Tax Time

It is tax season!  I utilized my Celebrate Fort Collins winnings this week and had Jason Speciner at Long Green Planning prepare my taxes.

Awkward photo courtesy of Jason Speciner

Awkward photo courtesy of Jason Speciner

That is an invoice for $0, and there is literally nothing better than that, except for the GIANT REFUND he got me!

Ok, ok, it’s not that giant, but it was way more than I wanted to be loaning the government interest-free over the course of last year and I will be glad to have it back.  When it hits my account, I plan to put half in my emergency fund, a quarter in my travel/yoga teacher training/tattoo fund (I have a lot of goals for this money), and a quarter toward my credit card (currently at 0% interest so I’m not stressing too much, but I am annoyed that I had a few months of not paying it off completely).

Jason also reviewed my return from last year and found money that I had missed doing my taxes by myself.  Lesson learned: there are reasons why people utilize tax professionals and if anything is even slightly complicated, you’re probably better off having one of them do your taxes for you.  It might be cheaper to do it yourself, but you may not actually be saving yourself any money.

Since I had such a great experience, I highly recommend Jason Speciner, CFP for tax prep (opinions are my own and I’m not receiving compensation).  Also, he is a CSU graduate, has a Shaq jersey on his wall, and evidently has a dog named Cosmo Kramer (according to his website), so there are many reasons why he is awesome.

Since this is a blog on living fabulously on the cheap in FoCo, new tax prep clients get $25 off their first year prep fees (tell him I sent you so we both get the discount).

 

An experiment in upping my savings

I just signed up for digit, which is supposed to analyze your spending habits and then automatically move money that you won’t miss into a separate account to help maximize your savings.  It’s FDIC insured and if they screw up and for some reason it causes an overdraft, they will cover all of those expenses.  It is also a completely free service (they take the interest that your digit savings is earning and use it to pay themselves–supposedly interest on savings may be coming soon!)  I love a good excuse to save money, so I’m trying it.  I’ll keep you posted on my savings and how it’s working as I go along.

If you want to play along, click the above link.  I’ll get 5 bucks if you sign up and you’ll get my unending love and save some $$$ you didn’t know you could save.

Here’s what my dashboard currently looks like.  The first transfer should happen in 2-3 days.

Screenshot 2015-02-11 10.27.55

They support 2500 banks/credit unions so there’s a reasonable chance your financial institution will be supported.

Are you in?  What would you use your additional savings for?  I’m considering this an extension of Change Jar and I’ll probably put whatever I save towards a trip or paying off something early.  Let me know what you’d save for in the comments–I need inspiration!

Let’s grab a beer (for cheap).

In FoCo, craft beer is a way of life, but it can also put a huge dent in your bank account if you aren’t careful.  Those small purchases can add up big time.  So what are my favorite ways to drink on the cheap in Fort Collins?

1. Go on a New Belgium Tour.

Our friendly tour guide telling us about the bottling process.

Our friendly tour guide telling us about the bottling process.

This is going to require some planning or extra lack of planning.  NBB tours are insanely popular because you get a FREE 90 minute fun and informative tour of the brewery, there’s a slide at the end that will ruin your skin forever, and you get tons of samples!  But if you want to go on a weekend, you’re going to need to plan at least a month and a half out, or two if it’s a weekend when lots of people are going to be in town.  Tuesdays-Thursdays generally have more availability, but you may have to take time off if you are a M-F, 9-5er like myself (more like 8-5, let’s be real).  If you’re horrible at planning ahead, find someone who booked a tour and has open spots, or show up at the tap room and get on the list for cancellations.  You might have to wait a while, and there’s a chance you won’t make it on a tour at all if it’s a really busy day, but hey, you’re at the NBB tap room.  Play some ring on a string or Rolle Bolle and enjoy it.

2. Go to the Bar.

There is a very real chance this is actually a PBR, but it was probably only $1.

There is a very real chance this is actually a PBR, but it was probably only $1.

Cheap draughts, a huge bomber selection, and most importantly, vintage arcade games, giant Jenga, ping pong, and skeeball.

It’s also not 100 Octane the Rec Room, so that’s a win in itself.

3. $5 growler fills at Black Bottle Brewery.

We recently discovered that you can fill a growler at BBB for $5 on Wednesdays and Sundays!  The $5 fills are limited to their standard brews, but Black Bottle makes great beer.  If you need a growler to fill, ask anyone because they probably have 14 like we do.

4. Play Geeks Who Drink.  

We will destroy you.

We will destroy you.

We are addicted to the Geeks Who Drink bar quiz.  It’s fun, you can win free beer and gift cards, and there is a quiz happening somewhere in Fort Collins on almost every night of the week.  Not for the easily offended.  There are also usually drink specials during the game.

5. Follow your favorite beer bars on Facebook or Instagram for updates on specials.  

Some probably tweet too, but my Twitter account is almost solely used for bitching about terrible service.

6. Go to Matador.  

First of all, it’s like Chipotle but locally owned and the food is as locally sourced as possible.   Second of all, it’s CHEAP.  Like “ARE THESE PRICES REAL?!?!?!?!111” cheap.  Their bottled beer is $1.63 a bottle.  They draught beer isn’t much more.  They have an awesome selection of local beers.  Their hot sauce will kill you if you’re not prepared.

It’s not hard to get a delicious beer for not a lot of money in Fort Collins.  Where are your favorite craft beer bargains?