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Stay On Track of Holiday Spending

With only 8 weeks left for holiday gift buying, shoppers everywhere are flooding the stores looking for that perfect gift. If you’re like me, you start each holiday season with the best intentions by making a list that you swear you’re going to stick to. Procrastination and busy schedules however keep us from sticking to our holiday shopping goals and we resort to last minute purchases that push our budgets over the edge.  If you’ve created a budget for yourself throughout the year and want to stay on track of your holiday spending you can do it with a little planning and these five helpful tips:

 

  1. SETTING LIMITS ON HOLIDAY SPENDING

 

Yes – we all want to buy our friends and family gifts they’ll really love but that doesn’t mean breaking the bank. Give your credit cards and bank balance a break by setting a limit to what you can spend. Create a mini holiday budget based on your household budget.  If you don’t have a budget in place,  apps like Mint and You Need A Budget are a great place to get started and help you determine what you can afford.

 

  1. MAKE A LIST AND CHECK IT TWICE

 

Yes – the mail carrier is a nice guy cause and the security guard at work always has a smile for you but that doesn’t mean they have to be on your gift buying list.  You’re not Santa Claus.  You have a finite budget and can only really afford to buy gifts for those individuals you’re really close to.  If you have more than 7 names on your list do some editing and cut it down to 5. You can still give to other people in your life but it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. With a little imagination you can show people you care about them without breaking the bank.  The holidays are about spending time with friends and family not about spending.

 

  1. SPEND BASED ON WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD

 

We all have that wealthy aunt or sibling who outdoes everyone every year with their gift giving. But just because they are in a financial position to purchase expensive gifts doesn’t mean you are. Keep your shopping to items you can afford and that fit your own finances. After all, it isn’t the gift that matters but the thought. Keeping your cash flow positive at this time of the year will have it’s rewards in the new year when the credit card bills start to roll in.

 

  1. STARTING EARLY WILL ELIMINATE IMPULSE BUYS

 

Search the internet for sales and coupons on items you’re looking to buy.  Online shopping is a great way to avoid the last minute shopping craze in crowded malls and you can do it from anywhere and at anytime. Before you shop in local stores, comb through the coupons you received in your mailbox before hitting the mall. These tactics will not only help you stay on track but will make gift buying easier.

 

  1. GIFT OUTSIDE THE BOX

 

It’s not always about the size of the gift box or the price on the tag. Sometimes the best gift of all is your time. Think about all the people you’ve neglected over the year. Not because you want to but because you’re too busy or you don’t live close by. Spending time with friends and family in a meaningful way goes well beyond the holiday moment. A heartfelt gesture to your nana in the nursing home is a gift that will reward the gift giver and the recipient. Volunteering at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter are just a couple of ways you can make a difference without spending a cent.

 

SPENDING TIME – NOT MONEY

Lastly, remember that the holidays are a time to rejoice in the friends and family we have with us. You want to enjoy this time of the year not stress over how you’ll manage to pay your credit card bill when it arrives. Keep to your budget, give yourself time, get organized and you’ll be in a great financial position to start off the new year.

tax-preparation-services-canada

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How to Optimize Your Family’s Taxes

Does anyone really enjoy doing their family’s taxes? What if you knew that you were getting the highest possible refund? Would that change your feelings about tax season?

Figuring out your family’s annual income tax is far more complex than in your parents’ day. Today, there’s a much higher likelihood of multiple incomes in the family, and there’s a greater variety of tax credits and documents to sort through.

Your Family is Not a Cookie

Modern families don’t fit into a cookie cutter mould. You might be a single parent with a working teenager, or a blended family with child support payments, or some of the income earners in your household might collect income from multiple sources. In addition to your T4(s) you might have “Other Income” to declare. And what about investments? These days it just isn’t very straightforward.

Often times, completing and filing your taxes can take multiple days out of your life and leave you with a very high level of stress. Trying to make sure that you have every important document and that you aren’t missing a credit, deduction, or rebate can be wearing, to say the least. How can you optimize the experience of doing your family’s taxes, to minimize the headache and maximize your tax return?

Well, there’s some good news. It’s now 2017 and the tax solution for families couldn’t be easier.

Tax Filing for Modern Families

We know that you have a busy family life and need a convenient, stress-free way to have your taxes not just completed, but optimized to get the highest possible refund.

The answer is TAXplan. It’s an online program that combines the convenience of DIY tax software with the reliability of using a tax professional. You can use the very simple and user-friendly web app to get started, and then download the Sidekick mobile app from the Apple or Google Play store to snap your photos and upload your documents. Then a TAXpro–a tax professional–will make sure that every available tax credit is utilized so that you get the absolute highest possible refund.

We’re a family business and family people–and we totally get it. We’re the children of hard-working Italian immigrants, and we know that nothing is more important than family. That’s why we designed TAXplan; to help families across Canada maximize their tax savings, so they have money to spend on the important things in life.

Then & Now

In the past, if you wanted to hire professionals to do your taxes, you needed to bring the documents to them. Between dropping your kids off at ball hockey or dance class, making dinner, and checking homework, this just isn’t convenient. Plus, tax offices that operate with a brick and mortar store have a lot of overhead, and those costs get rolled out to you. This can make hiring a professional very cost-prohibitive.

On the other hand, if you decide to do your taxes yourself or to use DIY software, a lot can go wrong. It just doesn’t work out in the long run. A few years ago, we noticed just how many clients were turning to us after painful reassessments due to mistakes made using DIY tax software. Yikes! On top of that, when you do your taxes yourself, you often end up worrying that you may have made a mistake or that you’ve missed an eligible credit. Who needs more to worry about?

With TAXplan, we’ve combined the convenience of digital filing with the peace of mind that comes with a tax professional. In other words, we’ve optimized the entire experience of doing your taxes.

How It Works

The web app adapts to you; it allows you to build a unique profile for yourself and your family. Once you’ve answered a couple of quick questions, received your quote, and decided to move forward, you’ll receive a detailed tax return checklist that’s specific to your family. All you need to do is follow the checklist and you won’t miss a step.

If your family is a little more complex than the “average” household with 2.5 kids (now that must be crazy!), you’ll be able to create multiple profiles for your family members. That way you can be sure that everyone in your family is accounted for, no matter what their age or marital status.

It’s simple to take digital photos of your important tax documents with the Sidekick app. Snap the images and they’ll be synced with your file. You don’t have to worry about losing track of your documents ever again. They’ll all be stored safely online, protected by some of the best digital security on the net.

Then comes the best part. When it’s time to file your taxes, one of our TAXpros will go through your entire file to make sure you get every single rebate and deduction that’s available to you. It’s simple, easy, very reasonably priced, and you’ll get the most money back possible.

Don’t Miss Out

Don’t miss out on eligible credits and deductions simply because you don’t know where to look for them. Our TAXpros know the ins and outs of Canadian tax laws and regulations. Get the most money back and pay the least amount of taxes possible every time, and spend less time dealing with your taxes and more time with your family. Click here to get started.