Teresa and Joe Giudice had been living like the king and queen of New Jersey and reality television for a long time, but now face years in Federal prison over their less than legal lavish ways. How can you live the high life without going to jail or bankrupt? By being cash clever. Here are four major ways to make that happen in your life.
Never Take Chances On Your Tax Return
The Giudice couple wasn't just a little "off" on their returns, they were flagrantly unwise. The IRS is using state of the art software to keep an eye on you, and anything unusually high or low will get you flagged instantly. Also, if you owe more than you can pay, file on time and negotiate some payment plan you can live with. Failing to pay does not provide cover, and could actually land you in jail just like Mr and Mrs Giudice.
- Pay a professional to prepare your return if it's too complicated.
- Save every receipt for three years or more, depending on how you file.
- Do not take tax "advice" from friends, family or casual acquaintances; the IRS won't accept the excuse that someone told you to do it, as is evident in Teresa Giudice's conviction.
Donate To Charity For Legitimate Deductions
Giving to your favorite charity doesn't just provide you with that warm and fuzzy feeling, it can really help you out come tax time. Carefully orchestrating every donation means you meet every stipulation the IRS sets forth, including donating to an organization that also complies with them completely. Just about anything in your closet and home qualifies, and it will be judged according to fair market value. This should motivate you to take extra special care of items earmarked for donation, and to look at things you rarely wear or use in a whole new light.
- Donate single use items that were expensive, such as wedding or prom dresses.
- Gather clothes your kids have outgrown and donate them en masse, for a good sized deduction.
- Don't feel bad about donating high-ticket items you receive as gifts on your birthday or Christmas, since you'll likely never wear them anyway.
Buy High Fashion Style At Low Budget Stores
Knowing your own sense of style, what your best colors are and how to fit your individual body dimensions properly are the first steps to dressing like a million dollars, no matter what you spend on clothing. For example, a thousand dollar dress will not flatter you if it's not a good match with your eye, hair and skin color, and it will look absolutely horrible if it's not cut and trimmed for your body type. Alternatively, searching thrift store racks for something that perfectly coordinates with all your fabulous features is going to turn you into a total knockout, and at a fraction of the cost.
- Know when a consignment or second hand shop puts out new merchandise.
- Keep an eye on your local pawn shop, for extravagant savings on jewelry.
- Avoid purchasing dry-clean only items, to eliminate future expenses counterproductive to savings goals.
Keep Your Budget Balanced
Missing a car or utility payment can send your credit score reeling. Failing to pay a bill on time that imposes late fees or will cause you to have to pay reinstatement charges, like your electric or cable will really take a bite out of your budget. It's absolutely essential to your long-term financial health to make timely payments. If you anticipate a problem paying all your obligations, secure a quick pay day loan to tide you over. While you may face a higher API on the money, keeping your credit report clean is worth it.
- Pay more than the minimum balance on anything when you can afford to.
- Set a date for paying all bills at once, so none is ever forgotten.
- Take advantage of pay day loans at places like EZ Check Advance when you face a financial crisis, to help you get back on track fast.
Some stargazers are saddened by the plight of Joe and Teresa, but still others scoff at the mockery they made of portraying wealth. While you may never be in the market for a three million dollar home, like the one the couple is about to vacate, you do want to protect everything you're worth and show it off with true style. Keep it legal, be cash clever, and you'll rule reality in a different, yet totally satisfying way.