Are two incomes better than one?

This weekend I’m going wedding dress shopping with my younger sister. She and her fiance got engaged at the beginning of this summer and are planning an October wedding.

Seeing their flurry of wedding preparations reminded me of a piece I wrote recently for Credit Karma, Are Two Incomes Better Than One for Tax Purposes?

Invest in yourself.Your career is tHe engine of youR wealth. (1)
Photo by Paul García on Unsplash

In it, I cover the changes that occur when you get married and how they impact your taxes. We’re talking filing status, the marriage penalty, ways in which you might actually get a tax break by getting married, and whether it makes sense to file separately from your spouse. (Spoiler alert: it’s rarely advantageous!)

Check it out and let me know in the comments: If you are married, did you have any tax surprises as a result of tying the knot?

Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links on my website are affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you purchase through those links. I use all of the products I link and recommend them because they are companies that I have found to be helpful and trustworthy. Please let me know if you have any questions about any of the products or services I recommend!

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Want to Save Money Shopping Online? There’s an App for That

This post is an old one I wrote for Forbes, but it’s about an app that’s still one of my favorites.

I shop online a lot and I am not alone. A recent PWC survey of 23,000 shoppers in 25 countries found that 54% buy products online weekly or monthly. In our house, we have staples like tissues, paper towels, and multivitamins delivered right to our front door monthly. We recently celebrated our son’s birthday and everything from gifts to the party favors and food were ordered online. If I had my way, I’d never set foot in a store again.


Online shopping is great for price comparisons and saving money, but what happens when you buy an item online, only to see that the price drop – sometimes by several dollars – just days after your purchase? Many stores and even some credit card companies offer price protection policies and will refund the difference if the price drops within a week or two of your purchase. The problem is, who has time to track that? In all my years of online shopping, I’ve never bothered to take advantage of price protection because with a career and a family, I just don’t have the time to keep track of price fluctuations and send emails to retailers requesting refunds.

But if that chore can be done for me? Sign me up.

Enter Paribus, a startup launched in 2015, that monitors your online purchases, keeps track of price fluctuations, and requests refunds on your behalf.

Paribus works by scanning your email inbox for online shopping receipts from more than 20 participating retailers. When Paribus identifies a purchase, they’ll monitor opportunities to get money back, including price drops, better deals found elsewhere, and even missed coupons. When Paribus finds a money-saving opportunity, they’ll alert you and either negotiate a refund on your behalf or give you instructions for requesting a refund on your own.

For my son’s birthday, we bought him a Huffy Star Wars bike from Target and paid $64. A week later, the price dropped to $60. That morning, I received an email from Paribus alerting me to the price drop and letting me know they’ve requested the refund.

A few months ago, I ordered four curtain panels from Target for our family room and the price dropped by almost $5 per panel just a few days later! With a quick phone call to customer service, I was able to have close to $20 refunded to my Target card.

Paribus is completely free! Initially, they charged a fee of 25% of the amount saved but eliminated the fee when they became a part of Capital One in 2017. Now you can save time and money AND keep 100% of your savings.

Have you tried Paribus? I’d love you hear your money-saving stories!

Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links on my website are affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you purchase through those links. I use all of the products I link and recommend them because they are companies that I have found to be helpful and trustworthy. Please let me know if you have any questions about any of the products or services I recommend!

Money-Saving Tips for Back-to-School Shopping

This post originally appeared on Forbes last year as my son was about to start Kindergarten. Now that we’re ready to head back to school for 1st Grade, I thought it would be a good time to share these timely tips!

Invest in yourself.Your career is tHe engine of youR wealth.

Photo by Jess Watters on Unsplash

My son starts kindergarten next month, and last week I received his classroom supply list. Whew! It’s quite the list. I’m not sure I even carried a backpack in kindergarten, let alone showed up for the first day of class armed with three packages of glue sticks, two boxes of pencils, two three-ring binders, dry erase markers, plastic storage bags, headphones, sheet protectors, and two-pocket folders in red, green, yellow, and blue, among other things.

As luck would have it, I received an email from Jon Lal, father of two and founder and CEO of BeFrugal, a cash-back and coupon site geared towards online shoppers. Lal was kind enough to share the following tips and tricks for saving money and time while shopping online for back to school supplies, laptops and fall clothing.

Make a list and stick to a budget

No matter what sales or shopping holidays pop up, it’s always a good idea to start with a budget and a shopping list. Don’t forget to check last year’s inventory and compare what you need versus what you already have before you hit the stores or websites. Items like backpacks and binders might be in good enough shape to use again.

This year’s Amazon Prime Day was July 16th. Last year, Cardlytics, a firm that tracks purchasing data, reported that parents were using Prime Day as an opportunity to get a jump on back to school shopping. As a result, many stores have started online sales earlier in order to remain competitive.

Online Shopping

Now is the time to take advantage of online sales and start checking items off your list. Lal says the best back-to-school items to buy early are those that you need specific models or brand names, such as scientific calculators or other technology. Don’t risk stores running out before you can buy.

There are a lot of perks to shopping for school supplies online. It’s easier to avoid temptation this way, where kids won’t drag you into stores and go after the high-priced featured items covered in characters from this year’s most popular movie.

Shopping online is also the easiest way to find the best deal. You can compare prices with only a few clicks, and search for coupon codes on your favorite savings website. Sites like BeFrugal offer cash back when you shop online – it only takes a few seconds to click through and earn back a percentage of your purchase. You can even combine these rewards with the savings you get from coupon codes and sales. Be sure to look for free shipping codes or opt to pick up your order in-store for free.

BeFrugal.com Cash Back
 

August and September

If you can wait until the end of summer, that’s when the prices of generic items such as pens, pencils, and notebooks will drop significantly. September is also the best time to find good prices on fall clothing. Wait until August and September to find the lowest prices on laptop computers, as well.

Don’t forget to check and see if and when your state has a tax-free shopping weekend for additional savings.

Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links on my website are affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you purchase through those links. I use all of the products I link and recommend them because they are companies that I have found to be helpful and trustworthy. Please let me know if you have any questions about any of the products or services I recommend!