Americans have a love/hate relationship with taxes. Most of us are eagerly awaiting our tax stimulus checks, and as Brett Arends cautioned in his article for The Wall Street Journal,
Thanks to the deficit, these aren't really rebates. They're just loans from your kids. Something to think about before you blow the money on a flat-screen TV.Arends goes on to suggest 14 ways that you can have a do-it yourself tax cut. Here are a few of my favorites:
#2. Stop using other banks' ATMs. Sure it's a pain to have to remember to go your own bank and get enough cash. But you'll live. If you use other banks' ATMs you may be getting dinged for fees twice -- once by that bank, and one by your own. It adds up. Do it three times a week and it could easily cost you $300 a year.
#9. The biggest waste of money for most people. "No. 1 on the list is eating out and drinking out," says Jan Geiger, a veteran financial planner in Atlanta, Ga. "That's absolutely, by far, No. 1." She says most people never add it all up. When she makes her clients do just that, "They usually freak out. It can easily be $400, $500 or $600 a month." No, you don't have to live on noodles. Just cutting one $100 meal, or two $50 meals, a month will save you $1,200 a year.
#10. Buy a cheaper car and pay cash. Yes, that brand new luxury car says "smart and rich." Unfortunately, it only says that about your car dealer. About you it says "pretentious, and probably in debt."
#13. Cutting out crap. Remember before we paid for "iced tea" and water? And half of what people buy has no obvious purpose or merit. If you don't believe me, go to the mall and look around. And most gifts are a total waste of money. I'll bet the typical household could save $500 a year just cutting out crap.
It's a great list with a few ideas you may have never considered again. Check it out!