Personal Finance 

Intuit Quicken Premier 2009 & TurboTax Packs Giveaway

When Intuit offered up three copies each of Quicken Premier 2009 and TurboTax, I jumped at the chance to give away more free stuff to you all. We’re deep into tax season and with the economy where it is, I’m sure everyone is looking for a little edge. Intuit’s been very generous with Bargaineering readers, already I’ve given away two copies of Quicken Premier 2009, one to a forum participant and another to a commenter in the Your Take question on money management software.

The Quicken Premier 2009 and TurboTax Packs contain a CD containing Quicken Premier 2009 and a pre-paid access card to TurboTax Deluxe (both federal and state!) edition. Quicken Premier has a retail value of $80 and TurboTax Deluxe, federal and state, is worth at least $65 – so these packs are worth almost a hundred and fifty dollars!

So, how do you win? It’s easy.

(Click to continue reading…)

 Personal Finance 

Forums Giveaway: Win A Copy of Quicken Premier 2009

Quicken Premier 2009The Bargaineering Forums have been a hit so far, with over 60 members and numerous active discussions. Readers have been able to post their questions and get a myriad of opinions. I wanted to reiterate that we have a giveaway going on too. On February 13th, I will randomly select one forum participant with at least five forum posts to receive a CD containing a full service copy of Quicken Premier 2009 – an $80 value. If you want to give it as a Valentine’s gift, by all means, but I don’t recommend it! 🙂

And if there are any bloggers (or future bloggers) out there, we’ve also created a Blogging forum where you can post your questions, ideas, thoughts, whatever. If you have any blogging questions, it’s the place to post it because we have some of the top personal finance bloggers checking the forums every day!

If you have never used a Quicken Premier product, I have to warn you… it’s very powerful. It has a lot of tools and a lot of features that will be able to give you a very good idea of where you are in your finances, how you are performing against your goals, and everything you need to handle your money on a daily basis. That said, it can also be a little intimidating at first. The $80 price tag is well worth it, as anyone who has come to appreciate the power of Quicken can tell you, but it may be overkill if you have no idea where to start when it comes to managing your money. I don’t want to dissuade you from entering the giveaway or buying the product, far from it, but I want you to be prepared for it should you buy or win it.

If you are familiar with managing your money but only have a few things to track (some bank accounts, a few bills, a 401k), it might be a great tool for you because you can play with the tool a little bit each day. The nice thing about the tool, over the online version, is that all the data is stored locally and only used to interface with other financial institutions. If you’re not comfortable with saving your sensitive data online, despite it being encrypted and protected, this is definitely the best option for you.

If you’re just starting out, you might want to cut your teeth on Quicken Online. It’s absolutely free and is similar to other online money management applications except there’s a heavy emphasis on cash flow management. They are very much focused on helping you manage your cash flow, from your paychecks coming in to your regular bills going out, so that you don’t find yourself in a financially precarious position. I just saw a quick demo of the product from their PR team, as well as a first look at their new iPhone application, and I’ll be discussing that later in the week.

Good luck!


Lending Club $100 Giveaway

Stack of MoneyHow would you like to win a hundred bucks?

The fine folks from LendingClub are giving away $100 to one Bargaineering reader. As one of the only peer to peer lending marketplaces still doing business right now, Prosper entered a quiet period as it completes its regulatory filings. If you want to borrow or lend money, LendingClub is one of the only ways you can right now. A week ago, I posted a video explaining how peer to peer loan marketplaces like LendingClub are really helping people out of jams. Today, they’re ready to give a hundred bucks to one lucky reader.

Here’s what you have to do to get an entry in the contest:

  • Leave a comment on this post before noon, February 20th, and,
  • Become a free registered member of LendingClub.

The second requirement, to register for free at LendingClub as a lender, is so that they can deposit the $100 directly into your account. You can withdraw that money immediately (or invest it, your choice).

Easy right?

I’ll select a winner at high noon on February 20th, email them for their LendingClub username, and he or she will be credited with $100 in their account. Void where prohibited.

The contest has closed, Bobby was randomly selected to win the $100! I notified him tonight but if he doesn’t respond in a week, I’ll select another name.

 Your Take 

Your Take: What Project Have You Been Putting Off?

Home Depot Dream Gift CardI normally am not a fan of gift cards because they force you to spend them at a particular store, I instead think that cash can still be a classy gift if presented in the right way (and who doesn’t like cash?). However, if I were to get a gift card, there are few stores I’d rather get a card for than Home Depot because, like all other homeowners, I seem to be one project away from being “finished.” There’s always something I can get there and Home Depot doesn’t play any of the BS gift card games like devaluing the card if you don’t use it or charging annual fees.

From now until February 28th, The Home Depot is offering a special commemorative “Dream” gift card to celebrate and support the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Home Depot will donate 5% of each “Dream” gift card to support the Center for Civil and Human Rights, up to $1 million dollars. The monies will then be used to build a permanent home for Dr. Martin Luther King’s history papers, a collection of over 10,000 items consisting of his personal writings and papers. The collection includes over 7,000 handwritten notes from 1946 to 1968 and include drafts of his “I Have a Dream” speech, his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” other theological writings and his Nobel Peace Prize addresses.

You can buy these cards at a store or online at Home Depot (here are some Home Depot coupons you can use).

To help get the word out, Home Depot is giving Bargaineering readers an opportunity to win a $50 gift card! To win, all you have to do is leave a comment telling us what is the one project in your house that you keep putting off? You all know what I mean, it’s the toilet with the leaky tank, the door that doesn’t close all the way, the faucet that continually drips. What is the one project you keep putting off? For me, it’s my closet door that doesn’t close all the way. My closet won’t close because it’s just too big. I’ve sanded it a little but I need to get the electric sander out and really go to town before the stupid thing will close. I haven’t done it yet because my office is carpeted and I just don’t want to deal with both sanding and cleaning up. 🙂

So, what project have you been putting off? Tell us all by noon on February 13th and you will be in the running. I will randomly select one commenter to receive the $50 Home Depot “Dream” gift card. Void where prohibited. Good luck!

The contest is now closed, the lucky winner is “tom rundel” (Comment ID 296068) who just put in a wood stove, I hope this $50 gift card from Home Depot can help complete the look!

 Your Take 

Your Take: Your Best Money Saving Tip

Cat Sniffing A Coin JarNear the end of last year, I put together a list of 100 money saving tips that became very popular. The post itself took quite a bit of time but in the end was worth it for me because I picked up a few ideas I hadn’t thought of beforehand or just recently hadn’t done. For example, after writing that, I looked at tip #22 and realized I hadn’t checked my car’s tire pressure lately. Almost that day, I eye-balled my tires and saw that one of them was a little low. I took it over to Costco because the tires had nitrogen (you can add regular air too, but we were going to Costco anyway) and they discovered that the valve was broken and had to be replaced (gratis of course, Costco is wonderful!). That little trip saved us a little bit of money and a lot of headache down the road.

So I’m curious, what is your best money saving tip? If your friend, as I hope I am, walked up to you and asked you for the best idea you had for saving money, what would you tell them? It’s perfectly OK if that tip is one of the ones on that list, I’d still like to hear it and how you’ve saved with it. It’s OK if it’s an “obvious” tip, because we see obvious tips every day that we never think about (like checking tire pressure!).

What is your best money saving tip? Let’s have it! 🙂

Heck, just to juice it up a little, a $20 Starbucks gift card to the person with the best tip as chosen by me. Contest ends next Friday, January 23rd, at noon. Void where prohibited.

Congratulations to Lauren (Comment submitted at 01/16/2009 at 2:28pm), winner of the $20 Starbucks gift card! Please feel free to continue leaving tips but the contest has ended.

(Photo: formatc1)

 Personal Finance 

The Shortest Investment Book Ever Giveaway

The Shortest Investment Book Ever: Wall Street Secrets for Making Every Dollar Count by James O'DonnellIf you read my review of The Shortest Investment Book Ever by James O’Donnell then you’ll know that I’m a fan of this book because it simplifies retirement and investing. I had the opportunity to ask James O’Donnell a few questions in what turned out to be a great, albeit brief, interview.

The publisher sent me five copies to give away and I thought this would be a great opportunity to ask Jim some more questions. So, in this giveaway, I’ll be taking questions you want to ask Jim in the comments below, selecting the best five, and sending each a copy of Jim’s new book, The Shortest Investment Book Ever.

The only requirement to win is that you must have a shipping address is the United States and the contest will end at noon on January 23rd 2009. Void where prohibited.

The contest is now closed, I’ll be notifying the winners in the next few days once Professor O’Donnell has selected the five questions.

 Personal Finance 

Jumpstart Your Retirement Plan Days (Kiplinger Magazine Giveaway!)

Retirement: Get Back To Work!For the last seven years, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) partner up and put on an event called Jumpstart Your Retirement Plan. During Jumpstart Your Retirement Plan days, you can call into 888-919-2345 and talk to a fee-only financial planner absolutely free between 9 AM and 6 PM. If you would rather do it on the web, you can just log onto the Jumpstart website and post your question there. This year the event will be held on January 13th (next Tuesday!) and again on January 30th.

Fee only financial planners are, in my humble opinion, the best kind of financial planners available because you pay for their time, often $150 to $300 an hour! Why are they the “best?” The alternative is a financial planner that often advises you for free but earns a commission on the products they sell. For example, I recently talked to a financial advisor who worked for a major investment and insurance firm who gave great advice but always recommended his firm’s products. With a fee-only planner, you are guaranteed to get the most unbiased advice because they don’t get paid based on what you buy, they are paid simply to advise. That’s not to say commissioned financial planners are automatically bad, far from it, but they are less likely to recommend the 100% best possible option (no one ever recommends Vanguard index funds because there is no commission!).

Last year, 90 NAPFA volunteers answered 4,100 calls across the two days, or about two and a half calls an hour each day. If you assume each call lasted about twenty minutes, you’re getting about a hundred bucks worth of advice absolutely free. I think that if you have a pressing retirement or financial planning related question, it’s a no brainer to call them up to ask. As much as I enjoy having you all read my site, I’m not a financial planner, I’m just a regular Joe like you, so this is a great opportunity to ask a professional for free.

Also, to sweeten the pot a little, Kiplinger’s has offered a free one-year subscription to their magazine for Blueprint readers. You can get an entry into the contest by:

  • 1 entry: Leaving a comment below,
  • 1 entry: Being an email subscriber (as always),
  • 50 entries Call in (or posting it online) and ask your question, then post your question here (and answer!)

We only have one subscription to give away and two retirement days so this contest will run until February 4th, to give callers on the January 30th date an opportunity to post their questions and get their fifty entries. Good luck and I hope we get some good questions!

(Photo: The Rocketeer)


Win A Copy of TaxCut Tax Prep Software

TaxCutLast week, through the generosity of Home Depot, Crystal B. won herself a $100 Home Depot gift card. This week, we have H&R Block’s TaxCut to thank as we start preparing for year end tax moves that can save us big bucks come April 15th. (Beyond this all I have are books, unless a company steps up for the holidays!)

The fine folks at TaxCut are giving away two copies of their software to BFP readers. Why are they doing this? Well in part because it’s near the end of the year so people have tax planning on the brain and because they’re not dummies, they see TurboTax getting absolutely slammed on for their pricing changes. Either way, you are the beneficiary because you have a chance to win one of two copies.

I’ve reviewed both products in the past and have used both products in the past, if you’re a huge TurboTax fan, TaxCut isn’t that different outside of some color changes. The bottom line is that both follow the tax code, both will find you deductions to save you money, and both will save you some gray hairs on your way to April 15th. The biggest advantage TaxCut has over TurboTax, from what I can see, is that you can prepare as many returns and print as many as you want with the software. E-filing, which is the best method out there if you want your tax rebate faster, costs ten bones a piece.

Now, before you enter, please check to see if you qualify for free tax preparation because if you can get it for free, there’s no sense trying to win software where you have to pay $10 to e-file.

If you can’t get it for free, simply leave a comment below with a tax-related story and I’ll select a winner for the first copy. The story can be some tax mistake you made, a gripe you have with TaxCut or TurboTax, your best tax tip, or something else tax related (jokes are always popular!). You will also be competing against email subscribers, who are entered in all contests. If you subscribe via email, you’ll have the chance to get two entries into the contest.

For the second copy, you’ll have to join Twitter, follow me, and @bargainr me a tax related story (same types as above). Please be sure to include #BFPtaxcut in the message so I can find it easily on search. Of those tips, I’ll select a second winner.

Here’s an example message (is this a joke or a tip? you decide!):

@bargainr #BFPtaxcut Don’t earn money and you don’t pay any taxes!

This contest will be running through the weekend until next 5PM Monday, December 22nd, when I’ll select two winners. Void where prohibited. Good luck!

If you’re in the contest mood, ChristianPF is giving away a ton of stuff including two iPods, two copies of TaxCut, spatulas, books… and a partridge in a pear tree.

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