Why Should You Concentrate on Miscellaneous Tax Deductions?

Miscellaneous tax deductions might not save you a bundle of money on their own, but you should be interested in the totality of your tax liability. For this reason, you want to save all that you can. Some of these deductions may apply to you at the time you file your income tax return.

For instance, there is a deduction for expenses not reimbursed to employees. There could be deductions for things like gasoline and mileage for travel on behalf of your employer, meals taken on the road, clothing, and even entertainment. Any expense that could be considered ordinary and necessary for doing business on behalf of an employer could qualify for this deduction, as long as you were not reimbursed for the expense. These expenses must be in excess of 2% of your adjusted gross income in order to qualify.

If you paid someone to prepare you taxes, you can deduct those fees as long as they are in excess of 2% of your adjusted gross income. This can include tax publications, computer software, and electronic filing fees. Taxpayers often overlook this particular miscellaneous deduction.

You can deduct gambling losses on schedule A of your income tax return. This deduction is limited to the amount of gambling winnings you took in at the casinos. In other words you cannot report that you lost more than you won. I know that sounds unrealistic to any of us who have ever gambled, but there it is.

Although there is a particular deduction for theft and casualty on schedule A, there is an allowable miscellaneous deduction for casualty and theft of income producing property. The causes of loss could be fire, theft, storm, or vandalism. Income producing property can be art work stored for investment, stocks, bonds, coin collections, etc.

There are lots of possible miscellaneous deductions, like impairment related work expenses. Impairment related work expenses are any special expenses you incur to aid you to be able to work if you are disabled.

You can even claim a deduction for an un-recovered investment in an annuity.

There are so many of these miscellaneous deductions that might apply to you that it is a good idea to talk them over with an income tax expert in the course of filing your return. Such an expert should be thoroughly equipped to help you determine which miscellaneous deductions you can find in order to help lower your tax liability as much as possible.

More Miscellaneous Juggling Games!

Plenty of Juggling Games for many different Circus Skills props are described below. Go on, give them a try!

Money Juggling:

A very profitable game for the winner! Everyone who wants to take part required 3 coins which they have to juggle. If you choose cheap coins (such as loose change) you will find it very difficult to juggle for too long, whereas £1 and £2 coins are ideal for this game. Everyone who drops their coins has to pick them up off the ground and drop them in a hat in the centre of this game. The winner is the last person juggling, and they win all the money!

Jolleystick

Jolleystick is like volleyball or volleyclub, but played with a devilstick. A devilstick is played backwards and forwards across a net into your opponent’s end of the court. This game involves only 2 players. The devilstick is played with one handstick. It’s a fascinating game in which both players must at least be able to do propeller throws.

Beach Flingo Volleyball

Similar rules to Jolleystick and Volleyclub, but you use the Beach Flingo bibs and a ball to play the game.

Scarf Tig

One of my favourite games played in my Circus Skills Workshops! Each player tucks one end of a juggling scarf into the back of their trousers/skirt. They then chase each other around the room trying to steal each others scarfs while protecting their own scarf. When you lose your scarf, you are out of the game and have to stand at the side of the room. When you steal a scarf, you should keep a hold of it as scarfs can be very slippy on the ground.

Tricks Fest!

This requires someone to do the tricks and name them, and the other person to verify that it is a trick, and count how many are achieved in an agreed time period. Usually done with Poi and Staff.

Quidditch Juggle

A major new game, based around the popular game seen in the Harry Potter movies, but there are many rules to master, so do a Google search to find out more!

3 most unusual objects Juggled

Audience can vote for this one! If there are too many entrants, then perhaps you can get rid of people if they drop more than once. Best not to let anyone juggle cake or any items that may spill as you might have to spend a while clearing up the floor to continue!

Fastest Balloon Dog

Speaks for itself (the name of the trick, not the dog!). Players race across the arena, grabbing a balloon pump at the halfway mark, then getting to the other side and the first person to create a balloon dog and hold it up in the air is the winner!

Toothbrush in a Box

Similar to the Diabolo in a Box game, but this time people have to learn how to spin a toothbrush first of all, then aim it so that it lands in a box in the middle of the room. A great game for the kids at a convention especially as it gives them a chance to learn a new skill then put it to use immediately!

Best Heckle

Get someone to spin some poi or plate spin or scarf juggle in the middle of the room and encourage the Best Heckle. This can be quite funny as long as the person in the middle is happy to be made fun of. It has actually helped me come up with some new jokes for some of my routines also, so this game can be quite useful!

Juggling Limbo

This is a good opening game. 2 People hold a staff at head height and all jugglers are encouraged to go under it while juggling a pattern with their chosen prop. The staff is then lowered repeatedly until there is one winner!

Poi into Bucket Poi spinners do the cross and follow pattern, then on the count of 3, they all throw one of their poi and try to land it inside the bucket in the middle of the arena.

Top Tips for Keeping Your Miscellaneous Holiday Costs Down

It’s not unusual to hear people commenting that their domestic holiday cost more than anticipated due to what might be termed their casual day-by-day spending.

To some extent this is a fact of life where holidays are concerned but if you really are keen to keep an eye on your non-specific spending, a few of the following ideas might prove useful.

1. Prepare more of your own food rather than eating out in restaurants. Food-related expenditure is often one of the biggest unbudgeted items and almost inevitably all those little extras like drinks and coffees in restaurants as part of a meal can also mount up. So, prepare more of your own food in your apartment (e.g. picnics) and you’ll save money.

2. Look for special deal tickets. Lots of local holiday areas or resorts will have some sort of multi-pass deal or another that can save you significant amounts of money on entrances to attractions and entertainments and that can be particularly important for families.

3. Question whether you need to rush out and buy new holiday clothes. It’s a great but expensive tradition and it might be sensible to ask whether you can’t just make do with last year’s.

4. Encourage your family to engage in free activities rather than those which cost lots of cash. For example, walking and cycling local trails or swimming and fishing can cost you nothing, whereas constantly visiting amusement parks, zoos and so on can prove to be very expensive.

5. Think twice about buying tourist wares. True, holiday souvenirs can sometimes bring back pleasant memories once you’re back home but more often than not they end up getting put into a cupboard where they simply gather dust for the next 30 years. They can also be relatively expensive and you might be better off keeping your dollars in your pocket.

6. Though not really a miscellaneous cost as such, even so, when you are booking your accommodation keep an eye open for special deals. Some luxury holiday accommodation offer special deals due to the agents simply having gaps in their letting schedule that they would like to fill sooner rather than later. They’re worth looking out for and can save you some serious money.

7. Try to organize a group for things like charters. It’s obviously much more cost-effective to hire a boat with a group of others and share the costs rather than to do so yourself.

8. When eating out, favour places off of the main street or main tourist squares etc. Okay, that special end of holiday meal overlooking the harbour might be beautiful and worth paying a fair bit extra for but for the rest of your holiday if you sacrifice that view and go elsewhere you may find that the final tab drops considerably.

Some of the above ideas may sound a bit mean and petty but sometimes it’s necessary to think that way if money is tight and you need to make every cent go further than usual.

Most domestic holiday resorts understand that only too well and will run a number of schemes to try and help. So, once again, keep an eye out for those special deals.

Miscellaneous Money Saving Techniques

How to Find Powerful Ways To Beat The Recession By Saving Money? Part IV

1. Barter System

Gather friends, family, neighbours, and co-workers and set up a bartering system. Offer babysitting to one family in exchange for them mowing your lawn or offer to clean someone’s house in exchange for a week of car-pooling your child to school. You would be amazed at the opportunities and the money that can be saved using a bartering system. We have a neighbourhood bartering system in place in my community. We set up a bartering board at our local post office. Anyone in the neighbourhood can view the bartering board, and barter with other neighbours.

2. Matinee

Do you love the movies but hate the prices? Switch your night time show to the late afternoon or early evening matinee. The price is about 50% less and when taking an entire family, that is a nice savings. Pop your own popcorn, put in a plastic bag, and place in a large purse and make or buy your own candy, leaving only drinks to buy. Food at the theatre is outrageously priced. The next time that you head to the movies, hit the matinee, stuff those jellybeans and liquorice sticks in your purse, and enjoy the savings. Also, check for movie tickets online, which can be discounted.

3. Incentives – Reward Plan

To help you and your family spend more wisely, set up a system where rewards are given when the rules set forth are followed. For example, if a family decision was made to start making lunch and brown bagging it to work and school instead of paying each day, the incentive might be that if this is followed strictly for one month, the entire family can spend a Saturday at the Zoo or favourite theme park.

4. Check the Garbage

One woman had her teenage daughter clean her room. The daughter proudly did just that, filling two huge trash bags of things she no longer wanted. Out of curiosity, the mother peeked into one of the bags to see what was being thrown away. In shock, she found a new tube of suntan lotion, two perfectly good sweaters, makeup, lotion, a picture frame, hair curlers, all good things. The daughter did not realize that just because the items were of no interest to her, they might be to someone else. After talking to her daughter, the mom turned around and listed the items on eBay, making a $35 profit on her daughter’s “junk.” My family bought several storage tubs. When we want to get rid of something we analyze it to see if it could be use to someone else. If so, we put it in a storage tub. Each summer we drag the storage tubs out and have a huge garage sale!

5. Off-Season

The next time you plan a vacation, consider off-season. Generally, the prices for airfare, hotel, and cars are substantially lower than travelling during peak time. If you look at all your options, you will find that in many cases, you can come close to the date you would like to travel. As an example, flying to Hawaii through June 8 is considered off-season while June 9 is peak. One day makes a huge difference in price.

6. Buffet Meals

When taking the family out to dinner, consider restaurants that have buffets. In many cases, the prices are outstanding and a parent can share with a small child. In addition, many buffets are “all you can eat” and of course, there is something for everyone. Buffet style restaurants have changed over the last few years. Many people are used to the old style buffet restaurants

7. Cable Networking

If you have a computer upstairs and another downstairs and you use high-speed data, have one of the computers be the primary computer and the other be the backup. This way, you are only charged once for Internet access and a small fee of $10 to $15 a month for the second computer. This is a great bargain! We have three computers in our house, and by networking them, we save over $80 each month.

8. Free Entertainment

If you are tired of being bored, you will be pleased to learn that there are hundreds of things to do that do not cost a dime. For example, if you want a little Friday or Saturday night excitement, sign up at your local police department for a “ride-a-long” where you can go on duty with an officer as they respond to real calls. Community colleges are always offering free exercise classes, or coffee shops have poetry readings. Entertainment and having fun does not have to cost anything. Some cities have special areas that are popular on the weekends where you can find free concerts. Check your local paper and college to get a list for your area.

9. Telephone / Mobile Phone

First, shop around for the best deals. Second, stay away from all the fun bells and whistles and just stick with the basic plan. Some people have turned to shutting down their home telephone and are now using their mobile phones in place. Since most wireless carriers offer free long-distance, call waiting, call forwarding, caller ID, voicemail, and more, it can do the same as a regular phone but for less. Why have two phones when you can have just one?

10. Home Remedies

Before rushing off to see the doctor for a sore throat, try some home remedies or over the counter drugs instead. For a sore throat, butter mixed with ginger and sugar makes a soothing healing pate. A hot toddy before bed is great for a cold. Simply ask your family for their home remedies and try it. Sometimes a simple over the counter medication or herb will do the trick without costing you an expensive doctor’s office visit.

11. Carpool

In some larger cities, carpooling is required in order to reduce smog. However, regardless of where you live, carpooling can also be a big money saver. Check with co-workers and determine who lives close enough to share a ride. By the end of the year, you will have saved several hundreds of dollars.

12. Insulation

Hundreds of dollars are wasted every year from the average home due to improper insulation. Make sure there are no drafts coming from your window, door, or fireplace. Ensure your home has the appropriate level of insulation, which will make a HUGE difference in your utility bill.

13. Cancel Subscriptions

It is always fun getting your favourite magazine or book in the mail but you should cancel them or at least most of them. If you have several subscriptions, choose one or two to keep and cancel the rest.

14. Consolidate your Errands

To save gas, organize your day of errands so you get as much done in an organized manner as possible. Stay in the same geographical area and hit as many of your errands in that area as possible to avoid excessive driving.

15. Turn your Hobby into Money

Everyone has a skill – find yours and turn it into money. For example, if you have a skill for woodworking, start creating children’s toys, or curio cabinets to sell. Perhaps you are computer savvy and could teach a class at your local community college. Find something you enjoy and sell it.

16. Heating and Cooling

Make sure vents in rooms not being used or the garage are closed. Many people tend to try to heat and cool the entire home. Instead, take the time to close off areas that you are not using. You will save substantial money on your utilities.

17. Vacations

While Paris, England, or Germany offers excitement, they also cost money to visit. Unfortunately, people on a regular basis forget about the United States and even the very state in which they live. One man had lived in Arizona his entire life. At age 50, when asked by a friend what the Grand Canyon was like, he was unable to answer because he had never been there. The next time you get ready to plan your family vacation, look around where you live and consider an exciting road trip that will not only be educating but cost effective. A vacation does not have to be expensive to be fun and memorable.

18. Annual Maintenance

Make a list of all annual maintenance items for your home such as air conditioner, heater, hot water heater, etc. Once again, being prepared and working in a proactive manner can save you unnecessary expenses. If you take care of your air conditioner by getting an annual tune up then you lower the risk of something going wrong during the hot summer months when it will be quite costly to repair.

19. Automobile Care

Keep your car oil changed, tires rotated, and overall care up-to-date. First, the $30 for your oil change will save wear and tear on your car, which could result in significant money. Second, you need your car to get to and from work. By not having your car in top working condition could put you in a bad position when it comes to required transportation.

20. Repair versus Replace

Instead of spending $1,000 on that beautiful new couch, you might consider one of two options. If your couch frame is still good, you might spend $300 to have it recovered or purchase a quality slipcover for $100. Your couch will look brand new for much less, than it would to replace. Another example would be if you have a lamp that you want to replace. Consider painting it and adding a new shade rather than spending money to buy a brand new one. Perhaps you have a washer, dryer, or refrigerator that is running a little sluggish. Find out the cost of repair over that of purchasing a new one. Even if you have an appliance with the wrong colour, businesses offer fantastic paint jobs. With a little creativity, you will be amazed at how much can be repaired, thus saving you money.

21. Computer Software

In order to keep on track with your debts and credits, you need to use some type of software such as Quicken or Quick Books. This will keep you focused on your goals and tasks while you strive to achieve them. Additionally, rather than buy software programs to download, first check Download.com or Freeware.com to see if there are free versions to download.

22. Previously Viewed

Home videos and DVDs are hot items and perfect for any family entertainment. Now you can visit the major video chains and purchase previously viewed videos and DVDs for about half the cost. For example, at Blockbuster, you can purchase either one and get a 30-day warranty. This is still a wonderful way to have quality entertainment for a terrific savings. Another great option is to record your own movies either from TV or any of the popular cable channels such as HBO, Showtime or Disney. Rather than hitting the theatre every weekend, make it a special occasion. Instead, pop your popcorn, grab a soda, spread out a blanket, and create your own theatre-type atmosphere.

23. Dinner Guests

Invite friends over for dinner as a potluck. People love sharing their favourite recipe and by splitting dinner, everyone enjoys variety while saving money. In fact, make this a tradition amongst your friends.

24. Ball Games

Instead of spending your money on overpriced items at the ballgame, take your own cooler of food. Some professional stadiums no longer allow this so check before going. If you have a son or daughter that plays little league or soccer, this is a great way to save money over paying high concession stand prices.

25. Discount Books

Purchase a discount coupon book, which generally costs around $25. As long as you use it faithfully and base your choices on options featured in the book, you can save hundreds of dollars. These books are great for restaurants, hotels, car rentals, and tons of entertainment and provide great variety and even better discounts.

26. Pocket Change

Keep a jar or some type of container handy and each time you come home, drop in your change. Every time you break a bill, put the change in your container. You will be amazed how quickly your money will build.

27. Freebies

Check out freebie sites such as TotallyFreebies.com or SassySue.com where you will find all types of sample items ranging from cosmetics to books to clothing. Most have no shipping charges and the ones that do are minimal. By filling out a few forms, you will receive sample size soaps, lotions, shampoos and conditioners, etc., which are ideal for the traveller.

28. Rebate Programs

When you shop, always keep your eyes open for rebate programs. Although filling out the forms and clipping the UPC codes from a box is a hassle, the money you save is worth it. Some rebate items are not listed as offering a rebate. Check out AsmartShop.com or Rebateplace.com to see if any of your recent purchases offer a rebate.

What Makes A Good Blu-Ray Player? 3D And Other Miscellaneous Features

All the best Blu-ray Players have the same basic features, such as playing standard Blu-ray discs, DVDs and CDs. They will have at least one USB port that supports playback of movies, music and photos files. And all models will have a HDMI Output which can internally decode the latest audio formats such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, or can bit-stream these formats in their native form to your A/V receiver to decode. You will also notice that good Blu-ray players will perform these functions and features consistently and only vary slightly in quality. Making it hard to distinguish between the different models.

However, there are other features found on players that are not common and separates unique, good Blu-ray players from the regular ones. For example, not all Blu-ray players are capable of playing back 3D Blu-ray discs. If you have already purchased a 3D HDTV or planning on obtaining one in the near future, it would be worth it to invest in a player that can play 3D Blu-ray Discs. While still not a deal breaker right now for most consumers if their player does not have 3D capability; more and more movies are being released in the 3D format. And you do not want to add the extra expensive of having to upgrade your player later down the road when you decide you want to view 3D movies at home.

Other rare features found on certain Blu-ray players is support for DVD-Audio and Super-Audio-CD formats. For a lot of audiophiles out there, this extra features is a real treat. These formats never really captured the intention of the public, but SACD can still be purchased with new releases coming out every week. Sony is one company that makes all their players SACD capable. But mostly, these formats are found on higher-end players which normally use a high-end DAC (Digital-To-Analog Converter) which will make your CDs sound better.

Of course, a player’s DACs are bypassed if you use the HDMI port, so a Blu-ray Player that has multichannel analog outputs will come in very handy. Multichannel analog outputs are also nice for those with older A/V receivers that do not have any HDMI inputs. You will get to hear the new audio formats in stunningly realistic surround sound. There are not many mid-level players out there that will have multichannel analog outputs, most manufacturers have moved away from this feature. You can use optical or coax digital audio outputs, if the player has them, but they can not transmit the new Blu-ray’s High-Resolution audio formats.

Multiple HDMI Outputs is another feature that is widely seen as very convenient on players. Used mainly for 3D playback, dual HDMI outputs will allow you to send your 3D video signal to your HDTV and your audio signal to your A/V receiver. Great for those who have A/V receivers can not handle a 3D signal. It cuts down on expense, since you do not have to upgrade to a new receiver. Multiple HDMI Outputs will also let you connect two TVs to the player. But be aware that not you might not get the same performance out of both HDMI outputs.

So when you are looking for a player, these features might not be on top of your must have list. That is perfectly fine. It is probably best to start out with the cheapest player you can get, although make sure it has Online Streaming Media Services. Later you can start to think about getting other features you might need, such as 3D, Dual HDMI Outputs, DVD-Audio/SACD playback or multichannel analog outputs. Where ever you start, getting a player is worth it. Costing anywhere between $70.00 to $200.00, you can get an excellent player that will give you an impressive HD Blu-ray movie experience. More expensive players will perform better, but they are only really for the die-hard enthusiast.