receipts http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7876/all en-US 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-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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-technology-makes-personal-finances-easier">3 Ways Technology Makes Personal Finances Easier</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/search-online-for-a-fix-before-you-toss-that-broken-gadget">Search Online for a Fix before You Toss that Broken Gadget</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/will-guns-change-the-way-ebay-auctions-operate">Will Guns Change the Way eBay Auctions Operate?</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-innovative-but-obscure-sites-that-put-money-in-your-pocket">10 Innovative But Obscure Sites That Put Money In Your Pocket</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-do-you-spend-money-to-save-time">How do you spend money to save time?</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/plan-for-your-wants">Plan for your wants</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/managing-your-short-term-money">Managing Your Short-Term Money</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/its-all-your-money">It&#039;s all 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/time-is-money-budget-them-both-out">Time Is Money: Budget Them Both Out</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-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/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/turbotax-new-features-and-a-chance-to-win-a-copy">TurboTax: New features, and a chance to win a copy</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/turn-last-years-taxes-into-this-years-financial-spring-cleaning">Turn Last Year&#039;s Taxes Into This Year&#039;s Financial Spring Cleaning</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