Posts

Start Next Year’s Taxes Today

Tax

Tax (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

Tax day is here! So you’re either cringing and cramming to get your return in on time or you’re sitting back, sighing a breath of relief that you’ve already gotten your money from the government. Whichever category you fall into — this post is for you.

Be Prepared

I’ve spoken about Evernote before because I think it’s a great tool for keeping organized and remembering everything you need to in one place. It’s also fabulous for keeping track of your tax information.

I used it this year and it really helped to keep me on track. Next year you should try it too. Starting now though will keep you less stressed when tax time comes around again. Here’s what I did:

1. Make a notebook in Evernote called “Taxes”.

2. Create a note that lists out all the documents that you will need to collect for next year’s taxes. That’s all the 1099 forms for each of your accounts and employers. Put a checkbox next to each so you can check them off as you get the correct paperwork.

3. Throughout the year put notes and receipts in this notebook for tax writeoffs.

4. When you start getting 1099 forms back later in the year — scan them into this folder.

5. Once you get all your information together — do your taxes! Or send off all the forms to your accountant.

That’s it. If you just take the extra step to be a little bit ahead of the game you won’t be scrambling this time again next year. Think of all the time and money you’ll save! Let me know how you keep track of your tax information.

9 Ways to be Productive on a Snow Day

SNOW DAY in TIMES SQUARE 2011 - Manhattan,...

SNOW DAY in TIMES SQUARE 2011 – Manhattan, New York City – 01/26/11 (Photo credit: asterix611)

The mention of extreme weather does a funny thing to people. It throws us into a total frenzy. No one wants to sit in a freezing home in the middle of winter. All you can think of is how much milk you have in the house and whether or not your car has gas. My office has been a buzz about the Nor’easter headed for New York City for days.

A snow day is a good excuse to do all the things you’ve been “meaning” to do but just haven’t gotten to do. If you do get snowed in — here’s my list of things you can do to be productive:

  1. Clean out just ONE desk, junk or dresser drawer. Get to more if you can but start with just one.
  2. Catch up on your saved DVR shows. (in your PJs)
  3. Look up and try out a new workout on YouTube.
  4. Start compiling all the paperwork you need to do your taxes. I recommend Evernote to keep track of it all.
  5. Do some online shopping to cross off some birthday or holiday gifts from your to-do list.
  6. Do research for an upcoming wedding, vacation or project.
  7. Download the Next Issue app to browse all your favorite magazines in one spot.
  8. Try out a new recipe. One of my favorite blogs Cooking With Books should give you some inspiration.
  9. Begin a new book. Check Goodreads.com for fabulous recommendations from friends.

9 Unique and Productive Gift Ideas

Gift giving is such a fun and rewarding activity if you do it right. Around the holidays people get so bogged down with crossing off everyone from their lists that sometimes they miss the best gifts! I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorites for productivity, practicality, and fun too, but in case you are still looking for the perfect gift you should head over to giftlist and get some inspiration from their lists too. Hope this helps you put a dent in your holiday shopping.

GustBuster: If you’ve ever had a fight with an umbrella, had one turn inside out or bust through the frame during a downpour — you need to buy one of these for yourself and a friend. I’ve had my current Gustbuster for 11 years! Yep, you read that right. You can find them at most golf stores and online too. They run between $30 and $60. It’s much more productive to buy one umbrella that really works instead of going through one after another of those other ones you can get on the street. Read more

Evernote: An App to Organize Your Life

I basically tell anyone who will listen to me about how amazing Evernote is. It’s an app and website that keeps track of nearly anything you want it to. A friend who is also obsessed with it once called it an “extension of her mind.” I think that’s pretty accurate. Anything you want to keep track of but might forget — should go into Evernote.

Here’s how I’m using it: Read more

Start Your Holiday Shopping in August

I’ve officially started my holiday shopping. Yep, I mean the holidays that come in December. Yes, I know its only August and I have four months to go. But I always begin my holiday shopping in August and so should you!

While I was in Lake George on a mini-vacation this past weekend I found the perfect gift for my sister-in-law. I can’t tell you what it is in case she reads this but it’s just her style! She has unique taste and I like to get her gifts that illustrate that. So when I saw it – I had to get it. And I was able to check her off my holiday list. Yay!

Make a List and Check It Twice

Every August I make a list of all the people I need to get Christmas and Hanukkah presents for. When you have a large family and a lot of friends it’s easy to forget someone. This way you don’t even have to think about it. This year I decided to put my list in my Evernote app. It’s an app that you can access on your computer, phone and iPad. You just make a list and it syncs up in all those places so you can see your list wherever you go. It’s great for jotting down ideas and calling up your list when you’re in different stores.

Researching Gifts is Fun

My side of the family celebrates Christmas and Jay’s celebrates Hanukkah. So I make two lists by holiday because they fall on different days this year. I put down ideas for gifts that I’ve heard the person talk about or think they might like. Shopping early and listening to family members needs is a great way to find out what they would like for Christmas.  I do research on the Internet and when I’m in the stores so I have several ideas and can price out different gifts. I’d much rather put some thought into gift giving than make it into a task that I “have to do.” Think about the shops you need to visit before you go on the shopping spree.

This becomes an ongoing task over the next few months. I like to really think about what that person will like to receive and get the most use out of. I also have a bunch of family members with November and December birthdays. I make a list for birthdays too…without one…I’m a stressed out mess.

Benefits of Starting Early

I hate shopping with all the amateurs in November. You know who you are – waiting til the last second…clogging up the mall parking lots. I refuse to do it. It’s much less stressful this way and it makes holiday shopping fun — not a chore.

Plus it helps me manage my money better. If you do all your shopping in November and December your credit card bills will be through the roof. This way you spread out the spending and you’re able to take advantage of deals throughout the year.

Think of all the cash you could save with back to school, Labor Day and Columbus Day sales. Cash in on online shopping deals too. Overstock.com and Amazon.com are two of my favorites for gift giving. They usually have very cheap shipping rates too.

Using this system – I’m usually finished with my holiday shopping and wrapping by Thanksgiving. I use the extra time to really enjoy planning out menus, decorating and spending time with family. Oh yeah – isn’t that what the holidays are all about?

Happy Shopping!