Monthly Archives: August 2012

9 Money Saving Tips for Couples

For many people, 2012 is rushing through like a train. If the two of you haven’t made much progress on your goals, there is still plenty time left this year for the two of you to achieve a milestone together. To get you started I wanted to share 9 money saving tips.

Saving Money Around the House

Saving money starts at home. There are ways you can lower your monthly living expenses.

Refinance your mortgage. For most people their mortgage payments are the biggest expense. Check to see if you can refinance your home mortgage to a lower rate. Right now, you may be able to get your home mortgage rate in the 3% range.

Optimize your electricity. With summer weather already here in some parts of the country, running the air conditioner from now until the fall will eat up your utilities’ budget. Try to cut back on your electric bill.

Cook (and grill) more. Summertime is perfect for cookouts. Eating with family and friends at home from your grill can be a great way to have a fun time without breaking the bank. Burgers, kabobs, and grilled chicken are easy meals to make and taste fantastic off the grill.

Have a home garden. You can boost your meals with some fresh items from your little garden. It doesn’t have to complicated – one year we just had herbs and some peppers.

Review your cable bundle. Check and call your current provider to see if they have any promotion specials you can take advantage of. We recently did this with our internet and cut our annual expenses by $200 while increasing the speed!

Shop around for cell phones. If you’re looking for the best value with cell phones with some flexibility, check out prepaid providers like Boost Mobile or Go. You can get some pretty good deals on plans and get the same coverage from the major providers.

Keeping Transportation Costs Low

The next biggest expense for couples are their cars – car loans, maintenance costs, and gasoline expenses can all add to a sizable chunk. Taking a few steps can help the two of you shrink your expenses.

Skip on the car loan. If you’re thinking about shopping for your next vehicle, consider saving before getting a car loan or lease. We manage to save cash for our last few cars and recently found a deal on our family’s Accord. While you’re shopping for your next car, look at gas mileage and weigh it against the price. You can come out ahead both with the upfront purchase price and with the long term ownership costs.
Improve your gas mileage. You don’t have much say about the price at the gas pumps, but you can lower your fuel costs significantly by increasing your car’s gas mileage.
Shop around for car insurance. Ever so often we get quotes on our car insurance to make sure we’re getting the best value. Even if you’re happy with your company, it pays to double check and make sure you’re getting discounts you’re entitled to. Being Costco members helped us to decrease our insurance premiums significantly.

Your Money Tips

How about you? What goals do the two of you have for this year and beyond? How are you saving money?


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Posted by on 15/08/2012 in Finance


Ten Tax Tips for Individuals Selling Their Home

The Internal Revenue Service has some important information for those who have sold or are about to sell their home. If you have a gain from the sale of your main home, you may be able to exclude all or part of that gain from your income.

Here are 10 tips from the IRS to keep in mind when selling your home.

1. In general, you are eligible to exclude the gain from income if you have owned and used your home as your main home for two years out of the five years prior to the date of its sale.

2. If you have a gain from the sale of your main home, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of the gain from your income ($500,000 on a joint return in most cases).

3. You are not eligible for the full exclusion if you excluded the gain from the sale of another home during the two-year period prior to the sale of your home.

4. If you can exclude all of the gain, you do not need to report the sale of your home on your tax return.

5. If you have a gain that cannot be excluded, it is taxable. You must report it on Form 1040, Schedule D, Capital Gains and Losses.

6. You cannot deduct a loss from the sale of your main home.

7. Worksheets are included in Publication 523, Selling Your Home, to help you figure the adjusted basis of the home you sold, the gain (or loss) on the sale, and the gain that you can exclude. Most tax software can also help with
this calculation.

8. If you have more than one home, you can exclude a gain only from the sale of your main home. You must pay tax on the gain from selling any other home. If you have two homes and live in both of them, your main home is ordinarily the one you live in most of the time.

9. Special rules may apply when you sell a home for which you received the first-time home buyer credit. See Publication 523, Selling Your Home, for details.

10. When you move, be sure to update your address with the IRS and the U.S. Postal Service to ensure you receive mail from the IRS. Use Form 8822, Change of Address, to notify the IRS of your address change.

For more information about selling your home, see IRS Publication 523, Selling Your Home. This publication is available at or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).



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