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One of the primary concerns on taxpayers' minds during the tax season is how to get the most money back or pay the least amount of income tax when they file their tax returns. Claim All DeductionsDeductions, in a nutshell, are simply qualified expenses that reduce your taxable income. Fees and dues to professional societies: You might have paid these fees to maintain your membership for professional purposes, such as maintaining a professional certification, maintaining your membership in a civic or public service organization or your membership in a business league.
Job search expenses: You can deduct expenses related to job-searches - even if you did not get a job - as long as the job you were looking for is one in your present occupation.
Travel expenses: If you had to travel away from home on a temporary assignment for work, you might be able to deduct related travel expenses. Charitable donations: If you made donations to charitable organizations such as the Salvation Army, the value of the items donated is deductible. These are just a few of a long list of items for which taxpayers may claim a deduction if they are eligible. Claim CreditsCredits are much more effective than deductions at reducing your tax bill as they are netted directly against the amount of income tax that you owe instead of merely reducing the amount of income upon which you owe tax. The Earned Income Tax Credit: This is for individuals who earn less than $9,078 from wages, self-employment or farming. The Child and Dependent Care Credit: This is for expenses paid for the care of your qualifying children under age 13, or for a disabled spouse or dependent, while you work or look for work. The Child Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit: These are available to you if you if have qualifying children, and can be claimed while you claim the Child and Dependent Care Credit. If you are eligible for these credits, they can substantially reduce or even eliminate the amount of tax that you owe and thus increase your refund.
Should You Itemize?Something that every taxpayer should take into account is whether or not he or she should itemize deductions. In 2014, there is an adjusted gross income (AGI) threshold phaseout schedule for higher income filers who itemize their deductions. The Bottom LineThere are special rules that apply to claiming deductions and credits on your tax return.
There’s a problem with all of those thoughts; they’re excuses that will hold you back from the kind of life you want, free from the worry of money problems. We’ve all heard the numbers about student loans, and how their staggering amounts make it virtually impossible to make any kind of financial headway with them on your back. Are you currently saving for retirement or does it seem so far off that you don’t think starting now will make a difference?
I’m not a big fan of no spend months but I believe it’s possible to go without a non-essential item for one month. There’s no need for explanation on this; you can save crazy money each month by killing cable. I’m not very good with my hands, but I learned one thing quickly when we became homeowners – it’s expensive to hire someone to fix something for you. I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I have this theory that everyone has to live within an allotted amount each month, some people have a larger amount and a looser budget but they still have to live within that amount unless they want to go into debt. I tracked every dollar I spent for the first time last month and it was really eye-opening. I appreciate the reminder to start shopping for the holidays now – something I haven’t even considered but the year is flying by and that time will approach quickly!
Welcome to Frugal Rules!I'm a veteran of the financial services industry who's learned the hard way how to invest, save, and manage my money.
MORE ABOUT JOHNI'm a Dad, husband, and veteran of the financial services industry committed to teaching the next generation how to manage money wisely. In accordance with FTC guidelines, Frugal Rules would like to disclose that it has financial arrangements with some of the entities mentioned herein. Our top ten lists are second to none and these lists have caused a quite stir amongst our readers. Maybe I was just that nerdy kid, but the end of August was always my favorite time of year.
I’m sure that my back to school bliss will not be quite what it used to be, now that I’m the one buying the supplies.
If you are shopping online, Amazon and Walmart have school supply list search engines which make it easy to buy from and check off the school supply list. You can save money while shopping online by using a comparison search engine like PriceGrabber or Google Shopping.
If you plan to do a bulk of your school shopping online, Discount School Supply is just one of many websites that offer school supplies for significantly lower prices than even Walmart. Gabe’s, Big Lots, Dollar General, Roses, and Tuesday Morning are my favorite discount stores for finding inexpensive school supplies and back to school clothes. Kristi Muse is a freelance writer, blogger, police officer’s wife, and millennial mom to two beautiful children.
We’re reusing a few things from last year, shopping my stash of school supplies purchased for dirt-cheap during past years, and buying everything we can at the back-to-school sales.
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Unfortunately, many people tend to do little or no research on this topic, which often causes them to pay more income tax than they really owe. Most taxpayers tend to focus on the common and well know deductions, but there are several uncommon deductions you may qualify for.


Be sure to keep receipts for your donated items as the IRS requires that you have written confirmation for all charitable donations.
You may need to meet special requirements for some deductions, so be sure to check and make sure you are eligible before claiming any of these items on your tax return. They can actually provide you with a refund in some cases even if you had no tax withholding from your income for the year. Generally, you should itemize your deductions if it results in a lower taxable income than if you claim the standard deduction. Following the instructions for filing your tax return can help you to determine these limits. The IRS provides a wealth of information on its website, including complete instructions for filing your tax return with all the supporting schedules. Below are some ways to get your finances on track this summer and hit your goals this year.
According to Bankrate, the average APR on a variable rate card is almost 16 percent – and many are significantly higher than that.
Sit down and list out all of your debts, the interest rates, balances and minimum monthly payments to see where you stand financially. Check out the current rates at Credible to see how much money you can save by consolidating or refinancing your loans. You can either do some comparison shopping to reduce a bill or you can cut a bill altogether. However, you shouldn’t overlook the opportunity staring you in the face – and that’s at your day job. Make it a goal to pay yourself that amount and deposit it into your savings account at the end of the month.
When we moved last month we sold a number of items – some large and some small and made close to $400. With the amount of tutorials online you can do many things around the house and save a chunk of money in the process. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally.
One way to increase our income that we overlooked for a long time was to change to a different employer.
We don’t use a set budget, but track the heck out of our expenses and gauge spending from there. We actually decided to sell a bunch of things from our basement and garage this summer, mostly because they are cluttering things but secondly because my son surprisingly made a premier soccer team and we hadn’t budgeted for the team fees so we thought a good way to get some cash would be to sell a number of items that now have dust on them from sitting around our house for over four years. In Frugal Rules, I've created an online community where together, we pursue financial literacy and freedom. Frugal Rules may be compensated if visitors choose to click on some of the links located throughout the content on this site. You must get a card that reflects exactly what your spending pattern is to utilize the most out of the card rewards. Credit cards do things in their best interest and they only allow you to capture the best rewards by paying the full balance..
Even if you are a smart shopper and plan ahead, buying everything on your child’s school supply list, as well as new school clothes and shoes etc. In the stress of the last few weeks of summer, it can be easy to throw your budget out the window for the sake of just getting everything on your to-do list done. Just type in the item that you are looking to buy, and prices for multiple locations will show in the search results. It is a coupon code finder which alerts you to available online coupons while you’re browsing the web. Also, Target has a program called School List Assist as well as buy one get one 50% off deals running through September for online and in-store back to school shopping. Also check your local dollar store to see if you can pick up items like tissue boxes and wipes. The stress of figuring out how you’re going to pay for it all can really have a negative effect on the experience. To help you avoid making such a mistake, this article will touch on some of the ways you get the most out of your tax return. But 2014 is the last year in which you can take a distribution from your traditional IRA and exclude it from taxation if you donate it directly to charity. And if preparing your return becomes too complicated, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.
You may not be going on a trip, but you may have kids home from school or other activities that’ll keep you busy, and perhaps not focused on your goals. You may have started the year off with the goal to get your finances back on track. The point is to get started because one step will turn into many taking you to the kind of life you want.
However, there is immense power in knowing where your money is going every month – without living by a true budget. Assuming you’ve cut the behavior that led to the credit card debt in the first place, you can save a good chunk of money by consolidating your outstanding balances into a lower rate loan. Find what you like that’s generic and put the savings towards something else in your budget. Some had to be tossed; other things could still be consumed, which saved us money the next few weeks on our groceries. That may seem like nothing, but taken over a year it comes out to $2,700 – that’s nearly half of the amount needed to max out a Roth IRA.


The side hustle my wife started six years ago has turned into a business and we’ve more than replaced our income as a result. Instead of wasting it on something frivolous, use it to build your emergency fund or invest in the stock market.
Use the momentum to build your savings and bonus points for challenging yourself to save even more – the goal, after all, is to change your behavior towards saving. If not, start putting away a little money each month now so you won’t be surprised at the end of the year. We both did this before we quit our jobs and it saved us money each month on things we were already doing. I did something similar when I was paying off debt and it helped me when I wanted to give up. I'm also a freelance writer, and regularly contribute to GoBankingRates, Investopedia, Lending Tree and more.
It doesn’t make sense that a firm would put the investment into someone and let them walk but it can turn out quite well income wise. However, as I am moving this month, I am really trying to spend less on everyday items because that’s one less thing I have to move!
Before you even set foot out the door or click that mouse, make sure you have a definitive number for your school supplies budget. During the tax holiday, certain clothes, shoes, and school supplies are exempt from sales tax.
Comparison Search Engines are powerful tools which can help you get the most out of your money by easily seeing which store has the lowest prices. Be a savvy shopper and look for good deals and coupons before you head out to buy everything on that list, take advantage of the tax holidays, and price compare online.
For example, if you file a joint return with your spouse and you itemize your deductions, your spouse must do so as well. This may seem expensive, but it will be money well spent if that professional gets you a larger refund or prevents your return from being selected for auditing by the IRS. Whether it was to attack debt, start saving for retirement or making extra money you had noble goals in mind. That power comes by seeing how you’re spending, which reveals any changes you may need to make. It can be as simple as reducing your cell phone bill by switching to Republic Wireless for as little as $10 per month or Straight Talk for as little as $35 per month or by cutting memberships you don’t use. Find a way to cut that in half, or more, and put that money to work for you, not against you. You may find the value is worth the cost, but you also may find a new money-saving opportunity. You can do the same and use it to pay off debt, invest in the stock market or build up your emergency fund. If you're wanting to learn how to monetize your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level. If you don’t have a hard-line amount budgeted for school supplies, you might spend more than you can actually afford. Make sure to plan ahead and go shopping early on those days, because more popular school supply items might run out of stock. Sometimes it’s best to pay a little bit more for quality so that you don’t have to go out and replace the cheaply made items later in the year.
A little bit of advanced planning can really help protect your budget. Try to be as excited about the school year as possible. This is my little corner of the internet, where I'm sharing my journey out of debt and clutter. There are many ways to track your spending, but I’ve found that automating it is the simplest way.
A service like $5 Meal Plan can help you come up with meal plans that everyone in your family will like and also help cut down on food waste. Some, like Betterment or Wealthfront allow you to open accounts for nothing or $500, respectively, and do much of the heavy lifting for you. Not only can that be a great way to bring in more money but you can also grow professionally. Check out Simple, a free banking app that helps you identify goals to save for and how to spending keeps you from accomplishing that goal. If you’ve come to the end of the month and no longer truly want the item, you’ve saved yourself money. You don’t want to be hurting for money before your next pay check, so take a few minutes to lay out exactly what your finances can handle. Your excitement will excite your kids, and back to school shopping will become a fun childhood memory for them. The waiting helps you see if you really value the item enough to part with your money over it.
By planning on getting your school supply shopping done during the tax holidays, you will be able to stretch your dollars to buy more or higher quality items with your money.



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