Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Save Money at the Pump!

Adjust Your Driving

• Stay close to the speed limit. Lower speeds provide greater fuel efficiency than higher speeds.

• Keep your car light by leaving heavier objects at home. The more weight that your car carries, the more fuel it needs.

• Use cruise control for long stretches on roads like freeways, except on hills.

• Try to avoid toll roads if possible. You don't have to pay the toll and you have fewer stops and starts if you do not have a toll pass.


• Plan your errands so you do not have to make multiple trips to the same general area during the week.

• Use the most fuel efficient vehicle you own.

• Coordinate errands with a neighbor; take turns driving to the grocery store.

• Make a list of what you need for the week to make the fewest trips possible.

Alternate Transportation

• Take public transportation or carpool.

• Ride a bicycle.

• Participate in community car programs where cars are available for "loan" use by residents at sites throughout the city.

For more tips check out:

Monday, April 26, 2010

April is Financial Literacy Month in Wyoming

Governor Freudenthal has proclaimed April 2010 as Financial Literacy Month in Wyoming. Read the proclamation:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Pay down your debt

Minimum payments are often set very low, so it could be years before you are debt-free if that is all you pay.

New credit card legislation now requires creditors to indicate on your monthly statement how long it will take to pay the debt. Look for that information and plan to pay your debt sooner. How? Paying more than the minimum! You may be able to delete your debt by the end of the year or, at the very least, make a significant dent.

If you have multiple accounts, focus your extra payments on one creditor at a time. Many people like to start with the debt with the lowest balance because it can be paid off the soonest.

However, you will save the most money by starting with the debt with the highest interest rate. If you cannot pay extra on a regular basis, try to do it when you receive periodic income, such as a tax refund or bonus.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Small Change, Big Opportunity

Thinking of pocket change as an investment opportunity may seem like a bit of a stretch……Yet, the United States Treasury reports that Americans hold about $15 billion in loose change, It is estimated that the average household accumulates $50 of change every month. Invested over 20 years (@ 5% interest) would yield over $20,000.

Saving change at the end of each day or week can add to personal savings or be used to fund extras. Use your change for an evening out each month or to pay extra on a bill.

Saving that change can also help you reach longer term goals like a weekend getaway or upgrade for the family's computer, television or other recreational equipment (such as new bicycle).

So, consider saving your change! It’s a great start to a savings plan

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Rapid Refund Returns

Beware of those “rapid refund” programs offered at various tax preparers. Sure, it sounds great. What could be better than getting your money FAST?? You may be encouraged to agree to an instant or anticipation option. These are also called RAL’s, or Rapid Anticipation Loans.

Don’t take the bait! This is not your refund—it is a loan. AND, it is a very high interest loan. The average interest rate for 2008 RAL’s was 123%!!!

If you file electronically, even if it is through your tax preparer, the IRS will deposit your refund directly into your bank account within a week or two. That will give you time to plan how to best use your refund. Planning how to spend the money makes good sense!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tax Refunds

Getting a Tax Refund? You might be excited to know that you’re getting a refund, but there are a few things to consider.

If you are getting money back from Uncle Sam, use it wisely. Use form 8888 and split your refund. Put some in checking to spend on bills, family fun, or special purposes. Put the rest into savings! We all need an “emergency” cushion for auto repairs, medical bills, or unexpected events.

But, don’t get too excited about that refund. Getting money back means you’re essentially lending money, interest free, to the government for the year. Better to have those dollars in YOUR account! So, if you’ve been getting big refunds or have had changes in your life (marriage, divorce, baby, increase or decrease in income), adjust the withholding allowances on your W-4 form. You can do that for your 2009 taxes now at Use the withholding calculator to determine the correct figure for you. Then print a new W-4, fill it out and turn in to Human Resources/Payroll department.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Home appliances rebates available

The WY Business Council is offering rebates on residential appliances purchased after April 15, 2010. All products must meet ENERGY STAR efficiency criteria. Go to for full details.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Federal Tax Refund? Get a Savings Bond

If you are receiving a federal tax refund from the Internal Revenue Service, you can choose to use that money to purchase U.S. savings bonds.

Here are the top six things you need to know about using your federal refund to purchase savings bonds.

1. You may use a portion of your refund to purchase up to $5,000 in U.S. Series I Savings Bonds.

2. The total amount of saving bonds purchased must be a multiple of $50. Additional money over the specified amount must be deposited into another financial account – such as a checking or savings account.

3. The bonds will be issued in your name. For married taxpayers filing a joint return, the bonds will be issued in the names of both spouses.

4. You will receive the U.S. savings bonds in the mail.

5. You normally select this option by filing Form 8888, Direct Deposit of Refund to More Than One Account.

6. Form 8888 has step-by-step instructions on how to select this option and how to specify the amount of your refund you want to use to purchase savings bonds.

For more information about the U.S. Savings Bonds refund option, visit

This message provided by your local Cooperative Extension Office and America Saves. Become a Saver today!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Lifesaving strategies for financial crisis

Unemployement, illness, famiy problems and careless spending may cause you to become in over your head in debt. Some lifesaving financial actions to consider:
1. Admit you have a problem
2. Discuss the problem with your family. Call a family meeting and explain the situation. everyone will have to pull together to get out of the "deep water". It won't be easy to say "we don't have the money to..." but saying it, and everyone recognizing the situation, is a big first step.
3. Stop spending. Limit all spending to items basic to survival. Food, shelter and essential medical treatment
4. Stop using your credit cards. Consider cutting them up. And remember destroying the cards does not eliminate the debt nor does it close the account.
5. Return unused items you have purchased for which you can receive a full refund and apply that refund to your debt.
6. Sell items you can live without and apply the money toward your debt. A garage sale, a consignment shop or an online selling service can be a source of funds to pay off debt.
7. Open all mail from creditors and read the statements carefully. Make a list to help you know exactly what you owe.
8. Contact creditors. Don't ignore bills or other communication. Explain the situation and send them a written summary of what actions you are taking to deal with your debt. Don't promise what you can't deliver.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Seven Steps to Simplify Your Finances

If time is a precious commodity for you, here are eight ideas to save time and reduce the stress and anxiety of managing your financial affairs.

1. Enroll for direct deposit. It eliminates trips to the bank and keeps your money working longer.

2. Sign up for overdraft protection. By linking your checking account to a line of credit you avoid the cost, hassle and embarrassment of a bounced check.

3. Establish an automatic savings plan. Regular, automatic transfers to a savings account will add up.

4. Use electronic bill paying. Eliminate the dreaded task of writing checks.

5. Consolidate your financial relationships. Dealing with one institution makes everything easier.

6. Consider personal finance software. Many programs make handling your finances easier and quicker.

7. Build a safety cushion. Be ready for unexpected expenses or use some extra for a special vacation.

8. Review your investments. Make sure your asset allocation matches your time horizon and risk tolerance.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Earned Income Tax Credit

If you work hard but you don’t earn a high income, then you may qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC is a credit for people who earn low-to-moderate incomes. It can reduce your taxes, and can mean a refund. More information is available from the Internal Revenue Service at or contact your local IRS office.