Happy_holidays_from_n_and_s_green_2 Like most people in our great country, I thought that I make so little money that it didn’t really matter whether I would itemize my deductions for tax time (’tis the season for charitable contributions after all). Apparently it does matter. If you own property or a house, have a home office, pay for childcare, have had some medical bills this year other than standard checkups, have a retirement account, are involved in education, pay student loans, have your own business, or travel for business, you can save money. Check out this site for what you can legally deduct.

A little more about charitable contributions: as of recently (in the last few years), if you donate goods you need a receipt verifying your donation. This year, for example, I really cleaned out my closet, taking care to write down everything I got rid of. I have a receipt for all my donations (and, on a side note, I thought it was kind of cool that one of my shirts made the front window display of the thrift store). Goodwill has a good way to approximate how much your donations are worth if you go on this page and check out the pdfs on the lower, right part of the screen. Donating 5 shirts and a couple pairs of jeans? That’s worth $56 and I’m just going with the middle range on the value scale!

So for a few hours some weekend in December, I’m going to make myself some hot chocolate and go through the ver comprehensive-seeming tax tips recommended in this blog to make sure Uncle Sam doesn’t get a huge chunk of change from me this year like he did when I did my taxes last year. And you should too because, let’s face it, going through financial records is actually just as important, if not more so, than wrapping presents this holiday season. Believe it or not, you may actually thank me in April… and have more money for presents next year!

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