Updated on 03.12.13

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Snow Overload Edition

Trent Hamm

I’ll say this much: this has been the craziest winter of my adult life. Right now, as I look out my window, there’s easily two feet of snow on the ground in the back yard. The temperature hasn’t been above freezing (for more than an afternoon hour or two) for weeks, so there’s been no melting. In fact, the snow’s not even good for making snowmen – and even if it were, it’s usually been too cold to go out there and build one.

Three winters ago, there was no snow on the ground for the entire winter save a week or so. What a difference three years makes.

The Razor’s Edge: Lessons in True Wealth This is one of the best pieces of writing on personal finance I’ve read in a while. I don’t know why – it just clicked with me. (@ get rich slowly)

2008 Federal Tax Brackets Explained An excellent explanation of how tax brackets work with real examples for the upcoming year. If you’re going to try doing your own taxes but don’t know where to start, this is a good place. (@ money smart life)

Huge Tax-Free Investment Returns I’ve been reading through some of Philip Brewer’s older articles when I came across this excellent one. It really does a great job of explaining the philosophy behind stocking up on staples. (@ wisebread)

Tips and Tricks to Eat Healthy on a Budget I’ve been working hard to adopt a better diet this year, so lists of tips like these are really useful to me. (@ carrie and danielle)

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  1. K says:

    We’ve gotten over 110″ so far this year. the average for the whole winter is normally 70,” and we’ve still got 2 months to go!

    Haven’t heard much about global warming lately…

  2. ChrisB says:

    Trent, the link regarding ’08 taxes reminded me of something I’ve tried to determine for sometime to no avail…

    My understanding of the rebate checks that most of us received in May is that they were essentially an early payment on any refund that we might have received when we file this spring. In other words, those of us who typically get a tax refund should *not* expect to get one this spring (or if we do, it’ll be relatively small), because we basically got it in May.

    Is that accurate?

  3. Thanks for the mention! That’s one of my favorite posts, too. The math is so outrageous that a lot of people refuse to believe it. It’s true, though–within the limited context of buying things you’re going to use.

  4. I’ve contemplated doing my own taxes for 2008 because I paid someone to do it in 2007 and he still got it wrong. I’m single and had one source of income, how hard is it? I won’t get my rebate until the 2008 return.

    @ChrisB I don’t think that is the case with rebates. Of course someday we’ll pay for it in raised taxes. I might be wrong, The Weakonomist is the farthest thing from a tax expert.

  5. Matt says:


    From what I understand, the summer stimulus check was a prepayment for 2009. However I believe it is separate from any other refund you are owed for 2008. That is, you got your $600 in May 2008 instead of having to file your return in spring 2009 and get the $600 back at that time + whatever refund you’re otherwise entitled to.

    So, you should still get a refund for 2008 if you’ve otherwise overpaid your taxes throughout the year.

    In my case, I was claimed as a dependent for 2007 and did not get a stimulus check. From what I was told, my parents did not get something for me either. will not be claimed in 2008. So when I’ve been looking at my taxes for 2008, HR Block online says I’m entitled to a $600 credit … in addition to a general refund of my overpaid taxes.

  6. almost there says:

    The stimulus check was a freebie, not a prepayment and does not count against your total tax bill for 2008, so it will not decrease your refund or what you owe.

  7. palm says:

    The weather extremes we’ve seen here are in the opposite direction, crazy warm. I always wondered why people chose to use the term global warming, which seems to imply that everyone gets a little hotter, instead of what actually happens, which is that the cold days get colder and more common, and the hot days get hotter and more common (increased “extreme weather events”). Calling it global warming makes it easy to confuse climate with weather. I’ve also heard the process called anthropogenic climate change which seems more accurate. Anyway, your winter sounds like a drag. Whereas here it’s 80 degrees in January. It’s not unpleasant, although it is extremely disconcerting.

  8. Robert says:

    The stimulus package was like other people have said above.

    The normal tax rate is 10% for the first $8000 or so. The stimulus check changed that tax rate to 0% on the first $6000 and then %10 on the rest of the $8000. But we will still file taxes as normal and will still have to pay the same amount. We have already received the refund on the first $6000.

    That is why H&R said that Matt has a $600 credit – he didn’t get his stimulus package so there is $600 in taxes that he will be taxed for that he shouldn’t have to pay.

    I forgot what the upper bound for the stimulus package was, but if you make that much, you didn’t get that extra tax break.

    To sum it up:
    You will not be taxed on that $600
    Your refund will not be lowered $600
    It will be exactly as it would have been without the $600 stimulus payment.

  9. Art says:

    The sun has immeasurably more effect on our climate than man can ever have.

    That notwithstanding, we should still take care of our own environment.

    Punishing us with taxes, fees, and other “global warming” costs and unintended consequences is certainly not the answer.

    Contrary to popular belief, the sky is NOT falling. The sun may be getting hotter.

  10. Matt says:

    I’m amazed that people choose to believe global warming, when we have only 50 years of semi-reasonable data, and cycles last for hundreds of years (as the same global warming “experts” admit to). If you actually do some research, you’ll find that from 2000-2005, there was additional ice in the arctic, and since 2008 there hasn’t been as much as 2005… but what do you expect, it to constantly increase or stay the same? Of course not.

    And global warming will not create extreme-to-extreme, either. If anything, El Nino will be affected, causing warm regions to get cold and consequently cold regions to get warm. Allthewhile, water temperature would increase, causing the molecules to expand ever-so-slightly, which is what would cause the increased water-levels… not the melting of the icebergs. The iceberg melting’s only real influence (barring polar bears not having as much land :)), is that there would be less salty salt water, which would go back to El Nino.

    Anyway, do some research from both sides before thinking global warming is the worst thing we’ve ever experienced before. I doubt the dinosaurs caused the meteor to strike the earth (if that theory is even true).

  11. almost there says:

    This global warming due to man made co2 is a bunch of hooey. The earth is going through this warming period as it has done for billions of years due to where it is in the solar cycle as our planets transit the milky way. One can google “The horizon project” on google video and watch the first program put out by the named team. As we get closer to the center of the gallexy the gravitational force increases. This is why the zodiac was used by all ancient civilizations to track the ages. So, earth shift will happen around 2012, how much, who knows. I feel that Denver is safe from any tidal action though. Will I stop saving for the future? No. Will we die? Some scientists predict lots will.
    Shift Happens.

  12. Art says:

    Do your own experiment. Buy two thermometers and place each one in a different location. Record the temperatures at the same time over a two week period. I can guarantee that the two thermometers will rarely show the exact same temperature. I guess that would mean that global warming exists near the “hotter” thermometer that shows a 1-2 degree higher temperature.

  13. Gabriel says:

    Another excellent round up! I read the article regarding inexpensive nutrition, and for the most part it was great advice. However, I was concerned when I read that the author considered carbs as “filling” food. I have been researching nutrition for many years, as the metabolic effects of the food I consume is vital to my maintained health. Here is the comment I left on the article page:

    I have to admit I raised my eyebrows when I saw carbs as “filling food.” Due to various health issues related to hormonal regulation, I have immersed myself in nutrition research for years. Granted, some people are more prone to the ill effects of carbs than others, but for many people (who can easily be identified by having a heavy middle) carbs are nothing but hungry pills. It is true that whole grain carbs are better than refined, but that is only because the carbs have their protein left intact. Why not just have protein, especially since new research shows that most people don’t get enough? I find that eggs and sardines are cheap, nutritious, and filling. Sardines, by the way, are an extremely healthy choice because of the healthy oil (good for brain cells) and the calcium from the bones (I mash up my sardines and don’t notice them at all)

    Dana Carpender has a fabulous nutrition blog and is a very entertaining writer. Check her out for more information!


  14. spaces says:

    It’s 60 degrees and sunny here in Houston. I may knock off work early this afternoon, put on some shorts, and go outside for a bit.

    Thanks for the link to the Brewer post. It’s a good one!

  15. ChrisB says:

    Thanks to those who replied about the rebate and refunds… what if you have dependents, though? We’ve got three kids, and — if I understood the rebate correctly — because the child tax credit was already included in the rebate check, I won’t be getting it again, correct? I understand that the $600 was because they zeroed the 10% bracket, and therefore my refund would be the. However, because I also got the credit for each of my kids, *that* will *not* be part of the refund. Yes? No?

  16. The Personal Finance Playbook says:

    I have an upcoming post about doing your taxes yourself. It’s incredibly easy. I wasn’t going to post it until Friday, but I may post it tomorrow, as I’ve been getting some tax questions via email lately from my readers.

  17. CPA Kevin says:

    ChrisB – it’s my understanding that the $300 per child won’t affect the “normal” child tax credits, so you should still get that as well.

  18. Ben says:

    Thanks for the mention Trent! Good luck with all the snow :)

  19. Suzanne says:

    2008 Federal Tax Brackets Explained – Just thought I should point out that the writer is using the lable Adjusted Gross Income when he really means Taxable Income. I got excited and through I could use Form 8880 from the confusion. I looked at the 1040 form to make sure I was not crazy.

  20. justin says:

    Global Warming is freezing my fanny off.

  21. Lauren says:

    I have to say I was surprised that you liked The Razor’s Edge: Lessons in True Wealth. When I emailed Trent about traveling, he seemed to discourage it since I would not necessarily have a game plan when I returned.

  22. Lily says:

    I currently live in Florida, but I grew up in Iowa. And three years ago, when I was living there between undergrad and graduate school, there was hardly any snow, like you said. There are few things in the natural world that I love more than snow! I was disappointed, to say the least. Especially when I talk to my dad this year and hear how much snow they are getting this year! He and my mother would both like to trade places with me for my 70-degree weather! I’m just afraid that when I move back to the Midwest this year, it’ll go back to the way it was three years ago with very little snow. :(

    And, to answer the delurking questions from a few days ago:
    What is your geographic location? Tallahassee, FL
    How did you find The Simple Dollar? I don’t honestly remember. Possibly Stumble!
    Are you male or female? Female
    How old are you? 25
    Are you married? Yes
    Why do you keep coming back to The Simple Dollar? It has a lot of good info and reminds me that I don’t have to have money to have a great life, which most people don’t realize.

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