receipts http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7876/all en-US 10 Ways You Disrespect Your Money http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-you-disrespect-your-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-you-disrespect-your-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cash_trash_can_47150330.jpg" alt="Learning ways you disrespect your money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you look after your money, it will look after you. It's something that financial experts, parents, and countless advice columnists will tell you, and with good reason. Ignore your money, and disrespect your finances, and you will come off worse for wear. But treat your finances with the respect they deserve, and you can look forward to stability, growth, and freedom. So, if you're disrespecting your finances in any of these 10 ways, it's time to put a stop to the behavior, or face the consequences.</p> <h2>1. You Don't Have a Budget</h2> <p>Whether you're flush with money at the end of every month, or you are always scraping to get by, there is no excuse for not having a set budget. You owe it to yourself to know exactly how much money is coming in each month; what the bills are, how much you should be setting aside for retirement and an emergency fund, and what you should be spending on things like food, entertainment, clothing, and so on. Without this budget, you are playing fast and loose with your money, and it can result in some financial hardships that can be avoided. You can also see just where you are spending, and wasting, your hard-earned money.</p> <h2>2. You Don't Store Receipts in an Organized Fashion</h2> <p>It's all well and good to keep every receipt, but if they are all over the house and garage, stuffed into junk drawers and nightstands, they aren't much good when you actually need them. It does not take a lot of work to have an organized receipt folder. Just purchase an alphabetized concertina folder, and place your receipts in the appropriate section each time you get home. Go through it every few months to remove receipts that are no longer needed (although if they are for tax reasons, keep them&hellip;for years). You can also scan your receipts and save them digitally. This saves room and makes them even easier to organize and reference.</p> <h2>3. You Max Out Your Credit Cards</h2> <p>Some people will tell you credit cards are just free money. These people have no respect for credit, and how it should be used. Credit cards, when used responsibly, are a fabulous way to securely pay for goods and services, giving you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">purchase insurance</a>, fraud protection, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">cash back</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">travel rewards</a>. But if you don't use them correctly, you will pay the price.</p> <p>By <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oops-i-maxed-out-my-credit-cards-now-what?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">maxing out a credit card</a> (or many cards) you are damaging your credit, and you are running up huge interest charges. Some people can only afford to pay the minimum, and when that happens, it can take years (or even decades) to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">pay the balance off</a>. Use credit cards as a tool, but make sure you pay as much off as possible (ideally, bring the balance to $0 with each payment) to reap the rewards.</p> <h2>4. You Keep Spending the Equity in Your Home</h2> <p>Right now, the housing market is in pretty good shape. That means many of us owe considerably less on our mortgage than the home is worth, and that means equity. Lovely, lovely equity. Hey, it means the investment paid off, and you can take out a home-equity loan to pay off debt, make home improvements, or go on lavish vacations. Well, not so fast. A lot of people made that mistake the last time the housing market flourished, only to see house prices crash, and ended up with a mortgage that cost more than the home was worth. Your house should not be a piggy bank. If it's an emergency, and there is plenty of equity, it's certainly an option to take a little out to pay for something you need. But dipping into that equity too often, or spending it all, can lead to financial heartache.</p> <h2>5. You Live a Champagne Lifestyle on a Beer Budget</h2> <p>No matter how much money you have coming in each month, if you are spending more than you earn, this applies to you. Sure, you like the name-brand goods and fashions, and you must have your Starbucks every morning. But if your budget does not support that kind of spending, you are racking up debt that will have to be paid back sooner or later. It's possible you once had that bigger budget, but now have less due to a major life event (getting divorced, for instance). Sadly, you have to adjust. No more expensive pedicures and massages. No more fancy dinners that cost a small fortune. Your budget will dictate where you can go, how often you go, and how much you can spend. Listen to it. Ignore it, and you'll be in real trouble.</p> <h2>6. You Are Not Saving Regularly</h2> <p>This is not about saving money on deals and bargains, but rather, putting money away for the future. Every financial planner will tell you to pay yourself first, and it's good advice. Whether it's a 401K, an IRA, a savings account, an emergency fund, or ideally, all of them, you need to get into the habit now of squirreling away your money. Right now, time is your friend. The longer you have to go to retirement, the more money you can accumulate through compound interest. What's more, if anything bad were to happen that required access to quick cash, that emergency fund or savings account will be invaluable. Of course, it's easier said than done. Many Americans simply cannot afford to put money away each month, and something like an unexpected bill for $400 can put so many people in real trouble. Analyze your finances. Look at every cent coming in, and going out. Where can you cut back, to save money for tomorrow?</p> <h2>7. You Don't Have a Calendar of Bills and Payments</h2> <p>Many of us do the old &quot;set it and forget it.&quot; Basically, we set up automatic bill payments, linked to a checking account or credit card, and let the automated system do the rest. This is great for avoiding late fees, but it can also be hazardous if you don't have a clear picture of your finances. If you set up a spreadsheet or simple Word doc, outlining all of the bills you have to pay each month, cross-referenced with when you get paid, you will see any potential issues that could arise. Can you schedule some of the payments to fall a day or two after you get paid, rather than a week before? Do you have a lot of bills coming out on one day? Are you cutting it a little too close with the mortgage, or paying late fees? This will all become clear on a financial calendar.</p> <h2>8. You Don't Check Your Accounts Daily</h2> <p>Checking accounts, credit card accounts, and all other sources of money should be checked at least once a day. This takes just a few minutes, but it can make all the difference. You may have several auto-debits come out at once, leaving your balance precariously low. You may be the victim of credit card fraud, which if left unchecked can spiral out of control. From spotting suspicious activity, to simply monitoring the credits and debits on each account, get into the habit of checking your accounts every day.</p> <h2>9. You Ignore Your Debt</h2> <p>Most of us have debt. Let's face it, who can afford to put down $400,000 in cash on a new home, or $45,000 on a new car? However, if it's all kept under control, and there is a plan in place to pay everything off, you're good to go. Problems arise when people accumulate a lot of debt from many different sources, and then choose the &quot;head in the sand&quot; approach. It's scary to acknowledge a lot of debt, and even scarier to figure out how to pay it off. So, why not just ignore it, pay the minimums, and smile? Well, ignoring debt is like ignoring the hungry wolf that is sat in the corner of the room with you. At some point, it will attack you, so you better have a plan on how to deal with it before that happens.</p> <h2>10. You Don't Check You Credit Score and Reports</h2> <p>In America, your credit score can be life altering. If it's high, especially in the 800s, you get amazing offers, low APRs, and a whole world of options. If it's low, you can be denied even the most basic offers, and may not be able to live with things many of us take for granted. Checking your credit reports is free, and should be done regularly to ensure you spot inaccuracies. Go to <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action">AnnualCreditReport.com</a> and request yours (not freecreditreport.com, which is NOT actually free). You should also know what your specific credit score is, and this can be found via <a href="https://www.creditkarma.com">CreditKarma.com</a> (again, totally free). Also, the three different credit-reporting agencies &mdash; Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian &mdash; should also be able to supply this to you.</p> <p><em>In what ways do you respect your money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-you-disrespect-your-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-wake-up-calls-and-how-to-deal-with-them">8 Financial Wake Up Calls — And How to Deal With Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-cash-is-not-king">8 Times Cash Is Not King</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moves-to-make-before-the-leaves-change">10 Money Moves to Make Before the Leaves Change</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-youre-bad-at-money-and-how-to-fix-it-asap">8 Reasons You&#039;re Bad at Money — And How to Fix It ASAP</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-debt-payoffs-that-boost-your-credit-score-the-most">The 7 Debt Payoffs That Boost Your Credit Score the Most</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bills budgeting debt disrespectful going broke living beyond means money overspending receipts respect Mon, 08 Aug 2016 09:00:09 +0000 Paul Michael 1767032 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Reasons You Should Really Fear an IRS Audit http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-you-should-really-fear-an-irs-audit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-reasons-you-should-really-fear-an-irs-audit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/retro_calculator_000017912650.jpg" alt="Learning reasons why you should fear an IRS audit" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's that time of year again. We all do our best to comply with the vast array of tax laws out there, while trying to get the deductions and rebates we're owed. But what if you make an honest mistake, or try to cheat the IRS, and get a dreaded audit? Is it really as bad as people say? Well&hellip; sometimes, it can be even worse, as these 10 reasons show.</p> <h2>1. The IRS Can Take Money Directly From Your Bank Account</h2> <p>Do not think, for one second, that the money in your bank account is safe and sound. The IRS has incredible power, and if they choose to do so, they can simply place a levy on your account and take your money. This happened to Joan Smith, a 52-year-old artist from Philadelphia. In 2010, she was preparing to go into the hospital for spinal surgery, when the IRS put a $10,000 tax lien on her account. This was, in fact, more money than she even had in the bank. And all because she did not receive an audit memo that was sent to the wrong address. It took her 11 months to dig herself out from that tax hole.</p> <h2>2. The IRS Now Has Six Years to Audit You</h2> <p>You may have been told that the IRS statute of limitations was three years from the date you filed your taxes. Not anymore. The IRS now has a series of exemptions that increase the amount of time they have to audit you. For example, if you omitted more than 25% of your income, the IRS can now hit you up six years after you filed. And, if you forgot to file certain forms, the IRS can audit you at any time in the future. Basically, 30 years from now, you could get a letter in the mail from the IRS. And if you no longer have records, you could be in trouble. Which brings us to our next point.</p> <h2>3. You'd Better Have Meticulous Records</h2> <p>If the IRS does come after you (and luckily, there's less than a 1% chance they will), they will want to examine certain records, receipts, proof of income, and anything else that may have triggered the audit. We all do our best to keep track of everything, filing it away in a safe place, and often storing copies electronically. But, if you lose some of those records, which can happen when you move, if you have a fire or burglary, or even by just misplacing them, you can wind up in real trouble. That big deduction you took for your home business? If there's no longer proof, then you can't have it. All that money you gave to charity? No receipts, no deduction. It really does pay to scan as much as you possibly can and store it on several hard drives and a cloud-based service. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/i-lost-my-tax-documents-now-what?ref=seealso">I Lost My Tax Documents&hellip; Now What?</a>)</p> <h2>4. One Audit Can Lead to Another</h2> <p>So you get the dreaded audit notice. And in this case, it's not one that is handled by mail. You actually have to meet face-to-face with an auditor. Even if you are fully prepared, and have all your ducks in a row, you could say or do something that leads the IRS to audit more of your tax returns than the one in question. For instance, saying something like, &quot;Well, I have taken that deduction before and it was fine,&quot; could lead the investigator to look into several returns, not just the one that has been flagged. In the case of an audit, you may want to look into getting some legal help.</p> <h2>5. Auditing Can Take Years &mdash; And Cost Thousands of Dollars</h2> <p>Don't think that an audit is simply a few weeks of gathering up paperwork and checking a few boxes. Audits can sometimes take years. Take the case of <a href="https://www.mainstreet.com/article/tax-audit-horror-stories-will-haunt-your-dreams">Tim and Tracey Kerin</a>. Their accountant hadn't correctly evaluated their expense categories, which led to an audit. But, it didn't go smoothly. In fact, they ending up spending over 30 months battling the IRS to prove their innocence, spending over $95,000 in legal fees.</p> <h2>6. You Are Guilty Until Proven Innocent</h2> <p>Unlike the justice system, the IRS operates on the principle that if you have done something wrong on your tax return, you are guilty. You owe them money. You have to provide the paperwork to prove you are innocent, or you will face the full wrath of the system. If you cannot comply, you can literally wake up to find out your bank account has been frozen, and there's not much you can do about it.</p> <h2>7. If You Owe Money, the IRS Applies Penalties and Interest</h2> <p>So, you made a genuine mistake. You owe the IRS money. Well, you don't just owe them the unpaid taxes. You also have penalties to pay, and interest, too. As the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Eight-Facts-on-Late-Filing-and-Late-Payment-Penalties">IRS states on its website</a>, the &quot;penalty starts accruing the day after the tax filing due date, and will not exceed 25% of your unpaid taxes.&quot; That means if you owe $4,000, you may end up owing $5,000. Rather than incur the penalties from the IRS, find another way to pay, and get them their money quickly. You could arrange a home equity loan at a very low rate. Just get them their money, or the debt can really start to add up.</p> <h2>8. The IRS Can Garnish Your Wages and 401K</h2> <p>If you owe money, and don't have any way to pay back the sum of money owed, the IRS has the power to garnish your wages. Your employer has to comply fully with the IRS, and you will suddenly find your monthly paycheck has become smaller. Not only that, the IRS can also levy your retirement accounts, rental income, life insurance policies, or anything else of value. And this is all stated right there on the IRS website. This is a warning. If you have any doubts, ask Willie Nelson, Nicolas Cage, or Ja Rule.</p> <h2>9. The IRS Can Seize Anything of Value</h2> <p>One way or another, the IRS will get their money. If the audit reveals that you owe money, and you have no way to pay, then the IRS will start looking into your assets. If you own your vehicle, they can seize it, sell it, and apply the funds to your tax debt. Worse still, if the debt is large enough, they could actually take your home, sell it (they won't hold out for the best price), and apply that to your debt. If you do owe a large sum of money, you need to get professional advice. You do not want to be left homeless and penniless because of an IRS audit.</p> <h2>10. You Could Go to Prison</h2> <p>If worse comes to worst, you may actually find yourself behind bars. This is unlikely unless you are found guilty of major tax fraud and evasion, owing more than $100,000. But if it does happen, you have committed a federal crime and that can come with a hefty prison sentence; in some cases, up to five years. What's more, the fine could be as much as $250,000. Your whole life could be ruined, all because of a genuine mistake, an oversight, or because you put your trust in a bad accountant. When it comes to taxes, you do not want to mess around.</p> <p><em>Do you have any IRS horror stories? Or any advice on how to deal with an audit? Please share your experiences in the comments. </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-you-should-really-fear-an-irs-audit">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-choose-the-best-tax-preparer">How to Choose the Best Tax Preparer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ring-ring-ka-ching-lying-about-your-telephone-tax">Ring. Ring. Ka-ching! Lying About Your Telephone Tax</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-your-chances-of-getting-audited-by-the-irs-your-guess-is-probably-wrong">What are your chances of getting audited by the IRS? Your guess is probably wrong</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-survive-a-tax-audit">How to Survive a Tax Audit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/worried-about-an-audit-six-irs-red-flags">Worried About an Audit? Six IRS Red Flags</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes accountant audit cpa debt expenses IRS receipts tax evasion tax fraud Fri, 15 Apr 2016 10:30:10 +0000 Paul Michael 1689021 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Old School Tools to Help You Stay on Budget http://www.wisebread.com/6-old-school-tools-to-help-you-stay-on-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-old-school-tools-to-help-you-stay-on-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_writing_journal_000055707370.jpg" alt="Woman using old school tools to stay on budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Because I am a visual thinker, low-fi tools like datebooks and check registers help me keep my finances better organized than when I use digital tools like Quicken and Excel. Surprisingly, these <em>olde time-y </em>office supplies also keep me from overspending.&nbsp;</p> <h2>1. A Receipt Spindle</h2> <p>I actually hate bookkeeping. As a result, my desktop used to be a mess of receipts at the end of every month &mdash; until I started using a <a href="http://amzn.to/1Uxxanl">cheap spindle</a> to organize my paper receipts. Every night I pull the receipts out of my tiny wallet and stick them onto the prong. At the end of the month, I pull the receipts off as one stack, flip the stack, and voila &mdash; receipts in chronological order ready to be reconciled with Mint.com. After double checking the receipts against my bank records, I then put the receipts into an <a href="http://amzn.to/253dSej">accordion file</a> in the odd event I need hard, tangible evidence at tax time. While my system might sound fiddly, it actually takes less than 20 minutes a month to manage my receipts this way.</p> <h2>2. Paper Checks</h2> <p>No pain, no gain. There have been, conservatively, 55,321 studies in the last two decades that show that people are willing to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-we-spend-more-when-we-pay-with-credit-cards">spend up to twice as much</a> for the same item when they pay with a credit card instead of cash.</p> <p><em>Coupling</em> is the psychological term for that negative feeling you get when you shell out cold hard cash for purchases. I double down on the discomfort by paying with checks. When I use a check, I am forced to write out the cost of a purchase, twice. The evidence of my consumption is right there in my own handwriting. While the moment it takes for me to pull out my checkbook and write a check might be annoying to anyone standing behind me in the checkout line, that moment gives me one last chance to think to myself, &quot;Do I really need to spend money on this?&quot; More often than not, that answer is no.</p> <p>There are several other reasons why I refuse to kick my check writing habit:</p> <h3>When Digital Banking Technology Fails You, Paper Won't</h3> <p>My neighbor's debit card was just spoofed. Although her bank caught the theft within hours, she has to wait 10 days before her new ATM card arrives. She's currently living off the $200 the bank allowed her to draw down without her card. If she had checks, she wouldn't have to live off $20 a day.</p> <p>Also, ATM machines and credit card machines require phone lines and electricity. During disasters like Hurricane Sandy, when the utilities go down, a paper check might be the only way to pay for emergency supplies.</p> <h3>Some Businesses Charge Extra Fees for Credit Cards</h3> <p>Many restaurants and small businesses charge an extra fee for credit card payments, or have a minimum amount for credit card purchases.</p> <h3>Utility Companies and Government Agencies Might Not Take Plastic</h3> <p>I thought I was going to just rack up the frequent flyer points by paying for all my utilities with my credit card. Alas, many of my utilities don't accept credit payments.</p> <h3>Use Checks to Create a Paper Trail</h3> <p>Not only do I use checks, I use duplicate checks. They make it easy to keep track of expenditures because they act like additional receipts.</p> <h2>3. A Spending Book</h2> <p>A <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-saving-more-with-this-one-simple-tool">spending book</a> is a diet journal for your bank account. If you want to create a budget and save more money, you first have to know how you are spending all your filthy lucre. Most people don't blow through cash at the craps table in Las Vegas. Instead, they fritter away huge sums of money every year on super boring purchases and experiences. This is the reason why financial writers are constantly harping about why you shouldn't buy bottled water or to-go coffee. Those <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-dumb-little-purchases-you-need-to-stop-making-today">little impulse purchases</a> are death by a thousand cuts to a budget.</p> <p>A spending book helps save money in two ways. First, it gives you a detailed, down to the penny, view of your spending habits. Secondly, like writing a check, it makes parting with your earnings that much more painful.</p> <h2>4. A Record of Financial Triumphs</h2> <p>In addition to tracking my spending in the week-at-at-glance section of my <a href="http://amzn.to/1UxAAX6">Moleskine </a>datebook, I use the month-at-a-glance section of my datebook to track my income. And by income, I mean the dime I picked up off the street, my garage sale earnings, and the money I made by selling old textbooks. All those teeny weenie income streams can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/from-dumpster-diving-to-garage-sales-turning-trash-into-cash">add up to serious money</a> over the course of one year. My husband didn't think we would be able to afford to fly East to visit friends and family over Christmas, but we handily paid for our 10-day vacation to NYC and Washington, D.C. with the money we'd earned from these little transactions.</p> <h2>5. The Envelope System</h2> <p>My grandmother taught me how to budget using the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system">envelope system</a> when I was a child and too young to open a savings account of my own. Yes, this budget hack is so simple, that even a nine-year-old can use it.</p> <p>In brief, the envelope system uses cash to help visualize a budget and control spending. For example, three main spending categories for my household are groceries, records, and gas. Say my average monthly grocery budget is $200, my record budget is $100, and my gas budget is $200. To cover these three categories, I will withdraw $500 in cash from my paycheck and put the cash amount for each bill/budget category into their respectively named envelopes. This method prevents me from spending money out of pocket or my checking account because money has already been earmarked for every bill.</p> <p>This type of budgeting is also called <em>zero based budgeting</em> because 100% of the spending money for each month is allocated to envelopes and zeroed out at the end of each month.</p> <p>Personally, I like to have money left over in my envelopes each month. This little visual incentive is another reason why the envelope system helps me save money. I have tangible evidence of my good behavior!</p> <h2>6. A Portable Filing Cabinet</h2> <p>I think the main reason why old-fashioned bookkeeping tools have fallen out of favor is that many people have a hard time keeping track of paperwork. After years of trial and error, I finally found a solution that keeps my house free of loose papers.</p> <p>I use eight plastic <a href="http://amzn.to/253fS6j">accordion files</a> to keep track of my tax documents. One for this year's bills and paperwork, and one for each of the seven previous tax years. Although I have gone the &quot;paperless&quot; route with many of my bills, I still use this type of file to manage the hard copies of everything (real estate paperwork, recipes, knitting patterns) in my life.</p> <p>I also like envelope closure accordion files because I am a klutz who is constantly dropping her paperwork. These files keep my records neatly separated by category, even if I accidentally put them into my bag upside down. These files are also great for people like me who live in small houses with no storage space.</p> <p><em>What low-tech tricks do you use to manage your money? Share your skills with your fellow Wise Bread readers so we can all stay on budget when our Robot Overlords take control of the Matrix. </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-old-school-tools-to-help-you-stay-on-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-ways-to-save-money-by-tracking-your-receipts">6 Simple Ways to Save Money by Tracking Your Receipts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-things-every-frugal-person-should-have-in-their-wallet">The 7 Things Every Frugal Person Should Have In Their Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-everyday-money-tasks-youve-been-doing-wrong">12 Everyday Money Tasks You&#039;ve Been Doing Wrong</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-apps-will-help-you-finally-organize-your-money">These 5 Apps Will Help You Finally Organize Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Organization checks Envelope system filing gadgets low-tech personal finance receipts record keeping tools Mon, 28 Mar 2016 10:01:03 +0000 Max Wong 1677889 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Simple Ways to Save Money by Tracking Your Receipts http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-ways-to-save-money-by-tracking-your-receipts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-simple-ways-to-save-money-by-tracking-your-receipts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_with_receipts_000047774388.jpg" alt="Woman keeping track of receipts and saving money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Receipts are often annoying little pieces of paper that we disregard or forget about &mdash; that is, until we need to exchange an item or file expenses. Although it might take a little effort, keeping track of your receipts can help you better manage your financial life and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/39-tips-thatll-save-you-hundreds-on-your-next-trip-0">save money</a>. Here's how.</p> <h2>1. Missed Discounts</h2> <p>Did you know that some retailers will offer a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-to-get-a-sale-price-match-at-16-popular-stores">retroactive discount</a> in the event you forget to use a coupon when you originally purchase? It's true. Even if you forget to use a coupon at the store, you can walk back in and ask customer service to help you.</p> <p>When I forgot to use a 20% off coupon for a purchase I made at Bed Bath &amp; Beyond, I took the original receipt and coupon to the customer service desk and received a credit of the same 20% savings on a future purchase. Having this receipt handy saved me a good chunk of change.</p> <h2>2. Survey Savings</h2> <p>I've recently noticed that more and more restaurants and retail stores are asking customers to complete a survey in exchange for discounts or freebies. They need your feedback, and want to reward you in a small way for your help.</p> <p>Old Navy, for example, will offer a 10% off coupon code when you complete a survey of your store shopping experience. It takes about three minutes to fill out the survey online and you'll be given a coupon code for 10% off your entire purchase the next time you're in the store.</p> <p>Aside from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-ways-to-save-money-on-clothes">saving money on clothes</a>, I've received free burgers, drinks, cash, and other freebies for completing surveys that were printed on store receipts. It really does pay to keep your receipt and spend a few minutes answering the questions.</p> <h2>3. Catching Pricing Errors</h2> <p>We're all busy people, and this includes cashiers, which means it's highly probable that we're going to miss important savings. Whether it's us or the cashier who's in a hurry, a mistake could occur when checking out.</p> <p>I always keep the receipt and thoroughly glance over it before leaving the store. Sometimes an employee will forget to scan a coupon I gave them, or they might ring up an item twice. Other times, it's helpful to verify the price that was scanned versus the price displayed on the shelf.</p> <p>If a company has an item priced for $6, they have to sell it to you for that price, even if it's originally labeled for $20. So be sure to pay attention while checking out, or at the very least, review your receipt before leaving the store.</p> <h2>4. Tax Deductions</h2> <p>As a freelancer myself, it's vital that I keep record of all <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-fund-your-business-without-touching-savings">business-related expenses</a> and purchases throughout the year. When you're a business owner, you already have to pay your own Social Security and Medicare tax (since you don't have an employer to help split the difference) which means you'll want to get all the deductions and credits you deserve.</p> <p>Business trips and client meetings over coffee or lunch all count towards tax savings that can be deducted on your tax return at the end of the year. Even job hunting or moving expenses can help decrease your overall tax burden.</p> <h2>5. Rebates and Cash Back</h2> <p>This is likely one of the best reasons to keep a receipt, especially if it's for an electronic or gadget purchase. My husband recently upgraded his gaming computer and was able to get over $85 worth of cash rebates and gift cards because he followed the instructions for the rebate offers.</p> <p>Companies are usually very strict about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-earn-cashback-rewards-without-extra-spending">rebates and cashback policies</a>, so be sure you're following the directions exactly. Often you'll have to mail in the original receipt, so you'll want to make a copy of it for yourself before sending it out.</p> <p>Without the original receipt, most companies will <em>not </em>honor the rebate offer and you could be missing out on a good chunk of savings.</p> <h2>6. Mobile Apps to Store Receipts</h2> <p>We've established that keeping your receipts is important if you want to save more money, so how can you store them in an organized manner? The best answer is to use mobile apps to help stay organized and keep them for future reference.</p> <h3>Shoeboxed</h3> <p><a href="https://www.shoeboxed.com/">Shoeboxed</a> is a comprehensive mobile app that allows you to input your receipts manually, or take a picture of the receipt digitally. You can then store the information for tracking expenses, mileage or meal reimbursements, and easily export to bookkeeping software for expense reports.</p> <h3>Expensify</h3> <p>If you work in sales or are someone who travels a lot for business, <a href="https://www.expensify.com/">Expensify</a> is exactly what you need. Their SmartScan technology easily reads and scans your receipt, which you can then categorize, tag, and save for future reference. In the event you lose your original receipt, this app then generates and IRS-guaranteed eReceipt that's good for redemption purposes.</p> <h3>OneReceipt</h3> <p>With <a href="https://www.onereceipt.com/">OneReceipt</a> you can save both physical receipts and digital ones made from online purchases that are received in your email inbox. Either take an image of your paper receipt, or forward a digital receipt for categorization and saving using your personal &quot;@onereceipt.com&quot; email address.</p> <p><em>Do you use your receipts to save money? What's another way to maximize your savings by keeping track of receipts?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-smith">Carrie Smith</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-ways-to-save-money-by-tracking-your-receipts">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-old-school-tools-to-help-you-stay-on-budget">6 Old School Tools to Help You Stay on Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-organize-your-paperwork-in-just-10-minutes-a-week">How to Organize Your Paperwork in Just 10 Minutes a Week</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-apps-will-help-you-finally-organize-your-money">These 5 Apps Will Help You Finally Organize Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-sneaky-vacation-costs-that-add-up-quickly">10 Sneaky Vacation Costs That Add Up Quickly</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Organization documents expenses filing receipts Fri, 19 Jun 2015 11:00:20 +0000 Carrie Smith 1457076 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Protect Yourself From a Lost Gift Card http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-a-lost-gift-card <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-a-lost-gift-card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shopping_000021000133.jpg" alt="Woman shopping with gift card and trying not to lose it" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Just last week, I was at Chipotle frantically digging through my wallet looking for my gift card. I knew it was somewhere in my pile of plastic, but couldn't find it for the life of me. In the end, my &quot;free&quot; burrito ended up costing me cash, as my gift card was permanently misplaced.</p> <p>Stores and restaurants absolutely love gift cards because of unorganized people like me. But with a few simple steps, you can easily protect those <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-up-remaining-balances-on-prepaid-gift-cards">valuable gift card balances</a> in the event you lose or misplace one.</p> <h2>1. Stash Your Activation Receipt</h2> <p>This is clearly the most obvious, yet overlooked, step to protect yourself. It's often overlooked because the gift card giver doesn't always include the receipt with the card. But if they do, or if you bought the gift card yourself, then by all means stash the receipt someplace safe. In the event you lose the card, you can simply call the retailer or restaurant customer service line and they can access your account balance via the activation receipt. They'll then easily re-issue you a new card.</p> <h2>2. Write Down Gift Card Numbers</h2> <p>If you don't have a receipt, then you can just put pen to paper and copy down the gift card numbers for safe keeping. While this can seem a tedious exercise for a measly $5 Starbucks gift card, you'll be glad you did if you lose a $100 Best Buy card.</p> <h2>3. Get Tech Savvy With a Virtual Wallett</h2> <p>Perhaps the most convenient and fool-proof way of protecting your gift card balances is using a virtual wallet like Google Wallet. You simply download the app to your smartphone (Android or iPhone), enter the card number, balance, snap a picture of the card (front and back) and the app takes care of the rest. You simply present the app when checking out, the cashier scans the corresponding barcode on your phone, and your balance is automatically reduced.</p> <h2>4. Not That Tech Savvy? Just Snap a Pic</h2> <p>If you're just not tech savvy and the idea of adding a gift card to a virtual wallet gives you a headache, I have an easy solution for you. Just use your smartphone or camera to snap a picture of the gift card numbers when you get the card. This is an easy way to access your gift card if you end up losing it.</p> <h2>5. Trace Your Footsteps</h2> <p>If you failed to keep the receipt and/or the gift card number was never recorded, but you used the lost gift card at least once online, you may still have recourse. Your card information may have been recorded when shopping online from the retailer's website. Whether or not your gift card info was saved varies by retailer, but when you are desperate to recapture your account balance, it's worth a shot.</p> <h2>6. Register Your Card With the Retailer</h2> <p>Many retailers and restaurants allow you to actually register your card with them online. Some of the more popular include Crate &amp; Barrel, Starbucks, and Tully's Coffee. By doing so, you get balance protection and a quick replacement card in the event you lose yours. Also, you can often use your gift card for rewards and earn free treats and reward points. The Starbucks gift card is famous for this.</p> <h2>Bottom Line: Treat a Gift Card Like Cash</h2> <p>By treating gift cards like cash (which they essentially are), you'll be more proactive when it comes to protecting their balances. By doing just a little bit of work to protect yourself, you'll never be stuck buying a burrito again after you were sure it would be free. Or is that just my story?</p> <p><em>Have you ever lost a gift card or taken steps to prevent it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-a-lost-gift-card">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-save-money-on-clothing">50 Ways to Update Your Wardrobe for Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-can-you-do-with-unwanted-gift-cards">What Can You Do With Unwanted Gift Cards?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-is-gasoline-so-cheap-a-cost-comparison-of-40-common-household-liquids">Why is Gasoline So Cheap? A Cost Comparison of 40 Common Household Liquids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">Do not buy something just because you can afford it</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-that-thing-really-change-your-life">Will That Thing Really Change Your Life?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips gift cards receipts shopping virtual wallets Thu, 09 Apr 2015 17:00:07 +0000 Kyle James 1376607 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways Technology Can Streamline Financial Management http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-technology-can-streamline-financial-management <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-technology-can-streamline-financial-management" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000006694376Small.jpg" alt="Computer with money" title="Computer with money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="222" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are so many financial tools we take for granted today that weren't possible just 10 short years ago. Here are a few features many people use daily that, if you haven't tried yet, you should.</p> <h3>1. Bill Pay</h3> <p>I still remember my mom showing me how she paid her bills by writing a check, putting it in an envelope, adding a stamp, and mailing it off. These days, you can have all this done for you with a few clicks online. If you really want to save time, you can even have everything automatically deducted from your account. There's no mess, and you're saving yourself from buying all those stamps too.</p> <h3>2. Receipt Storage and Tracking</h3> <p>If you are a business that needs to keep track of your receipts, then it's time to scan everything with a receipt scanner and store it online with a service such as <a href="http://evernote.com">Evernote</a>. It's much more organized, it saves a ton of space, and in the event that you need to access the information, you can actually find something!</p> <h3>3. Online Savings Accounts</h3> <p>When even the bank employees secretly tell you that they use online savings accounts instead of using their own bank's saving products, you know you should follow. Yields are terrible everywhere, but it doesn't mean you should accept a rate of 0.11% when you can get 10 times the interest online!</p> <h3>4. Direct Deposit</h3> <p>I take comfort in knowing that almost everybody in the United States receives pay through direct deposit, but if you still haven't switched for whatever reason, please do. You can even get your company to deposit it into a savings account, earning you more precious interest while you have money sitting there.</p> <h3>5. Up-to-Date Financial Pictures</h3> <p>Most people know that they can get up-to-the second account balances these days, but few people actually them to manage their finances. There should not be any reason for people to overdraft their accounts or spend too much on their credit cards. Use your access, and you will find that many of the careless fees that you regularly accumulate will magically go away.</p> <h3>6. Financial Management Anytime</h3> <p>All right, I'm not advocating that you should do everything late at night. But if you are one of those people who always remembers items on your to-do list at the worst times (while driving, at work, when out with friends, late at night, etc.), then you absolutely need to try using new technology to your advantage. Whether it's asset allocation, logging your expenses, or looking for online coupons, you can do it anywhere, anytime. Even with investment decisions, you can plan your strategy in advance and have the computer schedule the whole execution without your supervision. No more excuses.</p> <h3>7. Researching Products, Services, and Ideas</h3> <p>Before you make any decisions these days, the standard procedure should be to research online and see what others have said. This works with deciding on a financial planner, a brokerage account, or even an investment strategy. Chances are good that after you read a bunch of reviews on other people's experiences, you will get a much better feel of which direction to take.</p> <h3>8. Reading About Common Investor Mistakes</h3> <p>With the increased exposure to free information, we can better deal with our emotions when it comes to investing. After the 99th time of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-common-investing-mistakes">hearing about people paying through the nose</a> with load funds, I'm sure anyone will start look for low-cost alternatives.</p> <p>Technology can be a curse, but it also opens doors for you to radically improve and streamline money matters,&nbsp;saving you a ton of time and helping you make, save, and keep more money.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/david-ning">David Ning</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-technology-can-streamline-financial-management">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-best-sites-to-help-your-kids-learn-about-money">8 Best Sites to Help Your Kids Learn About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-apps-will-help-you-finally-organize-your-money">These 5 Apps Will Help You Finally Organize Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-yourself-first-what-it-means-and-how-to-do-it">Pay Yourself First: What It Means, and How to Do It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-you-disrespect-your-money">10 Ways You Disrespect Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-siri-can-be-your-personal-finance-assistant">9 Ways Siri Can Be Your Personal Finance Assistant</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Technology direct deposit online banking online savings accounts receipts Thu, 27 Jan 2011 14:36:32 +0000 David Ning 479728 at http://www.wisebread.com Holiday Lessons Learned: Advice To Avoid Rip-Offs NYC http://www.wisebread.com/holiday-lessons-learned-advice-to-avoid-rip-offs-nyc <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/holiday-lessons-learned-advice-to-avoid-rip-offs-nyc" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wb-losemoney.jpg" alt="img_1334" title="img_1334" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>This holiday season in the city has been rough for me. I moved out to NYC for a few months thinking I&#39;d be set with my savings and supplementary, lucrative temp work. It was the first year I had saved and budgeted, and my calculations told me I was financially stable for a good three months. However, at the approach of the New Year I still felt the financial strains. Looking back now, I want to hit my head at some of the foolish mistakes I could have avoided as a city newbie. I&#39;ve learned that you&#39;ve got to be quick city -- I mean this in a financially saavy way-- and hopefully my experiences with rip offs can help those who are planning an NYC trip or move to avoid learning the hard way. </span></p> <p><span><strong>Always keep receipts:</strong> With the holiday shopping frenzy going on, shoppers aren&#39;t the only ones distracted, frustrated and scatter-brained. Employees will often ring up the wrong prices, not implement proper discounts, and make various errors. You should not only keep the receipt, but always check it before leaving the store, even if the price for your purchase seems right. My own experiences? I&#39;d been charged three times for one item, charged full price for a 50% discounted item and had mistakenly bought a falsely priced sale item. Had I take a minute to skim the receipt before hurrying out the door, I could have avoided the phone calls to the bank, the trips back to the store, long customer service lines, and the lost money.</span></p> <p><span><strong>Always ask for cab receipts:</strong> This isn&#39;t only during the holidays. It is always wise to ask for a cab receipt, even if you pay in cash (and especially if you pay by credit card). First off, if you leave anything valuable in the cab, such as shopping bags or cell phones, you will need the medallion number for the cab to track down your property. A simple receipt, which will have the medallion number on it, can save you the hassle of having to chase down one of hundreds of yellow cabs in the city. As you can see, this will virtually be impossible. </span><span>Also yellow cabs now have credit card machines. This seemingly nice convenience can actually become a nightmare if, as it often happens, the machine isn&#39;t functioning properly. NY cab drivers often complain that the service doesn&#39;t work. I&#39;ve used my debit card in one of these machines and twice, I received an error message: &quot;can&#39;t process at this time.&quot; I had to then run to an ATM, incur a $2 fee plus a bank fee for using a non-bank machine and pay the fare in cash. However, when I checked my bank account the next day, I saw two pending charges for the same cab fare. A week passed before I was refunded. This could have all been resolved much more easily had I asked for a receipt and known the cab&#39;s medallion number.</span></p> <p><span><a href="http://www.nyccabfare.com/" title="NYC cab fare finder"><strong>Calculate cab fare</strong></a><strong> before taking a trip:</strong> This may not be feasible for short trips around Manhattan that will only cost a few dollars. But for trips to the airport or further destinations, it may be in your interest to calculate a fare and get an idea of how much it should cost. Many times, cab drivers in any city will detect you’re a tourist and will conveniently take a longer route to charge you more. </span></p> <p><span><strong>Know where you’re going before getting in the cab:</strong> This relates to the above advice. It is smart to do a quick google maps direction search, or something of the like, before taking longer trips on cabs. I landed in JFK in a very tired state of mind on a red-eye flight and a normally $30 cab ride somehow came out to $50! I didn’t know the shortest way to my own new apartment, so the cab driver gave me “options”. I picked the freeway assuming it was the fastest, but of course, when I looked on the map later, I saw the driver had taken the longest route possible. Even for shorter trips, study the city! Get an idea of which areas are where – although not all cab drivers are dishonest, very few will dissuade you from mistakenly taking a longer route.</span></p> <p><span><strong>Don’t try to break the law, aka SLOW DOWN:</strong> Holiday season means crowds and people rushing everywhere. This also means that police officers are aplenty, ready to issue citations to drunk drivers, speeding road raging maniacs, and even impatient subway rules violators. Think twice before rolling through a stop sign, speeding on the freeway or, like me, running through an emergency exit in the subway (even if the turnstiles are broken!). Believe me, the police are feeling the least generous during the holidays so don’t expect any mercy and do expect hefty fines. </span></p> <p><span>Of course, these experiences aren’t limited to any one place, city, or season. NYC may just prompt particular precautions: because the city moves so fast, your brain has to work just as fast. Factor in the holiday madness and your brain has to work on overdrive. </span></p> <p><span>Now, please excuse me as I go return all the pity gifts I bought myself to relieve the tension of all the rip-offs.</span></p> <p><em><span>Anyone else experience holiday city madness and rip-offs? Share your experiences so we can all benefit from becoming smarter travelers. </span></em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/joann-hong">Joann Hong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holiday-lessons-learned-advice-to-avoid-rip-offs-nyc">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-you-disrespect-your-money">10 Ways You Disrespect Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-gluttony-is-keeping-you-poor">6 Ways Gluttony Is Keeping You Poor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-silent-budget-killers-you-dont-notice">11 Silent Budget Killers You Don&#039;t Notice</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-switching-to-the-cash-only-lifestyle">Everything You Need to Know About Switching to the Cash Only Lifestyle</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting avoid rip off cab holiday money new york NY nyc receipts rip off save taxi Fri, 28 Dec 2007 22:02:10 +0000 Joann Hong 1551 at http://www.wisebread.com Five Easy Steps to Keeping Track of Expenses for the Self-Employed http://www.wisebread.com/five-easy-steps-to-keeping-track-of-expenses-for-the-self-employed <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/five-easy-steps-to-keeping-track-of-expenses-for-the-self-employed" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/receipts.JPG" alt="receipts envelope" title="receipts management" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>I have had as many as five separate businesses at once to keep track of, including proper accounting of expenses for tax purposes. And it takes me no more than 5 minutes per week to do. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>A big hassle for most people I know who are self-employed or in contract positions (especially in creative fields) is the boring necessity to track expenses and receipts for tax purposes. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>There are a few methods I've seen employed that leave a little to be desired:</span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span><strong>The Shoebox Approach.</strong> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>This usually entails a nightly or weekly emptying of the wallet or pockets into a shoebox labelled &quot;taxes&quot;. At the end of the year, one of two things happens: The culprit dedicates long days upon days to &quot;file their taxes&quot;. Really this process is less about the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxes/tax-preparation " title="Wise Bread's Guide to Tax Preparation ">tax preparation</a> itself and more about sifting through piles of receipts, tallying up everything with calculators, and hoping that everything adds up. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>The other option for the shoebox guru is to simply take the unkempt pile of receipts into their accountant or bookkeeper and get them to sort through everything. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> <br /> I see two problems with this strategy: </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>1: The daunting task of taking time off to sift through receipts and prepare taxes makes it one of the dullest and soul-sucking chores around. So consequently throughout the year there is less motivation to save the right receipts since it will just have to be tallied at the end of the year and less receipts to tally means less of a pain in the you-know-what to contend with. It also means less tax dollars saved. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>2: For those that go with the bookkeeper option, you are spending more money paying somebody else to do something that could easily be maintained yourself. For the frugal business owners in us, it's not always a wise expenditure. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span><strong>The Day-timer Approach.</strong> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>You know those expense logs that often come with the reference pages for most day-timers and schedules? Well, I haven't actually seen anybody use them successfully, but they keep coming out every year so I have to assume that somebody uses those pages and likes them. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>My beef with that approach is that there is no proper filing of the receipts which are needed for the actual <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxes/tax-preparation " title="Wise Bread's Guide to Tax Preparation ">tax preparation</a> (which relegates even the Day-timer User to the Shoebox Approach in a manner), and when it comes down to tax time even the expense logs need to be re-categorized and<span> </span>shuffled by hand according to the types of expenses incurred. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Here's what I personally do with my receipts, and it seems to work out quite well for me and is not time consuming at all: </span></p> <p><span><strong>1: </strong>Whenever I incur an expense, I usually <strong>stuff the receipt in my wallet</strong> until I get home, or until there are enough receipts in my wallet that it occurs to me to take them out. (This usually happens about once a week). </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span><strong>2: </strong>Once I've pulled the pile of receipts from my wallet, it's time to deal with them right then and there. I <strong>enter the following information into a spreadsheet</strong>:</span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><em><span>Date</span></em></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><em><span>Vendor</span></em></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span><em>Type of expense for tax purposes</em> (eg: auto, office expenses, advertising, insurance, etc)</span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><em><span>Amount of money spent</span></em></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span><em>Additional notes </em>(eg: that dinner I'm claiming was when I took John Doe out to discuss ABC business, or that auto expense is specifically for gas or repairs.)</span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span><strong>3: </strong>Once entered, I <strong>file the receipts away</strong>. I have a file folder that stores all the receipts for the year, and I clip all the receipts together by expense. For example, within my folder is an &quot;auto&quot; pile held together with a paperclip to which I attach my gas receipts. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>This way if I ever need to reference the original receipts again, I can easily put my hands on that specific receipt since it's already filed according to category and roughly by date as well since I enter and file the receipts regularly.</span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> <br /> That's it for the daily or weekly maintenance. No more than five minutes each week once you get into a system that works for you, I promise! </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>When it comes to tax time, I go through a few additional steps to make things easier on my accountant: </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> <br /> <strong>4: </strong>Since all my receipts are logged in spreadsheet format, all I have to do now is <strong>organize the spreadsheet</strong>. Using data sorts and searches, I create a page for each type of expense and print it out. For example my advertising page itemizes all the expenses I incurred for that category, showing dates, amounts, and special notes. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>This process can be tedious especially if you are still learning how to categorize your expenses or manipulate spreadsheet information. But it gets easier and easier each year, and at the height of my business frenzy, it sill only took me a couple of hours to do. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> <br /> <strong>5: </strong>I take all the printed spreadsheets (along with the original receipts just in case we need to reference them) to my accountant. I <strong>sit there with my accountant as we review the spreadsheets</strong>. If he or she feels that a certain expense is best claimed in another area, then we can easily subtract it from the total on that sheet, and add it to another sheet. It's a great learning experience for me, so the following year I can better manage my receipts and have a greater understanding of how to file taxes to get the best bang for my bucks spent. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Not only is this approach easy and helps me to maintain some semblance of control over my finances, but I also save money even with my accountant, since I've already done a lot of the prep work. All he or she has to do is plug in the numbers and tell me how much money I saved!</span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-easy-steps-to-keeping-track-of-expenses-for-the-self-employed">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/surprise-5-reasons-you-might-not-get-your-tax-refund">Surprise! 5 Reasons You Might Not Get Your Tax Refund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tax-document-checklist-what-to-gather-before-doing-your-taxes">Tax Document Checklist: What to Gather Before Doing Your Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-if-i-skip-my-taxes-this-year">What If I Skip My Taxes This Year?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-you-should-really-fear-an-irs-audit">10 Reasons You Should Really Fear an IRS Audit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-tax-deductions-you-can-never-take">3 Tax Deductions You Can Never Take</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization Taxes accounting bookeeping filing taxes managing taxes receipts self-employment tax preparation Fri, 28 Sep 2007 04:22:23 +0000 Nora Dunn 1223 at http://www.wisebread.com