Day 261 — Ann Starts to Save

Saving Is a Good ThingI’m growing to believe that saving is a lot like dieting.

It takes a while to be good and take off the extra pounds. But once you get on a roll, you begin to stick with the program, with an occasional fall.

When you have so little money, it’s hard to start saving. That might not make any sense or may even come off as an oxymoron, especially for someone who’s supposed to be retiring into middle age.

The start of my job last month has given me a steady income and a reason to save, and that’s a good thing. The problem: Piles of debt I’ve accumulated over the last 15 months and how to snow blow them away.

My debt is not insurmountable. My credit card debt is way less than $10,000, and I could almost pay it off. My other problem is that I need to use the money to pay taxes on the miscellaneous income I earned last year.

Although I imagine I’m a grain of sand in a desert of debtors across this land, I don’t want to invite the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to come down on me.

This is the first year in more than a decade that I’ll be doing my own taxes, as a divorced mom. So, I’ve started to explore the merits of do-it-yourself tax preparation services. From the reviews I’ve read, Turbo Tax has received the highest marks.

[The IRS will do your taxes for free if you make less than $49,000, but you need to visit your local IRS office to get the help. Find out more.]

You get to try Turbo Tax out—for free—meaning that the software program will prepare your taxes for you online, and if you want to file the results you need to cough up the cost of the program. I’m exploring the home business version because it’s meant for people who’ve piddled at different jobs throughout the year and/or collected unemployment.

So far, it’s been pretty easy to use. The best thing is that you can start, stop and save what you’ve done if you need to gather more information. I’m at the point of calculating all of my business expenses from the past year.

While Ann is much better at spending money than saving, her timely tax tip for this year is to label 10 standard white envelopes with the month and year. During a given month, put all all of your receipts that you’d like to take deductions against in the proper envelope. That way it’s not so overwhelming when you have to sort them at the end of the year.

I don’t know if mine will add up to anything worthwhile, but it’s worth a shot to find out. Just like it’s worth a shot to start saving.


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