About · Press · Contact · Write For Us · Top Personal Finance Blogs
Featured In:

What Is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – Eligibility & Rules

By Brian Martucci

medical leaveIn a fast-paced, rapidly changing economy that rewards innovative, adaptable workers and penalizes those who don’t keep up with the times, the idea of an equitable work-life balance seems out of date. Many employers, particularly those operating in competitive industries or requiring lots of unspecialized or low-skill labor, expect their employees to be flexible and work as hard as possible. Though employers can’t afford to treat highly skilled or specialized workers as expendable, it’s a different story when there are 10 such workers with equivalent skills eagerly lined up at the door.

Click to continue reading...

6 Unique & Nontraditional Business Models – Examples & Ideas

By Brian Martucci

ben & jerrysI have many fond memories of my high school business class. This is mostly because the teacher was knowledgeable and engaging – and pretty much a walking caricature of a high school business teacher, right down to the bow tie. But the curriculum was useful too, a mix of commonsense personal budgeting strategies and basic lessons in macro- and microeconomics.

We couldn’t cover everything in a single semester though. I graduated from high school believing that every business was run according to the same basic model: Earning a profit by directly selling a product or service for more than it cost to produce or provide.

Click to continue reading...

What Is Bike Sharing? – 10 Best Bike Share Programs in North America

By Brian Martucci

bike sharingNot everyone can be a regular bike commuter. Some folks live too far from work, some have erratic schedules, some would have to traverse dangerous roads or brave adverse weather conditions, and others – including yours truly – work out of a home office.

But even if you don’t bike to work, you can still bike regularly. In fact, it can be a singular source of pleasure – few things in life beat whooshing down a hill with the wind in your hair. Biking is also part of a healthy, happy lifestyle – according to the state government of Victoria, Australia, the benefits of regular biking include stronger bones, more flexible joints, lower stress and anxiety levels, lower body fat levels, and better cardiovascular fitness in general.

Click to continue reading...

9 End-of-the-Year Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas on a Budget

By Jacqueline Curtis

teacherAs the end of the school year approaches, parents’ top concern is likely signing up their little ones for swimming lessons, summer camp, or any of a host of extracurricular activities. However, before the final school bell rings, it’s also important to say thanks to their teachers.

Educators often work long hours for low wages, and when you’re not around, they stand in as surrogate parents. Much of the growth and development you’ve seen in your child over the last eight months is due to the efforts of those teachers – and a small token to show your appreciation for their hard work is completely appropriate.

Click to continue reading...

The Future of Automobiles & Car Technology – Hybrid, Electric & Driverless Cars

By Michael Lewis

photo by Steve LagrecaIn a single century, the introduction of the automobile has spurred massive changes in American culture, the communities in which we live, the environment, the economy, and personal independence. Every aspect of daily life has changed, from the places we live, to the food that we eat.

Automobiles, increasingly available to anyone, have blurred social class distinctions, expanded markets, and stimulated the economy. The industry directly employs more than 2.6 million people and, according to Auto Alliance, accounts for 3% to 3.5% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Click to continue reading...

How to Stop Cyber Bullying and Keep Your Kids Safe Online

By Michael Lewis

online harrassmentWhile constitutionalists and libertarians can argue about the rights of free speech on the Internet, it’s an entirely different matter when you’re the victim of sustained harassment or threats of physical violence. According to a Pew Research poll, 73% of adult Internet users have seen someone harassed online, and 40% have been victims.

Another Pew poll states that one in ten adult Internet users (10% male, 6% female) have been physically threatened or continually harassed for a sustained period. Pew also reports that teens are more likely than adults to experience hostile or cruel behavior online with real-world consequences. More than one-quarter of adult Internet users (29%) report experiences that resulted in face-to-face arguments, physical fights, or got them in trouble at work, and more than half of teenage Internet users (52%) report similar consequences.

Click to continue reading...

7 Ways to Make Audrey Hepburn Your Fashion Style Icon on a Budget

By Jacqueline Curtis

audrey hepburnAccording to Marie Claire, a 2015 survey by skincare brand Artistry by Amway found that, even after all these years, silver screen darling Audrey Hepburn is women’s most popular style icon. Others in the top 10 include Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, and Sophia Loren, so the competition obviously wasn’t easy. Audrey Hepburn’s style, grace, and sophistication have continued to influence women and designers alike, an inspiration for everything from commercials, to entire fashion lines dedicated to her memory.

Click to continue reading...

What’s the Best Online Tax Preparation Software? TaxACT vs TurboTax vs H&R Block

By Brian Martucci

filing taxes onlineEven if you’re expecting a sizable refund or have a simple tax situation that doesn’t require you to fill out a ton of forms, you probably don’t love filling out your taxes. There are plenty of more enjoyable ways to spend your time: playing with your kids, going on a hike, even shopping online in anticipation of your tax refund.

This year, it took me a lot longer than I would have liked to complete my tax return. But, to be fair, that’s because I sampled several different online tax preparation options and evaluated each on its merits. My tax prep marathon covered three of the most popular programs: TurboTax, TaxACT, and H&R Block. Here’s how my experience went with each.

Click to continue reading...

FreeTaxUSA Review – Free Tax Filing & Online Return Preparation

By Brian Martucci

freetaxusa logoNearly every online tax preparation software program advertises a free federal plan that allows users to prepare their federal tax return at no cost. But as legions of frustrated filers can attest, some programs’ supposedly free plans come with severe limitations (such as unsupported forms and schedules) that force users with more complex tax situations to upgrade to a paid plan.

FreeTaxUSA is not one of those programs. Its Free Edition supports the vast majority of IRS forms and schedules, making it usable for filers with tax situations of any complexity. That includes the self-employed, small business owners, landlords, and investors who must report capital gains or losses. There’s no cost to prepare your federal return with the Free Edition, and each state return costs just $12.95.

Click to continue reading...

H&R Block Review – Online Tax Filing & Preparation

By Brian Martucci

h&r block logoH&R Block has one of the most recognizable brands of any American business. Its distinctive green square beckons from TV screens, strip malls, and corner storefronts. Even many small towns have a standalone H&R Block office, and you certainly don’t have to go far to find one in a bigger city. For many Americans, H&R Block is synonymous with in-person tax preparation.

But H&R Block also makes one of the most popular online tax preparation programs: H&R Block at Home, often shortened simply to “H&R Block.” It’s ideal for a wide range of tax situations, though people with very complicated taxes may feel more comfortable walking into a physical H&R Block office and shouldering the additional cost.

Click to continue reading...

TaxACT Review – Free Online Tax Software

By Brian Martucci

taxact logoAs someone who mixes and matches freelance work, contract jobs, and side income opportunities to earn a living, I have a pretty complicated tax situation. Millions of Americans are in the same boat – independent contractors, small business owners, and folks who earn passive income through investing.

While money may be no object to some, the costs of tax filing definitely matter to me and many taxpayers like me. It’s frustrating, but understandable, that business owners and independents have to pay more to file their taxes with brand-name services like TurboTax and H&R Block.

Click to continue reading...

eSmart Tax Review – Free Online Tax Filing

By Brian Martucci

esmart tax logoI’m always on the lookout for tools that can help me file my taxes quickly and accurately. One of the products I’ve used recently is eSmart Tax, an online filing service owned and supported by Liberty Tax.

eSmart Tax has a free federal filing option for anyone with a relatively simple tax situation, as well as paid plans that support progressively more complex returns. Unfortunately, there’s no way to file state taxes for free with eSmart. Also, the service’s prices have risen considerably: roughly a 25% jump for federal returns (except the free version), and even more than that for state returns, between 2013 and 2014.

Click to continue reading...

TaxSlayer.com Review – File Taxes for Free Online

By Brian Martucci

taxslayer logoAlthough TaxSlayer doesn’t blow competition like TurboTax and H&R Block at Home out of the water, it is superior in several important ways. Most notable, it’s cheaper than many better-known alternatives, and its free version is actually able to handle complex tax situations. If cost is an important consideration in your choice of an online tax prep program, that’s a huge selling point.

TaxSlayer is also quite flexible, allowing you to complete the required forms and schedules with minimal guidance – or, if you prefer, with the help of a “wizard” that emulates more hands-on programs such as H&R Block and TurboTax. If you need help with some parts of your return, but not others, you can use the wizard only for those trickier sections.

Click to continue reading...

TurboTax Review – Is It the Best Online Tax Preparation Software?

By Brian Martucci

turbotaxTurboTax is one of the most popular online tax preparation and filing software programs in the United States. I’ve personally used it to file my taxes for the past several years. Though I’ve shopped around for (and have reviewed) alternatives, I haven’t yet found a compelling reason to switch. And while I don’t personally qualify, TurboTax’s free filing package is one of the best free tax filing options around.

Click to continue reading...

Top 5 Options for Free Online Tax Preparation Software & Services

By Brian Martucci

tax timeBank account promotions aren’t the only way to get your hands on free money. If you have a relatively simple tax situation – for example, if you work for a single employer and don’t qualify for many itemized deductions – you can take advantage of numerous free online tax preparation software and services for your federal tax return. That’s great news if you don’t want to eat into your federal refund or fork over your credit card number before sending your tax return off to the IRS.

Click to continue reading...

The content on MoneyCrashers.com is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional financial advice. Should you need such advice, consult a licensed financial or tax advisor. References to products, offers, and rates from third party sites often change. While we do our best to keep these updated, numbers stated on this site may differ from actual numbers. We may have financial relationships with some of the companies mentioned on this website. Among other things, we may receive free products, services, and/or monetary compensation in exchange for featured placement of sponsored products or services. We strive to write accurate and genuine reviews and articles, and all views and opinions expressed are solely those of the authors.

Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which MoneyCrashers.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they appear on category pages. MoneyCrashers.com does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers, although best efforts are made to include a comprehensive list of offers regardless of compensation. Advertiser partners include American Express, U.S. Bank, and Barclaycard, among others.