Costco Membership Discount: $10/$20 Coupon Code

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As of June 1, 2017, Costco will be increasing its Gold/Business annual membership fees to $60 (formerly $55) and Executive annual membership to $120 (formerly $110). Executive membership comes with a 2% cash rebate on purchases (now up to $1,000) as well as some other side benefits. The breakeven point is now $3,000 annually x 2% = $60. That works out to $250 a month.

Existing Costco members can save $5 or $10 by renewing before the rate hike on 6/1. Effectively a little discount for renewing early. You renew online up to 3 months before your membership expiration date. You can also renew in-store before your membership expiration date (I read up to 5 months before but may vary). Finally, you can buy their “Gift of Membership” gift card which costs $55 right now and then save it to renew your own membership when the time comes.

New Costco members can get a $10 or $20 Costco cash card. There are two ways to see this offer. You can google search “Costco membership” and click on the ad at the top, or you can visit this link. Use the coupon codes NHMBASE and NHMEXEC online at Costco.com, or print it out and bring it into a physical store. You should see the following promotional offer:

  • GOLD STAR MEMBERSHIP – receive a $10 Costco Cash Card
  • EXECUTIVE MEMBERSHIP – receive a $20 Costco Cash Card

By the way, Sam’s Club is also (still? again?) running a new membership deal where a new member pays $45 and gets:

  • 1-Year Sam’s Club Membership ($45 value)
  • $20 Sam’s Club Gift Card
  • “Free meal” = 1 rotisserie chicken, 1 apple pie, and 36 dinner rolls ($20 value)

Best No Fee 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards

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Whether you need to save interest on your existing balances or you’d like an interest-free loan, many credit cards offer 0% APR balance transfers for an initial period of up to 21 months. I’ve looked at hundreds of cards online, scoured the “Terms & Conditions” fine print, and the listed ones below are the best that I’ve found with the longest 0% APR periods and the lowest fees.

It’s been harder to avoid all fees these days, but they can still be found. Also remember that stretched across a longer time period, the overall effective APR can still be very low even with a small fee. I’ve tried to include a variety of card issuers as that allows you to spread your balance across multiple cards if needed. Updated as of MAY 2017.

Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards – May 2017

BarclayCard Ring MasterCard 1) Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® – 0% Introductory APR on both balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. No balance transfer fees.  All balance transfers must be made within 45 days of account opening to get the 0% Intro APR but you can make as many balance transfers as you’d like and keep the 0% rate. Unlike the other cards on this list, after the intro rate has expired this card offers a static, variable APR of 13.74%. Cardholders will also receive free online access to their FICO score. The Barclaycard Ring Mastercard does not have any annual fee.

Slate from Chase Card Art 2) Chase Slate®0% Introductory APR on both balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. No balance transfer fee for the first 60 days of opening the account. Once the intro rate has expired, a variable APR of 15.74% – 24.49% applies. Cardholders will also receive a free FICO score updated monthly. No annual fee.

Citi Simplicity Card Art3) Citi Simplicity® Card – 0% Introductory APR on both balance transfers and purchases for 21 months. There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. From our partner Citi, this is an exceptionally long 0% intro terms of nearly 2 years and is three months longer than any other card on our list.  The added balance transfer time can save hundreds of dollars in interest if you aren’t able to take advantage of the fee free options and pay the full balances off in time. Additional unique features on this card include no over-limit fees or late payment fees.  The Citi Simplicity Card has no annual fee.

alliantcc4) Alliant Credit Union Visa Platinum Card – 0% Introductory APR on both balance transfers and purchases for 12 months. No balance transfer fees. After that, a variable rate applies ranging from 9.74%-21.74% APR. A small catch is that you must be an Alliant CU member to obtain this card, but membership is open to anyone who makes a one-time $10 donation to Foster Care to Success. You can also receive card approval first before joining. No annual fee.

Discover it Balance Transfer5) Discover it® 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months. Balance transfer fee is 3%.  The Discover it 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer also includes a robust rewards program, that offers 5% cash back on rotating categories throughout the year (like gas, groceries and restaurants) and 1% cash back on all other purchases.  As an added bonus, for the first year, all new cardholders will receive double cashback through their Cashback Match program.  There is no annual fee, over-limit fees or late payment fees associated with the Discover it 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer and all cardmembers also receive their free FICO credit score.

ejworld 6) Edward Jones Mastercard® – 0% Introductory APR on balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles. No balance transfer fee on balances transferred within 60 days of opening your account. A catch is that you must be an Edward Jones client and thus talk to an Edward Jones advisor first to get this card. Watch out for high fees and hidden commissions in their investment management services. This hassle may be offset by the offer of a $100 Loyalty Invest™ Deposit after you spend $500 on your card within 90 days of opening your account. No annual fee.

“Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. This site may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program.”

Free eBook on Reducing Smartphone Data Usage

tingdataTing Mobile has a free Cut Your Data eBook (PDF) about lowering your cellular data usage. The eBook is a nice collection of data cutting tips that ideally don’t reduce your actual enjoyment. Examples include:

  • How to turn off background data usage.
  • Disabling auto-play videos or auto-downloads in Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat.
  • Data compression in Google Chrome and Opera Mini web browsers.
  • Offline downloads of music, maps, Netflix, and other media.

Worth a download if you are trying to maintain a lower tier on your cellular data bill. You don’t need to be a Ting customer (I use them for my parents’ phones – see my Ting Review).

Blue Cash Preferred from American Express Review: 6% Cash Back on Groceries

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Limited-time offer. If you apply by 5/3/17, you can earn 10% cash back on purchases at U.S. Restaurants in the first 6 months, up to $200 back. This is in addition to the $150 back after you spend $1,000 on all purchases within the first 3 months, for a total of $350 in sign-up incentives. Details below.

Full review:

Let’s get right to it. The best feature of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is getting 6% cash back at US stand-alone supermarkets, for up to $6,000 per year in purchases. That’s works out to an average of $500 a month. If you spend $500 a month on qualifying groceries at 6% cash back, that alone will get you $360 a year in rewards.

Other highlights including sign-up bonuses:

  • Limited Time Offer: Apply by 5/3/17 – Earn 10% cash back on purchases at U.S. Restaurants in the first 6 months, up to $200 back.
  • Get $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $150 back in the form of a statement credit.
  • 6% Cash Back at US stand-alone supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 3% Cash Back on gasoline at at US stand-alone gas stations
  • 3% Cash Back at select major US department stores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. Cash back is earned only on eligible purchases.

For more information about this card and to apply online, visit CardRatings.com.

Supermarkets details. “US stand-alone supermarkets” means that superstores, convenience stores and warehouse clubs are not considered supermarkets. This means no Super Wal-Mart, no Super Target, no Costco. Examples of merchants that count (and this is not a complete list!!) are Safeway, Meijer, Vons, Whole Foods, Winn-Dixie, and online supermarkets such as FreshDirect.

Gasoline details. “US stand-alone gas stations” means that superstores, supermarkets, and warehouse clubs that sell gasoline are not considered gas stations. This means no Target, no Costco, no Sam’s Club. Examples of merchants that count (and this is not a complete list!!) are Exxon, Mobil, Hess, Shell, Gulf, Murphy USA, Murphy Express.

Major US Department stores details. These are the only stores that qualify:

• Bealls
• Belk
• Bloomingdale’s
• Bon Ton Stores
• Boscov’s
• Century 21 Department Stores
• Dillard’s
• J.C. Penney (JCP)
• Kohl’s
• Lord & Taylor
• Macy’s
• Neiman Marcus
• Nordstrom
• Saks Fifth Avenue
• Sears
• Stein Mart

Annual fee. The card has a $95 annual fee, which is not waived the first year. However, spending just $31 per week at supermarkets at 6% cash back will result in over $95 Reward Dollars per year to cover the annual fee.

If you don’t like the idea of paying an annual fee, the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express offers 3% at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases with no annual fee. It also has a sign-up bonus.

If you spend the max cap of $500 a month at supermarkets, at 6% back that would net you $360 cash back in a year vs. $60 at 1% cash back. Note that you can find gift cards to many popular retailers at your local supermarket these days. We usually try to max out the $6,000 annual limit. We usually spend closer to $100 a week on food groceries, or about $5,000 a year. Then the rest of the annual limit we use to buy gift cards at the end of the year for holiday presents.

There are no rotating categories, no quarterly enrollments, and no point systems to learn. Not that I would mind if they also allow me to earn more than 1%.

Intro 0% APR offer. The Blue Cash Preferred also has 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, then a variable rate, currently 13.74% to 23.74%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors. Balance transfer fee is either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Limited-time 10% offer. To get the full $200 max from the 10% cash back on purchases at U.S. Restaurants in the first 6 months, you’d have to spend an average of $334 a month at restaurants. That might be easy or really hard, depending on your spending habits. You might also spend a lot more on restaurants than you think if you haven’t been tracking it via Mint or Personal Capital.

For more information about this card and to apply online, visit CardRatings.com.

“Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. This site may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program.”

Apple iWork Suite, iMovie, and GarageBand Now Free on Mac and iOS

iworkIf you have an older Mac OS or iOS device, it may be nice to know that Apple has made their iWork productivity suite, iMovie, and GarageBand apps free to download for all users. These apps come free with new hardware, but users with old hardware had to pay $5 to $20 for each individual app. For example, a family member is still using my Mac Mini from 2009 just fine. Visit the Mac or iOS App store to download.

iWork competes with Microsoft Office. Pages is a word processor app like Microsoft Word. Numbers is a spreadsheet app like Microsoft Excel. And Keynote is a presentation app like Microsoft PowerPoint. iMovie edits video and GarageBand edits music.

Amazon Coupons: $10 off $50 Warehouse, $15 off $40 for Amazon Student

amazon200Here are a couple of quick Amazon promotions before I sign off for the weekend:

Amazon Warehouse Deals $10 off $50. Get $10 off a $50+ purchase at Amazon Warehouse with coupon code EARTH10. This is where Amazon sells their open-box and pre-owned products. Basically, stuff other people returned. I’ve bought a few things without issue.

Here’s a link to the Kitchen goods and Electronics sections. Offer expires at 11:59 p.m. (PT) 4/22/2017. Offer only applies to products sold by “Amazon Warehouse Deals.”

Amazon Student $15 off $40. Have a .edu e-mail address? Sign up for a free 6-month trial of Amazon Student and get a $15 off $40 coupon with the promo code PRIMESTUDENT. How to redeem the offer by 4/16:

1. Log in to your Amazon account.
2. Select at least $40 in products (but not digital content) sold by Amazon.com or Amazon Digital Services LLC, not sold by a third-party seller or other Amazon entity (look for “sold by Amazon.com” or “sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC” on the product detail page), and place the products in your Shopping Cart.
3. Enter the code “PRIMESTUDENT” at checkout in the “Add a gift card or promotion code” field.
4. The $15 discount will then be applied.

Amazon Prime Student gets you the free 2-day fast shipping, video streaming catalog, and other exclusive discounts. After the trial ends, you get 50% off the full Prime membership cost for four years or until you graduate, whichever comes first. If you qualify, it’s worth signing up.

Alexa $5 promo code with $25 gift card purchase. Get a $5 promo code if you order a $25 gift card through Alexa. Also, get another $5 promo code when you re-order a previous purchase via Alexa. You can use Alexa through Fire TV and other devices now.

Trim Savings: Connect Your Visa Card For $40 Cashback Towards Everyday Purchases

trimsavings0Financial chatbot Trim has a new feature called Trim Savings. (Here’s a previous review of Trim’s subscription cancellation service.) You link your existing Visa card and they will come up with cashback coupons. The offers are linked to your Visa card number so that when you swipe your card, the coupon is automatically applied as a statement credit on your account. No paper coupons. No codes to show. It sounds very similar to the AmEx Offers feature on American Express cards.

Limited-time promotion. They are currently offering $40 in cashback coupons towards “everyday purchases” like groceries, dining, shopping, and movies. While supplies last. Here’s how that $40 breaks down:

  • Groceries: $1 on any purchase > $5 (you’ll receive 10 of these–a total of $10)
  • Dining: $1 on any purchase > $5 (you’ll receive 10 of these–a total of $10)
  • Movies: $10 on any purchase > $20 (you will receive only once)
  • Shopping: $10 on any purchase > $50 (you will receive only once)

From their site:

For example: You sign up for Trim. We send you a $10 cashback coupon offer for shopping. You go to the Gap and spend $50 on your Chase Visa card. The moment after you swipe at the register, you’ll get a message saying “Trim saved you $10!” You’ll receive a statement credit for $10 on your Chase account.

Requirements. You’ll need both a Visa card and Facebook Messenger account in order to receive and activate cashback coupons from Trim Savings. When I did it, Trim only wanted access to my public Facebook profile. They say that SMS will be supported in the future. Here’s a screenshot from my Messenger account:

trimsavings1

What you’re giving up. The service is free, but you must agree that “Trim and Visa can share my card and transaction details to identify qualifying purchases, provide rewards and personalize offers based on my past and ongoing transactions.” Basically, you are signing up for targeted advertising in the form of coupons based on your spending history.

Bottom line. If you are comfortable sharing your Visa purchase history and have a Facebook Messenger account, Trim Savings seems like an easy $10-$40 bucks upfront for buying the same things you would have otherwise. We’ll have to see what other good coupons come up. Keep it afterward if you like it; unlink your card later if you don’t.

Barclaycard CashForward World MasterCard Review: 1.5% Cash Back + $200 Bonus

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Updated with improved offer. Barclaycard has improved this offer by increasing the sign-up bonus to $200 after you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days. The $200 flat bonus makes this card work out better for those folks that don’t put a lot of purchases on their cards. For example, if you were to compare this card’s 1.5% cash back with a 2% cashback card with no sign-up bonus, you would have to spend $40,000 for the 2% card to catch up and break even. That could take years for some users. This offer now also has a 0% intro APR interest on purchases for the first 15 months.

Full Review:

Barclaycard has introduced a new cash back rewards card called the Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard® which earns a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no earnings cap. There is also no annual fee and an upfront sign-up bonus. Here are the highlights:

  • Get a $200 cash rewards bonus after you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days after account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on every purchase
  • Every time you redeem, get a 5% cash rewards redemption bonus to use toward your next redemption
  • Redeem your cash rewards for a deposit into a U.S. checking or savings account, a statement credit or gift cards. Redemptions start at $50
  • Cash rewards do not expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • Enjoy a 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months on purchases. Plus, you’ll get a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on balance transfers for each balance transfer made within 45 days of account opening. After that a variable APR will apply, 15.74%, 20.74% or 25.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Please note, there is a fee for balance transfers
  • No annual fee

I suppose the 5% cash rewards redemption bonus could be used to think of this card as a 1.575% cash back card (1.5% times 105%), but keep in mind that it is structured as an incentive to keep you using the card. For example, if you redeem $100 in cash rewards, you will get $5 added to your rewards balance good towards your next redemption. You have to reach $50 to cash out again. As noted in the comments, you could maximize your redemptions by leaving $50 in rewards so that you can cash everything out next time easily. Keep that in mind as your $200 bonus will also get that 5% bonus to become $210.

The competition. Chase and Capital One also have their own versions of 1.5% flat cash back:

These competitors have higher effective cash back rates. Some have a few additional requirements which you may or may not find too much trouble.

If you put a lot of purchases on your credit cards, the gap between a 1.5% and 2% card widens. However, if you are a relatively light spender, it can pay to focus more on the upfront bonus than the cash back rate. For example, if you were to compare a card with 1.5% cashback + $200 upfront bonus with a 2% cashback card + no sign-up bonus, you would have to spend $40,000 to earn an additional $200 in cashback (and thus breakeven with the bonus). If you only charge $500 a month, that would take nearly 7 years. If you charge $1,000 a month, that would take over 3 years.

Bottom line. The CashForward World MasterCard is Barclaycard’s entry into the “simple, no hassle cash back rewards” category. The 1.5% cash back is competitive with similar no-annual-fee offerings from Capital One and Chase (with this card offering an additional small redemption bonus on top), but I would also compare it with the offerings from Citibank and other issuers listed above (especially if you are a big spender). Keep in mind that Barclaycard is currently offering the largest sign-up bonus in this category. You also receive a free FICO score updates from Barclaycard.

5% Cash Back Credit Cards: Rotating Categories Update 2017

New 5% categories for 2nd Quarter 2017 are live. Activate them all now if you haven’t already.

The credit cards below offer a hefty 5% cash back on certain categories that rotate each quarter. It takes a little extra attention, but I also rack up over a hundred dollars in additional rewards per year without changing my spending habits. None of these have an annual fee, so it costs me nothing to keep them all around. New cardmembers may also get an upfront sign-up bonus. Quick tip: look for opportunities to load up on gift cards to get the 5% back now but spend the gift cards later.

Chase Freedom VisaChase Freedom Card

From April 1st through June 30th, 2017 you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Grocery Stores (Walmart®, Target®, discount or warehouse club stores not included)
  • Drugstores

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Enroll each quarter at ChaseBonus.com. As long as you activate by the end of the quarter the rewards are retroactive. All other purchases earn 1% back, with no tiers or expiration of rewards. Currently, the Chase Freedom card is offering $150 bonus cash back if you sign up and make $500 in purchases in your first three months.

Discover it 14 ImageDiscover it® Card

From April 1st through June 30th, 2017 you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Home Improvement Stores
  • Wholesale Clubs

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Enroll after logging into your online account (look on the right-hand side). 5% rewards won’t apply until after you activate your rewards, so it is best to activate now before you forget. New applicants can get their earned Cash Back doubled at the end of the first year.

Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa CardCiti® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card (Not open to new applicants)

From April 1st through June 30th, 2017 you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories: (calendar):

  • Drugstores
  • Fitness clubs

This a grandfathered card that is no longer available to new applicants. Log into your online account or call 1-800-231-0891 to activate the rewards each quarter (starts upon activation, not retroactive). The total cash back limit is $300 earned per calendar year.

U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card. This card unique in that you get to choose the two 5% cash back categories every quarter, out of a preset selection of niche categories like “Fast Food” or “Sporting Goods Stores”. You also get to choose a single 2% cash back category from a preset selection of broader categories like “Gas Stations” or “Grocery Stores”. 1% cash back on everything else. No limit on total cash back earned.

As you’ll see below, getting 2% is not that special, so this card is only really good if you spend significantly in the available niche categories. Also, you must remember to choose your categories each quarter! If you do not choose your categories, all purchases revert to only earning 1% cash back for that quarter.

Don’t settle for the “1% on everything else” that these cards offer. Get 2% cash back or higher. The following cards currently have the ability to offer cash back rewards as high as 2% or even greater. Please read my card-specific reviews for details.

“Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. This site may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program.”  

“The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.”

Alliant Credit Union Visa Signature Card Review: 2.5% Cash Back + 1st Year Promo

alliantccAlliant Credit Union, the 5th largest US credit union by assets, has launched their new Alliant Visa Signature Credit Card. This cash back rewards card is targeted towards high spenders, with a headline feature of 2.5% cash back with a $59 annual fee. As a first year promotion, they offer 3% cash back and the annual fee is waived. Here are all of the highlights:

  • 3% cash back in year one & 2.5% cash back after.
  • No limit to the cash back awards you can earn.
  • $59 annual fee, waived the first year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Works with Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
  • You must be an Alliant Credit Union member to apply for this card.

Cardholders can choose to receive cash back rewards via a credit card statement credit (appearing within one billing cycle) or as a deposit into your Alliant checking or savings.

If you have an existing Alliant credit card, you can ask for it to be converted to this card. If the conversion is accepted, you will also receive the first year promotion of 3% cash back and no annual fee.

Comparison numbers against a 2% cashback card with no annual fee and no sign-up bonus. Instead of a flat sign-up bonus, with this card you are basically getting a 1% boost to your cash back in the first year. If you charge $1,000 a month, 1% more is $120 more cash back over a year. If you charge $4,000 a month, 1% more is $480 more cash back over a year.

After the first year, with this card you’ll get 0.5% more cash back and also pay the $59 annual fee. That makes the breakeven point $11,800 per year in annual spending (roughly $1,000 per month). If you spend more than that, the extra cashback will offset the annual fee. If you spend less, you will have more rewards with the 2% card.

Comparison numbers against a 1.5% cashback card with no annual fee and no sign-up bonus. Instead of a flat sign-up bonus, with this card you are basically getting a 1.5% boost to your cash back in the first year. If you charge $1,000 a month, 1% more is $180 more cash back over a year. If you charge $4,000 a month, 1% more is $720 more cash back over a year.

After the first year, with this card you’ll get 1% more cash back and also pay the $59 annual fee. That makes the breakeven point $5,900 per year in annual spending ($492 per month). If you spend more than that, the extra cashback will offset the annual fee. If you spend less, you will have more rewards with the 1.5% card.

Competition. The following cards currently offer a competitive level of cash back rewards. Please read my card-specific reviews for details.

Notably, the USAA card offers 2.5% cash back with no annual fee but also adds a direct deposit requirement. Perhaps more importantly, USAA membership is limited to members of the U.S. military and their immediate families.

Alliant CU membership eligibility. If you start the online membership application, it does a good job of walking you through their various eligibility options. The good news is anyone that is willing to donate $10 to Foster Care to Success is able to join. Here are their membership groups:

  • Any employee or retiree of a Qualifying Company.
  • Any member of a Qualifying Organization.
  • Any immediate family member of an existing Alliant member.
  • Anyone who lives or works in a Qualifying Chicagoland Community.
  • Anyone who is willing to make a one-time $10 donation to the Foster Care to Success charity group.

Bottom line. The Alliant Visa Signature Credit Card offers 2.5% flat cash back on all purchases with a $59 annual fee. As a first year promotion, they offer 3% cash back and the annual fee is waived. The annual fee makes it best for people that make a high amount of purchases on their credit cards, with the breakeven being $1,000 a month when compared against a 2% cash back card. Alliant Credit Union membership is open to anyone willing to donate $10 to Foster Care to Success.

H&R Block Desktop Tax Software Discounts: Free $20 Nike Gift Card

hrb2016Updated with new deal. If you are still looking for downloadable desktop tax software that doesn’t require your Social Security Number and financial details to be stored in the cloud, here’s a limited-time deal on H&R Block Tax Software 2016.

NewEgg has H&R Block Deluxe Federal + State for $29.99 plus a free $20 Nike Gift card. If you can actually use that $20 Nike gift card, your net cost would be close to $10. The lowest price ever so far for the same H&R Block software on Amazon was $19 during a flash sale.

H&R Block Deluxe includes guidance for stock gains and losses, home mortgage interest deduction, and other itemized deductions. Compare that against TurboTax Deluxe Download which makes you upgrade to TurboTax Premier to get guidance for stock sales and dividends.

Keep in mind that for these products 5 Federal e-Files are included but State e-File is extra ($19.95 for all I believe). I would personally just print the (usually shorter) state return out and snail mail it in if you don’t have a free State e-File option.

Free State Income Tax E-File Options For All 50 States (Updated 2017)

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Links checked and updated for 2017 (Tax Year 2016). With commercial tax prep software, it is always wise to note the cost of your state return and e-File as it may actually cost more than your federal return (especially if you wait until April to file). As such, you may wish to do your state return separately. Based on their current, regular published prices at time of writing:

* Got a simple return? TaxAct will let you file Fed + State + eFile for $0 if you file Form 1040A or 1040EZ (amongst other things, you must be claiming the standard deduction rather than itemizing deductions).

* New for 2017: CreditKarma Tax. This is a new option that promises free Federal + State + eFile for all users with no income restrictions, although their business model is to use your information to show you targeted advertising. See my CreditKarma Tax Prep review for details.

Now, the convenience that these programs offer may be worth the extra money to you. But there may be other options available. States that levy individual income taxes fall into three categories:

  1. They offer all taxpayers free electronic filing via official state-supported software.
  2. They offer all taxpayers access to free “fillable forms” which are basically electronic versions of the paper forms where you can type in numbers and any mathematical calculations are done for you. If your state tax returns are relatively simple, this is all you really need.
  3. They allow commercial vendors via the “FreeFile Alliance” to offer free online filing for certain groups, usually through income limits, age restrictions, and/or active duty military personnel. The vendors in turn make money when some folks end up not qualifying and have to pay at the end.

Below, you’ll find free e-file information for all 50 states. See my comparison review of TaxACT, TurboTax, and H&R Block for why it may be worth it for some folks pay more for the time-saving or audit-protection features of the “brand name” products.

In alphabetical order (just click on the state):

State Restrictions
Alabama Free electronic filing using through My Alabama Taxes (MAT). No income restrictions.
Alaska (no state income tax)
Arizona File using AZ-specific fillable forms; No income restrictions. FreeFile options also available; income and/or other restrictions apply.
Arkansas Various FreeFile options; Income and/or other restrictions apply.
California Free electronic filing using through CalFile. No income restrictions. No capital gains/losses or Schedule C income allowed.
Colorado Free electronic filing using through Revenue Online. No income restrictions.
Connecticut Free electronic filing using through TaxPayer Service Center (TSC). No income restrictions.
Delaware Free electronic filing through official state website. No income restrictions.
Florida (no state income tax)
Georgia FreeFile options available; income and/or other restrictions apply.
Hawaii FreeFile options available; income and/or other restrictions apply.
Idaho FreeFile options available; income and/or other restrictions apply.
Illinois Free electronic filing through MyTax Illinois. No income restrictions.
Indiana FreeFile options available through INfreefile; income and/or other restrictions apply.
Iowa FreeFile options available; income and/or other restrictions apply.
Kansas Free electronic filing through KS WebFile. No income restrictions.
Kentucky FreeFile options available; income and/or other restrictions apply.
Louisiana Free electronic filing through Louisiana File Online. No income restrictions.
Maine Free electronic filing through Maine FastFile. No income restrictions.
Maryland Free electronic filing through their iFile service. No income restrictions.
Massachusetts FreeFile options available; income and/or other restrictions apply. WebFile for Income was shut down in 2017.
Michigan FreeFile options available; income and/or other restrictions apply.
Minnesota FreeFile options available; income and/or other restrictions apply.
Mississippi FreeFile options available; income and/or other restrictions apply.
Missouri FreeFile options available; income and/or other restrictions apply.
Montana Free electronic filing through Taxpayer Access Point (TAP). No income restrictions.
Nebraska Free electronic filing through NebFile. No income restrictions.
Nevada (no state income tax)
New Hampshire Free electronic filing through e-File New Hampshire. No income restrictions. (No state personal income tax, but there is tax on investment income.)
New Jersey Free electronic filing through NJ WebFile. No income restrictions.
New Mexico Free electronic filing through New Mexico Taxpayer Access Point. No income restrictions.
New York Free electronic filing of select forms online with New York State Income Tax Web File, but note that New York law prohibits commercial software from charging an additional charge for e-filing.
North Carolina FreeFile options available; income and/or other restrictions apply.
North Dakota FreeFile options available; income and/or other restrictions apply.
Ohio Free electronic filing through I-File from Ohio Online Services. No income restrictions.
Oklahoma Free electronic filing through Oklahoma Taxpayer Access Points (OkTAP). No income restrictions.
Oregon File using OR-specific fillable forms; No income restrictions. FreeFile options also available; income and/or other restrictions apply.
Pennsylvania Free electronic filing through PA DirectFile. No income restrictions. Free Fillable PDF Forms also available.
Rhode Island FreeFile options available; income and/or other restrictions apply.
South Carolina File using SC-specific free fillable forms; No income restrictions. FreeFile options also available; income and/or other restrictions apply.
South Dakota (no state income tax)
Tennessee Free electronic filing through state website of Hall Income Tax. No income restrictions. (No state personal income tax, but there is tax on investment income.)
Texas (no state income tax)
Utah Free electronic filing through Taxpayer Access Point (TAP). No income restrictions.
Vermont FreeFile options available; income and/or other restrictions apply.
Virginia File using VA-specific free fillable forms; No income restrictions. FreeFile options also available; income and/or other restrictions apply.
Washington (no state income tax)
Washington DC File using DC-specific free fillable forms; No income restrictions. FreeFile options also available; income and/or other restrictions apply.
West Virginia FreeFile options available; income and/or other restrictions apply.
Wisconsin Free electronic filing through Wisconsin efile. No income restrictions.
Wyoming (no state income tax)

 
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