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Archive for February, 2007

Tip for determining value of donated goods

Every tax year, I gather up my pile of donation receipts. These receipts can be pretty generic, so I make a separate list of the items I donated and attach it to the donation receipt. Then, I take about five minutes and go to The Salvation Army’s Valuation Guide. This guide is broken down into six categories: man_bag.gif

Each category has a list of items with its high and low value. With this guide, I determine the value of my donated goods. I think it’s a great resource that you may find very helpful.

Another helpful resource is Goodwill, whose list includes values for computers and sporting goods.

Good luck and happy tax filing.

Add comment February 23rd, 2007

Leon’s improved Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner

My husband loves Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner and has slightly modified the original blue box recipe for a better, even cheesier taste. If you’re not counting calories, I know you’ll enjoy it. Here’s his recipe.

Ingredients:

1 box (7.25 oz.) of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese DinnerMacaroni & Cheese

6 cups water

4 tablespoons butter

¼ cup milk

2 slices of Kraft American Cheese (the extra ingredient)

Directions:

Boil water in medium size pan. Add a pinch of salt to boiling water. Stir in macaroni and boil 7 to 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Drain and rinse noodles, then set aside. Add 4 tablespoons of butter to empty pan over medium heat. After butter is melted, stir in ¼ cup of milk and Cheese Sauce Mix. When the cheese sauce is well blended, add first slice of Singles Kraft Cheese and stir until completely melted. Return macaroni to pot and mix well. Add second slice of Singles Kraft Cheese and stir until slice is completely melted. This recipe makes about 3 servings.

Looking for more easy recipes? Try my recipe section.

2 comments February 19th, 2007

Happy Valentine’s Day

3 Hearts

Add comment February 14th, 2007

Great Deals on TurboTax Online

UPDATE:  For this year’s deals, click here.

taxesI think TurboTax Online is great. I like it even better when I get it on sale.

Here are some deals you may be able to take advantage of:

  • American Express Cardmembers – Use TurboTax Online and save 25% off the federal preparation fee, which includes free e-filing. This offer is valid 1/1/07 – 10/15/07. To take advantage of this offer, visit www.officialpayments.com/turbotaxamex.
  • Anycoupon.com – If you go through this site, you can get TurboTax Online starting at only $14.95. Click here for this offer.
  • Bank of America – Makes available discounted services from TurboTax starting at only $11.20. Click here for this offer.
  • Wachovia – Get a 15% discount off regular TurboTax Online prices through this link.
  • Suntrust – Receive 15% off any TurboTax Online product by using this link.
  • Fidelity – Complimentary Access for Fidelity Private Access and Active Trader Clients to TurboTax Online Premier. Click here for this offer.
  • Navy Federal – Members save 20% on TurboTax Online by using this link.
  • Visa – Now Visa cardholders can save 15% on a TurboTax Online federal product, which includes free e-filing. Click here for this offer.

Good Luck with your taxes and don’t wait too long, as some of these deals are for a limited time.

Add comment February 6th, 2007

Where to find ski apparel in South Florida

Bundled UpFor Christmas, we went skiing in Vermont. It was a lot of fun and having the right clothing made a big difference. In order to get the right stuff, I went all over Broward County, Florida.
Here’s a list of the stores I found with ski apparel:

  • Burlington Coat Factory (in Sawgrass Mills) – This place was great. The selection and pricing was amazing. I was able to get my daughter’s ski outfit (ski bibs, jacket, and hat) for $49 and my son’s ski outfit (ski pants and jacket) for $35. I also got a great deal on the kids waterproof boots. In general, Burlington Coat Factory is a good place to find ski jackets, ski pants, adult ski gloves/mittens, and snow boots. I suggest going here first.
  • Sports Authority (check yours, but definitely in Pembroke Pines and Sawgrass Mills) – The selection was okay and the pricing was full retail. I was able to get good winter socks (not ski socks), Columbia ski jackets (for my husband and myself), ski pants, ski hats, and waterproof Timberland boots. You pay full price, but you get a little bit different selection. Sports Authority carries ski jackets, ski pants, waterproof boots, winter socks, ski gloves, ski hats, and base layers. Availability for these items is seasonal. Sports Authority is a good place to go after you’ve been to Burlington Coat Factory.
  • Target (check yours, but definitely at Miramar and Sawgrass) – I was rather surprised, but I was able to pick up a few things and the pricing was very reasonable. I bought kids’ neck gaiters, boy’s ski gloves, a boy’s ski hat, kids’ thermals, and men’s base layers. Target turned out to be a good place for children’s ski accessories and for men’s thermals and base layers. Availability for these items is seasonal.
  • Peter Glenn Ski & Sports ( 2 locations in Ft. Lauderdale and many other locations) – This store has it all. The staff is very knowledgable and friendly. The selection is overwhelming. The prices can get high, depending on how fancy you want to get. I purchased goggles, ski socks, kid’s ski mittens, adult neck gaiters, and adult headbands. Peter Glenn is where you go to get the hard to find items, i.e. goggles and ski socks, especially for kids. Of course, if your budget allows, Peter Glenn can be your one stop shop for all your ski apparel.
  • Consignment Shops – I tried one kids’ consignment shop and they had a small section of ski apparel, just ski pants and jackets. Availability for these items is seasonal. I found their prices similar to Burlington Coat Factory’s. I didn’t end up buying anything. However, consignment shops can be hit or miss, you may have better luck.

Some other options are shopping online, borrowing from friends & family, or renting your ski apparel.

I hope you find everything you need and have a wonderful time on your ski trip.

1 comment February 4th, 2007

Redweek.com, a traveler’s delight

Making SnowmanLast year, my husband and I decided we would like to take the kids to see snow and enjoy its wonders. I did the research and found that Smugglers’ Notch in Vermont has been voted the #1 Resort for Family Programs in North America for 8 years by the readers of SKI Magazine! I then contacted Smuggler’s Notch to get pricing for a 7 night stay during Christmas week for a family of 4. The quote they gave me was very steep. The reviews for this place were off the charts, but so was the price.

Trying not to let go of the dream, I began my intensive search of the internet to find another way. That’s when I came across Redweek.com. According to their site, they are the largest online marketplace for renting, buying, and selling timeshares. And the timeshares are all over the world, including Smugglers’ Notch. I was able to find the week I wanted at a great an awesome price. The site also had about 25 reviews on Smuggler’s Notch, which I found very helpful.

The process to use Redweek.com was very simple. To view the listings is free. However, when you are ready to contact the timeshare owner, you need to pay a nominal fee to become a member. You communicate with the owner via e-mail and from there it’s between you and the owner. In my case, the owner explained his payment process and described the room in great detail. It was exactly what I was looking for. So, we sent him the deposit and he had the resort send us the reservation confirmation. Then, just a couple weeks prior to our trip, we made our final payment to him. When we got to the resort, we were just like every other guest there (except we paid a lot less). We checked in and had nothing but wonderful surprises our entire stay.

From start to finish, Redweek.com was great and I can’t wait to use it again!

3 comments February 1st, 2007