50 tips for riding out the recession

Maximize your credit cards
Grace periods amount to interest-free loans if you pay off full balance

Save on auto insurance
Lower your car insurance premiums with these useful tips

Get the best available price
Tips to avoid missing a sale or discount, even after purchase

Recession-proof your job
With virtually every industry cutting jobs, you're probably asking yourself: Am I next?

Share your tips
Baltimore Sun reporters share news and tips on shopping, saving money, deals and credit

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  • IRS expands free electronic filing to all

    Here's a tax break for all taxpayers: File your federal tax return for free with the IRS. The tax agency this year expanded its electronic filing program in ways that make it free for anyone who wants to use it. First, the income limit to qualify for the IRS Free File program has been raised. Taxpayers...

  • Use Web to track discounts on merchandise

    There is no reason to buy anything full price these days, especially apparel. Retailers have been slashing prices deeper and more frequently than ever before to entice financially strapped consumers. That means the shirt or boots you've been eyeing could be marked down more than once. Instead of...

  • Finding new ways to trim your cell phone expenses

    Worried about how much it costs every time you reach out and touch someone ... on your cell phone? Many people look to these costs as a way to trim spending when times are tough. If you're shopping for a new plan, analyze your calling, texting and data-download patterns. can help...

  • Get a credit line before you need one

    Christopher Parr counts this among his basic rules of financial planning: Put your credit lines in place when you don't need them. "When you do need them, you may have trouble qualifying," says Parr, a principal with Financial Advantage Inc. in Columbia. "If you've lost your job and want to set...

  • FDIC insurance provides more protection this year on your bank and credit union deposits

    Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was created during the Depression to restore confidence in banks. Last year, with some of the largest bank failures in history, the FDIC's insurance protections on bank accounts got a substantial boost. The basic insurance limit in October was raised from $100,000...

  • 7. Ask health clubs about a break on fees

    Ask health clubs about a break on fees

    Economy hurting them, too, and discounts might help keep members

  • Get a reprieve for distributions from retirement accounts

    Older savers get a one-year reprieve in 2009 from having to take distributions from retirement accounts because of the recent stock market turmoil. This helps if you don't need to dip into a traditional IRA, 401(k), 403(b) and 457 plans to live on. You can leave the money untouched, where it may...

  • IRS cuts some slack for those facing hardships

    Would you believe a kindler, gentler Internal Revenue Service? The agency says it is cutting some slack now for those who owe back taxes given the economic turmoil. Among the promised changes: •Suspension of collection actions if you lost a job, rely solely on Social Security or welfare income,...

  • Now's the time to build up your cash reserves

    The scarcest things in any financial crisis are cash and credit. That's why, even as the country becomes reacquainted with words such as frugal and responsible, you should be careful about paying off debt if it leaves you cash-poor. Banks are cutting credit lines using a variety of excuses - late...

  • Budget billing can help soften impact of energy cost swings

    Opening utility bills during the winter and summer can be alarming. Many consumers are finding that out right now. The fluctuations in payments can throw off any budget, especially if you owe more than expected. If you want consistency during uncertain times, consider plans that spread out heat...