Friday, January 29, 2010

New Tax Deductions for 2009

Make sure that you don't miss out on some of the new tax deductions that you may qualify for.
Here is a good article, summarizing some of the most popular ones.
Some common deductions that are often overlooked.
Just a side note, I did hear that anyone filing the new form 5405 are having their refunds delayed because of processing time.  If you are in a hurry, my recommendation would be to file your return without it, and then file an ammended return with the form.

And just for fun, the five most bizzare tax deductions around the world!

See how well you know your deductions with this quiz!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

iPad, Kindle, or Mini-Netbook? My comparison:

Kindle Wireless Reading Device (6" Display, Global Wireless, Latest Generation)

Apple made a big announcement. Everyone is listening.
Do we love the new iPad?
I found reviews and comparisons. I think … It depends. It depends what you are looking for.

Now, I don’t claim to know more about the technical stuff than these reviewers, but they are not all entirely accurate. Example: Kindle does have an SD slot, Kindle can handle photos/diagrams (just not in color)… If you have a particular feature that is important to you make sure to … go to the source for more info…

Sources: Kindle (Basic)specs, Kindle DX specs,
Apple iPad specs, HP mini netbooks specs,
Toshiba tablet pc specs, Dell mini netbooks and
Barnes & Nobles Nook specs

Here are some reviews that I found interesting, although not entirely accurate:

My obsession with books has meant that I want to own as many as possible, I just don’t want the clutter! Kindle to the rescue! Ever since it came out, I thought it was a fabulous idea. I haven’t purchased one though. I just know that technology is moving quickly… when will the next best thing be here? Is it the iPad? Here is my take…

For books, the Kindle is still better. You can’t beat the non-glare e-ink for reading. One negative, for crafts, how-to, and magazines – color would be nice! With the Kindle you can “sync” your books on your computer, Amazon library, iphone, and blackberry – you will never run out of storage space because Amazon will store your entire library! You have tons more books available through Amazon than through Apple’s iBook store. Amazon’s last count was 400,000 books in addition to magazines, newspapers, and blogs. And it is not stopping: Quote from Amazon, “Our vision for Kindle is to have every book ever printed, in any language, all available in under 60 seconds.” And huge: No monthly fee!! Free 3G connectivity. No internet or mobile service fees. This adds up every month, people!! Why aren’t the other reviewers making a big deal about this feature?

My final choice...  I'm still waiting.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fabulous Website Find & What to do with all those USER MANUALS...

I needed a user manual.  We have a complicated phone system at the office and no one knows how to use it.  We pay with our first born children (and dogs and cats) every time we need to call for assistance.  I decided to see what I could find to download online.  I didn't know how much it would cost, but it would be worth it, I was sure!  Lo and behold, I found a site to download user manuals for free!! 

Now, talk about eliminating clutter and keeping organized at home!  You know longer have to keep the physical paper user manuals if you can download a copy or go to the website if you need to reference something.  I used to keep a file of user manuals and warranties but often forgot about it or didn't like the bulkiness of it.  Right now, I am keeping my manuals with the item or within close proximity, which works nicely.  I have the tv and vcr/dvd manuals under the dvd player.  I have coffee pot, blender, etc manuals with the cookbooks.  Mentally, for some reason, files represent "things to do" for me.  One good rule of organization is to keep things where you use them.

There are probably more websites like this one out there, but here is the one I found:   Go forth and enjoy paperless manuals!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New Years Resolution: A BACK UP SYSTEM FOR YOUR DATA!!

Back it up before you lose it! I can not stress how important this is!  If you've used a computer long enough, you've lost data!  If you have not already, some day you will.  I guarantee it.  Your hard drive will crash, you will get a virus, or you will corrupt data.  It may not be your fault, but it will happen.  Do this to save yourself a lot of headaches.  Sign up for an automatic online backup system.  It's one of the smartest things you can do for yourself.  It will save everything you have in your my documents folder; all of your photos, music, letters, everything!  It will also backup your desktop files and your outlook files.  Typically, it will not backup your programs or external drives.  For the peace of mind and security it is a small price to pay.  I believe they also have a free program.  I would suggest Mozy Unlimited Backup - $4.95/Month.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

How to return a Christmas Gift:

1. Pretend to love it. (By the way, this is not referring to ANY Christmas gifts that I have received; I truly do love them all!)
2. Keep it in the packaging and keep all tags attached.
3. Think about where they probably purchased it, but be embarrassed to ask.
4. Think about the gift on your next ten trips to any stores and scout out the source.
5. Keep forgetting to bring it along.
6. Remember to put it by the door so that you can grab it next time you go to the store.
7. Keep forgetting to grab it.
8. Finally, remember to put it in the car, so that it is there!
9. When at the store next time, forget it in the car.
10. Make a special trip back to the car.
11. Go to customer service.
12. Get told that it was about forty dollars before Christmas but with all the after Christmas discounts and no receipt, they will only give you a five dollar store credit!
13. Decide to regift it.
14. Wonder if they regifted it to you.
15. Put a post-it note on it so you don't forget who gave it to you.
16. Keep rethinking whether you should really regift it or maybe donate it.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My take on eat pray love

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and IndonesiaI have always loved books. I tend to collect them in mass quantities. Only a small fraction of which ever seem to get read. Thanks to Amazon’s want list I no longer have to buy every book that I want to read (like I couldn’t have made a list of my own!)… As of late, I have tended to bury my head in books the likes of, Analytical Management. I always tend towards the self-help and how-to type books. As normal, always feeling like I should be accomplishing something, even if it’s time for me!

Well, this time I wanted light reading. I discovered this book, eat pray love, By Elizabeth Gilbert. This is still a true story, however it’s pure enjoyment! Elizabeth sets out to find herself after a typically nasty divorce. She takes a year to travel (lucky girl) and “find balance”. She not only travels, she digs herself into these fabulous local spots. Whether she is in Italy, India, or Indonesia she is burying herself in the culture and making true friends. I adored this book. For me this was a slice of heaven, I long to visit Italy. I learned things about meditation that most don’t ever contemplate. I learned some about achieving balance in my own life. I adored Elizabeth’s candor and down to earth manner. I felt as though I bonded with her. I really don’t think it had anything to do with her battle with emotional relationships!

The movie will be released this year, 2010, and features Julia Roberts in the lead role of Elizabeth “groceries”. (When the movie, Erin Brockovich, came out there were a few people that said she reminded them of me. Since I don’t believe it was her gorgeous beauty or lovely thick long red hair, I would say that it was probably her bullheaded determination. Anyway, I still took it as a compliment.) I am ecstatic that my favorite actress will be playing the role of my most recent favorite “real” book character. I don’t believe that it would be possible for a movie to capture the depth of this story, but it will be interesting to view, none the less.
I found a blog completely dedicated to this book!
Big Hint: Don’t read the blog until after you’ve read the book!
Another Hint: The links to products don’t work, I'm guessing they were copyright infringing.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What is your W-4 saying about you?

How many exemptions are you claiming?
Do you get a large refund at the end of the year?
Do you want the government to use as little of your money as possible?

Many people feel that they would rather be SAFE than sorry and they have large amounts deducted from their earnings and then receive a large refund. These people would rather walk on glass then owe the government any money.

Others feel that they would rather have/use/invest their money all year; they try to MAXIMIZE their exemptions. These people are the risk takers of life, they would rather jump from an airplane then miss out on an opportunity.

You can change your W-4 withholding exemptions at ANY TIME with your human resources department. However, now is the perfect time to contemplate changes. What does your tax refund/debt look like this year? Have you had any major changes: Marriage, Divorce, Births, Adoptions, Children becoming independent, Deceased dependant….? What would you like your tax return’s bottom line to look like next year?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Intent of Blog

I seriously am not sure I should be doing this!  I am busy already, however I do intend to share some knowledge, opinion, and fun with you!  My thoughts are not to keep this blog to one subject like a lot of people do....  My writings will be hugely varied!  To give you a quick overview of my current intentions: 
The typical:  Home life, family, relationships, parenting, health... 
The passions:  Photography, travel, art, interior design, scrapbooking, crafts, home remedies, recipes, books, upcycling, jewelry, accessories, organization, yoga and meditation... 
The necessities of my career:  Accounting, management, business, careers, money.... 
The future:  Government, politics, green issues, heritage...
I will probably stay away from that last group of ideas until I have a great group of followers, then I will offend some later!  Hopefully not, but it's bound to happen and I hope you will love me so much that you look beyond it!