Thursday, August 20, 2009
Friday, July 18, 2008
However the car payments were becoming a little uncomfortable, given the rising cost of gas, and the interest rate I received when it was purchased was a tad high (7.5%). I've been working on paying down my existing credit card debt by utilizing zero percent or very low interest balance transfer offers when they come my way and have watched my FICO score soar as a result. So I contacted my credit union and inquired about refinancing my auto loan with them. I was able to obtain a a new loan at 5.25% saving me a considerable amount in interest charges!
Then I asked them to see what they could do with my HELOC loan... and because my score was now in the top tier, I was able to drop that rate by nearly 3%! I felt that was on a roll, so then I started calling my credit card companies.
I asked them what my current APR was and then asked them (politely) if there was anything they could do on the spot to lower it, or I'd be transferring the balances to one of my other cards. In almost every case (except CHASE), I was offered either a permanent lowered rate, (up to 5% lower on one card!) or their current promotional rate. After the promotion expires, just call back and ask them to lower it AGAIN -- the worst that can happen is they'll say no, and then you take your business elsewhere!
Sorry Chase, but your card won't be seeing the light of day until you become more consumer friendly! In the meantime, Citibank and American Express were more than happy to take business away from you, and they also offered me a great APR. See ya! Buh-bye.
By making just a few phone calls and being nice to the CSRs (Customer Service Rep), I was able to negotiate significant savings in interest payments on almost all of my loans and credit cards. Not too shabby for about an hour's worth of work! I now plan on doing this on at least an annual basis to keep my interest rates in check. Some folks may want to shoot for every six months if your scores are consistently improving...
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced an increase in the optional standard mileage rates for the final six months of 2008. Taxpayers may use the optional standard rates to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.
The rate will increase to 58.5 cents a mile for all business miles driven from July 1, 2008, through Dec. 31, 2008. This is an increase of eight (8) cents from the 50.5 cent rate in effect for the first six months of 2008, as set forth in Rev. Proc. 2007-70.
In recognition of recent gasoline price increases, the IRS made this special adjustment for the final months of 2008. The IRS normally updates the mileage rates once a year in the fall for the next calendar year.
"Rising gas prices are having a major impact on individual Americans. Given the increase in prices, the IRS is adjusting the standard mileage rates to better reflect the real cost of operating an automobile," said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. "We want the reimbursement rate to be fair to taxpayers."
While gasoline is a significant factor in the mileage figure, other items enter into the calculation of mileage rates, such as depreciation and insurance and other fixed and variable costs.
The optional business standard mileage rate is used to compute the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business use in lieu of tracking actual costs. This rate is also used as a benchmark by the federal government and many businesses to reimburse their employees for mileage.
The new six-month rate for computing deductible medical or moving expenses will also increase by eight (8) cents to 27 cents a mile, up from 19 cents for the first six months of 2008. The rate for providing services for charitable organizations is set by statute, not the IRS, and remains at 14 cents a mile.
The new rates are contained in Announcement 2008-63 on the optional standard mileage rates.
Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.
Take advantage of the rate increase and start logging your business miles automatically!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
It can help you recover some of your fuel costs for your business related driving, and put some of that hard earned green back in your pocket in the form of tax savings!
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
In addition to the employee discounts on the products my employer manufactures, the company also participates in many other employee discount programs offered by business partners such as auto manufacturers like GM, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubishi, wireless carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint/Nextel, Satellite TV providers like DirecTV, florists, retailers, just about any business you can think of offers a discount to us! We have discount programs available to us from local organizations such as the YMCA, food discounts from local restaurants. The list is amazing and many of them I wasn't aware of until I researched what was available! I saved several thousand dollars on three vehicles that I've purchased over the years, along with hundreds of dollars in other savings from various partnerships. It truly pays to take advantage of the discounts that are being offered and every penny you save is money back where it belongs: In your pocket!
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
It’s interesting to note that we put 38 legitimate business related miles on the vehicle yesterday. With gas prices in our area at approx. $3.50 gal, on a vehicle that gets 18MPG CITY, those 38 miles equated to 2.1 gallons of regular unleaded gasoline or roughly $7.38 in out of pocket expense for the fuel costs. Because the IRS allowable mileage deduction for 2008 reimbursable at 50.5 cents per mile, we’ll be seeing a tax deductible business expense of (38 x .505) $19.19 for those same miles! It's easy to see how quickly the Mileage Logger will pay for itself in a short period of time. If you drive in the course of daily business for meetings, sales calls, client visits, etc., how can you afford not to get one?
Utilzing a built in GPS receiver and a cellular connection, the device starts logging your miles driven as soon as the GPS detects movement of the vehicle. Once the vehicle has been stopped for more than five minutes, it logs the trip and sends the data via the GSM cellular network to company servers. I ordered a device and it was delivered to me within a couple of days.
The device is about the size of a pager or small cell phone and comes with a 6 foot long OBD II connector (On Board Diagnostic Terminal) to mini-USB power cord. A company rep explained to me that because many cigarette lighters are not powered when the vehicle ignition is off, the OBD II connection not only frees up the lighter socket for cell phones or radar detectors, it provides continuous power to the GPS device. While the device CAN be operated without being plugged in for up to 10 hours, it is recommended that it be left plugged into the vehicle at all times to ensure the strongest GPS and Cellular network signals. In addition to automatic mileage logging, you also have the option of purchasing emergency notification and on demand vehicle tracking features as well. And, depending on your insurance company, you may be able to get a reduced premium for having a GPS tracking device installed. (more money back in your pocket!)
Installation was simple and straightforward. I simply plugged the power cord into the OBD II connector under the driver's side dashboard near the steering wheel and plugged the mini-USB connector into the Mileage Logger. LED's indicate power and GPS signal reception. The instructions suggest simply placing the device in the front center console storage area, so I neatly wrapped up the extra cord, and tucked it under the device and stuck it in the cubby under the ashtray area. This also kept it neatly out of sight from would be thieves.
Once installed you simply drive. When vehicle movement is detected and logging commences, the device will give short series of beeps letting you know it's working. There are manual stop and start buttons on the device should you need to manually record a trip or go into an area where GPS reception may not work such as a tunnel or parking garage. I tested the device multiple times and so far it has performed flawlessly. After returning home, I logged into the company website and signed in with my secure account and generated a trip report. The servers automatically converted the GPS data into physical addresses for the starting and end points of each trip, along with the miles driven and other data. There you can mark the type of trip whether it was for personal, business, charity or other purposes along with a comment of your choosing.
The device is about the same price as a good radar detector, but is likely an allowable business deduction. And there is a small monthly cost associated for the cellular data service that makes this device work so well, which is also likely tax deductible. (consult your tax professional!) I'm very impressed with how well the Mileage Logger works and would recommend it to anyone who does a lot of driving in their job duties.
Save $15 on Mileage Logger - a business owner's most indispensable tool. Use code COUPON052008 at checkout. Offer ends 5/31/08
Friday, May 2, 2008
I was contacted by a company called National Claims Recovery who works on a contingency fee to recover this money. In most cases the amount you may receive can range from anywhere from $2000 to $5000 in tax-free money! NCR will send a claims specialist to your home to go over details and explain what they do... there is no cost to the homeowner out of pocket, their fee is charged based upon how much your settlement is made for. For example, if you received a $3000 settlement, NCR would receive $1000 of that amount. Yes, a 33% fee is a little high, but considering that I wasn't aware of the lawsuit in the first place, and they brought it to my attention, it is still money that I would not have obtained at all! So to me, it was still well worth agreeing to the terms of their service contract.
For more information or to see if you and your home may qualify for a hardboard siding settlement you can visit National Claims Recovery's Website at:
Monday, April 28, 2008
Summary of the Settlement (from diamondsclassaction.com)
De Beers is the largest supplier of rough diamonds in the world. Beginning in 2001, Plaintiffs in several states filed lawsuits against De Beers in state and federal courts alleging that De Beers unlawfully monopolized the supply of diamonds, conspired to fix, raise, and control diamond prices, and issued false and misleading advertising. De Beers denies it violated the law or did anything wrong.
The Settlement Agreement provides that $22.5 Million be distributed to the Direct Purchaser Class, and that $272.5 Million will be distributed to the Indirect Purchaser Class. De Beers also agrees to refrain from engaging in certain conduct that violates federal and state antitrust laws and submit to the jurisdiction of the Court to enforce the Settlement.
For more information go to: http://www.diamondsclassaction.com