Every summer, since I have gotten divorced, I have taken my two children on a summer vacation. We always try to go the last week of June, because it happens to be in between all 3 of our birthdays. Therefore, we call it our Summer Birthday trip. This may sound extravagant, but I have always done it on the cheap, since I didn’t have much money for years.
This year we vowed to track our budget and post everything here so that we are being held even more accountable. I wasn’t sure how this month was going to go, primarily because of taxes. So now it is time to check out how we ultimately did with our April budget.
Saving money can be really hard sometimes, especially when you are trying to get out of debt. One of the biggest places that we spend our money is on groceries (which is not surprising with a family of 7). However, since the beginning of the year we have been working very diligently to cut our expenses to get closer to financial independence. One of the most difficult budget categories for us is groceries. But we have found a few ways to help us save a bundle on groceries, which has really helped!
Here we go again! Yes, that’s right. Valentine’s Day is here again and it is time to show off our plumage to keep the fire burning with our partner. But what is the best way to do that without breaking the bank? That is a very good question!
We all want to start the New Year out right and change some things that aren’t working for us. For a lot of us, that means changing the way we eat and spend our money. So what if we tackle both of those topics in one fail swoop? Let’s dive into how to save money and eat right in the New Year to create some balance.
This is the time of year where everything gets a little bit crazier and we all get a bit stressed out. The holiday’s can creep up on us, just like the end of the year, and when that happens we have a hard time deciding which way to turn. On top of the holiday madness, there is something even more important to think about. Our retirement accounts.
Every year, around Thanksgiving, people can be seen running around like chickens with their heads cut off, completely frazzled. Now, I realize there are a few different components at work here, but money is usually the root cause of this behavior. Where to find the money to pay for all of that food is really the kicker. But, this is something that we can resolve by creating a change with how and what we spend our money on.
When it comes to appliances, these are things that are must haves in our current society, not want to haves. Just because we must have them in our day to day lives, doesn’t mean that we must spend a fortune on them. Appliances are like cars in my mind. We need them but we don’t need all of the extra stuff they are trying to get us to buy. Not only that but certain brands perform longer and stronger than others. Since we have to have them, then why not save money on the initial purchase of a good product to save even more in the long run?
They say that necessity is the mother of invention. There’s lots of truth in that quote. For us, the necessity to keep trimming our spending as we work our way out of debt has helped us to “invent” more and more ways to spend less and less of our money on things we need to buy. As we work on our financial goals we work on increasing our income, but we also continue to work to cut expenses. For instance, in order to reach our 2014 grocery expenditure goal we spent only $215 on groceries in December 2014. For a family of six, that took a lot of work, but it showed us that we can spend less if we need to.
We haven’t been that extreme in a long time, but we do continue to look for ways to cut down on home expenses and save money. I would say that our savings as we work on cutting expenses are now easily in the four digits compared to our expenses when we started our journey in 2013. So I thought I’d share some of our frugal home hacks today and how much money we’ve saved per month by continuing to look for ways to cut expenses. Read more
This post is part of the TaxAct #DIYtaxes blog tour which empowers you to take ownership of your finances by doing your own taxes. TaxAct provides the tools and guidance to help you confidently file your taxes easy and fast. Do your own taxes today at TaxAct.com. You got this.
Hey, frugal friends!! We’re nearing the deadline for personal tax filing, so I thought I would share with you our own DIY tax filing experience and why I think doing your taxes yourself with a trusted company like Tax Act can be a smart idea.
Let me start by saying that I’m the primary handler of the money in our household. Rick has absolutely zero interest in the management of our money. Personal finance just isn’t his thing.
Since this task is mostly left to me, I’m the one who had to face the question of: Do we or do we not file our own tax returns?
I love the guy that does our taxes. He’s knowledgeable, friendly, gets our taxes done quickly and is relatively inexpensive. We’ve been going to him for nearly twenty years, so he knows our returns inside and out and does a great job.
The Benefits of DIY Tax Filing
So, why would I consider doing our taxes myself? Two reasons:
Although our guy does charge reasonable prices for our area, we still have to pay him $130 a year to get our taxes done. If we use a do-it-yourself tax system like Tax Act, we’ll only pay a maximum of $50 to file state and federal taxes.
Those needing to file a basic EZ or A form pay far less than that.
The other reason I decided to try DIY tax filing was because I really wanted to gain the knowledge that comes from learning to file your own taxes.
After all, I figured, if I could master filing my own taxes, it’s a skill I would have for a lifetime. And the more in tune we are with our personal finances, the easier it is to manage them in a way that helps improve our financial situation.
DIY Tax Filing Today vs. Yesteryear
In full disclosure, we did partake in DIY tax filing one other time, about twenty years ago. We did it for the purpose of comparing the results we received with our preparer with the results we received by doing our taxes on our own.
The experience wasn’t good. The company we used at that time had a less-than-user-friendly system in place, and if we would’ve ended up filing with them, we would’ve received far less back on our refund than we did with our tax guy.
Being so many years had passed, I was eager to see how things have changed. I found that DIY tax filing is MUCH easier in today’s world than it was twenty years ago.
We tried the Tax Act system and found that it is SO easy to use! It tells you exactly what to put in, and exactly where to put it.
The other thing I found highly beneficial with Tax Act is that they have a thorough support system available if filers should have any questions at all. Answers to questions are easy to find and readily available with Tax Act’s online support system.
If you haven’t tried DIY tax filing before, I encourage you to make this the year you test it out for yourself. Tax Act allows you to start your return for free – you pay nothing until you file your return.
So take a chance on saving some money and gaining some knowledge and try DIY tax filing today!
Beating the tax deadline doesn’t have to be stressful. With TaxAct, everything you need to confidently prepare and e-file your taxes is right at your fingertips. You got this. File your simple federal and state return FREE today with TaxAct.
Image Credit: Flickr 401(k)2012