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Why I file my own taxes

It’s tax season – my favourite time of the year. :)

Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I’ve come to really like doing my own taxes. Seven years ago, I used one of those pop-up tax shops to do my paperwork, and it cost me almost $300 for what I deemed to be a pretty simple task. So from that point on, I decided to take my tax return into my own hands. Even when my freelance income rose, and I bought my home, I found that doing my own taxes was pretty straightforward.

Here are 4 reasons why I like doing my own taxes:

  • It costs you time, but you save your money. I’ve paid anywhere from $30 to $300 for someone else to do my tax return. Now, I pay between $30-50 to use online tax software.
  • It forces you to be organized. Knowing you’re going to be doing your own taxes means that you have to keep track of business receipts, charitable donations, medical expenses, and any other write-offs you might have. A tax preparer will only work off the paperwork you give them – they won’t know if you’re missing that receipt for a $100 donation – but you will.
  • It gives you an in depth look at your finances. When you do your own taxes, youbecome more knowledgable about your financial situation. You get to understand how much tax you’ve paid versus your annual income, how much you’ve saved towrads retirement, and where you stand going forward. You can also play around with the numbers to see how things ilke charitable donations or a bigger contribution to your RRSP can change your refund amount. Even though I make budgets and track my net worth on a monthly basis, I still like getting a closer look at my finances once a year, and doing my taxes is the perfect excuse. :)
  • You can do it whenever you want. Maybe I’m a bit lazy, but I like having the freedom to do my taxes whenever I want to do them. I can organize my receipts on my own time, enter in my information and stop half way through if I get caught up in something else, and do my taxes at 2am if I feel like it.

I did use an accountant a few years ago to help me file my taxes for the year I lived in Germany. I did my own calculations using TurboTax, and wanted to see how far off I was from her calculations. In the end, the accountant found a few more deductions that I hadn’t realized I was able to claim, so I’m glad I went to a professional for that kind of situation.

Do you do file your own taxes, or do you take it to an accountant?

Note: this post is sponsored by TurboTax Canada, but was written and edited by me.

Oh, hello December!

I’m still here! It has been a crazy few weeks. It’s already December and I’ve realized this blog has been neglected for a month. And for that, I’m sorry. :( Work was starting to get insanely busy at the end of October, and all of sudden, I found myself working those 65 hour/weeks I was trying to avoid. But that’s how it goes sometimes. And now that it looks like everything has calmed down a bit, I can get back on track with managing the rest of my life. :)

Here are a few updates about what’s happening these days:

Finances

The two stocks I’ve invested in are up 46% and 21% from this time last year, so I’m pretty happy about that. My only issue (and it’s a big one), I don’t exactly have an exit strategy. I’ve been doing a bit of reading online, so that will be my my financial focus for the rest of the year.

I’m continuing to invest $600/month into my TD Canada Trust e-series funds. I rebalanced my portfolio back in the beginning of November, and will be looking to increase my contribution rate next year.

Work

I’ve been at this job since March, and have enjoyed my time here. The job offers 3 weeks of holidays, but there’s flexibility in that I can bank extra hours for more time off. That is extremely useful because BF gets 4 weeks of holidays each year, and next year he’ll have 5 weeks.

I think I’m contributing what I can, but I know I could be doing more. The department is getting restructured, and we are bringing in an additional resource which should help balance the workload. That also means I can focus on projects that play into my strengths, instead of getting bogged down with other tasks.

There’s a lot of potential here for marketing to grow, and I think there’s the proper people in management to realize that. I’ve worked for companies before that wouldn’t allow for new ideas to be explored, which hurts both the company and its employees.

Health

My foot has been feeling a lot better, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I probably can’t run long distance and play field hockey at the same time. When I just focus on one activity, my foot seems to hold up fairly well. That’s really disappointing to hear. So if that’s the case, I’ll continue to play field hockey for the next couple of years, and only stick to running during the summer months.

Personal

For the first time in my life, I’ll be splitting up my time at Christmas. For 32 years, my family has pretty much the same routine from December 24-25-26, and I’m the first one that will be breaking it. :| This year, I’ll be spending Christmas Eve with BF’s family (they’re doing a Xmas murder mystery party!), and taking the ferry home in the afternoon Christmas Day. It’ll be weird not to wake up and have breakfast and open presents with the family, but at the same time, I’m excited to create my own holiday tradition as well.

Anyway, that’s the update on life over here. I’ve got a lot of things I want to write about, so stay tuned. :)

Making the most of summer weekends

photoDespite the up-and-down weather, this past weekend was a lot of fun.

Friday evening was pretty quiet. BF and I went for a walk along the seawall in Stanley Park, and then went back to his place to try out some new beers that were recommended to us. We’ve been on a bit of a fruit beer kick, so we shared a peach cream ale, as well as a blood orange. (On a side note, if anyone has any fruit beer suggestions, I’d love to hear them! Am currently loving Pyramid Apricot Ale.) We also watched Enough Said on Netflix, which I was skeptical about, but actually turned out to be an ok movie.

Saturday we waited out the rain, and then spent the afternoon at the tennis club that BF joined recently. My tennis skills aren’t good enough to play in a match yet, but it was really nice just to watch others play, read my book, and just relax outside.

photo 1After tennis was over, we took the SkyTrain out to the Richmond Night Market. It was a lot of fun people watching, looking at the fun things that were on sale, sampling the different food, and spending an evening out of the city. It was really hard not to get tempted by all of the delicious meats and seafoods around. Even though I’m happy being a vegetarian, I still definitely find myself craving certain things that I no longer eat – like takoyaki, ramen, or shrimp dumplings. :) But we were able to satisfy our cravings with a tofu noodle dish ($6), a couple of taiyaki ($3.50), and an ice cane ($3.50) – which tasted exactly like a Dairy Queen soft serve ice cream cone.

Once we were done with the Night Market, we naturally headed over to the River Rock Casino. Ever since I played roulette for the first time in Vegas, I’ve been a bit obsessed with playing the game again. But the $10 minimum was too rich for our blood, so we stuck with the penny slots. I ended up with $10 extra in my pocket once the evening was over, so can’t complain about that. :)

photo 3On Sunday, my friend Nic and I attempted to go hiking. Our objective was St. Mark’s Summit, but once we got to the top of Cypress, we realized it was too foggy to even attempt it. So, a bit defeated, we headed back down the mountain and decided to head over to Squamish and do The Chief instead.

The view from the top was… foggy. And even though we were both craving a hard hike, it was the best we could have done with the weather the way it was. It was also kinda nice to do The Chief without the trail as crowded as it usually is. We then went to the pub for a post-hike burger and beer to celebrate Nic’s 30th birthday.

The next two weekends will be great because of the Celebration of Lights fireworks and the Pride Parade! Fingers crossed the weather gets nice enough for a couple more beach days before the summer is over.

How was your weekend?

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