A Diva’s Budget

  • NEW Everyday Diva Logo PNGPutting together a budget is an extremely helpful tool for someone trying to get their financial house in order. During the process, they can find out what expenses are necessary, what expenses aren’t and what expenses they should start to incur.

Prepare the Budget with an Advisor

I recently sat down with an opera singer who is a friend of mine to go over her budget. For some time she’s had the feeling that she was making a pretty penny but didn’t have anything to show for it.

During the review we were able to determine that certain bills had to be paid. They included rent, car, power, medical insurance, student loans, retirement savings and a number of other necessary bills.

Know the Goals and Outcome of a Budget Review

Now part of the reason that she wanted to go through the exercise was to determine how she could set aside money for simple savings for a rainy day but also carve out a portion of her income for continuing her opera lessons.

With this review we also came across expenses that where secretly and subtly draining her pocket book. Namely food. This included not only the food that she bought for the home but also what she spent every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was adding up.

On top of those expenses she noticed that going out with her friends was hurting her finances. She realized that she was spending too much going to dinners, movies, and generally hanging out with her friends.

Do What the Budget Plan Recommends

Now to be fair, the review was not designed to say that she should stop doing what she was doing all together. It was however designed to let her know where the challenges where and how to fix them. Namely watching what she buys outside the home for lifestyle.

This part of the review is critical. Once we identified what needed to be done she needed to do it. This is not to say that she won’t spend a little extra here and there but she needed to follow the plan to make it work. That way she can achieve a healthy financial balance in her life.

Putting together a budget with a financial advisor can go a long way in getting ones financial house in order. They provide independent, expert eyes that can look at the finances of their clients and determine what the best use of money is and where they can make improvements.

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An Excerpt from TaxAssurances’ Book for Small Business

do-it-with-passionWhether they are starting a new business or expanding an existing business, entrepreneurs of all strips need to have passion and drive for what they are doing. They need passion and drive because the road for any entrepreneur is littered with challenges and hurdles that have to be overcome on a constant basis.

Passion and drive is reflected in the time and energy that is put in the little details in starting and running a business. It is reflected in the financial commitment that owners put into the business. It is reflected in the sometimes lonely journey and effort that a business owner endures to make their business a success.

Deliveries will be late or missed. Employees will be late or quit. Clients will find a million and one reasons not to pay you on time or if the entrepreneur is really luck, not at all. And none of this will be in the original or revised business plan the entrepreneur may or may not have done. Business owners need that passion and drive because that is what is going to move them forward during the tough times.

Owners will want to cry about any one of the challenges they face, but the problem will still be there when the crying is over and a solution still needs to be found. Passion and drive for what they do during those gut wrenching times will propel them forward and help them overcome those challenges.

Passion and drive will help them devise solutions and responses that keep the business going. The challenges may spark a creative bent that they otherwise might not have used. And in really breakthrough moments, it will put the business on a much better trajectory then before the challenge first appeared.

 

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Can I Write off My Work Clothes on My Taxes?

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Every so often, I get a variation of the same question from friends and clients, “can I deduct the cost of my clothes on my taxes?” The answer depends. If you are part of Earth, Wind & Fire or Twisted Sister, sure. If not, probably not.

In all seriousness, the IRS allows individuals to write off the purchase and care of their clothing if it is unique, special and required for the job. For instance, nurses, police officers and other professionals who have to wear a uniform for work, can write off the purchase and upkeep of their clothing.

If someone is a professional that wears a suit every day and needs it to keep up appearance like a news anchor, then they cannot write off the purchase and upkeep of their clothing. If they do write it off and the IRS does an audit, the write off will be reversed and the taxpayer will end up owing the IRS the money for the deduction.

For more information, here is what the IRS says about writing off work clothes:

Work Clothes and Uniforms

You can deduct the cost and upkeep of work clothes if the following two requirements are met.

• You must wear them as a condition of your employment.
• The clothes are not suitable for everyday wear.

It is not enough that you wear distinctive clothing. The clothing must be specifically required by your employer. Nor is it enough that you do not, in fact, wear your work clothes away from work. The clothing must not be suitable for taking the place of your regular clothing.

Examples of workers who may be able to deduct the cost and upkeep of work clothes are: delivery workers, firefighters, health care workers, law enforcement officers, letter carriers, professional athletes, and transportation workers (air, rail, bus, etc.).

Musicians and entertainers can deduct the cost of theatrical clothing and accessories that are not suitable for everyday wear.

However, work clothing consisting of white cap, white shirt or white jacket, white bib overalls, and standard work shoes, which a painter is required by his union to wear on the job, is not distinctive in character or in the nature of a uniform. Similarly, the costs of buying and maintaining blue work clothes worn by a welder at the request of a foreman are not deductible.

Protective clothing. You can deduct the cost of protective clothing required in your work, such as safety shoes or boots, safety glasses, hard hats, and work gloves.

Examples of workers who may be required to wear safety items are: carpenters, cement workers, chemical workers, electricians, fishing boat crew members, machinists, oil field workers, pipe fitters, steamfitters, and truck drivers.

Military uniforms. You generally cannot deduct the cost of your uniforms if you are on full-time active duty in the armed forces. However, if you are an armed forces reservist, you can deduct the unreimbursed cost of your uniform if military regulations restrict you from wearing it except while on duty as a reservist. In figuring the deduction, you must reduce the cost by any nontaxable allowance you receive for these expenses.

If local military rules do not allow you to wear fatigue uniforms when you are off duty, you can deduct the amount by which the cost of buying and keeping up these uniforms is more than the uniform allowance you receive.

You can deduct the cost of your uniforms if you are a civilian faculty or staff member of a military school.

 

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