You can blow your tax refund on a big-screen TV or gamble it away in Vegas — or you can do something smart with it. When the state and federal government pays its debt to you in the form of a big, fat tax refund, think of practical ways to use it. Before you blow the whole payoff on a few fun, short-term whims, we have six practical uses for your tax refund that have long-term benefits for your overall financial health. Read all about them on our sister site, Living on the Cheap.
For some indoor winter fun, check out the programs offered at Fountain Creek Nature Center, 320 Pepper Grass Lane, Fountain. Fountain Creek Nature Adventures explores the Owl Moon on Thursday, March 5, 9-10:30 a.m. Children ages 3-6, with an adult, will enjoy puppet show or stories, crafts, hands-on activities, and discovery time on the trail. ($3 for each participant including adults and siblings, reservations required, 520-6745.) Get Wild With The Ellicott Wildlife Rehabilitators on Saturday, March 7, 10-11 a.m. A 45 minute presentation will be followed by a questions and answers with the rehabilitators as they discuss their wildlife rehab program and how people can help the wildlife they find. Educational ambassador Red-Tail Hawk. Cost is $3/member, $4/non-member. Reservations required, 719-520-6745
Art walks are a great way to explore a neighborhood, espeically on a summer evening. If this appeals to you, be sure to catch the Downtown First Friday Art Walk, 5-8 p.m. Friday, starting at 1 Tejon St. The galleries and businesses in downtown Colorado Springs will offer refreshments for body and soul as you stroll the historic district of downtown Colorado Springs on a fine evening. Look for shops displaying the Downtown Art Walk poster in their windows and grab a FREE map to help you locate the next venue. For more information, call 634-5299.
Want to learn all about fly fishing? Check out the 2015 Colorado Springs Fly Fishing Show at Angler’s Covey Fly Shop on Saturday March 7, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Doors open at 9 and the first presentation is at 9:30; the event concludes at 3 p.m. The shop is located at 295 S 21st St. Call (719) 471-2984 for more information. Admission is FREE.
Over the past few years, consumers have found themselves paying a higher percentage of their medical costs. The Affordable Care Act has given more Americans access to health insurance, but many of those plans come with high deductibles – which are also becoming more common in employer-provided plans. The average deductible for workers with employer-provided health insurance grew from $826 in 2009 to $1,217 in 2014, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, with the percentage of insured workers who face a deductible of $1,000 or more growing from 6% in 2006 to 32% in 2014. Plans offered in the ACA exchange have an average deductible of $5,081 for an individual and $10,386 for a family for the bronze plans, the most popular of the four “metal” tiers, according to an analysis by HealthPocket. This change has made it important for consumers to approach medical care as they do other purchases – shopping for not only quality, but also price. Unfortunately, the system doesn’t make that easy. For 12 tips on how to reduce your health care costs, read the full story on our sister site, Living on the Cheap.
Is the weather miserable? Kids stuck indoors? You need ideas for cheap kids’ activities and homemade toys to keep them entertained. The creativity used to make handmade toys is fun in itself. Plus, using household items is a good way to reuse and recycle stuff you already have. We’ve found 10 DIY toys, games and kids activities suitable for indoor play. They start simple, followed by ones that require more materials, skill, preparation or adult supervision. For all 10, check out the full story on our sister site, Living on the Cheap.
Could you use a new family portrait? then check out the Swing Into Spring Facebook Contest, now through March 31 at the Promenade Shops at Briargate. Share you favorite spring memory on their Facebook page and be entered for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate from Portrait Innovations. Tell everyone what you love about spring — a spring break trip, a favorite flower, an Easter memory, or any other spring memory. CLICK HERE to enter.
Philosophy at the Library is a series of talks given by UCCS Philosophy instructors at Library 21c, 1175 Chapel Hills Dr. The partnership series is celebrating UCCS’ 50th Anniversary and will be held the first Tuesday of the month from February through November from 4:30 – 6 p.m. March 3 – “Liberation through Love of Fate in the Bhagavad Gita” Geoff Ashton; April 7 – “Neuroscience and the Flame of Consciousness” Rex Welshon; Sept. 1 – “Love and Hate” Dorothea Olkowski; Oct. 6 – “The Theology of American Political Discourse” Jeff Scholes; and Nov. 3 – “Do We Have Moral Obligations to the Poor?” Jennifer Jensen. All lectures are FREE and no registration is required.
It pays to be a little older and wiser. On the first Tuesday of every month, Walgreens offers customers 55 and older a discount on many in-store purchases. (Proof of age may be required, so bring a photo ID. Plus, the offer is only valid with its Balance Rewards program.) On Senior Savings Day, qualifying customers save 20% on all regular-price merchandise. Note: The discount no longer applies to sale items. Of course, there are some restrictions: Discounts are not valid on prescriptions, cigarettes, dairy products, liquor, liquor department items, phone cards, newspapers, magazines, stamps, gift cards, items or services submitted to insurance for reimbursement or where otherwise limited by law. Make sure to read the fine print on the bottom of Walgreens’ Senior Savings Day page for a full review of restrictions. If you don’t qualify, consider asking an older relative or friend to go shopping with you to get in on the savings. Be sure you’re a member of its FREE loyalty program, Balance Rewards, for maximum savings.
In celebration of National Pancake Day, IHOP is serving FREE pancakes on Tuesday, March 3. More than 1,500 IHOP restaurants will be flipping a FREE short stack of buttermilk pancakes for diners between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. — while supplies last. In return for the freebie, guests are asked to consider leaving a donation for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals or other local causes. Limit one short stack per customer. For locations nationwide, click here. Price and participation may vary.
Southird (South Third Street Merchants Association of Victor) sponsors Victor’s 3rd on 3rd. The merchants on South Third Street will be open until 8 p.m. (and on the third day of every month). Merchants included are Sue’s Fortune Club, The Victor / Lowell Thomas Museum, The Victor Trading Co. & Manufacturing Works and Marigold Mercantile, all located on South Third Street. FREE refreshments will be served at each location and many will have specials from 5 till 8 p.m. For more information, call 689-2346.
Through March 2, Redbox is offering surprise discounts on movie and video game rentals. To get the discounts, text “DEALS” to 727272. Each day that you send a text, Redbox will send you a promo code for one of the following:
- Rent one DVD and get another one free for your rental day.
- $1 discount on your first rental day of any disc.
- 75-cent discount on your first rental day of any disc.
- 50-cent discount on your first rental day of any disc.
- $1.50 off of a one-day game rental. Note that by signing up, you’re agreeing to receive marketing texts from Redbox at the number provided. You can text STOP to the same number to cancel. All promo codes expire at 11:59 p.m. CST on March 2.