Archive for May, 2009

What are the Tax Deductible Items?

Doing your taxes on your own can be risky, but you may even run some risk when you go to someone else to do your taxes. This means you should do some research on which tax deductible items that you can truly claim on your taxes, and which ones may raise red flags with the IRS. You should keep track of all of these things throughout the year so that you are not struggling to find what you need when it comes time to file your taxes with the government.

You should also make sure you have all that you need to protect yourself. First, you should know your limits on tax deduction items. You may have some business lunches or dinners for your business, but you should not be claiming meals that have nothing to do with your work.

There are many that do this, but they do get caught doing it from time to time. Keep it honest and there is nothing that can go wrong. The same can be said for buying things for your home and then claiming them as a business expense. That can really come back to haunt you in the future.

Instead, think about the scope of your business, and take all of the right deductions. If you have a business at home, you can claim office space if that is what you do exclusively in that space. You can also make your computer a tax deductions item as long as you use it for business all of the time.

You may find that much of your supply stash is also a good choice as tax deductible items. Other things that can be deducted from your taxes should follow the same guidelines. Make sure you use these things for your business, and they are all good to go. Keeping track of your business tax items should be done all throughout the year.

Have a special notebook or program that you use for just that. Note each purchase and price, and then put the receipt in a special place so that you have them in one spot. If you have a lot to deal with, it might be in your best interest to keep them in folders for each month.

That makes sorting through your items for tax deductions much easier to do when that stressful tax-filing time of the year comes up yet again. This time, you won’t be behind and you will be so much more relaxed about getting it right.

Are You Considering Finding an Apartment

Unlike a private home or condo, apartment living is less private. In order to find a situation that affords you a long term happy experience, there are just a few simple rules for finding an apartment. Young, old, or in between, the following criteria should help guide you in the right direction in securing an apartment situation you’ll love.

Foremost in your considerations is your budget. You need to determine what your income will sustain. Finding an appartment is easy. Finding one you can afford is another story. It’s safe to assume that you can afford to spend 25% of your income on housing.

It’s easy to assume that you can afford $50 more than that, but it’s safer to sharpen your pencil and list all of your expenses in a realistic manner. You may find an apartment that is everything you’d like to have, but exceeds that 25% by a mere $50. Either you cut other expenses by that much, or pass. Be sure you can afford the deposit as well.

You need to examine the location. Don’t rent an apartment in a seedy location unless you’re prepared to live with crime or danger. If you’re new to an area, do some research on the neighborhood. Before you go see the apartment, walk or drive around the neighborhood and assess the residents and facilities.

Part of the enjoyment or drawbacks of any apartment includes amenities or lack thereof. Again, finding an apartment to rent is easy. The apartment advertised in the paper may be beautiful, but if you absolutely despise going to the laundromat and your building doesn’t have one, you won’t like it for long.

If you’re a single or student, on a limited budget, finding an apartment for rent suitable to your taste may be more difficult. Going in with a roommate can ease the monthly expenses and up-front costs. This criteria is more subjective, but warrants a great deal of thought before jumping into a situation which you may regret.

If your fellow apartment seeker is your best friend of many years standing, this might be a good move. If your potential roommate is a more casual acquaintance, think carefully. If your apartment mate skips out on the rent, you’re in a bad position. Sublets can be a viable solution, especially if you’re new to an area.

Although this type of situation is short term, it gives you the opportunity to get to know your new city or town well before you make a serious commitment. If you’re short on furniture, this type of arrangement can serve you advantageously. While you sublet someone else’s apartment, you get a chance to collect your resources and gain a sense of your surroundings before finding an apartment of your own.

Finding an apartment situation you’ll be happy with in the long term is no easy undertaking. Considering these points when approaching your search will help you find that perfect spot.

Finding a Perfect Log Home Package

It has always been a dream of mine to live in a rustic cabin, so when the opportunity arose to shop for log home package, I jumped at the chance. These kits would allow me to choose a beautiful floor plan in a price range that fit with my budget, which would help make the transition to cabin living as smooth as possible. I’d heard from some friends that there are some amazing log home packages available online, so I didn’t hesitate to check them out.

I had a plethora of builders and manufacturers at my fingertips, which gave me more choices than I knew what to do with. Fortunately, I could search by price, size or, location to make the quest for the cabin of my dreams much easier to navigate. Plus, it was really fun to shop at all of the different websites, and I spent literally hours gazing at a huge array of floor plans, dreaming of living within those rolling pine walls.

While rustic was the best description for the general style of these homes, it certainly did not describe the comfort and convenience that was found within. I was particularly impressed with master bathrooms that featured double vanities and large soaking tubs, and kitchens with plenty of pantry space and custom cabinets and countertops. I had a blast perusing the photo galleries for these log cabin home packages, making mental notes for the decorating of my own house that was to come.

The fabulous interiors I saw gave me a whole new perspective on cabin living! I could not believe the variety of exterior designs I found online either. From tiny weekend bungalows to sprawling rustic mansions, there are truly log homes packages for everyone.

I began my search with single-story models in mind because I had always liked the idea of ranch-style living. However, I found some really cool two-story log home packages that included upstairs bedrooms or a single open loft in many of the floor plans. Some of the models even came with unfinished basements for additional storage space!

The websites were also very comprehensive, taking me through the entire building process from start to finish. By the time I finished my research of log home packages on the Internet, I was more than ready to meet with a local sales representative to get the rest of the necessary information and begin drawing up the contract on my very own cabin.

There is no greater way to enjoy a pristine outdoor setting than in a rustic country cabin. With the many complete log home packages available today, you are sure to find the perfect dwelling for you and your family.

Looking for Cheap Apartments to Rent

When you’re hunting for an apartment, it’s the nice, but cheap apartments that are the prize. They’re also the ones that are hard to find. If a cheap price is your main criteria, these are easy enough to locate. However, cheap rental apartments generally carry some undesirable ‘features’, such as a marginal location, a distance from public transportation, or being poorly maintained.

Most people don’t want to live in a dangerous or noisy area, in a building with peeling paint and an apartment stove with three operating burners. So how do you go about finding a cheap apartment that you can afford, while enjoying a nice living environment? Housing is costly, any way you look at it. Square footage is the name of the game – the larger the apartment, the more you’re going to pay.

So, to begin with, you want to look for a smaller apartment than you might like. If you’re a single person, looking for a 1 bedroom apartment, think it through and see if a studio apartment might suit your needs. You’ll get a much nicer apartment, albeit smaller. You might also look for an apartment in a private home with a separate entry.

This sort of situation gets you a cheap apartment with more amenities than you’ll ever find in the 1 bedroom apartment at the same price in a comparable neighborhood. So you need to decide how much a separate bedroom is worth. Go shop the used furniture stores and see how much a sofa bed runs.

It’s likely that you’ll save at least $100-$200 a month by making up your bed each night, but in exchange for the inconvenience, enjoy a dishwasher in the kitchen and a spacious shower. If you’re willing to take some time in finding that ideal, cheap apartment, you might also want to look into sublets. Lots of people, through various circumstances, have an apartment that they want to hang on to while they’re on an extended vacation or business trip.

They don’t want to have to pay the rent while they’re gone and are willing to sublet for a period of time, at a reasonable price. This is profitable in other ways, such as having an occupant to avoid that vacated look that might attract burglars. Another option in cheap apartments rentals hunting is the house sitting situation. You may have to spend some time tracking down these opportunities, but among the cheap apartment options, this can be one of the best.

Here, the owner or renter will be traveling for a period of time, but need someone to maintain the yard or feed and walk pets. In this scenario, the apartment or house sitter is offered free room and board in exchange for looking after the apartment or home. Just like the sublet, this isn’t a permanent situation, but the price can’t be beat. During the tenure of the sublet or house sitting, you have plenty of time to find that ideal, cheap apartment.

During your apartment search, do the networking thing. Let everyone in your social and work network know that you’re looking and the price range you’ve got in mind. This can be one of the easiest ways to find the nice, cheap apartment of your dreams. With a good plan and some diligence, there’s no need to settle for a place in which you’d rather not live. Moving is expensive!