Use a Best Rate Guarantee for a Free Hotel Room

After we spent the holidays on our free trip to Steamboat, I was hooked on a new hobby, finding ways to travel for free. Many of us are familiar with earning points and redeeming them for free nights using hotel rewards programs. Then I stumbled on a fascinating way to pick up free rooms without […]

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Preparing for the Income Tax Deadline (2014-2015): Personal Taxes

Income Tax Deadline With the income tax deadline just around the corner for tax year 2014, which is April 30, 2015 it’s time to start thinking about what’s required to file.  If you are a small business owner, you have until June 15th to file, but any taxes owning must be paid by April 30th.  If you […]

Claim Your US Bank Cash Plus Extra $25 Bonus

Awhile back I converted my U.S. Bank FlexPerks Card to the US Bank Cash Plus Card to avoid the annual fee. Since you have to sign up for the Cash Plus 5% categories now, I added it to our list of Quarterly Rotating Rewards Cards. One of the benefits of the Cash Plus card is […]

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Did You Know You Can Claim the Foreign Tax Credit Without Living Abroad?

There is a possibility that you may be suffering from double taxation. I know, we all suffer from double taxation, like when we pay sales tax when we purchase items with money that has been taxed by the federal government. Or when I used to work for the state government, and when I used my […]

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New 2nd Quarter 2015 5% Rotating Cash Rewards Credit Cards

2nd quarter cash back is here and it’s focused on restaurants and home improvements this spring! It’s time once again to get all the cards organized, activated and into a regular rotation. Reevaluate Quarterly Cash Rewards It’s our quarterly check-in to reevaluate the cards we are carrying to take advantage of the best 2nd quarter […]

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Quitting the Rat Race at Age 39

My husband’s office at the university is closing this fall. While he was offered another position (with a raise!), he turned it down and he’s taking this opportunity to finally quit the rat race. He will be 39. Congratulations Scott! Later this year, my husband is finally joining me on a new adventure. Just like […]

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Why a Roth IRA is a Must Have Plan

You are probably aware of some of the virtues of a Roth IRA. But there are at least five reasons why a Roth IRA is a must-have plan. Tax Free Income in Retirement This is the most obvious benefit of a Roth IRA, and it’s repeated in virtually any discussion related to the plan. Even […]

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5 Steps to Figure Out a Successful Retirement Plan

The topic of retirement comes up all of the time on the news, in the newspapers and magazines and in personal finance blogs. With so many different people talking about retirement, it not only gets confusing, it can also get overwhelming. Luckily, I am here to help. I will give you the guide to making […]

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How our Family of Four Lives off One Government Salary

In my 2014 financial summary post, I mentioned that our family of four currently lives off one salary – mine.  Since then, I’ve received a number of emails from readers looking for details on how we do it.  It’s not only online readers who have questions, when I tell friends/co-workers that my wife is taking the […]

Chase Freedom $125+ Sign Up Bonus

As many of you know, the Chase Freedom card is one of my favorites on our list quarterly 5% rotating cash rewards cards, especially since the 2015 Chase Freedom Rewards Calendar shows restaurants for second quarter 5% cash back. Perfect timing for spring break in a few weeks! The refer a friend promotion that Chase […]

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Claiming Dependents on Your Tax Return

Most taxpayers are well aware of the deduction that comes from claiming dependent children on their taxes. But what are the rules on claiming dependents on taxes? And what about other relatives? And, when can those formerly claimed as dependents on someone else’s return begin to claim themselves? If someone else can claim you as […]

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How to Calculate Compound Interest

Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe, which was supposedly said by Albert Einstein, though there is no proof that he actually said this. Nonetheless, compound interest is an amazing thing. Previously, I talked about how to calculate simple interest. Now, I am going to show you how to calculate compound interest. […]

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How I Made $100,000 Selling on Amazon Last Year

I know many of you who also pick up some side money selling on Amazon have been waiting for these numbers… last year our Amazon business generated over $100,000 in total profits! We had just over $290,000 in sales and sold over 8,400 items last year. Here’s how! Background If you are a new reader, […]

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The Good and the Bad of Taking Online Courses

Technology has come to the classroom, or – maybe more to the point – technology is moving people out of the classroom. There is an explosion of online courses, whether included in a college degree program, or as part of continuing education. There’s good and bad in taking online courses, but either way, they offer […]

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How To Do Score Well On Your Life Insurance Medical Test

Applicants looking to purchase a life insurance policy usually have to go through a life insurance medical test. This test consists of two components: a physical evaluation and a questionnaire session. Passing this test allows applicants to be approved for a life insurance policy. Many insurance companies also offer other benefits to applicants who score […]

Discover it $100 Sign Up Bonus

Discover it has a new sign up bonus, a $100 Amazon.com gift card. I like the Discover it card for the category bonuses; here’s how I earned $1450 cashback from Discover recently. It’s Free Money Friday! How to Get Your $100 Sign Up Bonus Open a new Discover it card. Spend $500 during the first […]

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Norbert’s Gambit w/ BMO, RRSP Withdrawal Tax Traps, Housekeepers, Homeschooling and more!

I was browsing through the archives yesterday and came by a gem of an interview with a 36 year old millionaire. Not only did QCash accumulate $1.5M by age 36, he retired at the age of 35! Norbert’s Gambit is a way to save on currency exchange costs at discount brokers. The process varies by […]

How to Find TurboTax Discounts

Need a Turbotax Discount? It seems like every communication I receive from brokerages, insurance companies, and banks recently are for offers for a Turbotax discount. If you missed the offer for Free Federal and State Tax Filing, and you still need to find a discount here is a list of all the discounts I could […]

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How to Calculate Simple Interest

I get many questions about how to calculate interest. If you are trying to figure out simple interest, the calculation is, well, simple – no pun intended. If you want to calculate compound interest, that gets a little bit more involved. I’ll be writing about compound interest soon, so be sure to keep an eye […]

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How to Claim College Tax Credits

Being a college student is an expensive job. Throughout the year, hopefully you are keeping in mind ways to save money in college and how to avoid student loan debt. You can get creative to save money on food in college, apply for scholarships, and save money on textbooks that can become quite pricey. But […]

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Smith Manoeuvre/Dividend Portfolio Update – Q1 2015 Update – The Oil Plunge!

For those of you just joining us, listed below is my portfolio that is leveraged with money borrowed from my home equity line of credit (HELOC). As the money borrowed is used to invest, the interest charged is tax deductible. I started this portfolio in 2008 (at the height of the market) and write updates every […]

Barclaycard Arrival Plus $440+ Sign Up Bonus

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus offer is back! The sign up bonus is for 40,000 miles, which you can redeem for a $400 statement credit. You’ll get an extra bonus on the travel redemption, so it’s really a $440+ offer! How to Get Your Sign Up Bonus Apply for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card. Earn 40,000 […]

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Does it Ever Make Sense to Pay Annual Fees on Credit Cards?

I just spent some time cleaning up from one of my previous application sprees last winter. What I found is that I’m actually keeping some of the cards with an annual fee on them! Usually I Convert Credit Cards Instead of Paying Annual Fees or cancel them after redeeming the sign up bonus. Until now, […]

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How Do Tax Brackets Work?

Are you getting ready to file your taxes? If so, you might find yourself needing a slight refresher on how tax brackets work before the tax deadline. The US tax system is based on a progressive rate structure – the more income you make, the higher tax rate you pay. How Do Tax Brackets Work? […]

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How to Handle Your Student Loans When You Can’t Make Your Payments

Dealing with student loans can be overwhelming. If you are having trouble finding a job or not earning what you thought you would be, simply making the minimum payments can be impossible. Here is what you can do when you can’t make your student loan payments. (Photo Credit: thisisbossi) How to Handle Your Student Loans […]

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