Are your 2013 taxes driving you crazy? With the deadline looming, you may be scrambling to file on time or, if you won’t be ready, to request an extension.
I worked with a client yesterday morning before she met with an accountant to file her taxes. We spent most of our time together organizing current and recent bills, and double-checking that she had all needed documents for her meeting. I shared with Sue my ongoing practice about tax readiness.
Suggested as a Timely Tip on this website last fall, perhaps it bears repeating and expanding, to help you stay ahead of the game for this year’s taxes, when filing time rolls around next winter.
It’s easy. Organize papers in a tax file. I keep one going all year long. It includes letters about charitable contributions and receipts from medical appointments. There’s a list about online purchases, so I can pay state sales tax. (Yup, I’m one of the honest ones!) Elsewhere, in the old-fashioned calendar I carry around and in a small notebook kept in the car, I log miles driven for all volunteer activities, including choral rehearsals and performances. Last year’s total was 2,056. At 14 cents a mile, it’s well worth it.
Admittedly, these suggestions are so low-tech as to be no-tech. They work, though. You might try them. When tax time comes around again, as it surely will, you may be grateful for your tax file!
Happy New Year? What? It’s not January! The calendar shows August. Even so, with the school year already begun in some places, and about to start in many more, in some ways it feels like the beginning of a new year.
Do you make New Year’s resolutions in January and, if so, how long do they last? A few days? A week? A month or two? Here’s something you can do on a daily basis, to lighten your load – clear clutter each day. That’s right – get rid of something every day. You will feel lighter and, after a short time, you’ll feel a real sense of accomplishment. Can you imagine how it’ll be after 365 days?
Here are some tips to help.
- Consider how to do this. Give away, donate, recycle? If none are appropriate, toss?
- Don’t buy out of habit, or worse, out of boredom.
- Don’t keep items out of guilt or obligation. I had a pottery cookie jar, a gift from someone I’ve not been in touch with for years. I really didn’t like it all that much. I dropped something a few days ago, which landed on its lid, chipping it. Did I want to struggle with trying to glue the little pieces back on? No thanks! Could I “re-purpose” and use the bottom, say, as a planter? No, not really. I actually was relieved to place it in the trash.
- Does like = need? You may like some things that you don’t actually need.
- Don’t over-equip. You likely don’t need enough plates, cutlery, bed linens, towels, etc., to stock a hotel. If a big group of guests is coming, you might borrow from friends, neighbors, family.
- Save time. Every item you own takes time – to clean, maintain, perhaps repair. And, that’s after likely earning the money to buy, then taking the time to shop.
- Non-material gifts. Encourage those who might buy presents for you to make them gifts of experience or adventure. Concert tickets? A special restaurant meal? A hot air balloon ride? Also, consider time together, perhaps to be used on a big project. How about a donation in your name to a charity you hold dear?
Happy New Year!
Do you ever wonder where to store random and perhaps unconnected pieces of information, so that you can use them when needed? It’s easy, once you make a One of a Kind notebook. All you need is a three-ring binder, three-hole-punched paper, tape and, if you also wish, sheet protectors. All are available at office supply stores.
The contents list at the beginning of mine includes the prescription for my eyeglasses, the “ingredients” for my mother’s homemade furniture polish, laundry instructions for my fabric shower curtain. You get the idea.
You’ll save time and brain space – always good!