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I am a little controlling when it comes to finances – in the sense that I like to know everything that is going on, and keep track of it all. It is for this reason that I keep my own records and do my own taxes. I know people think I am crazy and waste time, I could let others handle it, but I have a great system setup that has allowed me to streamline the process and make it so easy to keep track of everything. I want to share these with you and hopefully you can find something useful in these 10 tips for filing taxes yourself. My phone plays a big part in helping me stay organized, so I am glad that I have Unlimited Talk, Text & Data to keep me connected where ever I go.
1. Keep track of all of your purchases
Receipts are annoying and take up a lot of space, so I just snap pictures of them (I keep the important ones for warranty purposes) and then shred them. It you have a tendency to return things, you may want to keep them in an envelope for a couple weeks after your purchase just in case. You can create a folder on your phone to put the receipt images into, and even back them up onto your computer periodically (maybe like once a month of every 3 months) so you don’t have them clogging your phone.
2. Keep track of your finances in a spreadsheet
If the last word there sent off a red flashing light and made your sweat a little, then relax, it will be ok. A spread sheet can be very easy and will help tremendously when it comes time to do your taxes. Learn how to use a spreadsheet on your computer. You can print them out, but then you still have to go through and add everything up and spend time doing things that your computer can do in milli-seconds. Take the time to learn. If you already know – then yay! I am glad. Put everything in it. Purchases, bills, income, goals, etc.
3. Document everything with your vehicles
If you have a business or do any driving for charity (like your church) then you can write those miles off! Even medical miles that you drive. Keep a notebook in your car and keep track of ever trip you take that you think you will be able to write off. Also make sure you write what is was for (“doctor apt for Britney in Salt Lake”) just so you know what that trip was for. A good way to document your miles is:
DATE | MILES ON CAR BEFORE (this is your odometer reading) | PURPOSE (where you are going) | MILES ON CAR AFTER (this is your odometer reading) | TOTAL MILES DRIVEN
This is really important! Make sure you keep track. I love the TripLog app that makes it SO EASY and even creates reports for you.
4. Get a folder and keep all of your tax documents in it
You get papers throughout the year (especially if you have any charitable donations). You don’t want to lose them because this is a write off! Get a folder or (manila) envelope and write 20__ TAXES on it and keep everything in it! This is also nice because you can print out a copy of your return after you file and put it in the envelope, then you have a nice and organized file of everything from that year. It is also a great place to put receipts for business purchases or things you are going to write off on your taxes.
5. Stay connected by utilizing your phone
I love using my phone to stay connected. I use Google Sheets to keep track of my purchases, and I can use an app on my phone to access my secure document, input my purchases, and be on my way. It saves so much time. I can also insert a picture of the receipt (that I took because of step 1) from my laptop or desktop so I know exactly what I purchased! What a perfect tracking system right!?! I love it. Other apps that I love to use on my phone are Expensify (this is a great way to keep track of business expenses, including receipts, and keep it organized) and Expense Manager.
Having a nice 4G LTE phone lets me be connected all the time so that I can track everything that I need to. Even if you don’t do your taxes yourself, it is still smart to keep track of everything so that when tax time comes, you are ready to roll (in your money 😉 ). The list of apps that are great for helping with taxes and tracking expenses will help, and I would love to hear what you use as well. If you have already done your taxes this year, then hopefully you got some cash back. It is a great time to head into your local Walmart and check out their selection of 4G LTE phones like the Samsung Galaxy Avant which is priced at only $149! I am in LOVE with this phone. It is packed with all of the features you love like Wi-Fi calling, Mobile HotSpot (so you can connect your tablet or computer to the internet through your phone), a great camera, fast processor, and tons of other features that the tech-savvy or new user both will love. With the Lowest Priced Unlimited Plans you can’t go wrong!
Walmart Family Mobile has a great selection of phones that are LTE capable and you will be surprised at how amazing they are and how affordable. Walmart Family Mobile service is $29.88/month (for the first line) Unlimited Talk, Text & Data service plan which includes up to 500MB of 4G LTE data. I love my new Samsung Avant phone. It is so fast, and has so many features I haven’t even figured them all out yet. My daughter steals it all the time so I am going to get her one of her own (for this great price and service it’s a no-brainer).
I have shared 5 tips for filing taxes, I would love to hear what you do and what you plan on getting with your return!