ANCHOR: Feeling broke? If you had to write a check to the IRS yesterday, today might be the day to start cutting back on your weekly expenses.
ANCHOR: WGN’s Money Saving expert Ilyce Glink is here with some ways you can quickly save a few dollars.
ILYCE: Although many Americans receive an income tax refund, that refund will be decidedly smaller for many because of the $300 and $600 tax refund advance checks you received last year. Remember those??? Well, if you were counting on a refund to fatten your bank account, you’ll need a few new ways to save some quick cash.
Ways to Save Money
Park your car. Take public transportation. (You’ll save gas, toll and parking expenses)
Pay on time. (Bigger balances pay bigger late fees. So pay on time — and pay down your debt while you’re at it.)
Ask cell phone provider to match deal. (Some cell phone providers not only match deals, they throw in free minutes and other perks just to keep their customers. So be on the lookout for great deals.)
Stop recreational shopping. (Shop only when you need something, and not because you’re bored. If you’re bored, get some exercise or do something free.)
Cut frivolous spending. (No more doggie pampering, manicures, weekend getaways or furniture. Cut back everything that isn’t food, shelter or education-related and then add back in only what you can afford.)
Re-adjust withholdings. (If you wrote a big check to Uncle Sam, it’s time to adjust your withholdings. While you’re there, consider having a check direct deposited to an inconvenient savings account or mutual fund account to increase your emergency savings fund.)
ILYCE: If you haven’t filed a tax return in the past three years, it’s possible that the IRS actually owes you a refund on past withholdings. This morning, some $2.3 billion in unclaimed refunds went back into the U.S. Treasury, because folks didn’t file a 1998 tax return within the three-year deadline. In Illinois, there are nearly 74,000 non-filers, and the median refund is $540 – that’s a chunk of change worth doing something about.
Order forms: (800) 829-3676
Get help: (800) 829-1040
ILYCE: If you didn’t file a 1999 tax return, you can download the 1999 return from the IRS website at www.IRS.gov. Or, you can call 800-829-3676 to order your return. If you need help completing the return or gathering records, call the IRS help line at 800-829-1040. Finally, I’ve got additional savings tips on my website, so check it out.