Tag Archives: guest post

Four Tax Tips for Newly Married Couples

1040 tax form

Congratulations! You’re newly married and all is blissful.

You’ve tied the knot and enjoyed a whirlwind honeymoon, and now it’s time to get down to business: your financial and tax situation as a newly married couple.

Some things have changed in how you’ll deal with your taxes, so here are a few tips to help you on your way.1040 tax form

Communicate Together on Your Finances

Sometime shortly after your marriage is official, you and your spouse should both sit down and go over your entire financial situation together.

Examine your current incomes, what sort of combined debt you and your spouse now have, and how each of you is contributing to your retirement plans.

By doing this together, you ensure that neither one of you is in the dark concerning your joint financial situation. This will help you significantly when it comes time to examine your taxes and file your return.

Update Your Withholding Status

Remember that W-4 you filled out when you first started your job? The one where you mark down yourself as single? Well, you should reexamine your W-4, because you are going to need to decide if you continue withholding at the single rate or wish to change that status.

Of course, this depends on your joint income, but it’s something that you need to look into in order to make sure you withhold enough throughout the year.

Talk this over with a tax professional for more help or take advantage of the free withholding calculators available on the internet.

File Joint Tax Returns

You’ll also want to consider filing a joint income tax return, as this will, according to the IRS, possibly lower your combined tax when compared to other filing statuses, and it could also increase your deductions and other tax benefits.

For example, if you file jointly, you can take tax-saving education credits, the child care tax credit (if you already have children, for example), or you can deduct interest on student loans.

Before you do all of this, however, you should definitely talk to a tax professional who can show you the specific figures on your deductions and possible returns and compare filing jointly versus separately so that you can see for yourself how your particular situation plays out.

Change Your Name with the Social Security Administration

In order to keep your tax information clear, you will need to change your name with the Social Security Administration. You can do this by downloading, filling out, and returning a name change form. Access the form from the Social Security Administration website.

These are just a few of the things you should consider doing after you’ve gotten married. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you will need to find out what works best for you and your spouse.

Consider finding a tax professional to help you figure out the specifics that will help you get the most out of your tax situation.

This guest post is contributed by Raine Parker.

Photo Credit: David Reber’s Hammer Photography

Summer Saving Tips

summer travel

You may notice your wallet begin to sweat a bit as the summer heats up.  That comfortable air conditioning runs up the electricity bill, and gas prices, typically higher in the summer, make that family vacation more expensive than expected.  With a little planning though, the frugal consumer can actually take advantage of the summer months and save money while enjoying the season.

Energy Saving Tips

summer travel

Unless you live in the Arctic, your air conditioning is likely running non-stop throughout the summer.  The cold air might feel great, but your electrical bill will be burning.  No one is suggesting that you swelter all summer long, but consider taking advantage of cool and breezy nights.  Turn your air conditioning off after the sun sets and open some windows.  The cool summer breeze can be quite enjoyable after dinner!

While we’re talking about air conditioning, it’s important to make sure your system is functioning as well as it should.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency, you should change your home’s air filter at least once every three months.  A dirty filter wastes energy, putting a dent in your wallet.  That dirty filter can even be hazardous to your health; the buildup of dirt and dust can aggravate allergies. electrical bill will be burning.  No one is suggesting that you swelter all summer long, but consider taking advantage of cool and breezy nights.  Turn your air conditioning off after the sun sets and open some windows.  The cool summer breeze can be quite enjoyable after dinner!

Although it may seem a little rustic, the summer heat can allow you to quickly dry your laundry outdoors.  Putting up that old clothesline can save you a chunk of money while that energy-loving dryer sits idle.

Everyone loves a Memorial Day barbeque!  Why not enjoy the beautiful summer weather and make it a weekly staple?  Weekend barbecues are not only fun and inexpensive family activities; they’re a great way to save on energy cost.  In addition to sucking up a good bit of electricity, using a stove also traps a lot of heat in your home – heat which makes your air conditioning work harder.  So get outside and enjoy summer evenings while saving money!

Saving Money on Summer Road Trips

According to the EPA, gas prices typically begin to rise after Memorial Day.  Don’t let higher gas prices hinder your summer road trip.  Instead, take steps to improve your gas mileage which will offset the higher cost of fuel.

  • Make sure you tire pressure is correct.  Poor tire pressure reduces gas mileage.
  • Use cruise control on the highway.  Constant acceleration and deceleration uses more gas.
  • Avoid rough roads; driving on gravel can reduce your gas mileage significantly.
  • Don’t speed.  Although you might get there faster, the increased wind resistance at higher speeds robs you of fuel efficiency.

Don’t let bills ruin the season.  You can save money while having a great summer by following these tips.

This guest post was written was Stuart Lieberman from A New Horizon Credit Counseling Services Inc. A New Horizon is a national, Non-profit credit counseling organization dedicated to providing counseling services and financial education programs to individuals and families.

Photo Credit: Dene’ Miles