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Tactics to Control Household Finances with a Prepaid Debit Card

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It doesn’t matter how much money you have or don’t have, budgeting is essential for any family. To put it simply, there is never enough money to go around. There are many methods on how to save money for specific and daily things, but a way that is becoming more and more popular is sequestering funds with a prepaid debit card.

This tactic, called envelope budgeting, allows you to put money on the card you either don’t want to spend or that you only want to spend. It is a great way to save money and budget for holidays, vacations, and more. Read below to see all the different ways you can budget household finances and take control of your financial well-being.

General Budgeting

The way people need to budget the most is in their day-to-day lives. If you don’t have a lot of money or struggle to manage it properly, using a prepaid card you can load money onto or use as a digital envelope to set aside. Things come up in life, especially when you have a family, and you need to have some sort of savings ready for emergencies. With a prepaid debit card, you can have money ready and eliminate stress.

Control Children’s Spending

Giving your child a prepaid debit card may seem like a bad idea, but it’s actually quite the opposite. Let’s face it, your kids need money for lunch, school supplies, and other things. A prepaid card can provide the independence and responsibility your kids need to learn about money and spending day-to-day. It will not only enable them to save money, it will teach valuable lessons when they overspend. You kids will not be able to overdraft or dip into your savings. Prepaid debit cards can teach children financial responsibility while limit spending.

Finance Groceries

Groceries are an expense for any household, and using a prepaid card to budget weekly and monthly food can help out a lot. There have experiments on this topic and they show that it can be an effective way to do so. It is important to watch for what the fees are. According to the experts at the site MoneyPug, which is used commonly to compare prepaid cards, you can find some extremely cheap or free prepaid debit cards. There is no reason to spend a lot on fees and other charges. By using this method, you can load an allotted amount onto the card for ingredients and use your usual debit, credit, and cash to pay for other expenses.

Save Up for a Vacation

Prepaid cards are not just for people who don’t have enough money, they can be an efficient way to save for non-essential yet enticing purchases. You can use a prepaid card, for example, to budget a vacation. There are a few ways to do this, but perhaps the best option is to load the money onto a prepaid card and take it with you abroad. These prepaid debit cards are a very popular way to avoid fees, withdrawal cash, and take a stress-free trip. Not only will it facilitate your saving for a holiday, it will enable you to spend while you are away.

Set Aside Money for Important Events

Families always run into events that cost money they may not have. Whether it is a positive event like a wedding, a birthday, a religious holiday, or an unfortunate occurrence like a funeral or an accident, prepaid cards can be away to put aside money quickly. When you need cash for something specific, this method will help you avoid using it.

There are many ways to use prepaid cards to save. Think of it as a digital envelope to put away cash or as a place to use it while leaving savings untouched. Whatever your reason for using one of these easy and convenient cards, it will likely help you save, budget, and finance household necessities. With the extra money you have, make rewarding purchases. Try out prepaid cards today. It is unlikely you will be disappointed by how you can save.

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Nine Often-Overlooked Ways to Legally Keep More Revenue for Yourself

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Save Money On Taxes

Small Business Owners, Stop Overpaying on Taxes!

Eric Tyson, MBA, author of the new book Small Business Taxes for Dummies®, Second Edition, shares some great tax breaks you may not be using to your advantage.

          Hoboken, NJ (March 2019)—If you’re a small business owner, you know: The quest for revenue is never-ending. That means, besides chasing new customers, you’re also scouring your expenses to see where you might make cuts. Eric Tyson’s suggestion? Focus on minimizing one of the biggest (and sneakiest) expenses you face. Taxes.

          “Quite often, small business owners overlook some great tax reduction opportunities,” says Tyson, author of Small Business Taxes For Dummies®, Second Edition (Wiley, March 2019, ISBN: 978-1-119-51784-9, $26.99). “Yes, we all have to pay taxes, but there’s no reason to overpay. Employ legal tax reduction strategies, send less to Uncle Sam, and you’ll automatically keep more revenue for yourself.”

          Keep reading to learn nine things you can do this year to improve your tax situation:

Invest in wealth-building assets. During your working years, you probably don’t need or want taxable income from your investments, because it can significantly increase your income tax bill. So, Tyson advises investing in real estate, stocks, and small business investments. These offer the best long-term growth potential. They are a tax-friendly option as well, because you’re in control and can decide when to sell and when to realize your profit. Hint: As long as you can hold on to these investments for more than one year, your profit is taxed at the lower, long-term capital gains rate.

Fund some retirement accounts. When you funnel your savings dollars into retirement accounts, such as 401(k), 403(b), SEP-IRA, or SIMPLE IRA, you can earn substantial upfront tax breaks on your contributions.

“If you think that saving for retirement is boring, just consider the tens of thousands of tax dollars these accounts can save you during your working years,” says Tyson. “And if you don’t take advantage of these accounts, you may well have to work many more years to accumulate the reserves necessary to retire.”

Contribute to a health savings account. HSAs hold promise for people to put money away on a tax-advantaged basis to pay for healthcare-related expenses. Money contributed to an HSA is tax-deductible, and investment earnings compound without tax and aren’t taxed upon withdrawal so long as you use the funds to pay for eligible healthcare costs. So, unlike a retirement account, HSAs are actually triple tax-free!

Calculate whether a deduction is worth itemizing. The IRS gives you two methods of determining your total deductions. You can either choose the standard deduction method, or you can choose to itemize. Standard deductions make sense if you make a regular paycheck, have a rented apartment, and have no large expenses. In 2019, single people qualify for a $12,200 standard deduction, and married couples filing jointly get a $24,400 standard deduction.

The other deduction method is itemizing. This procedure is more of a hassle, but if you can tally up more than the standard deduction amount, itemizing saves you money. Your personal property and state income taxes are itemizable, up to an annual cap of $10,000. Further, if you pay a fee to the state to register and license your car, you can itemize the expenditure as a deduction. (However, you can deduct only the part of the fee that relates to the car’s value.) Because you can control when to pay particular expenses that are eligible for itemization, you can shift more of them into selected years to take full advantage of itemizing. However, if your itemized deductions are equal to or less than the standard deduction, take the standard deduction.

Trade consumer debt for mortgage debt. Suppose you own real estate but haven’t borrowed as much money as your lender allows. And suppose you’ve run up high-interest consumer debt. In that case, you may be able to refinance your mortgage (borrowing at a lower interest rate than your credit card bill) and pull out extra cash to pay off your consumer debt. You may even get a tax-deduction bonus, because while consumer debt isn’t tax-deductible, mortgage debt usually is.

“Remember that refinancing your mortgage and establishing home equity lines involve fees and charges,” says Tyson. “Keep these expenses in mind when weighing the pros and cons of this strategy. Also, be aware that borrowing against the equity in your home can be an addictive habit that can handicap your ability to work toward other financial goals. Stay responsible.”

Consider charitable contributions and expenses. When you itemize your deductions on Schedule A, you can deduct contributions made to charities. Most people already know that when they write a check to a college or house of worship, they can deduct it. Yet many taxpayers overlook the fact that they can also deduct expenses while performing activities for charitable organizations. For example, when you go to volunteer at a soup kitchen, you can deduct your transportation costs getting there. You can also deduct the fair market value of donations of clothing and other goods to charities; just keep your documentation of donated items. Finally, you can deduct contributions to local schools, including youth sports programs, as long as the money goes to the overall team rather than being earmarked for your child. You can even deduct the cost of driving your kids to school events.

Scour for self-employment expenses. If you’re self-employed, you already deduct a variety of expenses from your income before calculating the tax that you owe. When you buy a computer or office furniture, you can deduct those expenses. Employee salaries, office supplies, rent or mortgage interest for your office space, and phone expenses are also generally deductible.

“Although more than a few business owners cheat on their taxes, some self-employed folks don’t take all the deductions they should,” says Tyson. “Be sure you take advantage of deductions for which you are eligible.”

If you’re part of a married couple, crunch the numbers on filing separately. About 5 percent of married couples file their federal income tax returns under the status of “Married Filing Separately.” Most do so to save money, but there can be other reasons, such as each spouse not wanting to be liable for their spouse’s tax transgressions. To know if you should consider this option, crunch the numbers. Couples with the following characteristics may benefit:

  • If one spouse owns a pass-through business that is eligible for the 20 percent pass-through deduction but loses that deduction due to the combined income of their spouse.
  • If one spouse has high medical expenses, which can be written off when they exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income, but loses that deduction due to the higher combined income with their spouse.
  • If the couple lives in a state that has a tax code that may favor spouses who file separately.
  • If you have a tax preparer, be careful to understand their additional fee for filing separate returns as that cost may wipe out the potential tax savings.

Consider working overseas. When you work in a foreign country with low income taxes, you may be able to save big-time on income taxes. For tax year 2019, you can exclude $105,900 of foreign-earned income (whether you work for a company or are self-employed) from U.S. income taxes. To qualify for this exclusion, you must work at least 330 days (about 11 months) of the year overseas or be a foreign resident. If you earn more than $105,900, don’t worry about being double taxed on income above this amount. You get to claim credits for foreign taxes paid on your U.S. tax return, and the IRS gives you two extra months, until June 15, to file your tax returns.

Remember two caveats to this exclusion. First, many of the countries people dream of living in—such as England, France, Italy, Sweden, Germany, and Spain—have higher income tax rates than the ones in the United States. Also, this tax break isn’t available to U.S. government workers overseas.

          “When you’re running a small business, every penny counts,” says Tyson. “Having more revenue in the bank can make the difference between struggling and thriving. A smart tax strategy can help more than you may have ever realized.”

# # #

About the Author:
Eric Tyson, MBA, is the author of Small Business Taxes For Dummies®, Second Edition (Wiley, March 2019, ISBN: 978-1-119-51784-9, $26.99). Eric is an internationally acclaimed and best-selling personal finance author, counselor, and writer. He is the author of five national best-selling financial books including Investing For Dummies, Personal Finance For Dummies, and Home Buying Kit For Dummies. He has appeared on NBC’s Today show, ABC, CNBC, FOX News, PBS, and CNN, and has been interviewed on hundreds of radio shows and print publications.

About the Book:
Small Business Taxes For Dummies®, Second Edition (Wiley, March 2019, ISBN: 978-1-119-51784-9, $26.99) will be available at bookstores nationwide, from major online booksellers, and direct from the publisher by calling 800-225-5945. In Canada, call 800-567-4797. For more information, please visit the book’s page on www.wiley.com.

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Top Tips To Bring Back The Fashionista Glam For Moms

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Bring Back The Glam for Moms

Being a mother is the most difficult job in this world. Every one of us loves our moms, but sometimes we feel sad when we see they lose their glam. They have swimming lessons to drive their kids to, lunch or dinner to prepare, Legos to avoid stepping on and all the unexplained things stuck on their shirts. Being a mother comes with daunting challenges that they don’t even have time to think on what to wear. The yoga/leggings-wearing-mom has become a stereotype. However, being a busy mother does not mean trading convenience for style.

Here are a few tips for all the mothers out there to bring back their glam.

Little Black Blazers

The great thing about blazers that a lot of people don’t know is that it is so versatile. We have put an emphasis on this just because you can use it on a casual Friday or a lavish dinner date at a fancy restaurant. So if you don’t have a black blazer in your closet, rush to a nearby mall or look for one at online shops such as Bonprix. Bonprix’s great deals and offers are significantly cheaper compared to those blazers found in shopping centers.

Open Cardigans

In today’s fashion world, open cardigans have become the new jacket or sweater. Using oversized cardigan compliments skinny jeans and boosts the look to a more fashionable level. On the other hand, cropped cardigans placed over an untucked button-down will give you a more casual girly look. If you are not into knitted or woven cardigans, Newchic provides cardigan alternatives that will fit your fashion style. Avail of the discount coupons and all offers of Newchic so you can get a hand of their unique open cardigans that is cozy and stylish, a perfect match for your outfits.

Use Accessories

Do you feel that your outfit is plain? Then take out those jewelries outside of the box and put them to good use. Use your treasures and check which matches your outfit or what makes you look glam. If you’re not into jewelries, a scarf with a great print will do the trick. You can wrap the scarf on you neck or just tie it to your bag to add extra fashion points.

Layers

Using layered outfits is an exemplary way to be glamorous, comfy and warm, all these while flattering your sexy curves. You will also never worry about bulkiness, layering tops and leggings anymore! Layers are perfect for daily wear, and having classic colors with stylish prints can emphasize any woman’s fashion sense and shape. If you are a single mom going on a date, use layers so you won’t be worrying about how you look on your intimate encounter. Still looking for someone special? Spice up your life with Lexa dating app!

Good Hair

Everyone knows the hackneyed phrase that “the hair is a woman’s crowning glory” because it really makes sense. Busy moms often resort to messy buns to cover up their lack of time to fix themselves but to be honest, you should still invest time for yourself and go to a salon to get your hair treatment. Cut whatever needs to be cut, get a hair rebond to revive your look and have that extra youthful glam as you used to have.

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