Category Archives: Ways to Save Money

How to Get $30 (or more!) Off Your Internet Bill

Father with two children on his lap looking at a laptop/tablet

Have you heard of the Affordable Connectivity Program?

If not, you might be missing out! This government program can help you save $30 or more on your internet bill every month.

Is the Affordable Connectivity Program legit?

One hundred percent yes. The Affordable Connectivity Program is legit and can help you save money on your internet bill.

How much money can I save with the Affordable Connectivity Program?

Most people will get a $30 credit on their internet bill per month.

If you live on Tribal lands, you can qualify for a $75 credit per month.

PLUS, regardless of where you live, you may be eligible for $100 off a laptop, desktop or tablet. You will have to contribute between $10 and $50 towards the purchase of your device to qualify for the $100 discount.

Your internet service provider must participate in the discounted device program to qualify for that extra $100 benefit. Here are the ones that do.

How do I qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program?

There are three ways to qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program:

  • Household income.
  • If anyone in your household uses certain government programs.
  • Meet special requirements for those who live on Tribal Lands.

Qualifying for ACP based on income

Income limits are higher than you might think — especially if you have a family! Don’t count yourself out just because you don’t consider yourself ‘low-income.’

Income limits are based on your household size and where you live.

Income Limits for Contiguous U.S and Territories

  • Single person: $27,180
  • Two-person household: $36,620
  • Three-person household: $46,060
  • Four-person household: $55,500
  • Five-person household: $64,940
  • Six-person household: $74,380
  • Seven-person household: $83,820
  • Eight-person household: $93,260

For each additional person in your household, add $9,440 to the income limit.

Income Limits for Alaska

  • Single person: $33,980
  • Two-person household: $45,780
  • Three-person household: $57,580
  • Four-person household: $69,380
  • Five-person household: $81,180
  • Six-person household: $92,980
  • Seven-person household: $104,780
  • Eight-person household: $116,580

For each additional person in your household, add $11,800 to the income limit.

Income Limits for Hawaii

  • Single person: $31,260
  • Two-person household: $42,120
  • Three-person household: $52,980
  • Four-person household: $63,840
  • Five-person household: $74,700
  • Six-person household: $85,560
  • Seven-person household: $96,420
  • Eight-person household: $107,280

For each additional person in your household, add $10,860 to the income limit.

Qualifying for ACP based on government programs

You can totally qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program even if you’re beyond the income limits.

For example, multiple members of the Mom Autism Money community have qualified because most of their children are on Medicaid regardless of household income.

Here’s how it works:

If you or any of your dependents are on one of the following programs, you automatically qualify for the ACP. They won’t even ask for your income on the application:

  • Medicaid
  • SNAP
  • WIC
  • SSI
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
  • Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program
  • Lifeline benefits
  • Received a Pell Grant in the current award year

That’s right: You can qualify based on something as simple as a PELL GRANT!

The ACP website says you might have to provide paperwork supporting your enrollment in any one of these programs, but so far none of the members of our Facebook community have had to provide anything beyond the last four of the eligible person’s SSN.

Qualifying for the ACP on Tribal Lands

If you live on Tribal lands, you may qualify for a juiced up version of the ACP, which gives you a $75 credit rather than the standard $30.

First, make sure you live on qualified Tribal lands.

Then, see if you qualify based on income or participation in certain federal or Tribal programs.

Income limits on Tribal lands are 200% of of the federal poverty line. To figure out this number, check the household size for where you live here. Then, multiply that number by two.

Regardless of income, you can still qualify if you participate in any of these programs:

  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
  • SNAP
  • Medicaid
  • SSI
  • Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program (can be any time since 2019)
  • WIC
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance
  • Pell Grant
  • Lifeline benefits

How do I apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program?

To start the application process online, visit the ACP application landing page.

You’ll fill out a quick application that will let you know whether or not you qualify.

Then, find your internet service provider’s ACP landing page via this list from the FCC. You’ll have to fill out a very basic form verifying that you’ve applied for the ACP. Then your ISP will vet you by checking for the approved application and giving you the discount.

How long does it take to get your Affordable Connectivity Program credit?

If you’ve ever interacted with a government program, you’re probably used to it taking weeks, months, or even years before you can access your benefits.

Amazingly, this is not the case with the ACP.

All of the members of the Mom Autism Money community who have applied have seen the credit reflected on their internet bill within 24-48 hours of their initial application on the ACP website.

So in our experience, it’s worked at lightning speed! But if you have circumstances that require extra paperwork, it may or may not take a little longer to process the application and get your credit reflected on your internet bill.

Is the ACP program permanent?

Yes, the intent of the ACP program is for it to be permanent. It’s a replacement for the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB,) which was a temporary COVID-19 response.

That being said, final regulations on the ACP will be decided upon in November of 2022. So while the Affordable Connectivity Program is scheduled to be permanent for now, we will see how things pan out in the Fall. It may end up being capped to four or five years.

In the meantime, start saving on your internet bill today. Taking a few minutes out of your time to apply could get your bill down by $30-$75 within a day or two.

6 Ways to Save on Life Insurance for Women

This post is brought to you and contributed by an outside writer.

woman holding up her infant/toddler son against a pink background

Men have more life insurance policies than women, which doesn’t make a whole lot of logical sense.

Life insurance is essential for anyone who has dependents, and women tend to have more people who rely on them. Life insurance is a critical ingredient in our world where women are often providers for their families, and simultaneously provide a larger share of caretaking responsibilities. Not only will your income be lost after your death, but all the free labor you provide as a caretaker will have to be replaced.

Buying life insurance as a woman is cheaper and cost-saving when compared to men, because women tend to live longer. That means the life insurance company is less likely to have to pay out, and if they do, you’re likely to have paid more in premiums as you’ve lived longer to do so.

Life Insurance For Women: What Does It Mean?

Life insurance is a form of insurance that covers the loss of life. After you pass away, the insurance company will pay money to your beneficiaries. It works as a contract between you (the insured) and an insurance company (the insurer). The insured pays a certain amount of money known as a premium to the insurer in exchange for claims known as death benefits.

Types of Life Insurance

Fundamentally, there are two types of life insurance: term and permanent. Term insurance covers the insured for specific periods, usually five to thirty years. On the other hand, permanent insurance is whole or universal as it covers the insured’s entire life. Aside from being different by nature, both also carry different premiums.

Since term insurance only covers the insured’s loss of life for a limited number of years, the premiums are affordable. On the other hand, permanent insurance costs more in premiums.

Women’s life insurance generally has the same coverage as men’s. Your beneficiaries can use the death benefit for anything, including:

  • Funeral costs.
  • Bills and expenses of loved ones.
  • End-of-life debt settlement.
  • Education for your child.
  • Medical expenses.
  • Care for your dependents.

The cost of women’s life insurance varies from one insurer to another. So, it’s usually wise you consider the type of insurance — whether permanent or term — and the insurance company you’ll be dealing with. You’ll also want to consider your age, health, and lifestyle.

Why Do Women Need Life Insurance?

Dying means leaving several things behind. This could be a child whose education depends on you, or a loved one who’s been dependent on you over the years. Life for the people around you would be difficult without life insurance, especially if you’ve been the breadwinner. The best way to solve the financial mess of your absence is to get insured.

Whether you’re married, divorced, a single mother, or a stay-at-home mom, getting a life insurance policy would do you good. At the very least, the policy covers your burial costs, outstanding debts, and property administration. Other reasons you need life insurance include:

  • Long-term financial independence.
  • Coverage for critical illnesses.
  • Leaving a lasting legacy.
  • End-of-life saving for the future.
  • Potential tax benefits if you provide policies to your employees.
  • Whole life policies with cash benefits may make some of your death benefit available in retirement.

Investing in life insurance as a woman is a necessary form of financial protection. Beyond your dependents, life insurance can serve as a wealth buildup and backup for any post-retirement financial difficulties.

How Can Women Save On Life Insurance? 

Although life insurance is more affordable for women than men, affordability is subjective. Cost remains one of the key reasons women provide for not having a life insurance policy. If this is your situation, the following are ways you can wrangle a lower rate and save on your insurance policy:

Begin With Term

Term life insurance policies cover insurance risks and mitigate against loss until a specific date. They offer fixed death benefits at fixed premiums for a predetermined time, usually between five to thirty years. Since it’s partial and not whole, the premiums are generally lower than universal insurance. Buying term is one of the many ways to save money on your policy.

People take out term insurance policies with the perception that they may die within a given period. But when they don’t, the premiums paid to insurers turn out to be profit for them.

Compare Policies

Another way to save on insurance policies is to get quotes from many different insurers. There are several insurance companies, and you may get overwhelmed with the special offers and benefits. Your first instinct might be to stick with the first insurance brand that comes to you, but really you should shop around.

Comparison shopping allows you to see the ratings of each insurance company you’d be dealing with. Better ratings means the company is more reliable. Comparison shopping also provides you with the insight to choose the most cost-effective insurer and save on your policy.

Buy Your Policy Early

Factors such as age, health, and income inform the premium you’ll be paying under life insurance. Age is even more emphatic among these factors. The older you get, the more premiums you tend to pay. Therefore, it’s best to buy a life insurance policy early to secure lower premiums. The best period is between your 20s and 30s.

Being young when you get a policy also provides you with reasonable rates should you develop any health issues during the coverage. It’s a game of duration for insurance companies. The longer insurers expect you to live, the lower their chances of paying out. Thus, it’s best to get your plan early.

Pay Premiums Annually

Depending on the insurer you’re working with, you can pay premiums once or in installments. If in installments, you’re allowed to pay monthly, quarterly, or semi-annually. However, each installment payment comes with charges.

If you want to save on your insurance policy, you can pay your premiums annually to avoid charges. Your annual payments often are your actual payments without any punitive fees. If this proves challenging due to financial difficulties, make sure you understand what the monthly payments would be.

Take Care Of Yourself 

Life insurance is intrinsically linked to age and health. Your lifestyle decisions inform your health and your insurance rates. So one of the easiest ways to keep your insurance costs low and save is to improve your wellbeing by doing things like quitting smoking.

Your overall health and wellbeing are how insurers base their premiums and claims. This means if you have a rough lifestyle, you may be grouped into a different rate class with high premiums. But if you maintain your health through a positive lifestyle, you may find yourself in a favorable rate class with fewer policy costs.

Look Into Your Buying Decisions

Budgeting is crucial regardless of your status — single, married, or divorced. Moreover, your budgeting skills should reflect your buying decisions and not the other way round. Insurance salespeople do everything to persuade you to buy more than you need. They make several assumptions about the whole life insurance concept and associate it with your life. While that’s their work to do, it’s your responsibility to remain focused on your budget.

How much insurance you need is up to you. You should make the assessment and decisions about how much coverage you need. Whether you need insurance for your child, loved ones, burial costs, or to cover outstanding debts, you shouldn’t leave the process to your insurer.

Life Insurance for women is essential

Life insurance for women is one of the most affordable, flexible, and essential insurance policies. It’s also one of the many policies you can save on. You can get premiums at reduced rates by being objective with the policy you want and the insurance company you’ll be dealing with. Most importantly, you can be intentional with yourself by taking care of your health and comparison shopping.

 

Turn These 26 Irish Sayings into Gifts

One of Femme Frugality’s most popular posts this year has been this fun exploration of Irish sayings.

So this holiday season I wanted to bring you all a gift guide featuring a lot of the sayings from one of your favorite posts! Plus a few new ones just for fun.

Why, yes, you will be rewarded by a feminist Irish saying if you scroll to the bottom of the post!

Today’s post is in collaboration with Etsy, and features my Irish Sayings Collection. Here are a couple of my other Etsy lists that might be helpful for you as you shop this holiday season:

Etsy has a holiday sale going on through December 1, 2021. Be sure to take advantage while it lasts!

Irish Sayings about Money

You’re on a personal finance site, so of course we’re first going to cover Irish sayings about money.

A fool and his money are soon parted.

vintage bank showing a red-headed irish boy with his pockets turned out. Behind him is a wallet with a coin slot, and beneath his feet the text reads 'a food and his monoey are soon parted'Price: $24.31
Where to buy: BlendedSplendid

Ohmigosh.

Check out this awesome vintage piggy bank! There’s a coin slot in the wallet behind him, and a great reminder beneath his feet lest you be tempted to splurge.

Enough is as good as a feast.

pitcher with ornate painting of nature around the body, and text reading 'Enough is as good as a feast.'Price: $49.53
Where to buy: DorisandCoUK

Providing for your family doesn’t necessarily mean having lavish things. Having enough and being grateful for it is more than enough, as this pitcher reminds us.

Irish Blessings

Some of the most popular Irish saying gifts are going to be based on Irish blessings.

May the road rise up to meet you.

Wooden keepsake box with Irish poem sketched in laser with shamrocks surrounding "May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your field, and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hands."Price: $28.70
Where to buy: LyonCraft

This keepsake box makes a great gift with one of the most popular Irish blessings etched beautifully on top.

May your home always be too small to hold all of your friends.

Hand towel with embroidered house and sheep reading, 'May your home always be too small to hold all of your friends."

Price: $16.00
Where to buy: LindasEmbroideryShop

I love this sweet blessing and the beautiful embroidery on this hand towel.

As above, so below.

Framed print with an upright tree mirrored by an upside down tree. Between, the two root systems intertwine in a sprial. Text reads "As above, so below."Price: $14.51+
Where to buy:
OghamTree

Loving the simplistic artwork and sentiment on this print.

Irish Sayings about Life

Irish sayings about life can get really deep with just a few words.

Two people shorten the road.

Upright chalkboard sign with ornate frame reading 'Two people shorten the road.'Price: $75
Where to buy: FalcoDesignsandGifts

I love this one for weddings. It makes me think about other areas of my life as well, such as my partnership with Joyce on the podcast. We probably couldn’t do it alone, but together, we can both tackle the work so much more quickly!

You’ll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind.

print hanging on a wall that reads 'You'll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind. Irish Proverb"Price: $6.50
Where to buy: SantaClaraDesign

This can apply to so many areas of life, but absolutely personal finances. You’ll never reach your goal if you just vaguely daydream about it; you have to take action. Only then can you see your goals and dreams fulfilled.

Life is like a cup of tea. It’s all in how you make it.

Print hanging on a rock wall reading "Life is like a cup of tea. It's all in how you make it. Irish proverb"Price: $16.93+
Where to buy: IrelandWithLove

Attitude can go a long way, and we all take our tea differently!

What’s for you won’t pass you.

Abstract painting of a hill and sun with birds flying by that reads 'What's for you won't pass you."Price: $12.08
Where to buy: gaeilgelegra

Oh, man.

If I haven’t been reciting this one to myself over the past two years as a mother during the pandemic. For myself. For my kids. For my career.

It’s become my mantra.

A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.

Print that reads "A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything. Irish Proverb" Price: $6.19
Where to buy: HeyTheHomebodyClub

It’s so true, though.

The older the fiddle, the sweeter the tune.

Print with a picture of a violin in the background that reads 'The older the fiddle, the sweeter the tune. Irish proverb'

Price: $4.98
Where to buy: BohoBlissArt

A la Sarah Jessica Parker’s recent sentiments, getting old is not bad.

Irish Sayings about Family

Short, but sweet.

The days are long, but the years are short.

Wooden board with clip for photo. Below the photo slot, it reads "The days are long, but the years are short."Price: $19.95+
Where to buy: 213Designs

When you’re raising kids, sometimes it takes everything you’ve got to make it through the day.

But when you look back, you’ll wonder how it all went by so quickly.

Treasure those long days while they’re here, and commemorate them with this photo board!

Irish Sayings about Friends

Celebrate your friendships with these Irish saying gifts.

Every man is sociable until a cow invades his garden.

pillow with cow with crown flowers leaning over a garden. Beneath it reads "Every man is sociable until a cow invades his garden."Price: $3.50
Where to buy: SouthernHeavenStudio

We have good days. We have off days. C’est la vie.

Good friends are like four-leaf clovers: Hard to find and lucky to have.

Tiered serving tray with various baubles on it, including the centerpiece: A small, thick wooden sign that reads "Good friends are like four-leaf clovers: Hard to find and lucky to have."Price: $11.99
Where to buy: WRCraftStudio

So stinking sweet. And so darn true. When you have those good friends, hold onto them.

Funny Irish Sayings & Sarcastic Irish Sayings

The Irish absolutely have a quick and clever wit. I’m here for all of it.

May the bridges I burn light the way.

Hanging navy blue penant with gold trim and gold lettering that reads "May the bridges I burn light the way."Price: $23.54
What to buy: OddFishStore

Mad 2021 energy.

A kind word never broke anyone’s mouth.

Watercolor bird surrounded by a wreath of shamrocks. Inside text reads '-Irish Proverb- A kind word never broke anyone's mouth.'Price: $11.98
Where to buy: BohoBlissArtStudio

Though to be honest, this is probably more the energy we need moving into 2022.

Common Irish Sayings

Here are some gifts for some of the most common of Irish sayings.

It’ll be grand.

Painting of wildflowers overlaid with the words 'IT'LL BE GRAND'

Price: $12.61
Where to buy: NoopDesign

Ah, sarcasm. <3

But it’ll probably be alright in the end.

What’s the story, horse?

framed print leaning against a white wall. print reads 'WHAT'S THE STORY HORSE?'

Price: $7.01
Where to buy: PrintableArtIreland

This is like saying, “What’s up?”

Except you might get a bit more of an answer than, “nmu?”

Cead Mile Falite

Bronze-covered medallion with a harp in the middle. Around the edge of the circle is written the words "Cead mile failte.' Medallion is sitting on a black slate tile, which is hanging on a wall.Price: $20.33
Where to buy: Killyliss Studio

This hanging plaque translates to ‘A hundred thousand welcomes.’

How to say cheers in Irish.

Slainte mhaith!

Slate coasters with engraving of shamrock and the words 'Slainte Mhaith' which means cheers in Irish.Price: $25.15
Where to buy: BRVOGlass

Irish Sayings in Gaelic

These are the sayings you’re looking for. But the Irish language and Gaelic are not the same thing, so theses sayings will just be in Irish.

A good start is half the work.

Tús maith, leath na hOibre.

Cartoon drawing of a circle of flowers on a blue background. Inside it reads "Tús maith, leath na hOibre" which means 'A good start is half the work' in Irish.Price: $2.80
Where to buy:
BiddyBellDesign

What is seldom is wonderful.

An rud is annamh is iontach.

Yellow shadow box leaning against a wall. White text printed on glass reads 'An rud is annamh is iontach.' which means 'What is seldom is wonderful' in IrishPrice: $11.76
Where to buy: Scealbeagdesigns

However long the night, the day will come.

Dá fhad an oíche tagann an lá.

Black birds painting on white background with a magenta sun ruising. Between the sun and the birds cursive text reads 'Dá fhad an oíche tagann an lá.' which means 'However long the night, the day will come' in Irish.Price: $11.17
Where to buy: gaeilgelegra

Life is Strange

Is ait an mac an saol.

white print in a wooden frame. Drawing of leaves wrapped around a circle in black in. Black text reads '

Price: $14.13
Where to buy: OghamTree

There is no freedom until the freedom of women.

Ní Saoirse go Saoirse na mBan.

Blue felt penant hanging on the wall. White printed text on top reads "Ní Saoirse go Saoirse na mBan." which means "There is no freedom until the freedom of women." in Irish.Price: $23.54
Where to buy: OddFishStore

How to Say Merry Christmas in Irish

Nollaig shona!

Pine cones and red-threaded white ribbon sitting next to a white star decoration that reads 'Nollaig shona' in red water-based ink. This means "merry chirstmas" in IrishPrice: $4.71
Where to buy: OneWayDublin

Smart Ways To Pay Less On Your Health Care Costs

This post is brought to you and contributed by an outside writer.

woman's hand holding a stack of cloth facemasks of various colors.

It’s no secret that health care costs can be astronomical. Whether you require chronic medications and treatments, have an upcoming major or minor surgery, or are only devoted to your annual check-up, health care is a concerning expense for just about everyone.

There are a few smart ways that you can effectively reduce your spending on health care needs.

Opt For The Right Health Insurance Plan

Your choice of health insurance plan will be one of the most significant factors in your overall health care costs.

Opting for just any plan may have you overspending on out-of-pocket expenses. For example, if the plan doesn’t adequately cover your medications, a plan with a lower premium could actually end up being more expensive as you shell money out of pocket every month.

Understand How Your Health Insurance Works

One of the biggest mistakes that most people make when using their health insurance to cover health care costs is not fully understanding how their plan works.

Visiting a healthcare practitioner outside of your provider network may cost you out of pocket, depending on the insurer.

Purchasing OTC medications at the checkout line instead of at the pharmacy can also sometimes cost you money. Yes, some health insurance plans cover specific OTCs when you have a prescription!

Instead of assuming what your health insurance policy does and doesn’t cover, you should assess how your insurance coverage works. You can find out more about health insurance –especially Medicare and Medicaid — at HelpAdvisor.

Update Your Info on Healthcare.gov

If you have an ACA — otherwise known as Obamacare — health insurance policy, it’s always a good idea to update income changes on Healthcare.gov or via your state’s official healthcare marketplace website.

It’s an especially great idea right now because the American Rescue Plan changed a lot about ACA plans in 2021. You might not even have to pay any premiums on certain plans, and almost everyone will experience a steep reduction in premium charges when they update their information.

Seek Out Financial Assistance Programs

If your medical provider is part of a nonprofit hospital system, they are legally required to offer financial assistance programs. These programs are available to the insured and uninsured.

While they do come with income limits, some programs are actually quite generous; even if you don’t consider yourself ‘poor,’ you may qualify under your hospital’s program, potentially saving you thousands of dollars in bills.

Never Skip Your Regular Checkup

Skipping your regular check-up or cancer screenings can be a massive healthcare mistake, as these check-ups give your doctor a baseline for healthy and can help them identify new problems early — before they get worse.

Even though you may sometimes feel as though a regular check-up is not essential as you don’t feel the signs of any ailments, it is best to devote yourself to these as allowing certain conditions to worsen will cost you more later down the line.

 

Health care is essential for everyone, even those who are considered to be in excellent health. When it comes to saving on your health care costs, it is essential to find ways to save without compromising your health.

Therefore, skipping check-ups or avoiding necessary medications is not the answer if you can at all help it, as these decisions will cost you more later on. Keeping yourself in good health and finding the right insurance plan while using your insurance correctly are the best ways to spend less on your health care costs without compromising your health and well-being.

 

May 2021 Money News

Woman's hands holding up a bouquet of flowers shaped like a heart, mostly matching the colors of the rainbow. Pink background. Ladybugs crawling up woman's right wrist and hand.

Happy May, friends!

Can you believe we’re here already?

I have a couple bits of super exciting news here for Femme Frugality, but I can’t share them just yet. Be sure to subscribe to the email list to stay up to date on the latest!

In the meantime, there’s plenty of money news outside this little corner of the universe. Let’s talk about some of it.

Taxes

We’ve talked about taxes for the past couple months. Things keep getting better!

The first think you should know is that the deadline to file your 2020 taxes is May 17, 2021. As in this coming Monday.

However, if you’re receiving a refund and you’re stressed TF out because life is just too much right now, you can breathe a little easier. You have up to three years to file your 2020 tax returns before you’re considered ineligible for your refund.

But I STRONGLY encourage you to file by Monday.

Because here’s the thing:

If the past year has been terrible for your personal economy, the government probably owes  you money that you could use TODAY. Potentially a lot of money. Potentially even if you didn’t have a job through this mess.

Finally get access to your stimulus payments.

Filing your taxes also makes it way easier to get access to stimulus payments. For example, let’s say you didn’t file in 2019. You might have missed out on multiple stimulus payments.

The first two will be accounted for in your 2020 tax return.

The IRS should be able to issue you the third payment after you file your 2020 taxes.

The easiest way to make this happen is to set your refund up for direct deposit into your personal bank account — one that you don’t plan on closing any time in the near future.

Get access to those monthly child tax credit payments come July.

The government has estimated that it will preemptively issue portions of the Child Tax Credit for the 2021 tax year via direct payments to families starting in July.

To get access to these direct payments, the IRS will need to have your information on hand. Filing by the tax deadline makes that more likely to happen.

Expanded Child Tax Credits and Huge Refund for the Self-Employed

Over the past couple months, we’ve talked about a lot of different tax credits that are unique to this pandemic we’re living through. These credits can end up adding up to tens upon tens of thousands of dollars owed to you by the IRS — even if you’re just an ordinary person.

In March, we covered a tax credit that can make a huge difference for the self-employed.

In April, we briefly discussed:

  • The first $10,200 you received in unemployment in 2020 no longer counts as taxable income.
  • There are changes to the Child Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax credit that both make it larger and make a larger portion of it refundable.
  • The Child and Dependent Care Credit has also become refundable, larger and claimable for an additional year.
  • There are BIG changes to premium credits for those who pay for an ACA health insurance plan. It is extremely likely that these changes work in your favor no matter how much or how little money you make, and can result in a larger tax refund or lower overall tax burden. Learn more here.

All that giving you did last year? It counts for once.

Last year, a lot of us found ourselves digging into our pockets to support anyone who was doing the hard work of making our chaotic world a better place.

Normally, if you don’t itemize, donations to 501(c)(3) orgnaizations don’t mean much. The standard deduction for a head of household is $18,800, and for those married filing jointly it’s $25,100.

Most American families simply don’t make enough money to justify itemizing. The standard deduction is more than all their itemized deductions — including charitable giving — so there’s no point in itemizing.

However, this year, if you gave to a 501(c)(3), you can deduct those charitable donations beyond the standard deduction. The most you can claim is $300 on top of the standard deduction, and you’ve got to have receipts to back up your claim.

You can file your taxes for free.

For real.

I don’t go into those expensive, inexperienced big-box places. Even in times of non-pandemic.

Most people can file their taxes for free online all by themselves. Here are a bunch of options.

If you have a complicated tax situation, invest in an accredited CPA.

Help for Pittsburgh

If you’re in Allegheny County, there is still an Emergency Rental Assistance Program where you can apply for help with back rent.

Just a couple days ago, the City of Pittsburgh specifically launched a program that offers free legal services to those facing housing challenges a la eviction for renters and foreclosure for homeowners.

A portion of the funding for this program is specifically set aside for residents who are undocumented or are otherwise ineligible for legal services through other programs.

The best way to get a handle on a potential eviction situation is to get legal assistance as early on as you can.

However, if you already found yourself on the other side of eviction, we talked about some steps you can take to improve your situation last month.