Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Great New Find! Coupon Chief

For those of you who know me, you know I am addicted to coupons and use them all the time. I scour the papers and magazines, sign up for emails, and am always on the look out! Well, an old dog can learn new tricks. I just found a great site, Coupon Chief, where you can get the promotional codes and coupon codes that I always see that can be added when I shop online, which I do a lot! Now here's the deal...I never knew where those codes came from until just recently. One great place is to go on Coupon and type in where you are shopping on line and tons of stores, restaurants, services and other things just magically appear with a promotional code that can get you great discounts. I have a beautiful granddaughter and we shop for her at The Children's Place all the time. Yesterday we took her to the mall to ride the carousel. She is decked out head to toe in her new spring outfit from The Children's Place right down to her matching tennis shoes! I'm getting ready to start shopping for a new computer and a few other electronic things and am going to try Coupon Chief for Best Buy when the time comes to make a purchase! I've also done a little preliminary research on dining options! You can use promotional codes to buy gift cards and then head to your favorite restaurant! So your tip for the day is to check out Coupon Chief!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Taxes!! and Evaluating Your Daily Expenses!!

One of the fun things about retirement is that your taxes should get easier to complete...NOT! I think it has something to do with working part time on your own. When you start juggling income and expenses on top of your usual personal tax expenses, it can get crazy. Despite an MBA, I have a wonderful forensic accountant who keeps me straight. It still takes all day just to get our info ready to go. It also makes you reflective as you have to look carefully at your expenses for the year! I just heard from some facebook friends that they tried using TurboTax and the online, government program and they are just as frustrated. I've heard that there are free tax services at the Senior Citizen's Center and local churches. Might just have to explore those when I am less complicated. I also think I might vote for someone who just did a nice flat tax across the board!

It's going to get even more confusing when my social security kicks in! Yep, I signed up to start drawing at 62. I did every calculation known to man, and I just can't see any reason not to start now even if I have to give some back. When you work for yourself or even as a contract employee, you may or may not have work. You may or may not stay healthy enough to keep working....and more importantly, who knows when our "beloved" Congress may decide to keep you from drawing until your full retirement age. While I feel fine now, who knows what will happen over the next four years. We've already been negatively surprised at our loss of interest income; I sure wouldn't want to find out I couldn't draw my Social Security if I needed to start unexpectedly. I've also heard that I can pay back all I've drawn and then refile to get a higher benefit....that may be an urban legend, but it's worth exploring.

Now...from my reflections on life after working on my taxes....have you noticed that there is very little on television worth watching lately? After Castle, The Good Wife and Bones, there is not much left that hits our demographic...old. At least Dancing with the Stars starts tomorrow. Woody and I have been talking about dropping our level of cable service down, but we don't want to give up Speed and the NFL channel...although the NFL channel may be a moot point if they don't resolve the work stoppage. We're going to see what we can do to decrease our cable bill. We've also not renewed our season tickets for the Titans. I just can't pay for all the games that may not be played and when our travel interferes with a good number of them if they do play. We'll just buy a game here and there if we want...there are always tickets. I've been watching the NCAA basketball tourney...boys and girls. Notre Dame is doing well in the tournament, although the game tonight against Florida State is not looking too good. Girls play tomorrow night against, before you all correct me it's men and women...but in my day of play it was boys and girls. I just love any sport. So lesson for today? Consider evaluating the channels you pay for on cable or dish and think about streamlining the channels to the ones you really watch...I'm also paying for two internet services....cable at home and wireless for when we travel and on top of that, internet for the Blackberry so I guess that's really three...there's got to be a cheaper way to surf! I guess it's off to Verizon this week to check out the potential savings that I can negotiate. So evaluate all your communication devices and television viewing habits and there may be ways to save money...I think I'll take my own advice!

The precious grandbaby is coming tomorrow while mommy heads to Columbus to work.  Her dad gets her back Tuesday night so she'll be home when mommy gets home.  Grandad has worked all weekend on her new slide and swing. I'm not sure if he's praying or reading directions, but like most men he doesn't read directions so what do you think? We wish we could see our other grands as much, but they moved off and left us...Libby has to be close to her daddy and mommy, and by default, we get the kid! Have a great week.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Comfort or Cute?

Now that I am officially 62, and old, and on the government payroll, do I have to give up cute for comfort? Several years ago, Woody and I had the opportunity to go to China. As usual, I was working and he was my sherpa! and companion! Before I went, I bought a pair of Ecco walking shoes that are still today one of the most comfortable shoes I own. In the middle of the trip, he tells me that my new favorite shoes look like bowling shoes. Having lived in the Midwest, bowling is a very important sport, but being from the south, bowling is not always looked upon with favor in my circle. I'm not sure how he came up with bowling shoes other than there are a few seams...they aren't oxfords, there are no shoelaces and they are all black.

Saturday night our dinner club went to a wine tasting at Belle Meade Plantation, drinks at 360, and a wonderful dinner at Whitfield' the pouring rain. To make a long story a bit shorter....I wore my "bowling shoes"! My rationale was that it was dark, raining and I certainly didn't want to ruin my one good pair of black flats that I wear when I work. After falling in O'Hare Airport trying to wear heels many years ago, I gave up heels and went to flats. Since I always wear pants, flats aren't really a problem except that I'm really short...and that finding a cute pair of flats that are also comfortable and provide arch support can be challenging. Currently flats are trendy and cute, but have no padding in the sole and no arch support...I guess teenagers don't care about comfort....only cute.  Is it too much to ask for comfort and cute?

So off to Dillards and Wei, my favorite sales person who is from China and lets me practice my fractured Mandarin. Ecco failed me today, but Nurture, the Dillard's brand, had a darling pair of black flats with cushioning and padding and arch support!! Yay! So now I have a new pair of shoes and Wei taught me a new word. Bargain...Tǎojiàhuánjià...which sounds like "powja hija".

I was also reading Town and Country today about dressing your question is that your biological age or how old you feel? The article said just because the clothes fit you shouldn't necessarily wear them. That red lipstick is for young people. And if your kids say you're wearing mom jeans, you should burn them. For every 10 years of age, cover up another 10% of your my age does than mean a burka? And, finally, strapless and sleeveless evening wear does not look good with bat wings. So 62...can I be cute in orthopedic flats, jeans, t-shirts, Notre Dame sweatshirts and anything black? This is my uniform so I can't give it up!!

Things change in retirement...and by that I mean your feet, your clothing choices and the dreaded bat wings! For you young things, bat wings are the flabby part of your upper arm that hangs around even when you try to lift weights to get buff! So eat right, walk, exercise and don't dress too young...but also don't embrace old pearl chokers, turtlenecks in the summer, skirted swimsuits, elastic waist pants with a tucked in shirt... well you get the drift. Confusing isn't it?