David Bakke is a writer for Money Crashers Personal Finance, where he shares tips for smart shopping, saving money, and building a long-term nest egg.
The federal government recently allowed the payroll tax holiday to expire, which resulted in a reduction in take-home pay for many Americans. With the current national debt close to $17 trillion, more changes might not be out of the question in the future. You can’t control tax policy, but you can control your own personal economy. There are several measures you can take to reduce your overall tax bill simply by educating yourself and doing a little work. If you’re serious about saving money on taxes, check out the following helpful tips.
1. Prepare Your Return on Your Own Check out the IRS website for free file fillable forms along with a list of organizations that can help you prepare your tax return for free – as long as your adjusted gross income is $57,000 or less. Alternatively, explore the many options for tax preparation software from your local retailer. Most are very user-friendly and are designed to maximize your return and minimize your bill. Plus, the cost of that software is tax-deductible. Preparing your own return also has the benefit of giving you an education on your own finances and how they interact with taxes, which can lead to even more ways to save.
Giving gifts to your loved ones always takes a lot of time and money. If you find it tricky to survive the gift-giving season with a small budget, let me give you some tips.
First of all, set a budget based on the amount of money you can afford to spend. Then make a list of everyone you want to buy for. Take time deciding and writing down the amount of money you are willing to spend on each person. This way, you are establishing a tight limit on your expenditures.
Next, start your shopping early. Look for things for specific people or keep an eye out for gifts that would work for anyone. You can take action any time, since you know how much you will spend and have an idea of the nice items you really want to buy. You can do one-stop shopping at major stores.
Paying full price for gift cards is a thing of the past. There are several different outlets for saving money when it comes to buying gift cards today. Some of these deals may be harder to find then others, but when they’re found, there are certainly some great savings to be had.
Shop Daily Deal Websites
Websites like Groupon and LivingSocial, will often feature deals on different gift card merchants. For example, they recently had an opportunity where consumers could purchase a $10 Dunkin Donuts gift card for $4. These deals don’t come around all that often, so it’s important to check their site daily or subscribe to their newsletter if you don’t want to miss out on any of these savings. To receive even more savings opportunities, create an account on their site and plug in your location. By doing so, they will send you deals on gift cards to local restaurants, spas, and events going on in your area.
Black Friday is one of the best shopping days of the entire year. You can take advantage of a number of Black Friday shopping deals and save on holiday presents, as well as things you may need for your home or family. Since there are so many deals, you need to create an action plan before you even start shopping. These steps will help you prepare to go shopping.
Image courtesy of djLicious via Flickr (CC by 2.0)
The first step in making the most of your Black Friday shopping is to make a list of the things that you want to buy. You can start by listing the people you need to shop for, as well as the items you need to buy if you find them on sale. This is a good starting point, but next to each person, list two or three items that would work so that you have options depending on what goes on sale for the year.
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