Monday, December 12, 2011

Frugal Column December 11, 2011

I know you have your mind focused on shopping and all the other chores you have to do to get ready for the holidays but don’t forget 2011 is almost over. There are many tasks that you should complete for tax reasons and basically just to get ready for 2012. Let’s put these tasks on the top of your list so you will start 2012 with a clean slate.

1. Make your house energy-efficient. Purchase energy efficient qualifying products and 10% of the cost up to $500 or a specific amount from $50-$300 can be claimed. The improvements must meet federal energy-efficiency standards to qualify for the credit. Get twice the bonus if you are purchasing energy efficient products from Home Depot buy a gift card at Kroger’s to receive 4 times the points toward gas.

2. Contribute to an IRA. The maximum tax-deductible contribution to an Individual Retirement Account for 2011 is $5,000, $6,000 if you are age 50 or older. (The maximum contribution to a 401(k) plan in 2011 is $16,500, $22,000 if you are age 50 or over.) If you don’t have an IRA in place you need to open one by December 31. You can contribute to your IRA until April. Talk to your bank they will help you set up the appropriate account.

3. Spend your Flexible Spending Account. If you have money set aside in a flexible spending account, you have until December 31 to spend it.

4. Check out your medical expenses for the year. You can deduct medical expenses on your federal tax returns but they need to exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. Add up all your expenses from eyeglasses, over-the-counter medical supplies, insurance premiums and long-term care insurance.

5. Make Charitable Contributions. Find a qualified non-profit organization to donate cash or make a gift with your credit card. You need to receive a letter of acknowledgment from the organization specifying your donation amount. You can go through your house for donations but you can only deduct the fair market value of the property get receipt for your donations.,,id=106990,00.html

6. Change your important passwords once a year. Many of us do most of our banking, bill paying and more on our computer. Changing your password at least once a year will give an extra layer of protection.

7. Check your financial credit history. You can get a free copy of your credit history- everything the three major reporting agencies have in your file. Your credit history doesn’t include your credit score, but use this information to check it for accuracy.

8. Look over your budget. Now is the time to see how you have done all year with your budget. If you haven’t done a budget 2012 is the time to start.

Victoria’s Secret is giving away 100,000 Secret Rewards Card on Facebook worth anywhere from $10 to $500 until December 15, 2011. Starting everyday at 9am Eastern Time.

Create a free MiMedia account and get 7GB to backup your online digital photos, music, documents and more.

Free Christmas Tree Fire Safety Hang Tag from FEMA.

Free 8x10 Collage of your facebook photos at CVS Kodak Picture Kiosk today only.

Buy one breakfast at Bob Evans and get another one free- Monday thru Saturday coupon.

Rite Aid is offering 25 Deals of Christmas coupons. Check out their facebook page to print out high value coupons until Christmas Eve.!/riteaid?sk=app_112508532159958

Earn up to $10 in UPs Rewards every week when you spend $50 on qualifying products with your Wellness Card at Rite Aid. Look for the Red Savings Star throughout the store for products or visit for a complete list of qualifying products.

Shop a Walgreens store until December 17 and you can earn Jingle Cash to spend in stores the following week. Purchase qualifying items of $30 or more and receive up to $20 in Jingle Cash.

Create a personalized video from Santa Claus for your children, friends or family members.

Are you traveling for the holidays? Pringles has games for the kids to print out and travel tips for the parents.


Rite Aid has Oral-B Pulsonic Rechargeable toothbrushes on sale for $24.99 use $10 Sunday paper coupon.

Spend $6 on DenTek flossers at CVS get $3 back in extracare bucks pair this with 75 cents off Sunday paper coupon.

Spend $14 on any CoverGirl Face, Eye or Lip product at CVS get $4 in extracare bucks match with $1 Sunday paper coupon .

Buy Combo Snacks at CVS for $2 receive $2 in extracare bucks making this free.

Free Cubic Zirconium Earrings with Britney Spears or Elizabeth Taylor perfume purchase at Walgreens.

Olay Total Effects moisturizers on sale for $18.99 at Walgreens use $3 Sunday paper coupon making final price just $15.99.

Goody Hair Accessories on sale at Walgreens for $2 receive a $2 register reward making the price FREE after rewards.

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