The only online publication for women in Greater Cincinnati
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    1.    MFJ vs. MFS – married filing joint and married filing separate. Try both ways. It could save you taxes.

    2.    You could receive up to $500 max “energy credit” back on your tax return for home improvements.

    3.    If you are in business for yourself, make sure to keep your mileage for business use. Mileage rate for 2007 is 48.5 cents.

    4.    You’ve been supporting a war that’s been over for years. A refund is available for you called “phone excise tax credit” up to $60 max.

    5.    Have some kiddies at home? There’s an increase in the “Kiddie Tax” for a child under age 18, any unearned income over $1,700 will be taxed at parents’ tax rate, not the child’s.

    6.    Interested in a hybrid vehicle? A “hybrid vehicle credit” is now available for the purchase of such a vehicle thru Dec. 31, 2010. There is a max of $3,400 credit with a few stipulations.

    7.    All charitable cash contributions must have a receipt from the organization indicating; amount, date and name of the charitable organization. In other words, use checks if putting money in the collection plate at church or for the sidewalk Santa.

    8.    Since Aug. 17, 2006, no deduction will be allowed for non-cash contributions of clothing or household goods that are not in good condition or better, unless total value is over $500 and the taxpayer attaches a qualified appraisal to her/his return.

    9.    For ages 50 or older, your contribution into an IRA for tax year 2006 is $5,000, up from $4,500 last year. Everyone less than 50 is $4,000, same as last year. You can contribute up until you have your taxes prepared or April 15, 2007, whichever is closest.

    10.    For those of you who are 70 ½ years and older; you are required to start taking from your IRA account (RMD – Required Minimum Distribution). Good news, though! If you don’t need the money, for tax year 2006 and 2007 only, you can directly transfer funds to your favorite charitable organization up to $100,000 per year. That could save you a bunch in taxes depending on your tax bracket.

    Contact your accountant for more details on any of these tax tips.

     

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      Budget Tips

      • Spend less than you earn. There are hundreds of thousands of men and women that spend way more than they earn with the help of car loans, home equity loans and credit cards. The only two options available to help in this situation is a large pay increase or reduction of spending.
      • Save for important things first. It is nice to have a budget, even though we all don’t follow them 100 percent. It gives us a roadmap for our finances. You need to try and save a percentage of your pay each month, equal to approximately 12.5 percent, then pay your monthly expenses. If you can’t do this, then it’s time to cut out unnecessary spending so you get to the place where you can.


      Ways to Save

      • Emergency Fund – put a percentage away in a savings account for a rainy day. You never know when that roof will leak or car repair will hit your pocketbook.
      • Christmas Club – take a few bucks every pay period and stash it where you aren’t allowed to touch it until Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate) time. It’s always nice to get that check in October from the bank to spend. Just remember, it’s for other people, not you.
      • Vacation Fund – set aside a separate account just for your vacation for that year. This way, you won’t have to use those high interest credit cards for fun and relation.
      • Purchasing Fund – maybe you want to buy a new car, boat or any kind of expensive play toy. This is a great way to be able to pay cash for it when you are ready to buy!
      • Retirement Fund – let’s not forget to have a savings for those days ahead. If you don’t save for retirement, nobody will save it for you. Whatever you do, don’t lean on the government for that help.


      Credit Card Tips
      Balance Transfers
      Not recommended due to either a higher interest rate or additional fees on the amount transferred.


      Negotiate a Lower Interest Rate
      You can call the credit card company and get them to lower the interest rate while you are trying to pay off the balance. Most of the time they will lower it because they don’t want you to go to another credit card company.


      Keep Yourself at Two Major Credit Cards
      It’s always good to have a spare in case a company won’t accept the one you use the most. I’ve had that happen when out of town and it’s no fun!


      Beware of Retail Credit Cards
      These can be a “snake pit." Be careful when they say, “save an extra 15 percent when you use your retail credit card." That’s fine if you pay it off when you get the statement. Otherwise, they just made money off of you by charging a 21-22 percent interest rate.


      Always Use Your Debit Card as a Credit Card
      It’s best to use your debit card but always say it’s a credit card. That way, you’re not charged a $1.50 fee per every time you use it. Not only does this money come out of your checking or savings account, but also saves you from using any credit cards in the future and paying those high interest rates.


      Be Disciplined

      Try to pay off the balance each month, and only use your credit card if for two reasons:

      • You have the money sitting in the bank instead of your pocketbook to pay it off the next month, or
      • An emergency has occurred over and above your savings. Just make plans to pay it off in short order.


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          1. Never eat lunch alone.
          2. Write thank you letters. Thank you e-mails don't count. We're talking card, handwriting, envelope and stamp.
          3. Remember your server's name. You want the person handling your food and credit card to like you.
          4. Do housework in your skimpies – you have to do something to make chores more fun!
          5. Manage your stress; don't let it manage you. When you feel stressed, close your eyes and imagine yourself in your "I want to be there right now" vacation spot.
          6. Smile at people on the street instead of looking through them.
          7. Keep a gratitude journal. Write about what you're grateful for before you go to bed.
          8. Don't diet. Make lasting changes to your lifestyle.
          9. Make something homemade with your girlfriends.
          10. Holding a grudge? Let it go today.
          11. Every once in a while, surprise your coworker with a cup of coffee, bottle of water or an apple.
          12. Welcome change – good change, difficult change, destructive change and transformative change.
          13. Throw pennies in fountains.
          14. Talk to strangers in the elevator.
          15. Mentor someone.
          16. Make a monthly resolution.
          17. Invest in monthly massages. Buy the package now, because you'll come up with excuses later. Other than just feeling good, massages can reduce signs of aging, blood pressure and stress.
          18. Surround yourself with people who encourage you. Let those that don’t fall by the wayside, and embrace those that do.
          19. Go to Quotegarden.com, find an inspiring quote, write it on a Post-It and put it inside your medicine cabinet so you see it every morning.
          20. Fanning an old flame? Don't. There's a reason why he's in the past, and you can't move on until he's fully extinguished.
          21. At work, dress not for the job you have, but the one you want to have.
          22. Go to the mall and have someone show you how to put on eye makeup, and match you for a good lipstick.
          23. Through the good, bad and ugly – remember to laugh.
          24. Do your "Dr. Kegel-recommended exercises." Confused? Look it up.
          25. Pay it forward.
          26. Don't do work in bed. Your sleep will suffer if you do – seriously.
          27. Walk with your shoulders rolled back to exude confidence.
          28. Find a good shoe cobbler to keep for favorite kicks kicking without looking like they're about to kick the can.
          29. Lean in when people talk to you.
          30. Write love letters.
          31. Believe in karma.
          32. Buy a 32 oz Nalgene bottle, fill it up with water and make it a goal to drink two every day.
          33. Get into aromatherapy. Put lavender on your pillow to relax you at night, burn a citrus candle in the morning to wake you up and chamomile at work to relieve stress.
          34. Wear clothes that fit.
          35. Learn about your family lineage.
          36. Invest in a good eye cream – no matter how young or old you are – and apply it with your pinky finger.
          37. Fix your teeth. People look at them. A lot. Just warning you.
          38. Make a point to compliment at least one person every day. It feels good, and it will score you serious popularity points.
          39. Buy those comfy shoe insoles.
          40. Have "date night" with your favorite gal pals. Get dressed up and go to a cute swanky place.
          41. Volunteer.
          42. Invest in a new pair of sunglasses. Prevent those squint-related wrinkles and revamp your look at the same time.
          43. Get up 10 minutes earlier so you can apply your make-up in a well-lit room, not on your drive to work.
          44. Buy a planner and use it daily. Make sure to add address and birthday info.
          45. Send friends birthday cards. Or at least call. Remembering birthdays is beginning to be a lost art.
          46. Work out in the morning. Too many excuses can pop up if you do it after work.
          47. Get measured for your bra size. Time Magazine just reported that 80 percent of women wear the wrong bra size. You're most likely one of them.
          48. If you have to watch TV, at least do something productive. Stair master, paint your nails, iron tomorrow's outfit. Whatever. Just do something.
          49. Make a list of things you want to do before you die.
          50. Make the necessary plans to cross the first thing off that list.
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