garden Supplies
By watching the sales ads, you can purchase just about everything you need for your yard at a discount. 

Cleaning Supplies
Spring cleaning items are still at great prices. 
 

 
Farmers Market vs. Grocery Store

The Farmers Market is one of the best sources for fresh produce.  Just be careful not to assume that the fruit and vegetables offered are always the most affordable.  If you're trying to keep a close eye on your food bill, be sure to compare the prices of the Farmers Market to that of your grocery store. 

The easiest way to compare prices is to take the grocery store's sales ad with you to the Market.  You will be able to quickly and easily see who is offering the best prices. 

 
Savvy Travel & Entertainment Webinar

Learn easy ways to find the money for your dream vacation; where to get those great travel deals as well as smart spending tips for dining out, seeing movies, visiting museums and more travel tips.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
9:00 am PST / 11:00 am CST / 12:00 pm EST
or
3:30 pm PST / 5:30 pm CST / 6:30 pm EST
 
Presented by: Melissa Tosetti
 
Hosted by: Evelyn Dinkins, II, CFP®, CFS®, CRPC®, MSFS®, CAS®, Private Wealth Advisor
& Angela DeLion, CFP®, Financial Advisor
Dinkins, DeLion & Associates, A private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.
 
To RSVP email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  Space for this event is unlimited.  Please invite your family and friends.
 
There is no cost or obligation.  Melissa Tosetti is not affiliated with Ameriprise financial, Inc.  Brokerage, investment and financial advisory services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Servies, Inc.  Member FINRA and SIPC.
 
©2013 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved.
 
 
Shop Your Bathroom

Tired of the cosmetics in your makeup bag? 

Before heading to the drugstore or department store, check your makeup drawer and look for loved, but forgotten items.

You can do the same for shampoo and conditioners.  When you find that you're not getting the same results from your favorite hair products, swap them out for something else you already have on hand.

 
Smart Spending Advice...

 
Spending Decisions

By Melissa Tosetti
 
A few weeks ago I was contacted by Danielle Braff of the Chicago Tribune. She was writing an article about rules of thumb when it comes to purchasing trendy items and wanted to get my thoughts on the subject.  

The timing of her call was ideal.  Just a few days before, my mom and I were talking about how so much of what we do is on auto-pilot.  We have a tendency to make blanket decisions when it comes to most things in our lives, especially when it comes to spending.  

It's OK to have rules of thumb, but each time you're about to make a purchase, from a bottle of shampoo to a new car, think about:
  • What you're going to use the item for?
  • How long do you want it to last?
  • Is it something you're going to use or will it quickly turn into clutter?
  • Are you madly in love with it?  
Danielle's article came out earlier this week and there's a lot of great advice in it.  Click on the link to read her article: When Pondering Price Tags, Think Long-Term Desires, Not Just Trends.
 

 
It's Time to Make a Call
By Melissa Tosetti
 
If it's been more than six months since you last called your cable, telephone and credit card companies and asked for a better rate, give them a call this week.
 
One of my clients was so excited to tell me yesterday that he saved $70 a month by calling AT&T and renegotiating his cell phone bill.  He was also able to get more data on his plan.
 
Think of what you can do with an extra $70 a month and $840 a year and use that as motivation to pick up the phone.
 
 

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