Your weekly money scoop: February 10, 2017

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Your weekly money scoop: February 10, 2017

By JENNIFER WILLIAMS

We're serving you our weekly bite-sized roundup of the stories you need to know. This week, read about how one woman went a year without unessential spending and learn about some of the quirkiest state tax laws in the U.S.

One woman didn't buy anything except groceries for a year -- and it saved her $23,000. When Michelle McGagh, a journalist in London, and her husband moved in to a house, she got rid of the majority of her belongings and decided to go a year without spending any money except on essentials, like her mortgage, bills and groceries. She found there were many ways to have fun without spending a buck (or more accurately, quid), like taking bike rides and visiting free museums. She even cut her own hair. Extreme? Yes. Impressive? Definitely.

If approved, Washington's proposed border tax could add thousands to some cars' price tags. If Congress moves forward with a plan to replace the U.S. corporate income tax with a tax on companies' imports, it's possible that many car companies -- because they import cars, or car parts, into the U.S. -- could choose to raise their prices to recover the costs. One research company estimates that the smallest increase of about $282 per car would come from Ford, which mostly manufactures domestically, while the largest would come from Jaguar Land Rover, at a whopping $17,000 per vehicle.

There's more to February than hearts and flowers; it's also good for some pretty solid sales. If finding a good deal makes your heart race more than the latest rom-com, keep an eye out for a variety of items that tend to go on sale this month. Since it's winter, air conditioner prices tend to drop. Also, Presidents' Day brings savings on mattresses. Why? Supposedly George Washington and Abraham Lincoln weren't great at sleeping (and marketers noticed).

The U.S. has some quirky state tax laws. New Mexico offers an exemption from state taxes after a resident turns 100. Meanwhile, unmarried men filing in Missouri between the ages of 21 and 50 get to pay a 'bachelor tax'. And if you file in Hawaii and have an 'exceptional tree' on your property, you could qualify for up to $3,000 in deductions to cover the costs of maintenance. Check out this list to discover obscure laws in your state and check with a tax professional for recommendations on your individual tax situation.

Is TSA PreCheck or Global Entry a better deal to zip you through airport security? That depends on your travel habits. The TSA announced it's rolling back the free access to TSA PreCheck that it offered to randomly selected travelers, meaning you'll now have to cough up $85 to gain access to the service for five years. If you usually fly domestically, this could be a good option. But if you also travel internationally, the Global Entry program might be a better deal. It costs $100 and includes TSA PreCheck, plus it can expedite your processing through Customs upon return into the U.S. <.p>

And that's the scoop this week -- see you next week for more.

About the Author: Jennifer Williams is a QA Specialist in Member Support at Credit Karma. She has her MFA in Fiction, and puts her skills to use helping members and training new hires. When she's off the clock, she can be found editing her novel, playing guitar, or hiking with her dog in the hills.

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