Archive for February, 2009
Those of us with U.S. citizenship can pick up the newspaper on any given day and are almost guaranteed to find at least one story about the significant percentage of our country’s population who can’t afford health insurance coverage. Those ugly statistics are likely to become even more hideous as unemployment numbers continue their upward march.
With mortgage disasters, credit freezes, down-in-the-dirt consumer confidence and increased joblessness as we meander through recession, it seems like a flat-out stupid time to even think about buying health insurance for our dogs and cats, right? It sure seemed that way to me.
Remember that seen from the Frank Capra movie, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town? Just in case you’re not a big 1930s film buff, there’s a scene were a poor farmer crashes a ooh-la-la party hosted by the film’s protagonist. The farmer chastises the host, saying, “I just wanted to see what a man looked like that could spend thousands of dollars on a party when people around him were hungry!”
There’s something about pet insurance that feels the same way to many of us… ”I just want to see what a man looked like that could spend money on pet insurance when his neighbors don’t have health coverage!” Or something like that.
If you can get over any guilt you might have about being better off than some other people, pet insurance isn’t quite that offensive. It can actually make sense.
Liz Pulliam Westin at MSN’s Money page once thought pet insurance was a complete waste of time. She seems to have changed her tune. Although she still thinks most folks would be better off saving the money they’d spend on premiums, she also notest that pet medical expenses are increasing as new techniques and procedures are making their way into the veterinary world. She concludes:
But if you’re the type of person who would do anything to save your pet, including spend thousands of dollars on medical care, pet insurance might be a preferable alternative to going into debt.
The U.S. seems to be a little behind the curve when it comes to taking out health parties on behalf of Snowball and Fido. According to one source, over 12% of British pets have insurance, while less than 1% of U.S. pets are covered. When you consider the love many people have for their animals, that’s pretty shocking.
But don’t assume that the Brits have it all right. Although pet health insurance can keep a person who may not have a nest egg set aside to pay for a cat’s emergency room bill from running up a massive Visa bill, health insurance for the furries isn’t always a great deal. If you thought Blue Cross and Blue Shield was reluctant to pay out, imagine how excited an outfit that insures dogs is going to be to cut checks to cover Mr. Fuzzybottom’s cancer treatment bill. You’re gonna have a co-pay and a deductible. There will be policy limits. It might be for a cute littze fuzzy buddy, but it’s still insurance.
What’s the bottom line? Should you be purchasing insurance for your health? There are worse ways to spend your money, but for most people it probably will make more sense to develop a savings account created exclusively for the purpose of handling pet medical expenses. In other cases, however, having a good policy can be a huge benefit. I recommend reading these conversations for a little extra input on the topic.
In other words, it’s not as crazy as it might sound. Depending upon the policy, your pet and your financial condition, you might want to invest in some insurance. At the very least you can’t dismiss the idea as utter silliness.
If you’re not familiar with Aeropostale, that can only mean one of two things: You’re over eighteen years old or you haven’t set foot in a shopping mall for quite some time.
Aeropostale is a mall-based clothing retailer targeting the teen demographic. If you’re a teen, like to dress as if you are a high schooler, or have a kid at home with a taste for trendy-yet-safe mall fashions, it’s a great place to shop.
Aeropostale just annouced its plans to close its “Jimmy’z” stores, which were aimed at a slightly older crowd. You’d think that announcing one’s intentions to close a chunk of a business might be a bad thing, but Wall Street doesn’t think so. It appears as though Aeropostale might be doing things the right way in terms of company management.
The retailer also seems to be doing things the right way in terms of discounting its merchandise. You can find printable Aeropostale coupons and online coupon codes fairly easily, giving you a shot at hitting the mall on a budget.
I did a quick check for a good Aeropostale coupon and found some great opportunities to shave down one’s bill. CouponCabin featured five listings for the retailer, including some hefty %-off discounts. Savings.com had a full page of sizeable discount deals. BradsDeals had a few listings, too. They also showed some of the now-expired codes, which evidence consistent offerings on the part of Aeropostale.
Coupon codes are only part of the story, though. Aeropostale also runs some eye-popping sales. Witness, for instance, their 70% off warehouse sale. This doozy was featured in the Bargainist and included t-shirts for way under $10/ea.
Perhaps the best way to get your hands on a great Aeropostale coupon is to ask the company for the hook up. How do you do that? You sign up for their email list. According to their subscriber page, you can get members-online online promotions and invitations to their very best private sales. When you consider the fact that it only takes a few minutes to sign up to the list, becoming a member is a no-brainer for anyone who might want to purchase Aeropostale products.
Aeropostale does issue printable and printed coupons, too. You can keep your eyes peeled for coupons in your local paper, or you can hunt them down online and print ‘em up yourself. The coupon and bargain/frugality forums are a great place to look. The printable coupons offer some very nice savings potential, too. Consider these finds:
- I found one issued in December (now expired) that offered $10 off any purchase of $40 or more.
- At one point, there was an Aeropostale coupon that offered 30% off any purchase.
- Over the holidays you could take 25% off any purchase in excess of $100.
Those are just a few examples of the printable Aeropostale coupon offers that have been floating around online. With a little digging, you’re sure to find some wonderful deals.
I’m not a big fan of the mall and when I am in a shopping center I usually steer clear of the joints specializing in teen fashions. If I was in the market for some clothing for teenagers, however, I’d put Aeropostale on my list of places to stop.
It looks like they have some decent products and they’re certainly prepared to supply customers with some great savings opportunities.
Your car payment is higher than your water bill. If you’re like most people, you electric bill is higher, too. In the big scheme of things, your water bill probably doesn’t crack the top ten list of your highest monthly expenses.
Nonetheless, it makes sense to look for ways to save on your water bill. Obviously, every penny counts these days. Besides, water really is a precious commodity, so finding ways to conserve is always a good idea.
Cutting your H2O bill isn’t going to take you from struggling to massive wealth, but you can do a few things to put extra money in your pockets on a regular basis. Over time, those small savings can add up to something meaningful, too.
Here are four tips for cutting your water bill.
Go Low Flow. According to the EPA, we flush away nearly 5 billion gallons of water every single day. The average home uses somewhere between 20 and 30 gallons of water on toilet flushes per day. That’s a lot of water, people. That’s one reason why homebuilders are required to use low-flow toilets on new projects. It’s also a good reason for those of us living in pre-1992 structures to make the switch. They cut water use in half.
Does this make sense in “dollars and cents” terms, though? Won’t buying the new toilet cost so much money that you won’t be able to recover the costs with water savings any time soon? Not necessarily. Many states and municipalities offer vouchers and tax rebates to help facilitate the switch. When you consider these as part of the overall picture, one can recoup the initial investment quickly, making real “in your pockets” savings appear sooner than you might think.
Here’s a nifty trick for those who’d like to flush away less but who aren’t ready to buy a new low-flow device. You can put a brick into the tank of your old-school john to cut down on water use!
Low flow isn’t just a matter of toilets. It applies to shower heads, too. You can use a low flow shower head to cut down on water use.
Use Less Outdoors. Yeah, everybody wants a green grassy yard. Getting one, however, is an exercise in inefficient water use. If you aren’t living in the Mojave, let nature take its course. Allow the rain to water your yard this year.
If you’re hooked on watering, do it during cooler hours. That prevents evaporation, allowing you to get more bang for your water buck.
Those who are serious about gorgeous landscaping and saving on water might want to consider saying goodbye to Kentucky bluegrass and switching to native plants that will thrive without all of the extra watering.
Change the Way You Drink. Saving on water isn’t all about external use and water-based appliances. We drink the stuff, too. You can save on your drinking water bill by giving up on those single-serving bottles and making a switch to a household water cooler.
Bottle water costs a small fortune. Water coolers are a lot cheaper. If you just can’t bring yourself to guzzle the stuff that comes out of your tap, go with a cooler over those bottles. True, this tip won’t change the size of the check you write to the utility company, but it will decrease your overall water costs.
Wait for Full Loads. You want to keep a clean house, but don’t go crazy. You don’t need to run the dishwasher when you just have a few dirty plates. It’s a waste of water. Wait until you have a full load ready to go.
The same things holds true for laundry. Wait until you can do a full load before you wash. This little trick can add up to big savings.
With a little bit of effort, you can cut your water costs down while doing your part for conservation. That’s a real win/win situation.
Some people just love Dave Ramsey’s debt snowball plan. You know, that’s the one where he tells folks to pay off their lowest balance debt and to then apply all of the money previously being spent on that debt to the next smallest until it’s paid. Every time you clear a debt, you roll that money toward the next one and, boom, you’re out from under those bills in record time.
Others think that Dave loves the system more than he loves his math. They advocate a similar approach, but focus on paying down debts with a higher interest rate first instead of working from smallest to largest.
One system is based on psychology, the other is based on logic and math. Either way, the idea is to get that debt reduction moving quickly and efficiently. It’s a good approach, too. But there are occasional problems.
First, you need to get that first debt paid off before anything starts to snowball. For some people who are barely scraping by after paying their bills, that can be tough.
Second, there are times when you’d really like to have a little extra snow to pack onto the ball when you roll into a larger debt that’s going to take a while to pay off. Part of the reason people love the snowball is because of the visible quick results.
That’s why those who are paying down their debts this way might want to consider giving their snowball a little boost by intentionally setting aside extra cash for the paydown when they come in under budget in some area.
Let’s say, for instance, that you’ve set aside $100 to pay your gas bill for March. Luckily, things warm up faster than expected and you only spend $50 on gas. That $50 gain is then applied immediately at the end of the month to the bill that’s directly in line with your snowball.
You can encourage paydowns a little more by applying spare change or even coupon savings on groceries that weren’t previously calculated as part of your budget to the debt. It soon becomes a game of sorts. You’re looking for every possible penny to throw at that bill so you can knock it down and move onto the next one.
That gaming attitude is important, too. If you begin to see this as something you can actually “win” instead of an ugly part of life’s fine print, you’ll discover a reservoir of dedication you may not have thought you had. People often “fall of the wagon” when trying to take control of their finances, but those who see themselves as competing with a chance for victory are much more likely to see things through to the end.
If you’re trying to lighten your debt load and are working with a snowball system, think about anywhere and everywhere you might be able to find an extra dime to pay toward the next bill. By increasing that payment, you’ll keep things rolling downhill quickly. That extra effort can be the best way to get off to a great start and it can also serve as a shot in the arm when things seem as though they’re beginning to drag.
And if you’re tempted even a little bit to spend that extra cash on something else, play a little game. Take the amount of money that you’re considering keeping for an unnecessary purchase and multiply it by the interest rate on your next debt. Add that number to the “principal” you have in your hand. Now, repeat that process for as long as you’ll be paying off your debts if you don’t get your snowball moving.
When that $100 turns out to be over $600 over a ten-year term at 20% interest per annum, you’ll begin to feel a little more excited about applying it to your debt!
We’re not yet officially into spring, but I’m ready to get the firewood out of the living room and to start griping about the heat outside. That’s right, I’ve skipped right past spring fever into summer fever.
So, in an effort to fool myself into believing that warmer days are right around the corner, I decided to provide a handy rundown of how we can all enjoy a little summertime climate control on the cheap. Thus, I present eight ways to save on your air conditioning costs.
Schedule pre-season maintenance. You should have a pro examine and adjust your air conditioner annually. That will insure top performance and will stave off that breakdown that will occur on the hottest day of the year.
Reduce interior heat. There’s no reason to make that air conditioner harder than what is minimally necessary to keep you nice and cool. We all love a little sunlight, but we should balance that with an appreciation for the way curtains and drapes can deflect heat, keeping our homes cooler.
Set the right temp. Hey, the idea of living in a meat locker will be appealing on some of those August days, but keeping the thermostat set a little higher will drastically cut energy use. According to Saving Electricity, “Each degree below 78 will increase your energy use by 3-4%. ” I don’t know if I agree with their assessment that 80 degrees is cool enough, but there’s no reason to overdo it.
Use fans to your advantage. Not only will you get that sensation of the wind rushing through your hair, you’ll also cut down on energy use. A ceiling fan will push air downward, keeping things cooler and improving climate control efficiency.
Don’t run the AC when you’re away. Unless Fido is under vet’s orders to stay cool, you can get by without cooling the house while you’re away at work. Why waste all of that power and run down your A/C? If an air conditioner runs in the household and no one is there, does it really cool anything?
Shield your AC, but don’t smother it. If you can get your air conditioner positioned in the shade, it’s going to be more efficient. You can even use a little creative landscaping with trees or bushes to help out on this one. However, you don’t want to surround it with plant life (or anything else). Proper airflow is essential to its proper operation.
Stop using the hot stuff. It’s true. Your grandma’s recipe for baked stuffed cabbage truly does rock the house. However, using that oven also increases the temp in the house, making your AC work harder to accomplish the same goals. End result? You spend more. Skip granny’s cabbage and have cole slaw instead. The same thing goes for that heat-dry cycle on your dishwasher. Skip it.
Don’t cool empty rooms. Do you have a guest room that no one’s using? A utility room that doesn’t see a lot of action? Keep the doors closed and close the vents if you have central air. There’s no reason to waste money and power on areas in which no one is going to set foot.
All right. Now we’re prepared to take on that summer heat. We just need it to show up first, don’t we? Considering the length of this cold season, you’ll probably have plenty of time to prepare to put all eight of these recommendations into use.
There are certain things you really must buy. One of them is food. Even if you are sporting a spare tire big enough to float the whole cast of The Biggest Loser, you do need to eat.
You don’t, however, need to run your checking account down into single digits in order to put food on the table. Almost all of us could find some additional cash by trimming our grocery bills.
So, that sounds good but just telling someone to spend less really doesn’t offer a great deal of help. That’s why I’m here to share five great ways to trim your grocery bill down to size. Without further ado, here’s the list. These aren’t just ideas, by the way, they’re recommendations for which I can personally vouch.
1. Do the High-Low. Here’s the deal, those high school kids who put food on the shelves are just following orders. There not in charge of product placement. That job falls squarely on the shoulder of actual merchandising wizards. These sales gurus have found that people are more likely to by the stuff at eye level. So, they put the most profitable items at eye level. That’s the expensive stuff.
Look high. Look low. You’ll find the cheaper alternatives.
2. You need a List. Really. If you go into the store without a list, a few things are going to happen.
First, you’re going to spend a lot of extra time in there. Not only is that annoying, it also increases the likelihood that you’ll break down and make a stupid purchase that isn’t really in line with your budget goals.
Second, it assures that you’ll suddenly realize you need a tub of sour cream right as you finally advance in line to the checkout counter.
Third, the disorganization is going to lead you to spend more than you thought and to shop inefficiently.
Make a list. Stick to the list.
3. Buy things you’ll really eat. You decide to cut the bill down, so you schedule a meal of macaroni and cheese on Monday and canned salmon sandwiches (hey, it was on sale) on Tuesday. In addition to the health issues those incomplete meal choices might present, there’s also a fairly strong likelihood that you’re going to look back on your decisions as if they were made by an insane person.
After a long day at work and realizing that a box of Kraft doesn’t make for a great supper or remembering that there’s really no good way to turn Wonder bread and canned salmon into something edible, you’re going to rebel against your plan.
Before you know it, you’re going to be ordering a pizza or driving to a restaurant–spending more money. And you’ll end up back at the grocery store earlier than planned–spending more money.
4. Eat Before You Go. What do you think hungry people do when they’re in a grocery store surrounded by yummy goodies? Do you think they’re more likely to give in to wasteful impulse shopping than they might be if they were sated before wandering into the store?
This one’s obvious. Don’t go into the supermarket when you’re hungry. You’ll buy more than you need and you’ll probably buy things that didn’t make your list.
5. Buy Quality When it Matters. I can’t tell the difference between the name brand brown rice in a bag and the store brand. They taste the same to me. Maybe you can sense a subtle quality difference, but I can’t. As such, I’m buying the store brand and saving some money. When it comes to creamed corn, however, I won’t touch the generic stuff. It’s like a creepy, runny corn soup. I go with the Jolly Green Giant on that one, even if it runs me an extra twenty cents.
The point is that it’s okay to spend a little more for quality when it makes a difference to you. You want to actually eat the things you buy and there’s no reason to punish yourself with food you don’t like in order to save a few bucks.
If you spend up for the good stuff in areas where it matters to you, you’re going to keep eating at home instead of wasting money at restaurants. It also makes the grocery buying process seem a little less like an exercise in Draconian budgeting.
The next time you need to stock your cupboards, keep these little pearls of wisdom in mind. You’re almost guaranteed to shave some money off of your grocery bill.
Let me say this, right off the top. I’ve long been shocked that a major retailer functions with the name “Banana Republic”. I don’t want to sound like the kind of person who has a seizure every time someone says “mankind” instead of “human kind”, but I do believe that language matters.
As such, there’s something that makes me a little uncomfortable with a clothier that chooses a pejorative term often applied to nations in the developing world as its monicker.
Sure, I know that “officially” the term “Banana Republic” is applicable to kleptocracies, but in practice it’s often hurled as an insult at other nations who are trying to working through a slew of problems as they sift through some post-colonial issues.
Okay, now that’s off my chest. Now we can talk about saving some dough if you decide to go shopping at Banana Republic.
I personally don’t wear a lot of BR stuff. I think some of it is quite fetching and the quality seems pretty strong. I do think they size out a little small (but then again, I have the famed portly Lampsen physique) and there’s something about their offerings that are just a little too plain for me. Nonetheless, it’s a fine store and many people absolutely love the stuff they sell there.
Here’s something that surprised me when I went on a Banana Republic coupon hunt. Unlike many major retailers, these folks don’t seem too interested in providing customers with an coupons or coupon codes directly from their own website. I couldn’t find any.
What I did find was a promise of a shipping price break for those who signed up to be on the BR mailing list. It wouldn’t surprise me if being on the list nets you an occasional special offer, too, but the Banana Republic site isn’t really touting that possibility.
So, that meant it was time to check out some third party sources where I might get lucky enough to find a Banana Republic coupon.
RetailMeNot had a small collection of 10% and 20% off coupons that could definitely come in handy. Well, as is usually the case online, they weren’t really coupons. They were coupon codes of online shopping. I tend to use the terms interchangeably, though.
You might not think that a site called TechBargains would be that interested in what’s happening at BR, but they did have a 10% off coupon available. They also directed readers to ways to secure the free shipping mentioned earlier.
I sure did. Apparently, unlike a lot of the other stores with a significant web presence, Banana Republic is perfectly satisfied to offer a small collection of coupons at any one time. There really isn’t a lot of reason to dig too deep in hopes of securing significant BR savings. They have a few decent coupon codes, those fall into circulation and you can use them. It’s handled pretty simply and directly without a lot of competing offers and confusion.
If you’re a Banana Republic shopper (which probably means you tend toward muted hues and non-controversial styles that will allow you blend in to most “office casual” situations quite effectively), you might as well use one of the easily-discoverable Banana Republic coupons online.
Grab one of those 10% or 20% off deals (there are some qualifications for each) and try to secure free shipping. You’ll end up on their mailing list, which could provide you with some better deals down the road.
While you’re there, give the clerk a fifteen-second talk on cultural sensitivity and the use of the term “banana republic”. You know they’ll just love that almost as much as you loved the opening paragraph of this post!
No matter how much you’d like to “make do” with what you have, there are times when you could reallly use some replacement furniture.
The problem, of course, is that furniture stores are specially designed to rip open your wallet and to remove everything in it except for your receipt from the gas station. New furniture costs money. In many cases, it costs way too much money.
Luckily, those what a frugal streak have a great alternative to squandering a small fortune on furniture. They can buy used and end up with something that’s probably better than what they’d be able to spend on a new item.
Let’s illustrate with a nifty hypothetical example. Let’s say you want a new desk. Your old one has fallen apart and simply can’t be repaired. Are you going to run off to Nebraska Furniture Mart to buy a new one? No. You’ll fight that instinct. You’ll also fight the urge to spend about $300 to $400 on a pretty run-of-the mill desk from JC Penney’s.
Instead, you’ll take a trip to your local thrift store. You’ll find a wooden desk and you’ll pay somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty bucks for it. If you live in an area with more upscale thrift shopping, you might get stung for as much as sixty five.
“Aha”, the doubters are saying, “That’s fine. You’ve saved a little money. However, you have merely replaced one piece of junk with another piece of junk. In the long run, you’d be better off buying new because the new item will last!”
That’s a fine argument, at face value, but it’s flawed on a few levels. First, the old furniture you find in thrift stores is often made from higher quality materials. You can find a real wood desk instead of one of those laminated particle board disasters. It will last. Oh, and by the time we’re done with it, it will be as good as new.
We’re going to assume you have some basic level of hand-eye coordination and a willingness to invest a few hours of your life in order to save a few hundred bucks. Just to make this hypothetical completely believable, though, we’ll also assume that you don’t have much in the way of tools or equipment at your place.
So, let’s make a trip to the hardware store. You can find a sander for less if you shop, but Home Depot has a $40 sander that isn’t at the bottom of the quality charts. You can invest another five bucks in sandpaper. Let’s say stain and finish will run you a ten-spot. Oh, let’s not forget–another five for brushes and we’ll even set aside another ten for a few replacement knobs, wood glue, an odd screw here or there and whatever other incidentals might be necessary.
Before you know it, you’ll have that thrift store desk sitting on newspapers in the garage or basement. You will have scraped and/or sanded it back down to bare wood, stained it your ideal color and sealed it with a nice finish. You will have repaired the solid wood furniture and it will be looking better than anything you could have found on the floor of a furniture store. A few hours of work, a day of waiting for everything to dry, and you’re in business.
Total cost (assuming a $25 desk purchase): $95
Total savings (vs. run-of-the-mill Penney’s desk): $205 – $305
Result: Better furniture at a cheaper price. And a sense of satisfaction in both the handiwork and the savings.
Living frugally doesn’t mean living with junk. It means finding ways to get good, solid, useful and even good-looking things when you need them at a fraction of the cost.
Here are the Blog Carnivals that we participated in over the last week. Enjoy!
- Carnival of Personal Finance #190 (The Buddy, Can You Spare A Dime Edition) was hosted by Funny About Money and you can find our post entitled Trying to Make a Little Sense Out of Credit Default Swaps listed there.
- Carnival of Debt Reduction #176 (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Edition) was hosted by Rocket Finance and you can find our post entitled Pay Yourself Second, Pay Your Debts First listed there.
President Barack Obama and a slew of his fellow office-seeking Democrats made a point of campaigning on the idea of tax increases for the uber-wealthy and tax cuts for everyone else.
Part of Obama’s plan to decrease the tax burden on the working class is what’s being termed the Make Work Pay Tax Credit. It’s not just a means of providing some tax relief for the sake of helping those on the middle and lower rungs of the economic ladder, it’s also become a component of the hotly-debated stimulus package.
The Make Work Pay Tax Credit is an interesting topic of discussion because it demonstrates how a plan can be tweaked (if not overhauled) in the political process. It’s also a conversation piece because it reveals a little bit about different potential mechanisms for injecting cash into the economy.
Originally, the President advocated a $1,000 per taxpayer tax credit. That credit was extended to those who paid and those who didn’t actually earn enough to pay income taxes. The details in terms of actual implementation were (and remain) a bit hazy, but the basic idea was to give everyone a credit in hopes of allowing them to keep more dough in their pockets.
As the massive stimulus bill has been adjusted, debated and compromised, the $1,000 figure has vanished. Based on the latest assessments, it looks like the Make Work Pay credit is going to be $500 per person (some say $400 is a possibility).
CNN breaks down the probable format for Make Work Pay:
The credit would essentially work as a payroll tax credit equal to $500 a year for individuals and $1,000 for couples. And the money could be delivered fairly quickly simply by having employers reduce the tax withholding in a person’s paycheck.
The full credit would be limited to those making $75,000 or less ($150,000 or less for couples). Individuals making between $75,000 and $85,000 (and couples making between $150,000 and $170,000) would get a partial credit.
The credit also would be refundable, meaning that even tax filers without any tax liability — typically very low-income workers — would receive one.
So, we’re beginning to get an idea of how much money this is going to amount to, but that’s only part of what’s going on with “MWP”. It’s also interesting to look at the different implementation options available.
When President Bush wanted to stimulate the economy with a cash injection, the check writers in Washington got busy. Stimulus checks were sent directly into the mailboxes of those who qualified. That doesn’t seem to be the plan with Make Work Pay.
Instead, there are two other options.
First, employers could adjust the amount of money taken out of employee paychecks to compensate for the credit. According to the aforementioned CNN piece, that would put a little less than $40 in pocket of every employee who receives weekly checks.
This kind of “drip system” is criticized by those who think the best route to stimulus would involve an in-whole “payout”, but it’s more likely to produce quick results than the alternative means of implementation.
If the money isn’t “credited” in the form of decreases paycheck reductions, it could be used as a tax credit for the flat $500/person sum at the end of 2009. In other words, it might just become another credit to offset income tax burdens or to boost refunds next year.
It’s hard to get too excited about the likely success of a $500/individual tax credit to solve our economic woes. If you believe in the overall approach, this component would seemingly help move things along, though. If you are an advocate of using tax reduction and cash injections to mitigate the recession, however, it’s hard to be happy at a break that’s been sliced in half and that won’t be administered as quickly as possible.
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