Taxes - how to make your life easier when it comes to this time of year

This is probably the most dreaded time of year. Tax time. We all hate doing it because you never really know if you are doing it right or not. I still remember the first time I filed once I had a business and it took ALL day to come up with everything I needed because I was ill equipped. I had no sense of organization and a filing system that it took all day just do to Schedule C. It was awful.

So I wanted to make some tips for you to help you prepare for this time of year.

Tip 1: If it can be listed as a deduction, SAVE YOUR RECEIPTS! (i.e. work uniforms, taking clients out to eat, buying office supplies).

I can’t stress this one enough. If you don’t want a ton of papers lying around, that is fine. I scan them into my computer, or there are plenty of apps you can use to save your receipts. It doesn’t really matter how you save them as long as you do. You can mark these on your taxes and it will help you!

Tip 2: WRITE IT ALL OUT! – spreadsheets

This will save you a TON of time if you write it out while you are thinking about it. I keep a spreadsheet that has every single type of deduction on it, when I take it out, which account/card I take it out on, and where it went (company, etc.). I have included a template of that exact same one for you here!

Tip 3: Keep all your paper and virtual documents in one place

I have a very specific taxes folder saved on my computer. It has each year in separate folders and it has any receipts that I have used by month, the actual tax forms, and anything else I think I may need. This way, I can always find it if need be. Now when it comes to spreadsheets, I keep these in the same place in a Google Drive. It’s under an accounting folder and it has separate folders for each year.

It is very important to keep it this way so that everything is easier to find.

Tip 4: Create templates to use over and over again each year

The template that I showed you above is exactly what I use. I make copies of this every year so that I can use it over and over again. If I make a change to my current one, I will also change it in my template version. This makes it extremely helpful so I don’t have to keep making a new one each year. I have one each year so that way it becomes very easy during tax time.

You can have your own version of my template right here!

Tip 5: If you are unsure of what qualifies as a deduction, when you are doing your taxes for this year, write them out so you can start tracking them for next year

I learned this the hard way. I was not tracking over half of the possible deductions the first year that I was in business. So, I looked up all of the possible deductions and wrote them out on a spreadsheet with each definition so I could easily reference it and know what each category specifically meant. I even color coded it so I would know if my business may actually use this or not.

You can see that in the template I made you.

Tip 6: Use a service

I am one of those people that prefer e-filing. I love using a service especially because I can have the previous year’s information already saved and it’s pretty easy to go through. Plus, they check if there is anything that looks off or has a higher rate of being audited.

I personally use H&R Block just because I am more familiar with them and it is what I have used for a while. TurboTax is also a good recommendation.

Since this is one of the times of year that creates the most headaches for people, help yourself from one by taking some of these steps. Already feel like you have dropped the ball? Don’t quit! Start them now! It will help you create a habit.

Taxes Templates: Google Drive, PDF, Excel

National Self Care Month - Easy Self Care Ideas

With it being National Self Care Month, I wanted to bring to you 5 easy self-care ideas and why I think they are beneficial. 

1. Epson Salt/Essential Oil Bath

This is the typical self-care photo you will see on the internet. It's okay to have that. It means it works. I personally love the lavender scent as it is super calming which helps right before bed. I usually soak for about 15 minutes to help relax me. I even have found some super relaxing "bath time" music on Spotify. My playlist can include: Relax & Unwind, Bath Spa Relaxing Music Zone, and Piano in the Background

2. Read a book

This can be any type of book, just read one you can get into. Whether that be self-help, romance, murder mystery, sci-fi, business, memoir, historical fiction, whatever. Just find a comfy place and start to read. Right now I am reading "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed. And if it wasn't for my tired eyes, I would not put it down. 

If you do decide to read on a tablet or a screen rather than hard copy, make sure you are taking into consideration that the light from the technology can keep you up later. It can trick your brain into thinking that it's still the day. However, you can try these glasses called Pixel Eyewear and it helps you get better sleep and less eye strain. 

3. Start a "grateful for" list

This may not seem like self-care, but when you start to do some reflection on what you are grateful for it definitely helps you feel better. Write down each morning (or night) 3 things you are grateful for. This could include literally anything. From your house to your shoes, to your job, even for your alarms! You can write why you are if you want, but it's not required. You can always repeat too. I typically write that I am grateful for my dogs cuddle time with me each and every morning. 

4. Meditate/Yoga

Sometimes you just need to move your body or relax your mind. Yoga always helps when I can tell my body just needs to move, but also a stretch. I always feel really good after a yoga session. My body feels like it can move in ways I never thought I could and it's helping me with physical balance, strength, and flexibility.

Meditating will help your mind be at ease. If you are anything like me, I had no idea where to start out when it came to meditating. I would also just find my mind wondering every few seconds onto something else (i.e. my to do list, errands, chores, what Susie said at work today, etc.). I downloaded this app called Headspace and that has helped so much. I got to choose how often and how long each meditation session was. You are given a video tutorial at the beginning to help you get the most out of your meditation session and set you up for success. Then, you will have a guided meditation for your set amount of time. There is a free trial section, but the parts you pay for are worth it too. 

5. Take a technology detox

This one is probably going to be the most challenging. I go everywhere with my phone as I am sure many of you do too. I am not saying it has to be days, weeks or months, but even just for a few hours. Once I started using my Moment app, I was noticing how much I was on my phone and it literally disgusted me. How could I waste so much time in my life on my phone? Time is so precious and I can't get any of that back. This app not only shows you how much time you are on your phone but how many times you even pick it up to look at your home/lock screen and even which apps you use the most. So if you are listening to podcasts 50% of the time, at least you know you aren't mindlessly scrolling more. Just take even a few hours out of your day. Don't check it during your lunch break. Don't bring it to the bathroom with you (don't judge, I know you all do it, especially at work). Forget it at home for a day. For those who decide to do a day or longer, I am proud and envious of you.