It is that time of year when newspapers and discussions of full of budgets, budgets, budgets! Want to look them over? Here are the links to the governmental recommended budgets currently being discussed and voted on by our elected representatives:

United States of America
Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2012

State of Iowa
Summary of FY2010 and FY2013 Budget and Governor’s Recommendations

Scott County of Iowa
Scott County, IA Budget & Financials for 2012

City of Davenport
City Administrator of Davenport’s Recommended Budget FY2012
Print copies available for viewing at all three Davenport Public Library Locations

Need contact information for your local governmental officials? Call, email or text the Davenport Public Library Reference Department:

Phone: (563)326-7832
Text: Start a text message with DPLKNOWS and send it to 66746.

or In-person: the reference desk is staffed during all library hours

Have you caught it yet?

We finally received the 1040 Instructions at the Davenport Public libraries, for which the phone has been ringing nearly continuously.

Due to 11th-hour filibustering at the end of the legislative session, the IRS had to edit/print paper tax publications and reprogram the computer processing systems.   Do not expect leniency on getting your return in, however.  E-filing will begin in mid to late February and the deadline stands at April 18th.

If you didn’t receive a print publication in the mail this year, it may be because you didn’t paper file last year.  The cost-cutting measure saved millions of dollars in postage and paper stock, albeit with some confusion.

Outside of the IRS office, libraries are the only place where you can get forms if for some reason you still haven’t attempted filing online.  Though a slower and typically less-accurate process, some people prefer the paper method.

Courtesy of savvy shortcut website for modern living, Lifehacker, here are the top ways to stay warm this winter for less dough.  Some involve constructing genius DIY doohickeys, others tweaks on classics.

I like the machine that cycles absorbed solar heat through 180 empty cans of your favorite beverage.  Well, I’d let someone else actually “make” the device.

And powered longjohns?  Interesting and doable, but I’ll leave that one to the experts.

Here’s our next tip for help in finding your next great read!

EarlyWord is the place to go to keep up with the latest in book news – what’s moving up the bestseller lists, award nominees and winners, forthcoming books with buzz, what book is being made into a movie. The emphasis is on connecting libraries to the publishing world, so you’ll also find reports on books that are showing a lot of reserves at a cross-section of libraries across the country, but this blog is packed with interesting and helpful information for any book lover.

The co-founders of EarlyWord – Nora Rawlinson and Fred Ciporen – each have strong ties to both the publishing and library worlds, but the tone of this blog is far from stuffy or academic. There’s a lot of humor and opinions but no snobbishness. Frequent postings – often 2 to 3 a day – keep things lively and current. With the end of the year approaching there has been a lot of information on award winners and “best of the year” lists with links to reviews for the big winners.

There are also links galore to all things book-related – publisher catalogs, book awards of all kinds, lists of “best” books from various publications, best seller lists, coming soon and previews, movies based on books (both finished films and those in various stages of production) including links to trailers for these movies. The “Consumer Media, Book Coverage” section will point you to that book you heard about on NPR last night, or the author Jon Stewart talked to last week.

Count on EarlyWord to entertain and inform – and to steer you to some great new books.

Awww, my stomach. Just rehearsing. But normally that’s the morning-after lament of the serially psychotic that go after doorbuster sales. In case you’ve been a devotee of online bargains using great portals like, you’ll notice there was a steep uptick in the amount of great posted deals starting a couple weeks ago. The reason for this being, retailers depend heavily on this time of year to bring their ledgers into the black and have a strong 4th quarter. They need more time. As far as they’re concerned, it started the day after Halloween.

Here is an excellent write-up the Argus did, hitting all of the key points with a few tips.

So if they’re bumping Black Friday up, does that mean we can engorge our stomachs a month early as well?

If you’re willing to get a jump on chili season before the hooded sweatshirts come out, you can save a mint due to the glut of local tomatoes.  Just walk into any break room across this great land of ours and nab the bag of tomatoes labeled “TAKE…PLEASE!”    Cut them up and dump them into a pot on top of browned meat of your choice and an onion.    Add half a bag of dried beans you soaked overnight.

Congratulations, you’re eating for a week for no money and didn’t get carpal tunnel opening a dozen tin cans.

It turns out that second only to Christmas, computer manufacturers depend bigtime on back-to-school demand to fuel the sales of computers.  Well, according to major player Intel, the kids (or cash-strapped moms and dads) didn’t want near as many as anticipated and they are stuck with a surplus on their hands.  If you’re willing to wait a month or so, this soft demand might mean an excellent deal if you were on the fence about a purchase.

Sure they give you a sweet deal on a phone when you buy one.  They’re not counting on you being a big-picture person.  Over the life of the contract, each one of those little amenities or extra services really add up.  There’s a huge markup, additionally on those accessories, i.e. junky headsets that make you look like a pretentious fool or schizophrenic in a public place and only cost 30 cents to make…

Or in this case, charging dock.  Not only does this free one you can make yourself look sweeter, it stays on the outlet and off the floor/countertop.

Anyone have a shampoo bottle?

Here are a few more ways to save significant amounts of money from the new book by Jeff Yeager called Cheapskate Next Door.

-Cut pieces of foam insulating board to fit windows in the winter and put them in at night or when you’re away to save a fortune on heat.

-Save big money on a car rental by helping auto transport companies relocate vehicles.  Lay down a deposit and they’ll provide a vehicle and tank of gas for approved drivers.

-Over a lifetime you’ll save about 5,000 gallons of gas and $30,000 or more by driving only cars with manual transmissions.

-Dry cleaning is a $9 billion a year business in the United States, loaded with toxic chemicals.  According to an article in Consumer Reports, “Dry-cleaning isn’t the only way to safely clean garments labeled dry-clean only, and other methods might even do a better job.”

Here are a few belt-tightening culinary tips from the new book The Cheapskate Next Door by Jeff Yeager:

-Order only tap water with your meal when you go out to eat. Beverages are typically marked up 300 to 600 percent. Ordering water only will save you about $800 a year.

-Put box-wine into premium label bottles and no one will know the difference. Check for for up to a 40% discount on premium bottles with cosmetic packaging imperfections.

-If you use a crock-pot once a week for eight hours, it will only use 30 cents of electricity a month, making cheap, tough cuts of meat fork-tender.

-Choose to host brunch, giving everyone their own quart-size ziplock bag and a serving tray of tasteful omelet ingredients.  Add a couple of eggs and boil all for fourteen minutes for perfect custom omelets, saving you $100 over a sit down dinner. proposes “cutting your grocery bill in half” with downloadable coupons and a state-by-state grocery coupon database. Owner Stephanie Nelson estimates her regular site users save $2,000 per year.