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Published: Thursday, March 08, 2018 @ 4:00 AM
Want to get a one-way rental car for dirt cheap?
The calendar can be your friend twice a year!
Have you ever heard of a re-positioning cruise in the cruise ship industry?
That’s where you get a super-cheap price on a cruise simply because the cruise line has to move the ship back from where it already is to a hot vacation market ahead of a peak travel time.
Not a lot of people know this, but it’s possible to get the equivalent of this in the car rental industry.
Twice a year, car rental companies have to move cars around to meet demand. They will give you a great deal on a one-way rental if you can help them!
Right now, we’re about to enter one of those periods.
As peak season comes to an end in Florida, car rental companies need to get their vehicles out of the state and move them up North along the East Coast.
This is the time of year you’ll find rentals for around $15 per day — if you can move their vehicles out of the Sunshine State. Generally, you can rent up to two weeks on one of these deals.
If you want to be really frugal, you can buy the cheapest one-way airfare into Florida from wherever you live. Then you pick your rental up at the airport, and you keep it for up to 14 days. Use it during your vacation and then drive it back up North!
Even at $15/day, these offers save the car rental companies a fortune because they get out of having to hire a transfer driver or dedicating an employee to re-position the vehicle.
So you get a great deal and you save the rental company money at the same time!
In the fall, it works in reverse in the fall. You can get a deal in the North and drive it down to Florida. You’ll get to use it while you’re down there and then you can get a cheap one-way airline ticket back home.
This is the smart way to have a cheaper Florida vacation.
Avis availability is April 1 through May 31. Use AWD code R003500 at checkout to score these deals.
Here are the per day rates:
This offer excludes pick-up from Pensacola and Jacksonville.
Participating drop off cities include: Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, San Antonio, St. Louis, Boston, Buffalo, Hartford, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Washington/Baltimore, Atlanta, Charleston, Charlotte, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans, Raleigh Durham, Albuquerque, Northern California, Portland, Seattle, Southern California, Las Vegas.
Rates are valid for a max of 14-consecutive-days. Taxes, concession recovery fees, vehicle license recovery fee, customer facility charges may apply and are extra.
Optional products such as LDW ($29.99/day or less) — which Clark says you should never get because you may already have coverage through a credit card or auto insurance policy — and refueling are extra.
Offer valid for reservations picked up between March 26 and May 31 from the following participating Florida locations: Ft. Myers, Sarasota, Naples and Punta Gorda.
Offer valid for reservations picked up between April 1 and May 31 at the following participating Florida locations: Tampa, Clearwater, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm, Key West and Boca Raton.
Here are the per day rates:
Competing car rental agencies will likely roll out rates similar to those you saw above in the weeks ahead. We’ll keep this list updated, so check back often!
But if you want to be ahead of the curve, money expert Clark Howard advises calling around to a few agencies that are located at airports several weeks before a peak travel time to ask if they’re participating in these kinds of deals and where they need their cars moved.
Because of the cheap price, there will be a lot of restrictions on these deals — plus additional taxes and fees. But if you can make it work, this is a real steal.
Last year, Clark snagged one of these deals and would up paying $26.01 for a two-day rental of a Toyota RAV 4 with unlimited mileage.
He was originally quoted $7.99 a day for the vehicle. But then when you add in the junk fees, it soon becomes $26.01.
And get this…he could have had that rate for two weeks if he needed it!
Clark says RentalCars.com is a good website you can use to get an initial sense about whether or not this method of landing a cheap ride could work for you.
Clark Howard pays $7.14 a day for a rental car
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Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 6:13 PM
— ‘Tis the season for taxpayers to get a nice chunk of change back from the IRS.
It’s tempting to spend it all, but financial experts say there are steps you should take to shore up your financial future.
Some who usually pay off debt will splurge this year.
“I’m going to Japan in April so I’m actually going to add that to my travel fund, so I’m really excited about it,” said Olivia Morris from Centerville.
Those who used to spend their return?
“I just plan to save it. We are about to start a family, so I plan on saving it for the baby,” said Toska Ivory of Dayton.
It’s important to have a plan for tax return funds or any financial windfall, said Lisa Roberts, Graceworks certified housing and credit counselor.
Pay urgent bills first then save.
“If it’s something that is urgent -- a bill that’s going to be a roof over your head, utilities, pay them,” said Roberts, “after that you definitely want to put it into savings.”
WalletHub has these additional tax refund spending recommendations:
As for splurging?
Published: Thursday, January 04, 2018 @ 11:05 AM
— Many companies have announced they will provide first quarter cash bonuses to employees following last month’s passage of the tax reform bill.
» RELATED: What to expect from the new tax legislation
While some may see this as money to spend immediately, PNC offered five things to think about for how to use the funds:
FIVE FAST BUSINESS READS
Published: Thursday, December 28, 2017 @ 9:12 AM
— With the recent tax changes, the usual end-of-year assortment of tax moves is likely more complicated in 2017.
These changes affect everyone from single mothers to millionaires to most sports fans who buy event tickets.
“I’d love to tell you that everyone has a handle on this,” said Mark Bradstreet, founder of the Bradstreet & Co. Inc. accounting firm, which has offices in Centerville and Xenia. “I’m not sure anyone does. I would be suspicious if someone said they did.”
Prominent among the changes: The 1,000-page legislation recently passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump caps at $10,000 the amount of state and municipal taxes that taxpayers can deduct from their federal tax bill.
Some filers — those with high property tax bills who aren’t using the standard deduction — are scrambling to pre-pay property taxes for the coming year before the cap takes effect, according to national reports. In 2017, that deduction has no ceiling.
While the new tax bill lets local municipalities decide whether to allow taxpayers to pre-pay property taxes, it blocked filers from pre-paying local sales and income taxes.
Bradstreet said it’s OK to pre-pay real estate taxes for most taxpayers. Montgomery, Greene and Warren counties will allow filers to pay property taxes early, he said.
“They’re all more than happy to take your money,” he quipped.
If you fall under the alternative minimum tax (AMT) — and if you don’t itemize your deductions — paying property property taxes early won’t help, Bradstreet said.
“For most people, though, it’s ‘no harm, no foul’ pre-paying it this year,” he said.
But an IRS announcement was triggering more confusion early Thursday.
In a notice, the IRS said pre-paying property taxes may work, but only under certain conditions. Real estate taxes may be paid in 2017, but the taxes must also be assessed in 2017.
William Duncan, a certified public accountant with Dayton firm Thorn, Lewis & Duncan, said taxpayers should check with accountants to see if they will fall under the AMT in 2017.
Duncan called the tax changes “wild.” With newly lowered tax brackets and higher standard deductions, he said he has clients with seven-figure incomes who will opt to take the standard deduction this year instead of itemizing.
That’s the first time in his career he has seen that, Duncan said.
The standard deduction for married individuals filing jointly is $24,000, noted John Venturella, a Dayton shareholder with Clark Schaefer Hackett.
“I think you are just going to see a lot of people using the standard deduction,” Venturella said.
The new law introduces some wrinkles for University of Dayton Flyers or other college and professional sports fans, too.
If you buy University of Dayton basketball tickets in the lower arena and pay for a seat license, current law lets you deduct 80 percent of that as a charitable deduction. That benefit is going away in 2018, Duncan said.
The university is inviting ticket-holders to pre-pay for seat licenses in 2017, Duncan said, which Adam Tschuor, associate athletics director for revenue and partnerships at UD, confirmed.
“It may be to your advantage to pay for next season’s ASP (Arena Seating Program) donation or beyond before Jan. 1, 2018,” the university said in a letter sent to ticket-holders just last week. “These payments would still be tax deductible under existing tax law.”
Tschuor said the university has always allowed fans to prepay their “ASP donation in all the way up to the conclusion of the announced ASP cycle.”
Another change: Your tickets for UD, Wright State, Ohio State or Cincinnati Reds or Bengals games will no longer be tax-deductible as a business entertainment expense.
“If you’re a businessperson and you want to take clients to the UD game next year, you’re not going to be allowed to take a tax deduction for the entertainment value of those tickets,” Duncan said.
For businesses, Duncan said it’s important this year to try to defer whatever income you can, push it to 2018, and pay the expenses you can in 2017.
Most accountants scoff at the notion, pushed by the bill’s proponents, that it has simplified the tax code. For higher-income earners in particular, as well as many small businesses, tax law remains at least as complex as ever. And the bill has injected a new layer of uncertainty because so many changes are temporary and could be reversed in a few years.
Donating to charities
December is a critical fundraising month for charities. Many people make year-end gifts for tax reasons, or to extend the spirit of Thanksgiving and generosity to those less fortunate. Here are a few dos and don’ts when it comes to charitable giving.
DON’T succumb to high-pressure, emotional pitches. Giving on the spot is never necessary, no matter how hard a telemarketer or door-to-door solicitor pushes it. The charity that needs your money today will welcome it just as much tomorrow – after you’ve had time to do your homework.
DO think before you give. If you are solicited at the mall or on the street, take a minute or two to “think.” Ask for the charity’s name and address. Get full identification from the solicitor and review it carefully. If you decide to donate, don’t give cash. Write a check made payable to the charitable organization, not an individual.
DO check out the charity carefully. Make sure you feel comfortable with how your money will be spent. Don’t just take the word of someone else; even good friends may not have fully researched the charities they endorse. Go to www.give.org to verify that a charity meets BBB Wise Giving Alliance’s 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.
DON’T assume that only “low overhead” matters. How much money a charity spends on the actual cause – as compared to how much goes toward fundraising and administration – is an important factor, but it’s not the whole story. A charity with impressive financial ratios could have other significant problems such as insufficient transparency, inadequate board activity and inaccurate appeals.
SOURCE: Better Business Bureau
Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 10:32 AM
— It's that time of year again when parents and college or college-bound students fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
The idea of wading through a form – especially one that requires financial information – is definitely not an appealing idea, but the FAFSA could be a tremendous help in getting your student money to attend college.
The following points are what you need to know, as well as common mistakes to avoid when filling out the FAFSA.
Fill it out – you have nothing to lose.
You may think that you don't need to fill out the FAFSA, especially if you believe you might not qualify for need-based aid. But there's no income cut-off point with federal student aid, according to the U.S. Department of Education. In addition, the FAFSA can help you qualify for all kinds of grants, loans and scholarships, including those offered by your state, school or private organizations.
By investing a few minutes of time, you could reap thousands of dollars in potential rewards.
Submit it ASAP.
The sooner you submit your FAFSA, the better, according to consumer adviser Clark Howard. Although the federal deadline isn't until June 30, 2018, you should check with the financial aid administrator at colleges you're interested in to make sure their deadlines aren't earlier.
Submitting earlier will help you plan how you'll pay for college. You'll also have a better chance of getting as much aid or scholarship money as possible since some colleges distribute their available money on a first-come, first-serve basis, Howard says.
Gather the information you'll need.
The FAFSA asks questions about the student as well as his or her parents if the student is a dependent.
You'll need the following information on hand as you fill out the FAFSA:
Watch out for common mistakes.
The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators points out some common mistakes that can delay your form's submission or cause you to not get the aid and scholarships you might qualify for. They include the following:
Keep an eye out for requests for more information.
Your FAFSA may be selected for verification, which means you'll have to provide some additional or supporting information, U.S. News & World Report explains. This process doesn't necessarily mean you've done anything wrong. You may have a discrepancy or mistake on your form, but some FAFSAs are just randomly selected for verification (lucky you!).