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Archive for January, 2011

3 Tips For Improving Your Credit Score

January 31st, 2011 at 06:14 am

Not too long ago, a reader on my blog asked me ďIs 700 a good credit score?Ē I explained to her that it is a decent score, but in todayís economy I would no longer consider it good. Creditors are now pickier than ever when it comes to granting credit and although a 700 credit score would have gotten you far in the past, it wonít today. Now more than ever, a high credit score is important.

But whether you currently have a 605 or a 755, what are ways of improving your credit score? Besides paying off credit card debt, here are 3 tips you should keep in mind:

Continue reading at: http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/3-tips-for-improving-yo...

Top 10 Tax Deductions for Parents

January 28th, 2011 at 07:44 am

Being a parent is perhaps one of the most important responsibilities in life. And the IRS provides multiple tax deductions for it. Why not lower your taxes and get all of the tax deductions you qualify for, as a parent?

1. Dependents Ė In most cases, a child can be claimed as a dependent in the year they were born. For more information see 6 Important Facts About Dependents, IRS Publication 501.

2. Child Tax Credit - For each child under 17, you may be able to take this credit on your tax return. For your 2010 tax return, itís $1,000 per child. For more info, see Child Tax Credit, IRS Publication 972.

Continue reading at: http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/top-10-tax-deductions-f...

Considering a Career Change? Less is More.

January 26th, 2011 at 11:25 am

One of the most popular articles on Living Richly on a Budget is about MTV's documentary show, True Life: I Can No Longer Afford My Lifestyle. Having watched the show myself, I was interested in observing how each of the people featured struggled to adjust to a new lifestyle. It made me wonder how different things would be if they had made the choice to pursue a less extravagant lifestyle, instead of being forced into a minimalistic existence by job loss.

Of course, everyone wants to make enough money such that they can live a comfortable lifestyle, go shopping when they feel like it, and enjoy a rich social life with friends and loved ones.

Continue reading at: http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/considering-career-chan...

Carnival of Personal Finance Ė Fun with Finance

January 24th, 2011 at 12:13 pm

This week, I hosted the Carnival of Personal Finance - Fun with Finance.

Check out the past week's collection of recent blog articles on personal finance, frugality, real estate, taxes, budgeting, credit cards, debt, saving, career, and business.

Continue reading at: http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/carnival-of-personal-fi...

Banned from Grandma's Funeral

January 22nd, 2011 at 08:21 am

Today is my grandmother's funeral but the kicker is that I am not allowed to attend because I'm pregnant.

I know it sounds ridiculous, but it's a Chinese tradition that pregnant women are not supposed to attend funerals, cemeteries, etc to protect the unborn baby. My husband can't even be a pallbearer because of it. There are probably other superstitions that are connected to it too.

Although I don't believe in the superstitions, I have to respect them.

When my grandmother was sick in the hospital, before she passed, I was told not to go visit her, in fear that I might catch an illness that may affect the baby. But once I found out her condition got worse, I went anyway.

And I'm glad I did. Because two days later, she passed away in her sleep, in the hospital, at the ripe old age of 91.

I was really upset when I was told I couldn't go to the funeral, but I know my grandmother would not have wanted me to go. Such is life.

She left this world knowing that her great grandchild was going to be born. And she even left my baby a gift.

I'll miss her dearly.

Free 2011 Hello Kitty Calendar!

January 20th, 2011 at 10:35 pm



Itís here again Ė a FREE Hello Kitty calendar for 2011! Iíve been searching for this since last December. Itís finally out today!

The free printable Hello Kitty calendar was such a popular post last year, I decided to share this again.

If youíre a big Hello Kitty fan like I am, youíll want to download this. After all, itís free, free, free!

Continue reading at: http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/free-2011-hello-kitty-c...

Get free stuff from Freecycle

January 19th, 2011 at 01:43 pm



Being unemployed and pregnant, I have to really watch what I spend at the moment. Having a baby is expensive, not only with medical bills but with all the stuff that a baby needs.

Things that we needed were a crib, baby clothes, changing table, etc. Everything adds up. So I was on a mission to find free, gently used, baby stuff.

The first place that I turned to was Freecycle.org. Itís a nonprofit network of local Yahoo groups in your community, where you can post stuff you want to pass on or want. The purpose of Freecycle is to keep perfectly good stuff out of landfills.

Continue reading at: http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/get-free-stuff-from-fre...

Totally free checking options

January 14th, 2011 at 08:54 am



With so many major banks getting rid of free checking or making you jump through hoops to earn it, there arenít many financial institutions left, with brick-and-mortar branches, that offer free checking. So where can you stash your money for free with no minimum balance or hassle and perhaps earn interest along the way?

Continue reading at: http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/free-checking

No more free checking?

January 12th, 2011 at 07:57 am



Chase bank announced it will start charging its former WAMU customers, a checking account service fee of $10, starting on February 8, 2011. The Chase Free Extra Checking account will be converted to Chase Total Checking (or Chase ďTotal RipoffĒ).

To avoid the $10 monthly service fee, you have to meet one of the following criteria:

Continue reading at: http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/no-more-free-checking

Your Circumstances Can Change for the Better

January 10th, 2011 at 02:04 pm



The one story that dominated the news last week was the story of a homeless man with a golden voice.

This inspiring overnight, rags-to-riches story about Ted Williams, former felon now the most sought after voice-over talent, gives us hope that our circumstances can change for the better at any given moment.

He knew what his strength was, his commanding voice, and made it known on a cardboard...

Continue reading at: http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/your-circumstances-can-...

How the new tax law affects you

January 6th, 2011 at 10:25 am



The new tax law, signed by President Obama on December 17, 2010, temporarily extends the 2001 Ė 2003 federal income tax rate cuts, extends unemployment for 13 months, implements new payroll tax breaks, reestablishes the estate tax, and more.

This is good news for most taxpayers. With this long recession, we all need tax breaks, donít we?

Continue reading at: http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/new-tax-laws-for-2011

Tax Day Extended to April 18

January 5th, 2011 at 10:35 am



Not only is 2011 the year for extension of tax cuts, but itís also the year we get 3 extra days to file our taxes. Tax day has been extended to April 18 for 2011 only.

Why? Emancipation Day, a holiday that celebrates the freeing of slaves in Washington D.C. falls on Sat., April 16, but is...

Continue reading at: http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/tax-day-in-2011-extended

Deposit Checks Online with the Chase iPhone App

January 3rd, 2011 at 08:41 am



I love anything that will save time. And time is money. Iíve been using my iPhone to deposit checks for the past few months. I was apprehensive at first, but since itís so easy, I have avoided unnecessary trips to the bank.

To test the deposit, I have actually deposited a check at the bank and deposited another check with the iPhone app on the same day. Both checks were posted in my account in the same amount of time, after Chase approved the deposits.

Continue reading at: http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/deposit-checks-online-w...