The Most Tax-Friendly States in the U.S.

10 Best States to Live In for Taxes

The Internet has given rise to a mobile workforce of telecommuters, independent contractors and entrepreneurs who can work where they want to live, instead of living where they have to work. But if you enjoy this kind of flexibility, proximity to ski slopes or beaches shouldn’t be your only criteria in selecting a home state. You should also calculate how much state taxes will extract from your paycheck and pocketbook. The difference from state to state can be dramatic — thousands of dollars every year.

Updated for 2016, here is our list of the 10 most tax-friendly states in the U.S. Five of the states on our list, including the top four, have no state income tax at all. Wyoming, our new No. 1 state this year, is one of those – and maintains a vibrant economy that will insulate residents from tax hikes for years to come.

Before you start packing the U-Haul, though, consider the possible trade-offs of moving to a low-tax state. If your state can’t afford to maintain its roads, you could end up spending more on car repairs than you’ll save in taxes. You may be willing to pay above-average property taxes in exchange for excellent schools.

One other caution: Some states have been able to keep their taxes low because of an abundance of wealth derived from natural resources. But as oil prices continue to plummet, states such as Alaska may have to look elsewhere for revenue.

Take a look.

How to slash common household bills

How to slash common household bills

Save Money on Household Expenses

If you’re looking for some easy ways to cut back on your monthly household expenses —whether you want to save more money, start an emergency fund, or use the savings to pay off outstanding credit card debt—we’ve got some super simple ideas for you.

1. Refinance Your Mortgage

Interest rates are still really low, so this option could potentially help you save quite a bit of money — if you refinance your mortgage correctly, that is.

2. Consider Cutting the Cord

High prices are one reason cable TV, along with others in the pay TV industry, are starting to see a small but steady stream of defectors — people are opting to stream their TV shows over the Internet rather than pay a monthly fee to a cable or satellite provider. You’d have to research plans in your area and crunch the numbers to see if you would come out ahead, but streaming your viewing options is something to consider as you look to save on that average $99-per-month cable bill.

3. DIY

Does someone mow your lawn for you? Clean your home? Deliver your groceries? These are all things you can opt to do yourself and pocket the savings. Another area where you can save by doing it yourself is using free credit monitoring tools instead of paying to do so. Credit.com has a handy guide on how to use free credit monitoring tools.

4. Wash Laundry in Cold Water

A recent estimate from Consumer Reports suggests that using a cold-water detergent and washing on the cold setting can save at least $60 annually in utilities.

5. Use a Programmable Thermostat

You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting, according to Energy.gov. And once you get home, you can potentially add to the savings if you adjust your clothes and not the thermostat if you’re uncomfortable.

6. Unplug Small Appliances and Devices

Your “sleeping devices” could account for as much as 10% of household energy use, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. You can stop the energy suck by unplugging the television when you’re not watching it, disconnecting the computer when it’s off and doing the same with your toaster, coffee maker, other small appliances and even lamps.

7. Use Energy-Saving Lightbulbs

Speaking of lamps and the lighting in your house in general, if you aren’t using energy efficient lightbulbs, you could be missing out on some serious savings, even with their higher purchase price. You can see just how much you can save using an online lightbulb energy savings calculator.

8. Check Your Home’s Insulation

When’s the last time you checked your home’s insulation? You could potentially improve the energy efficiency of your home by adding insulation and end up saving less on heating and cooling costs as a result. Energy.gov has a helpful insulation guide.

9. Compare Your Cellular Service

There are numerous ways to save money on your monthly cell phone bill. You can reduce your available minutes and data if you aren’t using them, go with a carrier who doesn’t require a contract, reduce your data usage, etc. You also may be able to get a lower price on your plan by negotiating with your current carrier — or switching to a new one.

10. Watch the Water

You probably already have reduced-flow shower heads in your home, and you might even have low-flow toilets, but there are dozens of ways to save even more on your water consumption: Don’t leave the water running while you brush your teeth; wash vegetables and other items in a dishpan or other large container filled with water then use that water on your plants; don’t flush items down the toilet unless you’re also flushing waste; check all faucets for drips or leaks and repair.

11. Pay Your Bills On Time

Late payment fees can really add up over time, and some late payments can impact your credit scores (payment history makes up roughly 35% of your total credit score), which can end up costing you more in interest rates on everything from credit cards to mortgage loans. It’s a good idea to set up automatic payments on monthly bills, especially if you’re forgetful. You can also use calendar reminders if you don’t have the cashflow to comfortably automate your payments.

Stretch of 210 Freeway in Pasadena to be named for Jackie Robinson

Stretch of 210 Freeway in Pasadena to be named for Jackie Robinson

An April 18, 1948 portrait of Brooklyn Dodgers infielder Jackie Robinson. <meta itemprop=”name url contentUrl” content=”http://cdn.abclocal.go.com/content/creativecontent/images/cms/1292964_1280x720.jpg”> <meta itemprop=”headline caption text” content=”Stretch of 210 Freeway in Pasadena to be named for Jackie Robinson”> <meta itemprop=”description” content=”An April 18, 1948 portrait of Brooklyn Dodgers' infielder Jackie Robinson. “> <img src=”http://cdn.abclocal.go.com/content/creativecontent/images/cms/1292964_1280x720.jpg” alt=”An April 18, 1948 portrait of Brooklyn Dodgers infielder Jackie Robinson. ” title=”Stretch of 210 Freeway in Pasadena to be named for Jackie Robinson”>

An April 18, 1948 portrait of Brooklyn Dodgers’ infielder Jackie Robinson. (AP Photo)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016 04:17PM

A stretch of the 210 Freeway near where Jackie Robinson grew up has been renamed for the Brooklyn Dodgers legend and civil-rights pioneer.

Robinson, who grew up in Pasadena and attended UCLA, broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. He is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and had his number, 42, retired by MLB for every team in the league.

The 4.2-mile stretch of the 210 from Gould Avenue to Orange Grove Boulevard will be renamed the “Jackie Robinson Memorial Highway.”

“Jackie Robinson is not only an inspiring figure to us for his accomplishments in athletics, but also as a civil-rights-era trailblazer who advocated for social change,” said Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Burbank, who coauthored the bill to honor Robinson. “His contributions to baseball and society have made an everlasting impression on our nation.”

HERO and PACE programs

Please wary homeowners.

The PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program for homeowners to update and upgrade their home with energy efficient items such as newer AC and Heating units, Solar Panels, insulation, and water efficient and drought tolerant landscaping. Riverside CA just approved the CaliforniaFIRST program, which is the PACE program in CA. To read the complete article “Riverside approves leading CaliforniaFIRST PACE clean energy financing program for local homeowners”

HERO (Home Energy Renovation Opportunity)

These programs are great for homeowners that wish to update their homes, plan on living in them for the next 10 years or more and need financial help to do so. However it needs to known that they charge high interest rates and these go on your property taxes. Going onto your property taxes makes it so you can have a buyer assume your debt when you sell the home, however that is if you find a buyer that wishes to take on your debt. Because the interest rates are high and sometimes involve prepayment penalties a lot of homeowners are stuck when the need to sell their home arises and they have they loans on their homes.

Bottom line, do your research and do what’s right for you in all aspects of your homeownership.

 

The Best Fried Chicken in All 50 States

The Best Fried Chicken in All 50 States

Few foods are more comforting, more decadent, and more delicious than a plate of fried chicken, served fresh from the skillet alongside crisp waffles, fluffy biscuits, or creamy sides. Many poultry purists argue that the world’s best fried chicken is dished out down South—but with the sheer number of talented chefs across the nation, we’re calling fowl on this claim. Here are the best fried chicken joints in all 50 states, both near and far away from the Mason-Dixon line. And since everything’s better when it’s coated in flour, battered, and browned in oil, consider using this list as a restaurant field guide the next time you’re taking a cross-country road trip.

 

US new home sales rise at fastest pace since 2007

US new home sales rise at fastest pace since 2007

home for sale with sign out frontImage copyright Getty Images

US new homes sales jumped in July to their fastest rate in nearly nine years, according to Commerce Department figures.

Low interest rates on mortgages and an improving jobs market have helped boost the US real estate market.

New home sales increased by 12.4% in July month-on-month to a seasonally adjusted rate of 654,000 annual units.

But construction of new single-family homes has slipped, meaning supply might be falling behind demand.

Last month, the US housing market had 4.3 months’ supply of homes for sale. That is down from a 5.2 months supply in July 2015.

With central bank interest rates at between 0.25% and 0.5%, the cost of mortgage borrowing has been low for house buyers. Combined with a strengthening jobs market and a slight uptick in wages over the last year, housing demand has been boosted.

Dips in the supply of housing can lead to stagnation in the market because families are unable to upgrade to larger houses and put their homes on the market. First-time buyers, in turn, are left with fewer options for starter homes.

Construction of single-family homes has picked up this year and investors believe that trend will continue.

Shares of building companies such as Toll Brother and Lennar Corp have risen over the last few quarters and both were up more than 1% in early trading on Tuesday.

“We see tremendous growth potential in new home sales as housing demand continues to grow and the continued supply shortage of newer vintage homes,” said Tian Liu, chief economist at Genworth Mortgage Insurance.

Sales in Northeast US were up 40% in July, while sales in the South rose by 18%. Sales in the West and Midwest were flat.

The median home price fell by 0.5%, potentially reflecting the regional mix of where homes were sold.

Dress Up Boring Walls with this DIY

Dress Up Boring Dorm Room Walls With These DIY Banners

Or not just dorm walls 😉