It’s 8 A.M on the East Coast as this post goes up, and James’ wife has been up for an hour. That’s because she’s getting a 7 A.M. wakeup call on her mobile phone every day from Time Warner Cable. No, this isn’t an exciting new Digital Phone service they’re offering: for some people, a wakeup call would actually be useful. No, their cable has already been installed and everything is fine. Everything is fine except for the 7 A.M. phone call that comes to remind Mrs. James of an appointment with the cable guy that doesn’t exist. [More]
Staples’ marketing reminder emails are very useful for some products that people buy frequently and regularly: say, printer ink or dry-erase markers. We’re not sure how sophisticated their marketing reminder software is, though, because they contacted Matthew to let him know that it’s time to buy a new fireproof safe. [More]
There are several apps on the Apple app store that help consumers track sales and free offers from developers, but you have to launch them and check in regularly. The website App Spy offers an automated price tracker for games (just games, unfortunately) that will send you an email whenever a price threshhold is reached. If you tend to be an app junkie, it can help save you money by letting you get your fix on the cheap good stuff. [More]
January 15th is the last day you can pay estimated taxes for 2009 without worrying about the IRS’s 4% interest penalty. For most people, you need to have paid 90% of what you owe for 2009 or have a good reason why you didn’t (e.g. casualty, retirement). Kiplinger notes that even if you can’t pay the full amount, pay whatever you can by January 15th to reduce the amount that’s penalized. [More]
A PR person just contacted us on behalf of the U.S. Treasury Department to point out that there are $16 billion in unredeemed bonds that are no longer earning interest. “Specifically, there are 40 million Series E savings bonds purchased between 1941 and 1978 that are over 30 years old and therefore have fully matured. They can be cashed out today for at least four times their face value.”
If you haven’t done so yet, visit our posts for the round two competitors for Worst Company in America—we’ve got 7 face-offs ready for your vote, and the final one will go up next week (Circuit City vs. BoA, if you’re following the bracket.) Is Ticketmaster’s stranglehold on the live event industry worse than United Health Care’s capacity for denying valid insurance claims? Does bailout-tainted AIG deserve the title more than regular-tainted Peanut Corp? Only you can decide!
New tax laws designed to boost the economy by giving you a bit more cash in your pocket might lead to problems for you next year if you’re in a dual-income household. The new payroll tax tables mean you could end up withholding too little without even knowing it and, though you’re welcome to take that long-awaited trip up the Zambezi, you probably won’t enjoy writing a check to the IRS come April 2010.
We just wanted to remind you, in case your electronics didn’t get the message, that Daylight Saving Time ends this Sunday, November 2nd at 2:00 a.m. local daylight time.
Rudder is a new personal finance service that differs from the dozens of other ones now available in two key ways: it presents a simplified overview of your available funds, which it calls “What’s Left,” and it delivers it (along with bill reminders and balance notifications) to your email inbox instead of requiring you to visit a website. Think of it as a highly customized “Very Short List” or “Daily Candy,” only the topic is always your current financial health.
Tax time is also FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) time for students and their parents. While the federal due date is June 30th, in some states, the FAFSA is due even before your taxes, so make sure to remember this important piece of paperwork.
“These special letters remind people that they won’t need to do anything more than file a 2007 tax return in order to put the stimulus payment process in motion,” Acting IRS Commissioner Linda Stiff said.
Joseph writes in with a helpful reminder:
Now might be a good time to remind people that they can opt-out of pre-screened offers of credit. In light of the HSBC debacle I’ve been victim of, I checked out my credit report yesterday. I was amazed at how often the major credit card companies (AMEX, Capital One, Bank of America, etc…) access my credit history in order pre-screen me for promotional purposes. Consumers can opt-out at: www.optoutprescreen.com
Reader Brendan’s TV decided to die right after the manufacturer’s warranty expired. He tried asking Polaroid to extend the warranty. (They wouldn’t.) He tried getting the TV repaired. (Too expensive.) Not knowing what else to do, he sent us a 1,000-ish-word-long complaint detailing the frustrations one could expect when dealing with Polaroid. (It was very well written.)
If you’ve moved recently and did not get your refund check, you might want to contact the IRS and see if it was returned as undeliverable.