Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Alternatives For Someone With Bad Credit

First and foremost, the United States is in one of the worst recessions we have seen since the Great Depression. Therefore, banks and other creditors are making it increasingly difficult for everyday people to obtain credit and purchasing power. With the dollar depreciating each and every year and inflation rising at alarming rates, it's no surprise that, in the near future, there will only be a few people who have access to credit at low APR rates. With that said, how does a person find a loan if they have bad credit? Furthermore, how does a person get out of the debt they are in, fix their credit, and get their credit back on track?

If you need an emergency loan, you need to ask yourself this question: Is this loan a necessity or a "want"? Many people often times find themselves in situations where they are desperate for a solution to their financial woes, and believe it or not, many of them look for loan sharks. Illegal ones at that. A website by the name of The Loan Shark Guide helps people learn the difference between legal lenders, and illegal lenders who will rip you off. The site is in the middle of an upgrade and looks rather ugly, but in the coming weeks/months the site will get a complete makeover, with the ability to help folks search for loans that fit their needs.

This brings up another conundrum, however.

Some will argue that payday loans and debt consolidation loans are the worst loan programs that a person could ever get into. While there are many payday loan companies out there that charge insane APR, the resolution lies in finding the right type of payday loan. You have to compare loan providers in order to make an informed decision. The best thing to do if you find yourself in an emergency financial situation, however, is to borrow from family or friends first. Payday loans, and other high interest loans, should be a last resort. If you know of an illegal lender, you can report them here.

This is a sponsored post. The opinion expressed is that of the sponsor. PFStock.com does not specifically recommend or endorse any product or service mentioned above.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

More on Discover Cashover

I recently noticed some renewed interest in my post about getting cash back at supermarkets when using Discover. Basically this post was about using the Discover Card in supermarkets, and then choosing cash back as an option during checkout. Usually, you can only request cash back when you pay with an ATM or debit card. Discover Card is the only credit card I know of that offers this, and they call this checkout option getting "cash over". For me, the cashover feature works like an interest-free loan because I pay off the card every month. Readers were interested in knowing if there was a list of all the participating stores. That list can be found on the Discover website (URL: www.Discover.com/cashatcheckout ).

But for the convenience of PFStock readers, I have decided to publish the whole list here. These are the stores where you can use your Discover it™ Card when you check out and get cash over:

Army & Air Force Exchange Service
Big Y
Bristol Farms
Cub Foods
Dollar General
Family Fare Supermarkets
Farm Fresh
Food 4 Less
Food Lion
Fred Meyer
Fry's Food Stores
Garden Street Market
Giant Eagle
Glen's Markets
Jay C
King Soopers
Kum & Go
Lunds & Byerly's
Pay Less
Quality Food Centers
Sam's Club
Shaw's & Star
Shop 'n Save
Sunflower Farmers Market
Tom Thumb
Turkey Hill

If you don't have a Discover Card yet, I suggest that you apply for one in order to take advantage of this deal. One particularly popular credit card is the Discover it™ Card because it offers cash back on purchases, year round. Plus there are no fees and other bonuses.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Filing an Amended Tax Return

I won concert tickets from a radio station a few years ago. A VIP package to see one of my favorite rappers, Jay-Z. I bragged about my winnings to all my friends. The package was valued at a whopping $800, meet-and-greet included. I remember the prize department warning me to be on the lookout for a 1099 form (the concert tickets were taxable) but I never received it. When tax filing season rolled around months later, I didn't factor them in. Not because I didn't remember, but partially because claiming the prize was all sorts of confusing without the form; honestly though, I mostly didn't factor in the prize because I wasn't anyone important. Why would the IRS audit me? I pressed the continue button on the free e-filing software I had used since college and that was that. No turning back.

For four full years I came out unscathed. But one day I received a letter in the mail saying I owed the IRS $1,200 in taxes for the unclaimed tickets. There have been far worst cases, but $80 vs. $1,200? A huge difference for someone barely making ends-meet. If only I would’ve filed an amended tax return.

Often consumers innocently forget about additional income they earned throughout the year—whether it be through serving jury duty, dog sitting, getting a $50 bonus for opening up a new bank account or whatever. It happens. This is why I've learned that organization is crucial—helps with "remembering." If you forget, hopefully you won't get audited like I did. But if by some off chance you happen to remember about the extra income before tax filing season is over, or you remember about a deduction that you qualify for, you should definitely file for an amendment tax return. It can save you a lot of financial turmoil in the end or give you a bigger return.

So how does one do this? You'll need to have all of the documents you used to file your taxes, including the amendment form—a 1040x. It may seem a little confusing at first but it's fairly easy to fill out. All you need to do is find the difference between the original tax return, and the new one. If this is difficult to do because let's say you never received your 1099, call the facility (in my case it would’ve been the radio station) and request that they send you a copy. If you can't get a hold of the proper personnel, then be prepared to estimate its value.

You will then need to explain in the box provided what specific changes you are making and why. Don't make it drawn out and long winded. Get to the point, and add-in the value in your explanation as well. Sign and date it. Include your check if you own the IRS more money. If you're now expecting a larger tax return due to new deductions, then you'll just have to play the waiting game. Make copies of everything.

Then you'd simply mail in your amendment. Remember that while you may have been able to e-file your original return, amendments must be sent through traditional mail. If you don't think it'll be delivered in time, go ahead and file for an extension—although you have up to three years to file an amendment.

About the Guest Author
Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031 @gmail.com.

This is a guest post. PFStock.com does not provide specific tax advice. If you have questions about amending your tax return, please contact a qualified tax advisor.