Category: Uncategorized

Extended Deadlines to be Aware of

Extended deadlines represented by calendar and note pad

Due to the Corona virus pandemic, some important deadlines have been extended. The ones below include state and federal deadlines faced by most of us. But many other institutions are extending deadlines for things like payments and applications. If you need some extra time, check with entities you are involved with to see whether they will accommodate you. As they say, “It can’t hurt to ask.”   Federal tax returns are now due July 15 Realizing that people may have a hard time gathering the information needed to file their income tax returns or make payments by April 15, the U.S. government extended the deadline to July 15. State return deadlines may or may not be extended You’d think all states would follow the lead of the federal government and extend their tax return deadline to July 15th. Most, but not all, did. To find the deadline in your state see The Motley Fool. Property tax deadlines may be extended In San Francisco the property tax deadline has been extended from April 10 to May 4. Check with your tax collector to see if the deadline has been extended. The Real ID deadline is extended to October 1, 2021 With […]

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Help With Your Gift List

person in Santa Hat holding a long gift list

If you could use some help with your gift list, you’ve come to the right place. And you’re not alone! In spite of good intentions, I’m way behind this year. Things just happen. Because of some tech problems with my computer and the HabiLinks website, I’ll have to wait until next week to finish shopping. Meanwhile, whether you’re almost done or desperate for last minute ideas, here are some tips to help you finish checking off your gift list. Making a list and checking it twice. If your gift list looks anything like the one in the picture, consider shortening it. Just because you and your 3rd cousin have exchanged gifts in the past, doesn’t mean you have to continue. Create a “Gifts” file to keep track of ideas and what you give through the years. Dad can only use so many ties. I keep sizes in the file too. Adults expand and contract. And kids seem to outgrow clothes overnight! Think about recipients’ hobbies and interests then click on over to Gifts.com. The site will give you ideas based on gender, age, interests and the occasion. You can order things on the spot. But even if you don’t buy […]

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Turkey Shortcuts You’ll Give Thanks For

turkey shortcuts

I used to spend days preparing for and making Thanksgiving dinner from scratch. The stuffing was never as good as mom’s. I finally asked for the recipe. I was so surprised by her answer: Stove Top®, with a few added touches! These days I use several tried and true turkey shortcuts. I don’t have to worry about wrestling a hot, whole turkey out of the oven, spooning out the dressing, carving it and making the gravy. Now I can enjoy the party, too. Turkey shortcut: Make it ahead This recipe suggests roasting the turkey a day ahead. I actually find it easier to do it Thanksgiving morning. Then you reheat it for an hour before you expect to sit down at the table. The broth added while reheating keeps the meat succulent and moist. Here’s the recipe: foodnetwork.com. Turkey stuffing shortcut: Stove top This link offers several suggestions for dressing up (pun intended) stuffing kits. If you don’t want to reveal your secret, hide the stuffing box at the bottom of the kitchen trash can. Here’s the link: food.com. Turkey gravy shortcut: From a jar. They’ll never know. Don’t skimp here, buy the best gravy from a trusted brand. This […]

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What to Give on Halloween Besides Candy

        While my kids were growing up, the family home was on Washington Street in San Francisco. To call it “Halloween Central” would be an understatement. Ant-like ribbons of ghosts, goblins and all manner of creatures climbed the stairs, trick or treating well past dark. The last time I counted I had dished out 700 pieces of candy. I was the meany on the block, always asking trick or treaters to say “thank you” and take only ONE! A teal pumpkin indicates non-candy treats are offered. A teal colored pumpkin on the front porch indicates that alternatives to candy are being offered. This is a very thoughtful gesture for kids who don’t eat candy, whether it’s because of food allergies or other health concerns.  Since real pumpkins don’t come in “teal” here’s where you can get one: teal pumpkins. If you prefer not to give candy, here are some alternatives: I like to fill a big basket with a variety of things and let the kids choose. If you do a web search for these and want to stick to the holiday theme, precede your search term with “Halloween,” as in “Halloween pencils.” bouncy balls bubble wands […]

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Flu Shot Reminder, Tips & Info

Flu shot info & tips

If you’ve been good about getting your shot and haven’t had the flu for years, it’s easy to forget how terrible it makes you feel. A fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and headache are common symptoms. But in some cases it can be even worse. In the 1918 flu pandemic, before vaccines, it’s estimated one third of the world’s population was infected. About fifty million people died. Thankfully, most people get vaccinated every year. But it takes about two weeks to become effective. That leaves procrastinators vulnerable right when the virus ramps up in October. What you should know about the flu. Flu season starts in fall and can last as long as May. Based on the last 37 years, the flu virus is most active in February. If you’d like to know more, see Key Facts About Influenza at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. Flu shot tips and info. Unless you’re among the few people who should not get a flu shot, the time to get it is now. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the protective antibodies to develop in your body. Different vaccines are available depending on your age […]

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Change Clocks and Smoke Alarm Batteries Sunday

Change Your Clocks, Spring forward

In San Francisco we’re having a hard time believing that spring arrives soon! It seems like we haven’t seen the sun in months and rainfall records are broken almost every day. But the calendar doesn’t lie. And along with spring comes Daylight Saving Time. The only U.S. states that don’t change their clocks twice a year are Hawaii and Arizona. Here are a few timely tips (pun intended) to help get your spring off to a good start. Clocks “spring forward” one hour Sunday at 2 AM. Change the clocks before you go to bed Saturday night. Don’t forget your watches…including the ones you keep in the dresser drawer. Remember to change the clock on your car dashboard. While you’re at it, change the smoke alarm batteries. Replace the batteries in hard wired smoke alarms, too. The batteries in hard wired alarms provide backup in case of a power outage caused by things like fire or natural disasters. Check the year your smoke alarm was manufactured. It should be shown on the unit. If it’s close to ten years old, it’s time to replace it. Make sure you have the right kind of replacement batteries for your smoke alarms. And […]

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Tax Changes Affecting Upcoming Tax Returns

the latest tax changes

April 15th is tax day for most of us, and it’ll be here before you know it. Whether you fill out your income tax returns by hand, use software, or hire a professional, only you can gather the information needed. Before starting, you should be aware of tax law changes that will affect individual 2018 income tax returns. I found a great article detailing the tax changes and you don’t have to be a CPA to understand it! You’ll find the article here: The Motley Fool. A few of the tax changes There are still seven income brackets but the tax rates have changed. The standard deductible has almost doubled, but before you get too excited…. The personal deduction has been eliminated. The child tax credit has doubled. College tuition and fees are no longer deductible. Mortgage interest is still deductible, but there are limits. The amount of charitable contributions you can deduct has increased. Allowable medical expense deductions are no more than 7.5% of your AGI (adjusted gross income). Deductions for state and local taxes, including property taxes, are capped at $10,000. This may be the year to try tax software With all the changes, this might be the […]

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Quick Gift Ideas

quick gift ideas

Need quick gift ideas? You’ve come to the right place. Gifts don’t need to be fancy or expensive. Any gift with a personal touch will be appreciated. Time is running short, but here are some ideas to help check off those last items on your shopping list. Music: CD’s or gift certificates for online digital music sources such as iTunes. Gourmet foods and spices: A selection from the specialty foods section of your market. Everyone has to eat! Books: Buy online or take your shopping list to your local independent book store. Donate to a friend or family member’s favorite charity in their name. Subscriptions: Give a subscription to a magazine based on their interests. Cooking, sports, stamp collecting…you get the idea. Buy a current edition and wrap it up with a note. Gift certificates: Consider giving a gift certificate for something they wouldn’t splurge on themselves. You’ll find gift certificates or cards for stores and services at many websites, supermarkets and pharmacies. You could also make your own gift certificates.  How about a babysitting gift certificate for your adult children? Or a gift certificate for an outing for an elderly (or not!) friend? Gift box: Out of time? Head […]

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Last Minute Gifts They Can Really Use

quick gift ideas

Need ideas for last minute gifts they can really use? HabiNews, our monthly newsletter, had some great online resources for useful gifts. But it’s getting a little late to depend on delivery by the holidays. There’s still time to come up with thoughtful gifts. They don’t need to be elaborate or expensive. Consider combining several small gifts from your nearby big box store, pharmacy or deli. Does the recipient take lots of road trips? Wrap up a thermal coffee cup and an over-the-seat car organizer. For someone who “has everything” consider edibles like a collection of exotic spices or gourmet sauces from the deli. Everyone has to eat! You can get gift certificates or cards for a store or service at many large supermarkets, pharmacies and websites. You can also make your own personal gift certificates.  How about a gift certificate for babysitting for your adult children? Or a gift certificate for an outing for an elderly friend? If you still have time, check out the Gift Giving topic in the Social Life & Society section of Habilinks, our web directory. You’ll find lots of ideas for gifts you can order online by just clicking on a link.

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