Has this been a financially difficult year for you and your family? Here are five unique ways to help your family save some money to make those difficult times a little easier.
Home and family expenses are something that will always be there. No matter where you are in your life, something usually always pops up that becomes an unexpected cost or something you just weren't financially prepared for. It's okay, it happens! Commonly, you are always looking for the next best way to save a few dollars every month or every week as you budget for your family or your life. Here are five different and unique ways to save a little extra money to help your family stay a little more financially comfortable no matter what happens.
2. Work From Home
Who wouldn't love the opportunity to go to work in your PJs, in a beautiful and comfortable space that you've created, with your favorite four-legged pet as your coworker? A lot of perks will come out of this choice faster than you could think. Right away, you'll be saving money on your commute. You might be walking a few feet to get to work, but you will no longer be driving miles to get to the office and back home again. This will cut down on gas cost and maintenance to your vehicle. This could also be a huge time saver for you. You can have the option to sleep in a little longer before you have to clock in. You can use this extra time to drop your kids off at school or pick them up. You can save money on babysitters, too! You'll be home if anything happens, you won't need a pickup service, and you no longer need to rely on anyone to be there when they get home.
You also won't need to go out for breakfast, lunch, snacks, or coffee. You can walk right into your kitchen for anything you might need. This could also turn into another monetary gain from your employer. It ultimately saves them money in operational cost if you're working from home using your own power, internet, and phone lines. So, they just might be willing to give you a raise for making this move home since you will be helping them save more money in the long run too.
3. Weekends and Vacations
How often do you take advantage of your town or city? How often have you treated yourself to a staycation? You don't have to spend tons of money or any money at all to create the best weekends, trips, or memories. Take advantage of the free parks and natural wonders around you. Take a packed lunch to the beach, a local pond, or park. Take advantage of free concerts, free admission days to art galleries and museums. Pay close attention to your town's local paper and read up on all the free activities offered throughout the year. Volunteer for local charities, go fishing, check out our local library, and go stargazing! The possibilities are endless!
Have you heard of a staycation? It is exactly what it sounds like. Get ready to spend the most relaxing weekend (or week!) in your favorite PJs, cooking your favorite meals, and finally renting or checking out that movie or book you've been dying to get your hands on. If you're taking a full week of vacation - enjoy the wonders of your city. You don't need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to travel somewhere. Stay in a local hotel and pretend you're a tourist. See the sights, finally try out that new restaurant, and find a new (to you) watering hole! Enjoy your whole vacation with the comfort of your own home or hometown in the background!
4. Programmable Thermostats and Solar Panels
It's easy when the depths of winter and the height of summer comes along that your electric bill skyrockets into some very scary high numbers. But think about it - you're keeping your home cozy or cool for a lot of time that you're not even home to enjoy it. And, it can be cumbersome to remember to change those thermostats before you walk out the door every day. Why not invest a little to gain back a lot? Programmable thermostats have become very affordable and most, if not all of them, can be controlled by your smart devices. So even if you forget to set them before you leave for the day, you can change your thermostats from anywhere!
On top of that, save even more money by taking advantage of the sun here in the Lowcountry! If it has to be so hot, why not take advantage of it? Installations of solar panels can be extremely affordable if you work out the proper contract and don't buy them. Once they're installed and up and running if you're not using all the power you're generating, a lot of the time this power can be carried over into the next month. And sometimes, your local power companies will buy this extra power from you - giving you a little more money in the bank or credit towards the months when the sun isn't out as much. And don't worry about those cloudy days or cooler weather. Solar panels store energy for days and months that are known for not soaking up the sun. This way your money-saving options can continue throughout the year!
5. Save Money when the Windfall Comes
Have you recently stumbled upon a very profitable time in your life? Have you recently inherited or won a good sum of money? Have you recently received a wonderful raise or bonus? Congratulations! The first thing a lot of us will do is throw this exciting chunk of change at a new car, a shopping spree, or a lavish vacation. There is nothing wrong with celebrating and enjoying these profitable times, but these windfalls won't always come around. Instead of spending all of this exciting capital on the fun stuff, put some of it in savings. Invest it for tougher and tighter times. Save it now for an even bigger and better dream or the opportunity to retire sooner. It might not be the most fun you could have at that moment, but you will appreciate it later down the line. Maybe when you least expect it!
Hard financial times happen for all of us. But if you think about money-saving tips in new and unique ways, these hard times may become fewer and farther between. Start now by implementing these 5 tips into your everyday life to make the rest of 2019, and into the beginning of 2020, a little easier for you and your bank account!
Our most recent blog was dedicated to all the known and unknown items you can look forward to writing off your personal taxes this year. But with new tax cuts and the Job Act of 2017 are you aware of everything you can no longer write off on your personal taxes this year?
It was a delight to share in our last blog all of the wonderful known, and possibly unknown items, that you can write off of your personal taxes come April 15th. These write-offs can be such a relief to any family and a surprise to your bank account when Uncle Sam comes knocking. But it's just as important to know what you cannot write off your family's taxes, so there are no unpleasant surprises. This year could be one of the most difficult years of write-offs thanks to Tax Cuts and the Job Act of 2017. Tax code has changed dramatically, and once you have filed your 1040 (your personal federal income return) this tax season - these write-offs will no longer be available to you.
Understandably, you may not know about these new laws. Tax law for your personal taxes are hard to keep up with or hard to follow - the documents are all available for research, but they can be difficult volumes to understand and interpenetrate. But these new changes are credited to be the largest tax overhaul in over 30 years. A lot of people won't even know about these changes until they go to file. Beat this statistic and read up now - this way you can prepare your finances to pay for items this tax season that you've never had to pay for before.
Businesses and Corporations aren't the only ones who can have write-offs and deductibles. As a tax-paying citizen, you can too! Do you know all of the common and most important write-offs for you and your family? Don't worry - this will explain them all!
You might think it crazy that some people look forward to doing their taxes every year. But really, they're letting you in on a really important secret. Taxes DON'T have to be as painful as they have been played off to be. What have taxes done to you? I mean - besides taking your hard earned money every April 15th. But maybe think about it from another angle - what can doing your taxes give back to you? Just two magic words: itemized deductions. That is the golden ticket. But are you keeping track of all of your expenses and are you writing off everything that you can? It's so easy to overlook some of the most common and lucrative tax deductions. So we are here to shine a light on all of them - so maybe next tax season, you can save a couple extra of those hard earned dollars.
Tax season is still nine months away, but we always recommend staying on top of your expenses, keeping track of all your important paperwork, and staying organized. There are TONS of amazing apps and programs that can help you do that. You just need to find the right one that works for you. It's so easy now to go paperless too - if you aren't totally paperless yet, maybe look into that. It'll cut down on the number of pieces of paper you have to keep your eyes on. And might open up a drawer or two in your desk. Always make the most out of any available tax deductions and exemptions. Each one that you claim gets subtracted from your gross income so your actual taxable income is automatically lowered.
First, I want to address those who work from home. This does span between the world of business tax and personal tax and can sometimes be a grey area. But be just as dedicated in keeping track of all of your work records and receipts as you would your own personal papers. You can write off your home workspace, no matter the size. Even if it's just a small corner of the kitchen or your den. But this dedicated space can ONLY ever be used for work purposes. The tip on knowing how much to write off is this: measure the workspace and divide it by the square footage of your home. The percentage you come up with is the amount of housing payment and utility that you can deduct every year. You can also write off other business expenses such as paper, pens, computers, and other commonly used goods and services. But again, similarly to your workspace, you can only use these dedicated items for your business. This also includes your phone lines. You can only write off the percentage of your cellphone bill of how much time you're using it for business. If you still have a landline (kudos to you!) you cannot write it off unless you have two landlines. The IRS doesn't recognize your first landline as a deductible, but it will recognize your second landline as a deductible. That way they know your first line is used for anything but business, while the other is used only for business.
If you don't own your own business and work from home - don't worry. There are still plenty of other write-offs for you and your family. Of course, tax law and tax code do change every year. So if you personally do your taxes yourself and use a program like Quickbooks or have your accountant do your taxes every year - always make sure you're up to date on any changes to any tax law. Most big changes will quickly be made into very public knowledge - what else do we love to talk about more than changes that will affect our income? But always double-check! Your next step is to decide how you're going to file. There are four common deduction categories, but there are more. Make sure you look into all of them before you file. But if you're filing as a single person the total number of deductions is $12,000. If you married and filing jointly or you're a qualified widow(er) with a dependent child the standard deduction is $24,000. If you're filing as the Head of Household, the standard deduction is $18,000.
To receive your deductions, itemizing all of them might help you save some more money. But you still might have to do a little extra math. So keep your calculator close. If your itemized deductions add up to more than your standard deduction - you will end up saving money on your taxes by taking the extra steps to itemize your deductions!
COMMON ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS! (Don't overlook these gems!)
With all the wonderful tax services at your disposal, why would you take on the daunting task of taxes alone? With Hoods Tax & Accounting, we are on your side to help with completing and filing your taxes on time in 2019! We are available for appointments, all you have to do is call and schedule! We work with the individual to ensure their taxes are filed and completed to IRS standards.
It is in your best interest to go through a tax service like Hoods to ensure that your taxes are completed appropriately! We also try our best to inform you of any deductions you may qualify for to save you money! We love what we do and enjoy working with every one of our clients!
So, if you are wanting your taxes done early, correctly, and professionally, contact Hoods Tax & Accounting today to schedule an appointment with an expert!
The Federal Unemployment Tax Act
The Federal Unemployment Tax Act, or FUTA as it’s commonly known for, helps fund state workforce agencies in the United States. In order to file this tax, employers will fill out Form 940 and sometimes pay the tax in installments during the year.
FUTA supports the government use of job programs and the insurance that unemployed citizens are deemed rightful to when without a job. Each state has a different tax percentage in which they pay in the Federal Unemployment Tax. South Carolina employers pay 0.3% in the Federal Unemployment Tax each year.
As a community, we want to ensure that every citizen has the means to employment, and with the money from this tax going into job growing and producing measures, it is achieving the purpose for employer and employee.
If you have any questions regarding taxes, please feel free to contact Hoods Tax and Accounting! We would love to speak with you!
Professional Tax Planning
While there are many fantastic ways you can tax plan by yourself, the number one way to efficiently tax plan for the coming tax season is to use your resources of professional tax planers. When dealing with the government you do not want to run the risk of not filing your taxes incorrectly. Eliminate that worry by contacting Hoods Taxes & Consulting for any and all your tax needs.
In order to start planning professionally for your taxes, it is imperative for you to make an appointment with the tax expert now rather than later. Getting started early can benefit you in more ways than one. Therefore, as you gather the items you need to start filing your taxes, give Hoods Tax and Accounting a call! Our professionals will help you in whatever way we can!
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