Articles by Jill

Estate Tax Changes in 2011

Posted by Jill on February 22, 2011

The 2001 Bush Tax Cuts lowered estate taxes, phasing in rates that brought the existing estate tax rate from a maximum of 55% to 35% over 10 years. Under that deal, the 35% estate tax rate was to stay in effect through the end of 2009. Estate taxes were set to disappear altogether in 2010, […]

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Are Credit Card Rewards Taxable?

Posted by Jill on February 16, 2011

Lots of our Free Money deals focus on sign-up bonuses or cash back rewards for credit cards. With tax season in full force, I asked Madison recently if sign up bonuses and credit card rewards are taxable. It’s sometimes surprising to see what counts as taxable income. Thankfully, the tax rules for credit card rewards […]

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Discover Double Cashback Birthday Bonus

Posted by Jill on February 4, 2011

I just signed up for the Discover More no fee balance transfer card. I was excited to start earning 5% cash back on certain categories. But I was even MORE thrilled when I got an offer for 2% bonus cash back during my birthday month – it makes turning 25 just a little less scary! […]

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Substitute, Improvise, and Make Do With What You Have

Posted by Jill on February 3, 2011

I can’t tell you how many times recently I have been caught without something I needed. I don’t have a car and rely on public transportation and/or walking to get me anywhere I need to go. While it works most of the time, getting anywhere requires a little bit of planning – not great if […]

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Are You a Victim of Lifestyle Inflation?

Posted by Jill on January 25, 2011

In the personal finance world, you hear about lifestyle inflation all the time. You should figure that if you were making it on your old salary, most if not all of a raise should go to savings/investments. Instead, those who are victims of lifestyle inflation find their “needs” creeping up right along with their paycheck. […]

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AMT Exemptions

Posted by Jill on January 10, 2011

The big news last year was about the Obama tax compromise revolving around the Payroll Tax Cut and the extension of the 2001 Bush Tax Cuts. But the tax deal that was passed at the very end of the last Congress included an “AMT patch” to fix to the alternative minimum tax, or AMT for […]

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Reviewing 2010 and 2011 Financial Strategies

Posted by Jill on January 5, 2011

As we move into 2011, I’m spending some time looking back at my actual spending over the past year and how closely it adhered to my plans. As I’ve mentioned before, I set a monthly budget for categories like food, clothing and entertainment. I also set an annual budget for travel and gift giving, and […]

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6 People You Can’t Afford to Lie To

Posted by Jill on December 28, 2010

I saw a sign in a sandwich shop recently that said, “Honesty is not only right, it’s efficient.” When you’re anything but honest, it takes energy to come up with a new story and maintain that story over time. There’s no doubt that being honest is the easiest and right thing to do. But a […]

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Payroll Tax Cut: What Your Paycheck Will Look Like

Posted by Jill on December 21, 2010

There’s been lots of news recently regarding the tax compromise that President Obama struck with congressional Republicans. With the extension of the Bush tax cuts, people at all income levels will see their income tax brackets remain the same through 2012, and the AMT exemptions expanded. The tax compromise also calls for a reduction of an […]

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6 More Ways to Cut Holiday Spending

Posted by Jill on December 14, 2010

Yesterday we discussed 8 ways people justify excessive holiday spending, and I gave suggestions on how to reduce that spending. I’m trying hard to incorporate all 8 of those tips into my own gift-giving mindset this year. In addition, I’m falling back on some of my favorite frugal gift-giving strategies from years past. In addition […]

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