Monthly Archives: May 2014

Waffle Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

Here is a fun twist on breakfast– or dessert! Of course, waffles are great with butter and syrup, but next time you want to make a brunch extra special, try this kicked-up Waffle Strawberry Shortcake. It is quick and easy… and it looks like you went to a lot of trouble!

Waffle Strawberry Shortcake

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 10 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Toast 2 Eggo Mini Waffles, as desired. (I used the Eggo mini waffles, but you could use any waffles that you like!) Break apart the 4 mini waffles.

Wash and slice 4-6 large strawberries. Put in bowl and mash slightly with fork. Sprinkle with sugar to taste.

Mix 8 oz. softened cream cheese with 3 Tbsp mascarpone. Add 1/4 c powdered sugar. Add a splash of pure vanilla extract. Cream ingredients together.

Take 4 mini waffles and cover with heaping spoonful of cream cheese mixture. You can even add a few strawberries if desired. Add a 2nd mini waffle on top of cream cheese. Top with strawberries and whipped cream.

Enjoy!

Benefits and Tax Obligations of Starting a Side Business

Outsmarting the System
Guest post by Anthony C. Campidonica:

Starting a side business can help you reach financial freedom. The extra money you earn through your business can reduce debt or be invested.

Starting a Business. Starting a side business can be as simple as offering a service you already provide. For instance, if you are a bookkeeper as an employee, you may be able to do extra bookkeeping on the side for other companies. You can sell items you already have, such as kid’s clothing. Alternatively, you can resell items to which you already have access. For example, a client I work with is a cycling enthusiast. He was able to track down very hard to find bike parts, and now runs an online business reselling the parts to other cycling enthusiasts.

Tax Benefits. A side business can present you with favorable tax opportunities. Business owners are allowed to convert personal expenses into legal business deductions if those expenses are considered ordinary and necessary expenses related to the operation of the business activity. These expenses include, but are not limited to, cell phone bills, computer, and meals and entertainment.

Tax Obligations. As a self-employed individual, you are generally required to pay quarterly estimated taxes for your self-employment tax and income tax.

Self-Employment Tax – Self-employment tax (SE tax) consists of Social Security and Medicare tax. It is similar to the Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld from the pay of most employees. You are generally liable for SE tax if you had net earnings from self-employment of $400 or more. Self-employment tax is a percentage of your net earnings from self-employment. Net earnings are calculated as the gross income you derived from your business less ordinary and necessary business expenses.

Income Tax – You are required to pay income tax, which is in addition to the SE tax, on your net earnings from self-employment. This is a tax imposed on your income from your business, which is determined by applying a rate to the net earnings.

Quarterly Payments – Because you do not have an employer withholding Social Security and Medicare taxes, and income tax for you on your earnings, you make estimated payments to pay these taxes. Speak to a tax professional or use the worksheet in Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals to find out if you are required to file quarterly estimated tax payments and if so, the amount of the taxes.

Recordkeeping. Based on my experience, the taxpayers who were the most organized with their records paid the least amount of taxes because they were able to account for their income and expenses. Learning how to properly substantiate your expenses can save you both time and money. There are many software programs that can help you maintain your records in an orderly and consistent manner.

I strongly recommend you talk to a tax professional regarding the tax implications of starting a business and the tax obligations that come with it.

If you are interested in learning more ways to legally reduce the amount of taxes that you owe each year, Mr. Campidonica has offered my readers a discount when purchasing his book, Outsmarting the System. Use coupon code Gina5 and receive a 5% discount.

About the Author: Anthony C. Campidonica (Tony) spent over eight years as an Internal Revenue Agent (tax auditor) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This experience provided him with unique insight of tax laws and the opportunities provided to the rich. Tony recently wrote Outsmarting the System because he believes that everyone – not just the rich – need to be aware of the constraints of the system and the opportunities provided to them through the tax laws.

Tony is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in California and an Enrolled Agent (EA). He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA).

Keepsake Journal

Keepsake Journal | Money Savvy Living

 

The best gift a Mother can receive is something made by her children. Of course, I like jewelry and flowers too! But this year, my husband bought a journal in which each child wrote a Mother’s Day message for me. He let them write whatever they wanted… totally unprompted.

 

I have to say, these sweet, heartfelt messages from my kids just make me smile:

 

Keepsake: Mother's Day Journal | Money Savvy Living

 

The idea is that for Mother’s Day, or my birthday, or any other holiday throughout the year, the boys can write a message, draw a picture or whatever they want, and I will have a journal of their messages to me over the years as they grow up. Not only is it nice to have it all compiled in one book, but no need to buy expensive cards that get misplaced or thrown away.  Saves money AND I have something homemade from my kids…. win, win.

 

It will be interesting to see how the boys’ handwriting and pictures change over the years.  I’m pretty sure one day, they will look back through this book and smile at some of the cute things they wrote when younger.

 

This keepsake journal idea would also be a great gift for Father’s Day (yes, we definitely started one for my husband too!), or for a parent or grandparent’s birthday. A gift from the heart, for any occasion, that is money savvy too, doesn’t get much better than that.

 

Finance Education in Schools: Teaching the Millennial Generation the Basics

 

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Now that May is here, every student is counting down to the last day of school and looking forward to summer vacation. High school and college graduates are undoubtedly excited about the adventures that lie ahead. However, statistics show that many of these soon-to-be graduates may not be as ready to face the world as they think—at least when it comes to personal finance matters. Many students graduating from high school have not been taught how to balance a checkbook or a budget, let alone understanding the nuances of a mortgage loan. Students are graduating college with huge amounts of student loans that they cannot pay back due to a lack of quality, good-paying jobs. This lack of economic education and acceptance of large amounts of debt as the norm, may very well be leaving millenials ill-equipped to deal with the financial situations that they will inevitably face in life.

 

So why do so many young people not understand the basics of economics and finance?  The answer is simple.  They have not been taught.

According to the Council for Economic Education:

  • Only 17 states require a high school course in Personal Finance.
  • And only 22 states require a high school course in Economics.
  • Number of states requiring student testing in economics has dropped from 27 to 16 since 2002.
  • Only five states require a stand-alone course in personal finance for high school graduation.
  • Fewer than 20% of teachers report feeling competent to teach personal finance topics.
  • 81% of college students underestimate how long it will take to pay off a credit card balance.

 

Not offering these types of classes to our children is literally setting them up for financial failure in the future.  Furthermore, studies indicate that financial education yields positive results for the students that had the opportunity to learn about it:

  • Students from states where a financial education course was required were more likely to display positive financial behaviors and dispositions:
  1. They are more likely to save
  2. Less likely to max out their credit cards
  3. Less likely to make late credit card payments
  4. More likely to pay off credit cards in full each month
  5. Less likely to be compulsive buyers
  6. More likely to take reasonable financial risk

 

UPDATE: 2016 Survey of the States

•Since 2014, two additional states include personal finance in their K-12 standards and require those standards to be taught.

•While more states are implementing standards in personal finance, the number of states that require high school students to take a course in personal finance remains unchanged since 2014 – just 17 states.

•Only 20 states require high school students to take a course in economics – that’s less than half the country and two fewer states than in 2014.

•There has been no change in the number of states that require standardized testing of economic concepts – the number remains at 16.

 

“Financial Literacy is not rocket science; we just don’t teach it.”  (Kay Hagan, US Senate, North Carolina)

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