Personal Finance 
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Ben & Jerry’s 2012 Free Cone Day – April 3rd

Free Cone Day
Every year, Ben & Jerry’s gives away a free cone on their self-created holiday called Free Cone Day. This year, that day is April 3rd (tomorrow… as of this writing) and when you go to a local Scoop Shop, you will be able to get some free ice cream! The best part is that they don’t care how many times you go – you can go as often as you’d like, as long as you’re willing to wait through the inevitable long lines.

It’s their 34th year and here’s the store locator. Be sure to call ahead though as some stores may not be participating. Stores will be open from noon until 8 PM.

Sadly, none are near us in Maryland. :(


 Bank Deals 
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Free Admission to Museums from Bank of America Museums on Us

For thirteen years, Bank of America has put together their Museums on Us program where account holders get access to art and cultural institutions all across the country. They add more museums, aquariums, and cultural sights each and ever year. This year, the program includes 150 institutions in 85 cities, which means you can get into more places for absolutely free (this includes Merrill Lynch customers, which Bank of America acquired in 2008).

The participating institutions include the whole spectrum, in terms of popularity, and most notably include the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Seattle Art Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the New York Aquarium. My current fair state of Maryland only boasts two participating institutions – The American Visionary Art Museum (I went to a wedding here recently and it’s a pretty cool and wacky museum!) and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture.

To find out what institutions are participating in your area, you can search the Museums on Us site for more information.

Some fine print for you:

To qualify for Museums on Us, customers simply present their Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card along with a photo ID to gain one free general admission to any participating institution. Not valid for special exhibitions, fundraising events or ticketed shows. Not to be combined with any other discounts or offers. Free admission does not guarantee reservation. Offer valid the first full weekend of each month through December 3-4, 2011


 Personal Finance 
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Kiplinger & NAPFA: Free Retirement Advice on Jan 21st, Jan 25th 2011

Every year for the last ten years, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors and Kiplinger’s team up to hold Jump-Start Your Retirement Plan Days where they give free advice to anyone willing to call their 800 number or visit their website. This year, the two free days are this Friday January 21st and next Tuesday January 25th. Between 9 AM and 6 PM Eastern, you can ask fee-only financial planners (the only way to go when it comes to financial planners) questions absolutely free.

You can call 888-919-2345 or visit the website to ask your question. The statistics they’ve compiled on whom they’ve helped is pretty amazing – over 37,000 consumers and 140,000 hours of advice. I’ve never called in but people have told me that the advice is usually pretty good, though not as good as sitting down with an actual planner (as you’d expect).

So, if you’ve had a burning question or two that you’ve wanted to ask a financial planner, square off a little time on Friday or next Tuesday and get it answered for free.


 Personal Finance 
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Furnishing Your New Place

Fancy Schmancy FurnitureWhen I moved from Pittsburgh to my new apartment near Baltimore, I had almost no furniture. I had a desk from IKEA that we still use today but very little else. When I made it to Baltimore, I didn’t buy any new furniture because my roommate already had a whole bunch of stuff like couches, dining table and chairs, etc. I moved two more times after that, once to be closer to work and then again into our first, and current, home; and felt lucky that I “accidentally” learned the key to furnishing your apartment: keep things inexpensive and light.

Inexpensive because you will want to save as much money as you can for other things, be it trips to the bar to socialize with new friends or an emergency fund. Light because you will probably move again and you don’t want to burden yourself with a lot of “stuff” so early on.

If you’re moving into a house that you bought, consider buying furniture that lasts because you won’t need to move. Otherwise, keep it light and cheap. You’ll thank me when you move in a year.

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 NEWS 
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H&R Block Offering Free Tax Advice March 25th

Have you ever tried to call the IRS to ask a question? How about searched IRS.gov to find the answer to a particularly vexing question? If so, you’re one of millions of people to do so and many of them can’t find the answers they’re looking for. The tax preparation software packages from H&R Block and TurboTax are great for a lot of scenarios but sometimes you have something that doesn’t fit into a nice box and you want to get an answer from a professional, even if it’s just to assuage your fears.

Fortunately, the tax prep companies usually offer free tax advice throughout tax season and this Thursday, March 25th, H&R Block is offering a full day of free tax advice on their H&R Block Tax Talk Line. From rom 12:01 a.m. CT through 11:59 p.m. CT, 50 tax experts will be available to answer questions for free.

  • Call 1-866-HRBLOCK
  • Email taxtalk@hrblock.com

If you had a question, Thursday is your chance to find the answer for free.

If you take advantage of this offer, please let us know how it was!


 Education 
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University of Idaho Offers Free Personal Finance Courses

UNiversity of Idaho Extension Personal Finance CourseThe world has known about free online courses like MIT OpenCourseWare and Open University (for a longer list, check the end of my foundation post about online education). Until today, I wasn’t aware of any university that has offered personal finance courses and certainly not one that has put it all on the web for anyone to use!

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 Personal Finance 
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Plan Z: How to Survive the 2009 Financial Crisis [FREE]

Plan Z: How to survive the 2009 Financial CrisisI recently had the opportunity to write a preface to Robert Pagliarini’s ebook on surviving the 2009 financial crisis, titled Plan Z: How to Survive the 2009 Financial Crisis. My preface covered a topic I’m sure regular readers of Bargaineering recognize, Your Financial Network Map, but the rest of the 80-page e-book should be new material for you.

Robert Pagliarini is a certified financial planner that wrote the Six-Day Financial Makeover and is a regular magazine contributor to Affluent magazine. In Plan Z, Robert writes about what you should do right now to help navigate the financial crisis and economic recession we are currently in.

If you’re concerned about how tenuous your finances are and you aren’t sure what you should be doing, I recommend that you read Plan Z. It’s an absolutely free ebook that doesn’t try to sell you on Robert’s services (though he does offer up his credentials to prove you should listen to what he has to say), so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give it a look.


 Personal Finance 
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Free Personal Finance eBook from The Simple Dollar

A few years ago, Trent of The Simple Dollar wrote a post in which he boiled down all the salient points of personal finance onto five business cards. Well this week he converted those five business cards to a page and then fleshed it out with an 49-page eBook behind it… all of which are absolutely free.

The book focuses on five core ideas: Spend less than you earn, earn more, live frugal, manage your money, and control your own destiny. Then, through a mix of original content and posts previously published on his site, Trent gives you concrete applicable ideas with those core ideas in mind. The largest section is the frugality section, where he lists 100 tips previously seen on his site.

(Click to continue reading…)


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