Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Jury Duty...Stick A Fork In It, It's done...

Today was my last day of jury duty. The case started last Wednesday, and finally finished today. It was an interesting case, and a difficult decision in my mind for me to make. But overall i'm satisfied with it. It was a civil case that involved a man who'd fallen over a young child in a dentist's office waiting area. Besides television, I've never been to court before, so I was surprised to see how it works in the real world. Anyway, it turns out Friday was a day off, so I won't be getting paid by the court for that day. So I estimate that I'll be getting paid about $210 for time served. I'm also paid by my employer for my time served as a juror. Overall a good and interesting experience, though if I had a choice, I would've chosen not to do it. I'm not that crazy about having that must responsibility over people's lives i'm not familiar with. Though now I think I'm in a special pool of jurors with court case experience, and will be more likely to be chosen again if I get picked.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Telephone Tax Refund...

George Saenz over @ Bankrate.com explains the results of a lawsuit that was brought against the IRS by several large corporations over the invalidation of a 3 percent excise tax on all long distance services. The tax was originally enacted in 1898 to fund the Spanish-American war. Turns out the IRS lost the suite, and now the Treasury will be refunding about 13 billion dollars to the tax payers, starting from February of 2003. This won't start until 2007. The IRS will add a line onto the 2006 tax forms for businesses and individuals to allow a request for the refund. They expect Individuals will get a set amount without having to document any of the charges made. According to an IRS notice, they are still working on the set amount. The tax on local phone service won't be affected by this decision, but it looks like some folks from the senate finance committee are calling for it's repeal. The IRS has advised the phone companies to stop collecting the long distance tax after July 31st, 2006. I can't imagine what the amount of the refund would be on a tax of any long distance service from Feb. 2003 until August 2006 would be, but it's your money..so don't forget it...

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Great Magazine Deals...

I just received my first issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance today. Courtesy of "Magazine Price Search" I obtained the subscription @ (3 years ) 36 Issues for $4.91! The subscription is normally $44.91. It usually takes 8-12 weeks before you receive your first issue, but at that price, it seems worth it. Some other great deals to point out...

  • Smart Money: 12 issues ($10.00)
  • Forbes: 26 issues ($15.49)
  • Money: 24 issues ($29.95)
  • Readers Digest: 24 issues ($13.99)

Thanks to Jon @ Mymoneyblog.com for the find of this site a couple of months back.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I've Been Chosen To Perform The Highest Paid Duty Around...

...Jury duty. I was getting a whopping $5 a day to wait until they've chosen the jury . Now that I have been chosen, I'll be getting a hugh raise to $40 a day! They expect the trial to last about 6 days, which will come to a total of $250 for all of my service. I will get full pay from my company, and the courthouse is relativly close to my house so I'll be saving a bit on gas. This is my first time service on a jury, so it should be interesting...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Best Online Broker...

Steven Goldberg and Jessica Anderson over @ Kiplinger.com examinded 11 firms that offer online services to find the best online brokers. They ranked them in several different catagories...

  • General ranking of the top 11
  • Lowest commissions and fees only
  • Best trade executions only
  • Lowest margin rate only
  • Highest interest paid on cash only
  • No-load fund offering only
  • Responsiveness and broker knowledge only
  • Best research offering only
  • Best Web site only
  • Best cost-basis data only
  • Best conduct only

It's a rather large article with a lot of great info. It's worth a read...

Another Rate Hike On The Horizon?

Rate futures shows that there is a 50% chance for another fed rate hike in June. This is based on a survey by Fed Empire State Manufacturing, and the weekly U.S. jobless claims in a stronger than expected month. F.Y.I.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Money Blogger Podcast Father's Day Special...

Episode #22 of the Money Blogger Podcast is another unique and interesting interview. In this episode, Scott makes this a one a "Father's Day Special." Since he himself is a father, he will be having his wife interview him! If you've ever been curious on what his thoughts are on personal finance, how he handles his families personal finances, his personal finance history, and how his blog may be evolving, now's the time to find out. Check it out!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Money Blogger Podcast Update...

Today's episode of the Money Blogger Podcast reaches the legal U.S. drinking age of 21. Scott interviews thatedeguy from "A Penny Saved." Thatedeguy is a North Dakotan who's been blogging on personal finance since the beginning of the year, and blogging in general for the past couple of years. This isn't his only blog, as he works to monetize his blogs to make a few extra bucks to help pay for hosting and maybe a little extra in the process. It's an attractive blog with a pretty decent layout, as well as some interesting financial tid bits. Check it out!

Monday, June 05, 2006

It's time to celebrate!

The wife isn't happy where she's currently working, so decided to shop around. After only one interview she got a new job! The new job offers better benefits, including a 401k which her current job didn't offer until a year of employment. She has only been there around 8 months. Plus, a salary of $13,000 more a year! On top of the $3,000 a year we'll be saving after my auto loan is paid off this month, that's an extra $16,000 a year for us.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

For all the "rate chasers" out there...

For anyone out there who's not familiar with a blog called Bank Deals, here's a brief introduction. The blog was started February of last year by... "a guy who enjoys searching for the latest banking deals and the best rates."

"The BankDeals site is intended to keep you updated on the latest deals and news with banks especially online banks. We'll let you know which banks have the best interest rates. Also, we'll let you know who offers the best signup offers.Opening an online savings account can be a little intimidating. So we'll help you learn from our experiences. We'll give you advice about what to look out for. Online banking is growing fast in popularity. It dramatically reduces costs for the banks and allows them to pass the savings to us in the form of better interest rates. It's definitely the future of banking. So if you have been hesitant to get started in online banking, keep reading this web log, and you'll build up confidence to get started."

It's one of my favorite blogs out there with a lot of great info. Every week he posts a summary on the current rates and deals. Check it out this week!

June Net Worth Snapshot...

I think due to the timing of this net worth snapshot compared to last month, our net worth has increased by $3,261.71 (3.24%) for a grand total of $103,700.41. Not bad since the market has been down the past few weeks or so. Overall the retirement funds are down, but we gained a lot in cash, but that was somewhat of a wash due to the recent credit card debt surge (medical bills, a new computer, food, dining out, entertainment, etc.) I've kept our car values the same for the past five net worth snapshots, but plan on revaluating on every 6th net worth calculation (for my ego's sake). I only include jewelry in the personal property catagory since that seems to retain it's value so well. We finally finish paying off my car loan this month! That'll keep an extra $3,000 in our pockets every year, not including interest! Overall it was a surprisingly decent month. Slowly but surely...climbing the financial ladder!