How I Made $25 by Starting My Taxes

Income Tax Square Monopoly
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Editor’s update: This bonus is no longer available.

I don’t know if it was an eggnog buzz or my Type A personality, but somehow I found the motivation to get a jump on my taxes over the Christmas vacation. I oraganized my deductions, scanned receipts and I even uploaded my Quicken data to TurboTax. 🙂

I feel very blessed that we had a good year (mainly due to the growth of The Penny Hoarder), but it’s become clear that we are going to need to write a check to Uncle Sam on April 15. Based on my current calculations it looks like we are going to owe around $2,000 (+ our contributions throughout the year), although I’m still looking for ways we can cut the bill. One easy way would be for us to max out our IRA contributions before April 15th (the IRS lets you deduct contributions for 2011 as long as they are made before April 15, 2012).

I’ve started Googling for the best place to open an IRA, but as you might imagine, I’m not about to open an account at a new institution without some free money. Brokerages and banks are always giving out free cash to new customers who open an account so I went on the hunt for the best deal…

I stumbled upon which is currently giving $25 to customers who open a new account. I actually bookmarked this site months ago when I read that Steve from had already made 20% in 9 months on a test account he created.

You know how wealthy people have money managers that constantly sweep their money and invest in smart mutual funds, ETF’s and bonds? That’s the idea  – except this can be used by anyone, no matter how much money you have. You can choose which stocks to invest in or you can tell Betterment your age & goals and it will suggest a portfolio for you.

It’s actually a pretty cool site visually and the best part is that it’s cheap! There are no minimum balances, transaction fees, holding periods, or hidden costs. You just pay a yearly fee for them to manage your money (between .03-.09% annually). That works out to $9 a year on a $1,000 balance which is less than what most brokerages charge for one transaction.

If you are interested it giving it a try (or if you want to claim your $25 and run 🙂 ), here are the details on how to get the bonus:

– The $25 bonus is only available on individual accounts

– You need to deposit at least $250 into your account within the first 60 days

– You don’t need to maintain a minimum balance in order to use Betterment, but you do need to keep at least $250 in the account for 60 days to get the free $25.

Good luck Penny Hoarders!