FREE Tax Programs 2014

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With the end of January at hand, it can mean only one thing: tax season is upon us, y’all!  Whether you’re talking about 1099s, W-9s, 1041s or 2813s (<== yeah, I made that one up!), it can be an overwhelming experience!  So why not take advantage of FREE tax prep programs to help guide you through the process.

Here are two well-known FREE Tax Programs 2014:

With TurboTax you’ll get your biggest tax refund guaranteed, with 100% accurate calculations and free help and step by step guidance so you are confident your taxes are done right.

  • TurboTax Federal Free Edition – With TurboTax you’ll get your biggest tax refund guaranteed, with 100% accurate calculations and free help and step by step guidance so you are confident your taxes are done right.  It’s the #1 Rated, Best-Selling tax software brand year after year.  You get FREE preparation, FREE printing, FREE efiling for your simple tax return (when referring to TurboTax Federal Free Edition), and you easily get your biggest tax refund possible, guaranteed!  You also get FREE Audit Support Center and live online help, and the program guides you like a GPS through your simple federal tax return.  You can sign up here.

Turbo Tax - Free Tax Programs 2014 [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

5 ways to save money with Family Mobile unlimited plans

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**




I am currently trying out a new cheap wireless plan as part of a compensated project for Collective Bias®. This article shares my experience and thoughts about the new Family Mobile unlimited plans.

It’s been a month since I switched over to Walmart Family Mobile’s unlimited plan, and I wanted to check back in and give you guys an update.  I already told you all about their reasonably priced phone selection and how easy it was to activate my service so I won’t waste your time by repeating myself.  Instead I’ll be sharing my experience with using their service, and 5 ways my Family Mobile plan is helping me save money.

Saving my family money with Walmart Family Mobile

Family Mobile unlimited plans are great for big families like ours!

I have to tell you, I have been really pleased with my service overall.  The low price rate plan is great for my family’s budget, their customer service has been wonderful, and I have better coverage than I did when I was with Boost Mobile.  Oh, and I love my awesome new smartphone too!

Saving money with Walmart Family Mobile

I’m pretty excited about my new phone, can you tell? 😉

One thing I heard several times from you guys was that you needed more than 1GB of data each month.  Something Walmart Family Mobile can definitely improve on is explaining their data services better.  As you can see in the picture below, you DO have unlimited data, but the first 1GB each month is considered “Speed Boost” data, meaning it’s much faster.  (Why it says 250MB, I have no clue)  

If you exceed 1GB, then your speed will be slowed down, but you can still use all the data you want for no additional fee.  If you have a need for speed (hahaha!), you do have the option of adding on more of that faster data each month.

Saving money with Walmart Family Mobile

I blew through that first gig pretty fast, as I am a heavy data user.  As in all. day. long.  How else am I supposed to pin all the things, and watch all the things, and share all the things?!  Yes, I have noticed that speeds are a tiny bit slower now, but not enough to really make a difference or get on my nerves.  Especially when I can use all the data I want!

Saving money with Walmart Family Mobile

As far as coverage is concerned, from what I initially saw on the Walmart Family Mobile maps, things looked pretty great compared to my old service.  Now that I’ve used the service for a month, I can say that I really do think the coverage is better.  I can use my phone in areas that I didn’t have service in before, like at my in laws house.  I also don’t randomly lose service like I was doing before.

The really big test will be later this month when we make a trip down to south Georgia. Some of those areas are REALLY rural and have no service period, by any providers.  From the maps on the Family Mobile site, it looks like we should have coverage the entire trip, so I’m pretty sure I won’t be disappointed.

Saving money with Walmart Family Mobile

Another thing I really like about my new phone plan is the great customer service I have received.  When I called to port over my old number, everyone I spoke with was very polite and helpful.  When I had a question about my bill, again, everyone was super nice.  That seems to be unusual with cell phone providers these days, so I was honestly pretty surprised.

The account management section of their site is very easy to navigate, so paying my bill or making changes to my plan is quick and easy.  I also like that they send me texts to remind me when my bill is due, as well as the receipt and confirmation number once a payment is made.  I hate having to print our receipts and save emails or write down confirmation numbers, I always lose them!  This way I have it right in my phone, ready to access, just in case there is a problem.

Saving money with Walmart Family Mobile

This makes me happy, it’s one less thing I have to remember to do!

The only complaint I have about the myTouch smartphone I am using is that there aren’t very many cases to choose from. As someone that has a tendency to drop things rather frequently, I like to have extra protection for my electronics.  While I was a little bummed about the lack of selection, I am still more than pleased with the phone and service overall.

So now that I’ve told you what I like and dislike about my new smartphone and Family Mobile unlimited plan, I’d like to share with you some ways that I am saving money by using their service.  It’s not just from the monthly bill, there are quite a few other things too!

5 ways to save money with Walmart Family Mobile

1.  Comparison shopping on-the-go – With the use of a smartphone and my unlimited data, I can compare prices while I’m out shopping.  I can be in the aisle at Walmart, checking the price at Kroger, Kmart, Amazon, etc. to make sure I get the best price.  Many stores will price match now if their competitor is offering a better deal.  Or, if I find a way better deal on Amazon, I can go ahead and use my one-click ordering and buy it right then!  Without an unlimited data plan, that’s not really an option for savvy shoppers like myself.

2.  No late/reconnect fees for not paying bill on time – If I forget to pay my bill, my phone may be turned off, but I don’t have to pay late fines or reconnect fees to turn it back on.  I just have to pay my bill.  And that’s not even an issue anymore, because I get texts to my phone to remind me to pay each month!  I am the worst about forgetting to pay things, and always end up paying extra because of that.  (And let’s not even get started on library fines, eek!)

3.  Money saving apps like Scoutmob and Gas Buddy – Just like with the comparison shopping on-the-go, I can also find the best deals on gas nearby, or for a bite to eat, all with different apps I can download for free from Google Play.  Unlimited data lets me search for those deals close by, without having to worry about going over my limit and getting stuck with big overage fees.

4.  Cheaper home internet service – With a limited data plan, you can still get online as long as you are using wifi.  Most people just use their home wifi and save their data for when they are on the go.  That really slows down the speed if you have multiple people connected, and then you end up paying more for upgraded home internet that can accommodate everyone’s wifi needs.  With the unlimited data, you don’t have to connect via wifi ever again, and can use a less expensive plan for home instead!

5.  Unlimited plan for a low monthly fee – I took a moment to check out the pricing for a similar phone and plan with AT&T since they are one of the most popular companies today.  Most people go with a 2 year contract to get the free phone, so I decided to base the numbers off that.  Check it out:

AT&T vs Family Mobile cost comparison

AT&T is almost 3x more than Family Mobile’s unlimited plan!  That’s a pretty huge difference, wouldn’t you agree?  And there are no early termination fees with Family Mobile, because it’s a month-to-month service with no contract.

So what do you think, are you ready to give Walmart Family Mobile a try?  You can set everything up online in minutes, or you can do it in person at pretty much any Walmart Supercenter.  It took me less than 10 minutes to grab my activation kit and have my phone turned on when I visited my local Walmart last month.

Could you use more money in your pocket every month?

Are you overpaying for a limited wireless plan?

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Money Saver – Walmart Family Mobile Unlimited Plans

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**




I am currently trying out a new cheap wireless plan as part of a compensated project for Collective Bias®. This article shares my initial purchasing experience and thoughts about the new Family Mobile unlimited plans.

Y’all know I am all about saving money. I firmly believe in pinching pennies in all budget categories, because those pennies add up to big bucks! Recently I learned about a new cheap wireless plan option from Walmart.  Now I know they’ve offered a variety of budget-conscious plans for a few years now, but they’ve all been with companies that are small or that I have never heard of, which makes me nervous. Their new Family Mobile service is provided by T-Mobile, and their $40 unlimited plans are cheaper than even the lowest price rate plan with a traditional service provider.  Plus, you can add on up to 4 more lines for just $35 each, which makes it a great option for families, especially big ones like ours!

walmart family mobile plans

I am super excited to give Family Mobile a whirl because I love trying out and sharing new things that can potentially save all of us money every month.  And I desperately needed a new phone anyway, so the timing is perfect!  See, the phone I currently use is three years old, and is on it’s last leg.  The usb port broke about a year ago, so I had to order extra batteries and a wall charger since I can’t charge it with a cord anymore.  I can’t sync it with my computer because I can’t plug it up.  The camera has no flash or focus, it’s literally like a cheap-o point and shoot.  It’s gotten so glitchy that I can’t run any downloaded apps on it.  In short – it’s gotta go!

walmart family mobile plans

The prepaid service I currently use has spotty coverage and the data transfer rate is extremely slow.  For example, I have absolutely no service at my children’s school or at my in-laws’ home.  When I am visiting both of those places, I am typically there for quite some time, and my phone is pretty much useless other than for taking pictures with the not-so-great camera.  I can’t use my phone in an emergency, I can’t share pictures online, I can’t   receive any texts, emails, or calls.

walmart family mobile plans

Also, I know it’s really minor to some, but I can’t pull my complete account history with my current provider.  I purchased an item from someone last month, but I only communicated with that person via text.  I deleted the text once I purchased the item because I wasn’t expecting to have a problem.  Now I need the number because of an issue  I am having, but my phone company doesn’t even have a record of me sending or receiving any text that day.  I won’t have that problem with Family Mobile because I can literally access every single bit of activity in real time with the online account management tools on the My Family Mobile website.

Now, because I love all things new and shiny, the first thing I did was head over to check out their phone selection.  From past experience with prepaid phone plans, I wasn’t expecting that great of a lineup of phones, but I was pleasantly surprised.  They offer top of the line phones like the Galaxy S4 all the way down to a super basic $20 phone.  You can use most unlocked phones with their service too, so if you really love your current phone (looking at you, iPhone fanatic) there’s a good chance you’ll be able to switch it over pretty easily.

walmart family mobile plans

It’s really a simple process to get all set up, even when you go in the store.  Literally, you purchase your phone and activation kit, fill out one form for the Walmart associate to enter your info in the system, and you’re all set up in less than 5 minutes.  If you don’t want to activate it in store, you can easily come home and do it online too.  Or, if you want to skip the store all together, you can just order your phone and activation kit online and set it all up when you get it in the mail.

Oh, and get this – you don’t even have to pay your bill yet!  Family Mobile is post paid, meaning you don’t pay until the end of the service period!

walmart family mobile plans

I’ve been pleased with my service so far, but I’ll be really putting it to the test over the coming months as I trek all over with my family during summer break.  I’ll definitely be updating you guys to let you know what I think of the service, coverage, customer service, and phone for sure!

So what do you think?  Have you heard about Family Mobile?  How much do you spend every month for phone service?

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Christmas on a budget: $250 for six kids

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



Wowzers!  I wrote this post last year to share what I purchased for my children for Christmas, and to show that it is completely possible to shop for six kids on a $250 budget.  The information I shared is very specific to what I actually did and how I saved.  As of late, this post has become very popular and I want to be sure to share information that is helpful for you as a visitor to my site.  Please check out the 2 posts below some awesome tips that will help your holidays rock even with the smallest budget!

10 tips for planning Christmas on a budget

10 Stocking Stuffers for Whole Family for Under $2

Our family typically doesn’t spend a ton on Christmas gifts, but this year our budget is really tight.  I decided in October that I was going to try to get gifts for all six children for under $300, and I did it!  See what I bought and how I did it below:

Christmas on a budget - $250 for 6 kids

© Devy | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

How I saved

1.  Earned referral fees from retail sites.  Some of the items below were free with referral credits I had earned from various websites.  You *do not* have to be a blogger to earn referral fees, and it’s a great way to save on things for your own family, some offer up to $15 per friend that you refer! Some of my favorites are One King’s Lane and Zulily.  And yep, those are my referral links. 🙂

2.  Enter giveaways hosted by local bloggers.  Some of the other items say FREE because I won them through giveaways hosted by local bloggers.  I do sometimes enter larger, national giveaways, but the odds are better if you stick with smaller, local blogs.  I also won several Amazon gift cards as well, as you’ll see below. [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Are you really getting the best deal on gas?

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



Is driving to the cheapest gas station really worth the savings?

pumping-gas-150x150

Maybe not as much as you think.  The conversation below is one I had with my 11-year-old son recently.

Ryan: “Mom, gas is $3.75 at ABC gas station!”
(alerted by the free GasBuddy app he has on his phone)

Me: “That’s great, but that’s like, 5 miles from here.”

Ryan: “So?”

Me: “I can get gas for $3.80 right here.”

Ryan: “But it’s five cents cheaper.”

Me: “Yes.  But by the time I drive to get it, I’m actually losing money.  So I’m good.”

Ryan: “Huh?”

(Disclaimer: Math.  Yikes!)

Me: “Let’s say our car gets 25 mpg and holds 20 gallons.  20 gallons x $3.75 = $75.00, compared to 20 gallons x $3.80 = $76.00.  I would save $1 by getting gas at the cheaper station.  However, in driving the additional 10 miles roundtrip to get to the cheaper station, I am using 4/10 of a gallon of gas.  Which would cost me $1.50.  So I’m actually spending $0.50 more by driving to the cheaper station.  I would also spend about 20 minutes driving there and back, and my time is valuable.” (whew!)

Ryan: “Ooooohhhhhh!  I get it!  So it SEEMS cheaper, but it really isn’t!”

Me:  🙂

Sometimes, driving around to get a deal on gas isn’t actually a deal at all.

Be sure to take a moment and figure out if it is *really* worth it to drive the extra miles.

woman-with-empty-wallet

Have you done something similar in the past, only to realize that you really weren’t saving money in the end?

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Save big on summertime electric bills

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



I live in Georgia, where the summers are hot and sticky and all around just gross.  Our utility bills tend to be $400+ in the summer months when it’s really hot and humid.  This year, we decided to suck it up and set the thermostat a little higher than previous years.  We typically set our AC to 72, but this summer we’ve gone with 76-78 instead.  It has made a HUGE difference in our electric bill!  I was thrilled to find that our bill over this summer was about $100 less each month than last year.  That’s $400 extra bucks in savings from June-September just from a 4-6 degree change in thermostat settings!

At first, I though it would be hard to adjust, but since we started out the summer heat with a higher temperature in the home, we’ve adjusted without any problems.  Check out the list below for 5 simple ways we keep our home cooling costs down.

Save big on summertime electric bills

1. Open windows and use fans.  Sometimes it’s not just the higher temperatures that are uncomfortable, but the lack of air flow.  Using box fans in addition to our ceiling fans really helped to keep the air moving in the house.  We only set up fans in the rooms we were using, and opened windows in the morning and evening when temperatures were lower.

2.  Dress appropriately.  When temperatures are high, it only makes sense to dress in light clothing.  Instead of wearing jeans and a tshirt, we opted for tank tops and shorts.  Wearing sandals or flip flops instead of socks and tennis shoes also made a big difference.

3.  Program the thermostat.  We set our thermostat for the AC to kick on around noon to 5:00, during the hottest part of the day.  There’s no reason to have the AC running at 78 degrees at 2:00 in the morning when we’re all sleeping!

4.  Turn off the AC.  If we were planning to be gone all day, we set the thermostat to 82 degrees.  It’s ridiculous to cool the house to 78 when no one is at home.  Setting the air to 82 kept the house at a pleasant temperature without overworking the system, and it was pretty easy to cool the house a few degrees by turning the air back on once we got home.  I do not suggest turning the air off completely while your gone, however.  Trying to cool your house down from 90 degrees takes hours and you end up spending more because the system runs for hours to try and bring the temperature back down.

5.  Change the air filter.  Having a clean filter helps to keep your system running more efficiently.  Your AC cannot work as effectively if the filter is covered in dust.  Replacement filters are only a few dollars and can be changed out in a matter of minutes.

How do you cut costs on your electric bill during the hot summer months?  Share your tips below!

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Atlanta's Frugal Mom is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. In other words, if you click through to Amazon from some of the books or products I recommend and make a purchase, I get a small percentage in exchange for your purchase. It's a small way you can support AFM.