Photo by: Reggie Casagrande/Getty ImagesNavigating a Form 1040 often requires several hours, well-organized paperwork, and a few doses of aspirin. But thanks to recent changes in the law you may owe less or deserve a bigger refund than you think. Between the February stimulus and President Obama's foreclosure-prevention program, it's the rare taxpayer who will wind up empty-handed.
What to do with the money you've saved? Try this.
Here are some new incentives that may help you:
Making Work Pay Credit
The daily grind just got a little less taxing. During 2009 and 2010, the stimulus Making Work Pay Credit is $400 per worker or $800 for a married couple. Those who owe no tax can still claim the credit.
Ideally, you won't be working forever. Take these easy steps to be sure you can retire in style.
Going Green Credits
Did you make any adjustments to your home last year to bolster energy efficiency? The stimulus offers a credit for 30 percent of the purchase price for some improvements, up to $1,500 (note: there's no cap on
Blog Posts by Good Housekeeping
Photo by: Reggie Casagrande/Getty ImagesNavigating a Form 1040 often requires several hours, well-organized paperwork, and a few doses of aspirin. But thanks to recent changes in the law you may owe less or deserve a bigger refund than you think. Between the February stimulus and President Obama's foreclosure-prevention program, it's the rare taxpayer who will wind up empty-handed.Read More »from Make Your Taxes Less Taxing
Considering a new dog? Here's everything you need to know about the most popular breeds. Plus, take this quiz to find out which canine fits your personality!Read More »from Which Dog Breed Is Right for Your Family?
These dogs really give you something to hold onto! To fit into the giant category, these powerhouses weight from 75 to 150+ pounds. Common breeds include Great Danes, Akita Inus, Great Pyrenees, Mastiffs, Newfoundlands, Rottweilers, and Saint Bernards. Learn more about giant breeds.
Larger than life? We're sure they think so! Large dogs typically tip the scales at 55 to 85 pounds. Boxers, Collies, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and Poodles all fall into this category. Learn more about large breeds.
Not too large, not to small, these pooches could be just right - for you! Dogs in the medium size category range from 35 to 65 pounds. Airedale Terriers, Dalmatians, English Springer Spaniels, Bulldogs, and Basset Hounds are all considered medium dogs. Learn more about
Ever wonder if you're really saving by buying bulk at a club like Costco or Sam's? Many coupon clippers insist that food is as cheap or even cheaper at the grocery store - especially if you have double coupons or if you combine your coupons with weekly sales. But you can find some great deals at your favorite club, as long as you know what to look for. Don't miss these brilliant tricks for cutting your grocery bill in half.
Best Nonfood bargains:Check Out These 10 Time-Saving Commandments of Grocery Shopping
Gas, brand-name clothing, film developing, baby wipes, Christmas decorations, laundry detergent, tires, batteries
Want even more savings? Check your grocery list to see if any of these items are on there. You might be surprised by how much you can save by tweaking your habits.
- Mix it yourself. You can pay up
If the thought of clipping coupons, makes you groan, consider this: these days, if you worked at it, you could actually make money by using them. With double- and triple- coupon deals, and the internet making everything easier, there's no excuse for paying full price.Read More »from Coupon Clipping Is Not Just For Your Mother
Try simple swaps to save even more on items you normally buy.
Consider Stephanie Nelson, who shaves $100 off her grocery bill each week. To save 80 percent or more, she matches her coupons existing deals at the supermarket. And better yet, she estimates she needs just 15 minutes a week to organize coupons and another 30 to match them up with store sales. If you don't have the patience her site, couponmom.com, boils the whole process down to ten minutes.
These tricks will help you save money at the grocery store.
Try This Easy Game Plan
1. Get a coupon organizer - and no, a plastic baggie doesn't qualify. Try something stylish, like the ones on galison.com, to keep you motivated.
2. On Sunday mornings, log into the
A night at the movies for a family can be pricey and it's can be tough to choose a flick that suits the entire family. Instead, go the thrifty route: Make dinner together, then settle in for a rented family classic. A few of these films might even make you nostalgic!
Check our our complete list including 6 more family-friendly movies.
The Wizard of Oz
Here's a classic everyone can appreciate! An irresistible protagonist, played by an iconic actress; a villain you love to hate; and a truly fantastic plot will have you clicking your heels and saying, "There's no place like Oz." Rated G.
Possibly one of the most inspirational and uplifting movies ever, Rudy is also a kid-friendly flick. Although it isn't the typical tale of the underdog making it big, the real-life story of Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger is so motivational that we dare you not to cry (joyfully) at the end. Rated PG.
The Lion King
One of the most versatile of the classically animatedRead More »from Top Family Movies
Movie lovers, get ready for the glitz and glamour of Hollywood's biggest night. And if you're the gambling type, start hedging your bets. 2009 saw strong performances and some movie greats.
Who do you think will be taking home the Oscar? What was your favorite movie?
Share your thoughts with us!
And then see our picks for the 20 best Oscar winners of all time.
More from Good Housekeeping:
Celebrity Interviews with Leading Men
The Specialty Dishes of Celebrities
Movies You and Your Husband Can Enjoy
- Find the Dog Breed That Fits Your Family
- For More Tips & Tricks You Can Count On: Subscribe to Good Housekeeping & Save!
Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.Read More »from What Are Your Oscar Picks?
- Celebrity Interviews with Leading Men
It's nearly time for the Oscars and as excited as we are to see the gowns, we're equally excited to see the gorgeous hairstyles. The ladies on the red carpet never fail to awe us with new styles each season, but some of these gorgeous gals have mastered the vintage Old Hollywood hairstyle.
How do they do it? It takes patience, but it's worth it since this hairstyle flatters all face shapes. Before you get started, see how it looks on you with this Instant Hair Makeover tool.
Follow these steps:
- "You're going for hydrated and healthy-looking," says Gretchen Monahan, owner of the Grettacole chain of salons in Boston, "so start with shampoo and conditioner that are very moisturizing."
- Once you're out of the shower, apply a leave-in conditioner for additional moisture and follow up with a silicone serum for shine.
- Dry hair as usual and part on the side.
- You'll need to curl 1-inch sections of hair with a curling iron, then roll them forward.
A crazy job, a frenetic schedule, caring for the house and kids... Your life is chaotic, and can wreak havoc if you don't take a little time for yourself. Soothe away stress with these do-anywhere tension tamers.Read More »from De-stress, No Matter Where You Are
Tired? Check out these easy ways to boost your energy!
1. Mindful Meals: Instead of wolfing down your lunch while standing in the kitchen or sitting at your desk, take 10 minutes to eat mindfully. Smell your food before you begin and chew each bite several times, savoring the taste. Allowing your senses to rise to the surface gives your mind a much-needed break. And what better to focus on than delicious, sustaining food? It's much more fun than staring at a spreadsheet!
Savor these healthy lunches.
2. Mantra Meditation: To Western ears, "mantra" is synonymous with "mission statement." But it's a tool that's been used for thousands of years to help cultivate peace of mind. Choose a word or phrase that is meaningful and melodious - such "love," "peace," or "amen" (or whatever
With the horrors of the Haiti earthquake and now Chile on our minds, it's hard not to wonder: How would your family handle a disaster?Read More »from Would Your Family Be Safe During a Disaster?
While we hope to never be put to the test, it's smart to be prepared. Here's what you need to know to keep your family safe in the face of an emergency.
From blackouts to big storms, the items you need to get through a worst-case scenario may already be in your home - just not stored in one place. Since every second counts in a true emergency, corral these basics in a portable container in the area of the house where you'll seek shelter, but within easy reach for evacuation: three days' worth of food and water, a first aid kit, battery-powered (or hand-crank) flashlights and radio, batteries (if needed), trash bags and duct tape (for sheltering-in-place; see ready.gov for details), regional maps, and any personal sanitation or specific family needs, like pet supplies. Your only specialty buy: medical masks to protect against air-quality
Photo Credit: Philip FriedmanNo matter the outcome of the health-care battle raging in Washington, one diagnosis is beyond dispute: The cost of getting sick - and of staying well - continues to climb. Despair at the rising price tag on health is enough to make one want to leave the country. Even if you're not considering packing up, don't wait for laws to change. Use these smart tips to start saving today:Read More »from 5 Ways to Save on Health Care
1. Don't be afraid to dicker with your doctor. Health-care providers know that times are tight, so don't be shy about asking for a price break. Ask the billing manager if the practice has a cash-payment discount program, which would grant you a price break if you pay up front rather than waiting to be billed.
Considering travel for a lower cost medical procedure? Read this account.
2. Find Free Screenings. The CDC's National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to uninsured, underinsured, and low-income women (less than