Are You Giving an Interest-Free Loan to the Government?

If you are going to receive more than $500 as a tax refund, you have been giving an interest-free loan to the government.

interest-free loan to the government

Are You Giving an Interest-Free Loan to the Government?

Many people get excited while waiting for their big “windfall” after filing their taxes. They think it is a gift from the government…it’s not!

A tax REFUND means that you overpaid and they are giving it back to you! It’s not extra money that you’ve earned.  It’s the money you have already earned, and gave to them to “hold on to” until you ask for it back. Then they return it to you without paying any interest.

Here’s an example for ya: You’re expecting to receive a big, fat tax refund of $5,000 this year. Woo Hoo! But guess what? This means that you overpaid the government $5,000 or $417 a month.  That is $417 that you could have had in your pocket each month. I hope you’re thinking, “That money could have helped me pay off my debts or fattened up my savings account!” If that’s what you’re thinking, we’re now on the same page. 😉

What can you do to change this? First, calculate how much tax you should be paying each year. You can use the IRS Withholding Calculator to help figure this out.

Once you figure out the amount of taxes you will owe, adjust the allowances on your Form W-4. The IRS Withholding Calculator will tell you how many allowances to take.

Every year you should run the calculators to figure out how much you will owe that year. Then,  you can make the adjustments to your W-4, and begin putting the extra money you will start receiving into your savings or towards paying off your debt.

You’re welcome! 🙂

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5 Easy Ways to Get Organized in the New Year

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! 🙂

Now that we are officially into the new year, I thought I’d repost 5 easy ways to get organized in the new year.

5 easy ways to get organized in the new year

5 Easy Ways to Get Organized in the New Year

*This post contains affiliate links. Read more about my disclosure policy here.

  1. Now is a good time to start gathering the documentation you’ll need to file your taxes. (I know, big fun…) Grab a folder to put all the year-end forms you’ll soon start receiving. Take an hour or so to start organizing receipts and any other papers you’ll need to file. Getting those documents organized now will allow you to file earlier and move on to the other organizing goals you may have.
  2. Start putting a set amount into your savings account each month. Figure out how much you want to save and have that amount automatically deposited so you never miss it. This will ensure that you will have CASH to spend on your next vacation or to purchase Christmas gifts. If you don’t plan on spending the money, just leave it in your savings account and you’ll have a nice little nest egg for any emergencies that may come up.
  3. Plan activities for your life and family now to avoid the “What do you want to do this weekend?” question. Just by taking a few minutes to jot down on your calendar the activities you would like to do, will allow you to have some scheduled fun this year. Just select 1 or 2 activities each month so you can be flexible if something else comes up on your selected day. My friends always laugh when I tell them that we have activities already scheduled out for the year, but for us, it’s one less thing to think about, and gives us something to look forward to. I find that if we don’t plan anything, we don’t do anything.
  4. Here’s a little tip that my family is implementing this year: We are going to list 12 monthly household projects that we would like to get done this year, and add them to our calendar. The projects could be something as small as organizing under the kitchen cabinets to as large as landscaping the front yard. By putting these items on our calendar, it gives us a blueprint and a schedule to get these tasks done. I’m sure you can probably find more than 12 projects to complete, but let’s start small to stay motivated… 😉
  5. If you’re not already, I highly recommend using some sort of calendar to organize your time. By using the calendar on your phone, a pocket calendar or a wall/desk calendar at home, you will begin to feel more on top of your schedule because you will know where you are supposed to be at any given time. Using a calendar can also remind you of things you need to do. For example, if you notice you have a birthday party this weekend, that means you need to purchase a gift. You can actually purchase and wrap the gift days ahead instead of running to the store to purchase a gift card on the way to the party. (I know, we are all guilty!) By the way, if you’re going to use the calendar on your phone, don’t forget to set reminders!

Cozi is the calendar I have been using for the past 10 years to keep my entire family organized. I’ve tried other calendars but kept coming back to this one. What I love the most about Cozi is how I am able to keep everyone’s schedule in one place. Each member of my family has a linked account and can access the calendar on their computer or on their phone. I also love that I can create a shopping list and share it with my husband when he makes a run to the store. I’ve recently started storing my recipes in the app, and I love how it allows you to add the ingredients to the shopping list! I’m still amazed that after all these years, and all that this app can do, that it is still FREE!!  Click here to sign up to get your family organized today!

These tips are designed to help you get it together this year so you can feel more in control of your day-to-day life. At the end of the year, you will be able to look back and see how much you’ve saved, all the activities you’ve done, and all the home projects you’ve completed.  You’ll also feel more on top of your schedule and ready to take on the world! 🙂

Let us know in the comments what changes you plan on making this year, and what steps you’re taking to commit to your goal.

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Organize Your Kitchen Using Zones

Now that you’ve implemented the 7 baby steps from Home Organization, I am sure you are beginning to breathe a little bit easier. Let’s keep the momentum going by digging a little deeper into your organizational journey by learning how to organize your kitchen using zones.

Organize your kitchen using zones

Organize Your Kitchen Using Zones

The kitchen is the most used room in our house, so I thought I would post some tips on how to organize it and keep it running smoothly. I believe that a kitchen will function effectively if it is organized well.

Before you begin to organize your kitchen using zones, you will first have to figure out what your storage needs are. Take a look at the contents in your drawers and cabinets. Are the items located where you use them? Can you grab an item without moving others out of the way? Be sure to look at each piece and determine if it is something you need to keep. You may realize you have multiple items or pieces that you haven’t used in a while and can donate or recycle.

There are 5 work zones in a kitchen, and it’s best to store the items where you use them. The 5 zones are: food preparation, refrigerator, stove, sink & cleanup, and serving. Take a look at your kitchen and note where these zones are in your kitchen. Trust me, when you store your items in the correct zone, you will be able to prepare meals and clean up more quickly and efficiently. I like to periodically go through my cabinets and drawers to make sure items are where they should be.

Once you locate the zones in your kitchen, you can start moving items to where they belong. The following ideas will help you decide where they should go.

*This post contains affiliate links.

Cooking Utensils-Spoons, spatulas, ladles, and whisks should be located near the stove. Some options for storage include a utensil holder on the counter or a rail installed on the wall above the stove. You can also store them in a drawer if you have one near the stove. This will help keep all of your utensils accessible while you cook.

Flatware- Forks, knives, spoons, and other small kitchen utensils should be located in drawers near the prep and cleaning areas. To eliminate chaos, select an organizer that fits your drawer.  Organizers come in wood, plastic, or wire and some stack within a drawer to maximize space.

Pots & Pans-Pots should be located in a base cabinet near the cooktop. Cookie sheets, broiler pans, baking pans, and cutting boards should go near the oven. If you are tight on space, you can purchase a lid holder to install inside the door of the base cabinet. Lid holders are also available as a shelf rack and will hold them vertically on a shelf.

Knives-Knives should be located near the food prep area. They can be stored on a magnetic wall strip, a freestanding block, or in a drawer.

Cooking Materials- Items like cooking oils, spices, and condiments you use frequently should be located near the stove. These items can be stored in drawers, in an upper or lower cabinet, or on a shelf on the wall. Baking ingredients and dry goods can be stored on the counter in canisters.

organize your kitchen using zones

Dishes- Dishes should be stored near the sink or dishwasher. Most people store dishes in upper cabinets (so do I!), however, you can also have a plate rack on the countertop or put the dishes in a deep drawer. Using shelf maximizers in the cabinets allow you to use more space in the cabinet. Maximizers come in wood, wire, and acrylic. Some sit on a shelf and others can hang below it.

Cleaning Supplies- Use the space under the sink for cleaning supplies. Consider putting a lock on the cabinet if you have little ones running around. You can also keep your trash under the sink if you don’t have a pull out trash bin.

Small Appliances-Only keep the appliances that you use every day on the countertop-all others can be stored in a base cabinet. Having only items of necessity on the counter will give you more room to prepare meals.

Pantry-Use the pantry for storing non-perishable food and dry goods. Keep everything in view-store larger items behind shorter ones and place cans on risers so they don’t get lost in the back. If you are able to see everything in your pantry, you will always know what you have on hand, and eliminate multiple purchases. There are options to replace your shelves in the pantry or cabinet with inexpensive sliding drawers, or you can install small racks on the inside of the door to hold condiments, foil, plastic wrap, plastic bags, or small snacks.

organize your kitchen using zones

Linens-Everyday linens like placemats, tablecloths, and napkins can be stored in drawers near the serving area. You can use dividers out of cardboard or plastic to separate the items in the drawer.

Wine-Wine should be stored on its side, away from direct sunlight and heat. Avoid places near the stove, oven, or dishwasher. You can find inexpensive bottle holders that fit inside cabinets.

Refrigerator/Freezer-Empty your refrigerator and freezer and give them a good cleaning. Toss any expired or spoiled food. When refilling the fridge, put like items together and be sure to put older items in front so they can be used up before going bad. When storing leftovers, make sure they are in the smallest container that they will fit in because air increases the chance of bacteria getting onto the food. Also be sure to label leftovers and items in the freezer with the date so you can be sure to eat them before they spoil.

  • Eggs should be left in their original carton and should not be stored on the refrigerator door because the temperature fluctuates each time you open the door. The best place for eggs is in the back where it is coldest and they will keep for at least 3 weeks past the expiration date on the carton.
  • Fish should be refrigerated as soon as you get home and eaten within one or two days. If you are not going to eat it within 2 days, place it in the freezer for up to six months.
  • Store meat in the back of the refrigerator as soon as you get home and cook it within 24 hours. If you freeze the meat, wrap it in foil or plastic wrap. Freeze ground meat for up to 4 months and other meats up to 9 months. If you use freezer bags, squeeze out the excess air before sealing.

As you can see, it really is quite easy, and inexpensive to transform your kitchen from one you dread being in, into one you don’t want to leave!

Feel free to share how you organize your kitchen, and how it helps you to stay organized. I’d love to know! 😉

P.S. Click here to download my FREE Weekly Cleaning Printable.

If you’d like more organizing tips, follow SimpLeigh Organized on Pinterest and Facebook.

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