This Banking and Taxes Super Page contains a growing list of money saving tips from our readers to help you save on bank fees and tax preparation!
Budgeting at the Bank
I live in Oklahoma, and bank with BancFirst. They have added a program to their online banking called Financeworks (by Quicken). It links automatically to your account, and you can have it incorporate any of your other online accounts, other bank accounts, credit cards, loans, savings, etc. You can set up a budget, pay bills online, set up reminders of recurring payments and deposits, track spending, even have tracking for business related expenses. It even categorizes your purchases for you, but you can change them if it puts them in the wrong place. You can also ‘split’ purchases into separate categories. Great program. It can really help you get a realistic view of your finances in one location. Katie R. – Oklahoma, USA
Editors’ Note: Check out your bank to see what services are offered and how they may help you in keeping your finances in order. Just be aware that all budgeting programs operate differently. In the past, we’ve used Quicken and it doesn’t allow for you to accumulate money in accounts like clothing or car repair in anticipation of non-recurring expenses. If you’re interested in the budgeting program we’ve used to live debt-free click here.
Check It Out – Banking On It!
One of the things I haven’t seen mentioned in the Tips Section of your website is ordering checks from one of the many companies that advertise in the Sunday paper. I order the largest amount which often includes a free box of checks. When I do run out, I order from another company, as the best prices are for new customers. This is much less expensive than getting checks from the bank. Mary Ellen Hodgman – Seattle, WA
Free Checks – Just Ask
Recently I discovered that our bank was offering free checks. I overheard the promotion being explained to a new customer. They didn’t send out a letter to existing customers. I asked and received the same promotion. So, always ask if there are any bonuses that have been added as a thank-you feature. Christy T. – Ludlow, KY
Many banks offer free internet banking and free bill pay. I pay everything online now. It saves fees for ordering checks and postage. You can also indicate what date you would like to have your bills paid, and the bank guarantees it. You can set it up ahead of time, go on vacation, or simply not have to worry about payments getting where they have to be on a specific date. You can also set up email reminders if you don’t want automatic payments made. It’s a great service. Renee J. – Hopewell, VA
We’ve used free Bill-Pay for years to pay our regular bills and our charitable giving. Each month we save at least one hour of time and about $5 in postage.
Banking For Free
Nationally chartered banks have to give you free checking, that is part of their charter. You can call the bank or just look for a bank with the word “national” in it, and you have free checking. Great for new Girl/Boy Scout troops or eBay accounts where your initial balance may be small! Anita – Clifton Park, NY
Editors’ Note: The Office of The Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) oversees the operations of National banks (including banks with National, N.A. or National Association in their names). These banks are F.D.I.C insured but are regulated by the OCC. Visit http://www.occ.treas.gov/ for more information.
Free Income Tax Preparation
People of any age can receive free help preparing their taxes through the AARP Tax-Aide Service. I have been a volunteer for a number of years and find it very rewarding. Here are some details. It is a free service supported by over 30,000 volunteers across the country. It is available to people of all ages with middle and low income, with special attention to those age 60 and older. We prepare tax returns and answer tax questions. To find one of the 10,000 locations near your home, call 1-888-227-7669. AARP Tax-Aide sites are located in places convenient for taxpayers to get to, such as senior centers, libraries, and malls. We can also visit taxpayers in their homes if they are physically unable to visit a site. This program is available from February 1-April 15 each year. For more information visit the website –www.aarp.org/taxaide. A.J. Economides – Hinsdale, IL
If you have a tip related to saving money on Banking and Taxes, please leave it in the comments below and we’ll review it for posting on this page.