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September 22, 2012


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I disagree on the tax preparation and I think you do too, FMF (although I'm aware this is a guest post). As an IRS-certified volunteer tax preparer and -- separate from volunteer work -- someone with more than passing familiarity with the Internal Revenue Code, the IRC is straight up HARD and if you don't know exactly what you're doing, it's best to delegate. Better to do it upfront than be tangled up by IRS reporting mechanisms and subject to a stressful audit. This advice is more appropriate for single, house-less individuals with no kids or eligibility for the Earned Income Credit.

For batteries, he seems to assume you are running a business to have a preferred office supply company, or are willing to steal from your employer.

If you use a lot of batteries, which typically means you have young kids, then go with rechargeable batteries.

Tax prep is an interesting one. If you have a very simple return then it can be beneficial to get it done free but if you have lots of opportunities it may be worth it to pay a CPA to save you some money.

I've done a write up with step by step screenshots on how to get your free report over on my blog. If you need help check it out.

As far as activation or upgrade fees, I have definitely gotten these waived simply by asking.

@jdgjdg, No need to steal or run a business. We purchase batteries from Staples when they offer 100% back in Staples rewards. We then use the Staples rewards to purchase items like trash bags and paper towels...stuff we use anyway. You can get a ton of free batteries this way if you need them. Of course rechargeable are better for the environment...but our son doesn't have a lot of battery operated toys.

Antivirus software is a necessity in my opinion.
My internet provider is AT@T Yahoo and they provide McAfee Antivirus free of charge as well as the daily updates.
I had an incident some weeks ago when the instant I opened an e-mail from a friend of my wife, the antivirus program came to life with all kinds of messages, but by then the virus had also disabled the antivirus system. This was the first time I had ever had a virus. I took my computer to a store that solves these kinds of problems but it cost me about $170 to get my computer running normally again. After this incident I decided to not open any e-mails from strangers and the friend is also on my don't open list. I also routinely delete all Spam unopened. It can also be dangerous when you are doing a Google search, depending upon what you are searching for, some subjects create virus alerts but they have always been detected and removed without incident.

For years I religiously go through a weekly procedure where I perform the following tasks:
1) Disk Cleanup
2) Disk Defragmentation
3) Virus scan of my whole computer.

Sorry. 2 & 3 I don't agree.
I talk to IT people and get there recommendations and I would never trust an on-line software.

I like the fact someone think they can protect themselves online with a piece of software - I have never used anti virus, but staying safe is more about knowing what you do in from of a PC...

Kind Regards

Pauline --

Yes, you and I are on the same page. Especially for those with complicated taxes, I think a good CPA is well worth the money.

For Antivirus, I get Norton free by being a comcast user. I would encourage others to look into this as Old Limey said too with ATT.

For tax software, $15/yr for Taxact has worked great for the past 3 years. It seems to be very thorough too, not to mention quick since it basically sets year two and so on based on the previous year, so if nothing major changes, you only have to change a couple things and your taxes can be done in under an hour. Worth every penny at that point.

I need to do better on batteries, I usually go to Lowe's and get the largest contractor pack I can find since I've priced 4 batteries for $5-6 versus 24 batteries for $10-12. Something odd about the way they price them, guess its just a bulk thing. Works well too cause I only have to buy batteries once or maybe twice a year this way.

#1 - so the free batteries are occasional rebate deals from Staples rewards? or do other office supply companies also offer such deals? If its Staples only then I don't see why they don't say so.

#2 - There are in fact many free ways to get good virus protection. AVG is perfectly good. You can also often get name brand software free after rebate deals at Newegg or other retailers.

#3 - This one depends. If your taxes are fairly simple like many/most people then free preparation is just fine. A lot of people can do just a 1040EZ and dtheres not reason to pay for that. However many of us have complex returns that are best left to a CPA.

The top 6 things IMO not to spend your money on should be:

Whole or variable life insurance
Buying the most house your money can buy
Expensive wedding
Lottery tickets

#1 - Looks like Office Depot has similar rewards programs to Staples.

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