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  • How to file taxes for free online

    As everyone knows, taxes are inevitable. However, the fees associated with filing taxes are not. That said, if you want to file taxes for free online, you need to understand what type of tax forms and income situations qualify for free filing.

    Criteria

    If you have what is known as a complicated, home-based-business income situations, you will likely have to pay something. However, if you are filing taxes online that require a traditional 1040 or 1040-EZ, you will not need to worry about paying one dime.

    Additionally, if you fit into a low-income bracket, you can file just about any taxes for free.

    For people serving in the military, the income bracket is a little more generous. Finally, free tax filing is sometimes dependent on the state in which you reside.

    For people who do not meet the income cap, you might still qualify for free taxes as long as you qualify for the earned-income tax credit.

    1. TurboTax Freedom Edition

    As one of the top tax-preparation companies, TurboTax offers free tax filing for account holders who made less than $34,000 in the previous year. This income cap helps ensure low-earners have an affordable way to file taxes regardless how complicated their taxes are.

    For people who might have earned more than $34,000 per year, TurboTax also offers a free tax option. The only requirement is that you visit www.freefile.intuit.com. If you go to the standard TurboTax website, you will not be offered the actual free version.

    2. Free 1040 Tax Return

    Another free option for filing your taxes is via Free 1040 Tax Return. As the name implies, you only receive free tax filing if you are capable of paying your taxes using the 1040 form. If you use additional forms to report income from self-employment or working as a contractor, you will not qualify.

    3. TaxAct

    TaxAct offers free filing for households in which the total gross income is less than $59,000. If your income is greater than $59,000, you will only qualify for free taxes if you meet the following conditions.

    - eligible for the earned income tax credit
    - currently serving in the military with an income of less than $69,000

    4. FileYourTaxes

    FileYourTaxes offers tax filers free tax assistance if they earned between $9,000 and $69,000 and are also younger than 65 years of age. If you fall outside this strict definition, you can only qualify for free tax assistance if you earn less than $69,000 and are actively serving in one of the branches of the military. For people with foreign addresses, you can still file your taxes for free.

    5. 1040Now

    If you visit 1040Now, you can receive free tax filing, but you must earn less than $69,000 while also living in one of the following states.

    - Ala.
    - Ark.
    - Ariz.
    - Calif.
    - Ga.
    - Iowa
    - Idaho
    - Ky.
    - Mich.
    - Minn.
    - Mo.
    - Miss.
    - N.C.
    - N.D.
    - N.Y.
    - Okla.
    - Ore.
    - R.I.
    - S.C.
    - Va.
    - Vt.
    - W. Va.

    State taxes

    Please note that all of the above services provide free filing of state taxes except 1040Now.

  • A Look at Some of the Hottest Tech Trends in 2020

    When you are talking about the hottest tech trends occurring in 2020, you have to mention AI, edge computing, and the internet of things, but with so much going on around the world, even that would hardly cover all of the latest trends. This year has already proven to be a pivotal year in the evolution of technology. There are multiple leading edge technologies being brought to market right this minute that will undoubtedly forever change the way most people go about their daily lives.

    Artificial Intelligence Guides the Way

    AI is certainly leading the pack in terms of revolutionizing the way we go about our daily business. The latest trends in 2020 are moving us towards a world where computers are making more decisions in place of humans. In some cases, like the aviation industry, computers are now even making repairs. It is this increased reliance upon artificial intelligence that will be the hallmark of 2020.

    AI isn't the only sector in the computing industry that is pushing forward the limits of science though. In fact, you just might be surprised by how close to home the most technologically advanced solutions on the market are right now. They just might actually be in your home already if you rely upon smart devices on a regular basis. Welcome to the edge of computing, a new domain where corporate giants are now able to offload the processing power of AI tasks to the devices of consumers.

    Cloud Computing Meets Home Computers

    This means that the cloud is coming to you this year. Cloud computing used to be hallmarked by huge data servers, but these data servers are now being replaced by micro data centers that could potentially be as small as a cell phone. Furthermore, an intelligent network of sensors has become the norm in today's fast-paced world. No longer must people wait for multiple seconds to get the vital data they need due to limitations of the speed of light. Today, consumers and businesses are gaining access to real-time data due to edge computing, which is a technological advancement that could completely transform their daily activities.

    Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies Continue to Thrive

    All of this could hardly be mentioned without also making reference to the tremendous advancements that have been happening in the virtual currency markets. Cryptocurrencies are more than just a buzzword these days. The hottest cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin are certainly making a splash upon the global economy, but it's the advancements happening in the real world that are really changing the nature of the game. Cryptocurrency ATMs are the latest trend, and they look to be here for good. No longer must consumers battle endless technical jargon just to purchase their favorite cryptocurrencies. Today it's as easy as walking into a convenience store and making a purchase.

    Don't Forget to Put the Parking Brake On

    Of all the latest tech tends to occur though, it is likely autonomous driving that will ultimately change the way we live our daily lives to the greatest degree. Autonomous vehicles are now being used to enhance the quality of life individuals around the world enjoy on a daily basis. This year will undoubtedly be marked by a great number of achievements in the autonomous vehicle category as companies throughout the world continue to race to the finish line of delivering a vehicle capable of driving completely autonomously.

  • 5 Ways to Save In February

    Now that January is gone, you can start saving with sheer simplicity in February. The new month has fascinating events such as Valentine’s Day that is around the corner. Hence, you don’t have to go broke before then. You can save by cutting the spending on items that are not utterly essential. February is quite short, and it should gear you up as you draft a financial plan. Perhaps, you can involve a friend, family, or spouse in this journey for more motivation. Read on to get more insights about how you can reduce your expenses.

    Stock Up Your Supplies

    The first tip is to buy supplies in bulk ranging from groceries to toiletries. The secret behind it is that many stores have fresh produce such as seafood and meat during this time. Thus, you should buy them in large quantities and store them in your freezer. It is best to do so before February 14th. You will get the products at a reasonable price as compared to the later dates of the month.

    Shop for Items on President’s Day

    If you need to buy appliances, you should buy them on President’s Day. The primary reason is that many online and offline shops have fantastic deals. You can save a significant amount of money due to the stunning discounts. For this reason, you can take home TV sets, mattresses, and warm clothes at pocket-friendly prices.

    Prepare a Romantic Meal on Valentine’s Day

    You don’t have to go out for dinner during the special occasion. You can prepare an excellent meal and have a romantic night with your partner. Turn on some music and dance the night away from the chilly weather. It is a unique strategy since restaurants at the time will hike prices to another level. Thus, you can get that bottle of wine and enjoy the night at the comfort of your abode. If your loved one insists on celebrating the day outdoors, you can make reservations from 15th onward. By then, the prices will have significantly reduced to your advantage.

    Buy Lingerie Before 14TH

    If you intend to surprise your girlfriend or wife with a set of lingerie, you should do it before the 14th. The highlight is that you will buy two bras for the price of one item, and that is amazing. Thus, you can start going through your favorite online store and shop early. The same applies to single ladies who want to look good. It is the perfect time to buy the bras before Valentine’s arrives at expensive rates.

    File Your Tax Returns

    You can file your taxes this month so that you can get refunds that you deserve. What’s more, you should take advantage of the software that comes with huge savings. You will take home a considerable amount since you have submitted the tax data ahead of others. Your bank account will grow, and you will be glad that you took heed to the advice. The tax benefits might differ according to the website but ensure that you pick the one that has higher returns.

  • How to save on TV Streaming services every month

    There are many ways to save on TV streaming services every monthly. Doing a little bit of research is important prior to reserving a package. There are always so many great deals out there to choose from. Many companies have promotions for new customers to take advantage of. There's also many great things that you can do online without having to pay for monthly services.

    Always make sure to research bundles. This goes for those who have cable packages and would like to add an additional service for streaming. There may be a bit more research involved if you are looking to add a lot of subscriptions. You may want to check into live options with an additional movie channel option. This depends on what your needs are. There are great deals out there that you can find for just $12.99 per month. Again, depending on the type of package and additions you want, the cost will vary. Regardless, it’s good to check for ongoing promotions and bundles that can help you put some extra cash back into your pockets.

    Stream for Free
    You may also have the option to stream for free online. There are so many companies that try to reel in as many viewers as they possibly can. The only way to do this is by offering free services or free trial services. You may also be able to stream for free via your cell phone provider. Netflix, Apple, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu are just a few companies that offer free subscriptions and free trials anywhere between 7-30 days. If you own a smart TV, you can connect these apps directly to your TV. This is a lot better than paying for cable plans every month when you can get the exact same thing for free or at a much lower cost.

    Don’t forget to cancel your free trial after or prior to it ending. If you cancel prior to it ending, it may continue until the last day. You will end up getting charged if you forget to cancel. Many people don’t realize that they have been paying for a new service until they look back at their past bank statements. It's highly recommended to cancel prior to the trial end date so you won’t get stuck with another monthly payment you don’t need. Also make sure to pick and choose wisely. You don’t want to end up paying for 3 different services that you forgot to cancel after the free trial period ended. It’s okay to do if you keep up with them. Besides, subscribing to more than one at a single time gives you even more options to explore.

    You don't need to pay to stream anymore as there are many services out there that you can find. Whether you are looking for a simple bundle or ways to get free trials, those options are available to you. These are the best ways to save yourself money each month.

  • 5 tips to grow you piggy bank

    Growing your piggy bank is easier than you might think. It is all about being alert and finding the things that are going to help you increase your savings.

    1. You Spend It and The Banking Institution Rounds Up

    There are banks that are able to round up to the nearest dollar when you spend and contribute that dollar into your account. This can be great for all of those that use their debit cards on a regular basis. All banking institutions do not do this, however, so it is important to read the fine print and find out which ones are providing this financial contribution for customers.

    2. Make The Switch

    One of the most helpful tips that fills the piggy bank involves your ability to make the switch to another banking institution. There are a ton of financial institutions out there that give people incentives to make the switch. It is up to the customers to look at the competition, make the comparisons and find a financial institution that works best based on their lifestyle.

    3. Pay Yourself

    There is wisdom in paying yourself first. This may sound like a huge cliché, but the reality is that the ability to pay yourself is one of the most helpful tips that you can implement in your life. You can start small and increase increments over time. People that automatically send money to their savings account will have a much easier time amassing a larger amount of money over time. This is a good way to discipline yourself to do what you may not initially want to do. Once you set this in place it becomes automatic, and you don't even think about it.

    4. High Interest Rates

    It is important to have a banking institution that has high interest rates. This gives you the incentive to save. Those that are trying to see how more money can be earned should work on building up their savings with regular contributions to reap the benefits of compound interest.

    5. Start Investing

    Most of the tips above are ways to moderately increase your bank account. If you are serious about some large growth for any account you own you are going to need to consider investing. This is going to be something that requires a bit of knowledge. In order to gain this knowledge you are going to have to study and learn the rules of engagement when it comes to investing.

    It is true that some people will find themselves losing money, but it is important to put stock into building a portfolio that is diverse. That is typically the only way that you are going to see real growth when it comes to money. You may have a strong ability to discipline yourself to save, but saving without looking for investment opportunities will not help you gain a substantial amount of money. It's always going to be important to see the necessary need to make investing a big part of your wealth building experience.

  • Five must-have items for the NFL season!

    Just like you must do for any months-long festivity, preparing for the football season is the only way to ensure your family and friends have all the food and front-row fun on and off the gridiron.

    1. Grill

    Whether you opt for the Royal Gourmet BBQ Charcoal Grill that offers 800 inches of cooking area or a Folding Portable Lightweight Barbecue Grill that is perfect for tailgating, you do need a grill. Of course, with any grill, you will need accessories, such as the OMANTICIST 27pc BBQ Accessories Set that offers every possible cooking utensil you will need for ribs, chops, or steaks.

    2. Spirit

    Team spirit can only be shown in one way: an official NFL jersey for whatever team that solicits your loudest cheers. Of course, since winter is the official NFL celebration time, you might opt for a sweatshirt and hat instead. Whichever, your official gear supports your on-field champions and taunts those family members who inevitably root for the wrong team.

    3. Coolers

    Okay, number three on this list actually is comprised of two items: a cooler and a chair. You obviously need a chair for cheering, talking, and eating. However, you also need something to drink, and it better be ice cold. Therefore, number three on this list is comprised of chairs and coolers.

    4. Carrying tray

    A carrying tray for your food and drink is as essential as the food and drink. The tray holds your cup, your dogs, and your fries or tots. Of course, your chops can fit easily on top of the dogs, and you can situate your burger askew on your chop. Your veggie skewer can fit into the slot beside your drink, and you can have the grill master sprinkle nachos liberally over the entire food array. Thus situated, all you need to do is enjoy the season.

    5. Television: bigger and better

    If you have ever been to a football game, you know just how gigantic those players are. You might not have noticed, however, that football players will not display properly on small televisions. You think technology, being what it is, could design a small television capable of displaying large events, but small televisions just do not display anything without the heads and feet getting cut off and most of the scenes stretched and distorted.

    If you are now getting up to check your television to see if it will display a football game, there are two things that just went wrong. First, of course, your television will show a football game. Two, you are probably wanting something that does a better job. For instance, this 49-inch Samsung television offers 4K resolution and true color reproduction.
    That said, this 75-inch TCL television actually brings the game into your living room. It offers 4K resolution, true color representation, and a refresh rate perfect for high-speed video. Additionally, it is large enough that the heads of the players will actually not get cut off.

  • Upgrade you kitchen appliances on a budget

    You can update your kitchen appliances on a budget. Plenty of options exist that will allow you to cook in a modern setting without spending a fortune or having to take out a home improvement loan.

    You can easily achieve a new look by changing the color of the appliances. Rather than stick with copper or white, try stainless steal for an upscale look that enhances your home’s resale value.

    You can make it easier on yourself shopping-wise by choosing a set. Many manufacturers turn out appliance sets and you can land a great deal this way.

    Make a smaller kitchen seem bigger and get more work out of it with a range microwave. It provides a hood and a microwave, plus its space saving design helps give you more counter top space. Try the Samsung 1.8 cubic feet microwave for $249 or the manufacturer’s 1.6 cubic feet option for $199.

    Enhance this by adding an oven and cooktop. Those working with a tiny house design or redoing a condo kitchen can maximize the space by installing a compact oven. Try the Summit RE203W for $369.05. It requires only 20 inches of space, but provides the four burner system you’re used to using. In homes of standard size, you can whip up culinary treats on this Amana 4.8 cubic feet electric range in stainless steel.

    Forget washing dishes by hand. You need a dishwasher. If your small space stopped you until now, try this countertop dishwasher from EdgeStar for $259. If you have room and prefer a traditional model, Frigidaire makes a four-cycle machine in black, white or stainless steel for $449 to $520, depending on finish.

    You can install the retro look of the Smeg refrigerator without spending the $5,000 price tag. Choose the GE Artistry line instead. You can get a four piece appliance set for only $8,135 that includes the retro fridge, convection double oven, range hood and dishwasher. You get your entire cooking space in perfectly matching appliances.

    Another way to save money, but still get new appliances is to shop the scratch and dent sale. You can save hundreds on a purchase due to a tiny cosmetic scratch or dent which you can then buff out.

    Finding the right appliances does not have to be tough. You can easily redo your cooking space for only a few thousand dollars. You just need to shop around and budget.

  • Top 5 Smarthome Products in 2019

    In today’s technology-driven world, every household has a smarthome device that provides convenience and security 24/7. In line with this, the smarthome device industry is rapidly growing. Different gadgets and devices enter the market almost every year. To find the best gadgets for your home, here is the list of the top five devices in 2019:

    1. Amazon Echo Show 8

    This new addition to the Echo Show line features an HD display panel and a slightly larger screen compared to its previous version, the Echo Show 5. Because Amazon is positioning this device to be used primarily in the kitchen, you can now watch Food Network TV shows on this device. Launched in September 2019, it comes with an 8-inch HD display. It is now easier to follow recipes, as well as save those recipes with Amazon's voice recognition platform, Alexa.

    2. Ecobee SmartThermostat

    This WiFi-based thermostat lets you control your home temperature, from heating to air conditioning, with an app or with your own voice. The newest version includes a state-of-the-art remote sensor that can read the ambient temperature and occupancy so it can adjust accordingly. Equipped with new intelligent features, it can also help you save at least 23% annually on your heating and cooling costs. You can also call your friends, stream music and control other smart devices with Ecobee SmartThermostat with Alexa built into the system.

    3. Arlo Q

    With its great video quality from its excellent cameras, Arlo Q is 2019’s best webcam-based security camera. It has strong motion and sound detection, plus it comes with a free cloud-storage plan. According to its users, Arlo Q is very simple to set up for indoor monitoring. Its scheduling is deeper and more flexible than most of its competitors.

    4. Nest Hello

    This doorbell camera continuously records videos and its facial recognition feature lets you know who’s at your door by name and it can distinguish between people and cars. Because of this, the notifications you receive are very accurate and precise. With its 2019 release, Google has added a package detection feature so it can alert you when packages arrive at your door.

    5. Amazon Echo Dot – 3rd Generation

    Voice assistants are the starting point for building a smarthome. Amazon’s new generation of Echo Dot offers more skills and support for more third-party devices and applications such as Pandora, Spotify, Audible and Sirius XM among others. It is the most compact smart speaker in Amazon’s line so it can fit into small spaces. The improved speaker quality provides richer and louder sound as compared to the previous generations and it can be paired with a second Echo Dot for stereo sound. As a result of Amazon’s efforts to produce eco-friendly devices, this new version comes in a cloth-covered finish, with softer and rounded edges.

  • Summer Weddings: Look Your Best for Less

    My favorite weddings are in the summertime. Light and airy dresses, open toe heels all make for a fun night out! Getting in invite can be exciting but also nerve-wracking, what are you going to wear? Looking your best doesn’t have to be expensive if you know where to look. I was determined to keep each item under $100 to make a head-to-toe fabulous look that won’t break the bank.

    I always start a look with the perfect dress. Bloomingdale's has a huge selection of beautiful dresses up to 50% off. Here are some of my favorites:

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    AQUA High-Neck Lace Dress

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    BCBGeneration Lace Detail Dress

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    Lauren Ralph Lauren Bell-Sleeve Crepe Dress

     

    Next comes the shoes, a beautiful open toe strappy high heeled sandal is very in right now. Nordstrom has so many options up to 60% off. Here are some amazing options that are sure to please your wallet!

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    'Luminate' Open Toe Dress Sandal

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    Gracie Ankle Strap Sandal ADRIANNA PAPELL

    _102483205Rome Sandal CHARLES BY CHARLES DAVID

    Finally, every wedding look must be complete with some statement jewelry and an embellished clutch to hold your bare necessities. Think lipstick, phone, and ID only. Here are some cute dressy bag options I found on ASOS:

     

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    Claudia Canova Clutch Bag With Gold Stud Hardware

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    Maya Allover Sequin Oversized Coin Purse

     

    As for statement jewelry, I went H&M because they never disappoint with fun accessories at fabulous prices. As in under $10:

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    Bracelet

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    Tasselled earrings

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    Necklace

     

    So go out and dance the night away, knowing you scored a gorgeous new look at unbelievable prices. You’ll feel lighter but your wallet sure won’t!

  • Top Five Black Friday Retailers!

    Are you looking to score a sweet deal this upcoming Black Friday? Thousands of shoppers around the country will be on the prowl the day after Thanksgiving searching for the best prices on items they love. From a huge television set to a deluxe coffee maker, you'll never know what hot ticket item is up for grabs. If you're searching for an excellent place to strike your next Black Friday deal, check out these five amazing retailers!
    Walmart

    Walmart is the king kahuna of deals during the holiday season. Toys, electronics, apparel, and furniture are just some of the hot ticket items shoppers desire. Walmart is set to open the doors early to eager customers who are ready to strike a deal.

    Amazon

    Do you want great holiday prices without all of the chaos and headache? Amazon is one of the premier online retailers providing incredible deals to customers at the click of a mouse. Shoppers will have opportunities to receive hefty discounts on several of Amazon's own products including echo devices, Fire tablets, and 4K televisions. Shop from your couch this Black Friday, and snack on some of the Thanksgiving leftovers!

    Best Buy

    Imagine watching the big game on your new 50" smart TV! Best Buy is your ticket to becoming the envy of your friends and family this holiday season. Best Buy is offering outrageous deals on laptops, tablets, and everything digital! Your car rides will be much quieter with your children occupied by their new electronic devices!


    Macy's
    Does your limited budget prevent you from purchasing that brand new mattress? Macy's is your top retailer offering the mattress of your dreams. Spice up your winter wardrobe with stylish accessories offered at a great bargain. You will be the talk of the office with your stylish and new look.

    Target

    Target may not be on your list of top stores to visit for great bargains. However, you will be surprised by all of the amazing sales that are available. You can sign up for free to receive the holiday ad early on their website to be ahead of the game.

    As you prepare for holiday shopping, create a game plan in advance to hit all of the top retailers. Go shopping with your friends and family to divide and conquer all of your favorite stores!

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