Around the Corner ©: The Tax Refund Lotto

So you have filed your federal income taxes, or are preparing to do so by the deadline (April 15th), which is - around the corner.    Think about what you plan to do with your refund.  Think about how that sum of money plays into your overall Spending Plan.  It’s not free money.   It’s not a lottery you won, so don’t blow it like you might – you know the saying “easy come, easy go,” because you worked hard for your money.   Think of this pot of money as being able to:

Moving Forward...

Erratum:  Hello, just wanted to correct an error I noted in the post.  Below I referred to a 1098-T form, that is actual the Tuition Statement form.  The Student Loan Interest form is a 1098-E. 

Happy New Year to you.....   So hopefully you had a grand old time during the holidays, had fun with family and friends.  Ate all the holiday favorites and resigned yourself to taking the weight off in January... well January is here, and while you work on your weight loss or any other promise, take a few minutes to start pulling your tax input documents together to ensure that you leave no tax dollars on the table.  Here are a few that folks often either forget,


Tax Planners and Tax Organizers

So you are still trying to find that document that your accountant or your tax preparer needs to make sure that you don’t get taxed an astronomical amount on your return, but you just can’t unearth the dastardly piece of paper.  Yes, now you are blaming the piece of paper, but you know jolly good and well where the finger should be pointed – but let’s not play the blame game, let’s figure out


Retirement Withdrawals or Distributions

Often, people forget that they withdrew some money from their 401K, or other retirement account.  Making a withdrawal is called "taking a distribution."  This distribution amount is generally considered income unless you rolled it over from one retirement account to another.  If you received money, it will generally be considered income.  In many cases, the financial institution will withhold 20% of the amount you withdraw, with the intent that, that amount should cover the taxes, and if that were your only income it could possibly be enough, however,


Catch a break on Tax Day (Tuesday April 15th)!

So you never feel that anyone gives you the taxpayer a break, but CNN Money posted information on these businesses that are trying to do just that on tax day, and for a few of them, even a couple of days before.   Check with your local stores and franchises to see if they are participating:
CNN Money: Stress eat
CNN Money: Drink away your tax day sorrows:
CNN Money: 1040 themed deals:
CNN Money: Sweet tax relief:
Hope you find something good to enjoy, after all the stress of completing your taxes.


2013 Year-End Tax Planning Tips

So, as you put the final touches on your financial planning for the year, here are 9 links to year-end tax planning information you may want to review, that could impact your bottom line, from MSN Money, About.com, Morgan Stanley, Charles Schwab, CNBC, 360 Degree's of Financial Literacy, Wall Street Journal's Market Watch and Turbo Tax.    
  1. MSN Money’s 8 Year- end tax moves to make now
  2. About.com 's 2013 Year End Tax Planning by Income and Age
  3. Morgan Stanley's 2013 Year End Tax Planning Checklist
  4. Charles Schwab's Year-end Tax Tips
  5. CNBC's Year End Tax Planning Info
  6. 360 Degree's of Financial Literacy's 2013 Year End Planning Considerations
  7. CNBC's Five Tips for Year-end Tax Planning
  8. The Wall Street Journal's Market Watch - Year-end Tax Planning Ideas for U.S. Individual Taxpayers, Tax Planners, and Tax Preparer's
  9. Turbo Tax’s  Start Tax Planning Early: 8 Great Year-End Tax Tips

Please review this information with your own tax advisor or financial advisor to determine how it applies to your own financial situation.



Apps to track Your Gift Cards

So, a number of people notified me and stated that they would be more likely to remember to use their gift cards if there was an app with features such as 1) ability to track their cards instead of pen and paper, and 2) the ability to store the actual gift card information on their phone.   Of course, having the gift card with you when you are out shopping is paramount.  Well, I practice what I preach so I have actually used up my gift cards, but I have found a few apps that may provide you with the features you need.   I have not tested any of these apps, however, so you will need to evaluate them and use them at your own risk.  Some are free and some have a nominal charge.

Gift Card-Balance Tracker - (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad)  App Store .99
Gift Cards   (Windows Phone) Free
My Gift Cards   (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad)  App Store .99
Tango Card   (iPhone)  iTunes App Store
Wildcard (iPhone) Free - This app states that it allows you to transfer your balances to someone else –  sounds like an easy way to re-gift.    

And finally, I came across this article that shows how to send iTunes gift cards and Individual Apps from your iOS device . 

If you have used any of these apps, or have a favorite app that solves this issue, would love to hear about it, so would you please leave me a comment on the comment link below.   Thank you.
"No matter who you are, making informed decisions about what you do with your money, will help build a more stable financial future for you and your family." Alan Greenspan