5 Tips to Organize Your Finances in 2013

Tax Planning

One of the top New Year’s resolutions this year is to get in control of finances.  Money-saving expert, Yoly Mason of Cuponeando.net shares her top tips to organize your finances in 2013.

En Español

Now that we’ve welcomed 2013 and the kids have gone back to school, it’s the perfect time to get organized. In fact, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to be more organized at home, especially when it comes to keeping track of my family’s financial records. I’m positive this can lead to a much more successful fiscal year.

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Here are five steps you can also follow to keep your finances orderly:

1.  Update your mailing address. Did you move recently? Many of us rang in the New Year living in a new city or even a new state. The first thing to do is to provide your new address to any company with which you worked in 2012, your banks and even investment firm. This way you won’t waste time chasing them for the documents you need to file your 2012 taxes.

2.  Review your W4 forms.  This is a form that you typically fill out when you start a new job, and has to do with how much money is withheld from your paycheck by your employer for tax purposes. According to the IRS, “millions of workers in the US have more money withheld from their paychecks than is necessary.” Life situations like a change in your marital status, a new job or a new baby can affect the amount that should be withheld from your paycheck. You can use a tool like TurboTax TaxCaster to play around with various scenarios when filling out or updating the form.

3.  Ask for a receipt. Donations we make to non-profit organizations – including your church – can help us with our taxes. Make sure you ask for a receipt every time you make a donation and save it with other important documents; you could even take pictures of the items you’re donating to complement your records.

4.  Establish a filing system. Storing receipts for the purchase of bigger items, invoices for services from a lawyer or a doctor, copies of cashed checks, among other expenses, in one place can save us a lot of time when we sit down to prepare our taxes. It could be something as simple as putting them in a shoe box or in a filing cabinet.

5.  Keep a record of your car’s mileage. If you use your car for business purposes or to volunteer, you could get a tax deduction for a certain amount of these miles. Keep a small notebook in your glove compartment, and jot down trip dates, miles on the odometer, and purpose of your trip to keep track of the mileage.

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