Tax Planning Strategies for the Self Employed

Shot of a young man smiling confidently at the door of a coffee shop

When you are self employed, you still owe the American government their taxes. This means you have to know how to strategize so that when it comes to taxpaying time, you will be prepared beforehand. Of course, it is important to have a good accountant, someone you can trust with your finances and who will do the right thing and handle the payment of your FICA taxes; in addition to doing your financial planning and tax planning for you. Below are some tax planning strategies that your accountant may implement if you are self employed.

 

Self Employment Tax Calculation

Self employed individuals, with or without an accountant must make sure to understand their responsibilities as it relates to the compliance of federal tax guidelines. This means knowing how self employment taxes are calculated by the federal government to pay the benefits associated with Medicare and Social Security. For self employed person, filing a Schedule C is essential, if filing as a contractor or sole proprietor. Net profit has to be reported on Form 1040. Schedule SE includes the self employment tax calculations and the amount in taxes owed.

 

Tax Payment Estimation

Once you have an estimate of your tax payment owed, you should pay it on time so you can avoid paying any assessed penalties. Since there are no withholding taxes for a self employed person, the IRS expects to be paid an estimated tax amount on a quarterly basis. If you wait until the time you are filing your taxes, the estimated amount will include interest and penalties. It is best to remain consistent in paying your estimated taxes on time and not at the end of the year.

 

Family Member Employees

To save on taxes, employ some of your family members. Some of the business income would then be shifted to your family members and so you could take several reasonable deductions for compensating your family members as employees, reducing your taxable income if you were reporting only your income before. Be careful with family members who are minors. You have to be in compliance with the child labor laws.

 

Employer-Sponsored Plan of Retirement

Due to the fact that you are self employed, you should be considering a retirement plan for yourself. To do so, establish a retirement plan that is employer sponsored. This offers some tax benefits. First, you will receive a deduction for financing the retirement plan. You can also make pretax contributions to the retirement plan, giving you more savings. Be sure to first assess all of your options.

 

Expense Deductions

Take advantage of all expense deductions you are allowed for your business. This puts you in a lower tax bracket. You will be able to deduct reasonable business expenses related to an office even if the office is in your home. You can also deduct for supplies, equipment, utility bills, furniture, transportation and entertainment expenses. If you want to deduct a particular expense like equipment or machinery for the business, for example, it is best to buy the equipment within the same tax year.

 

Closing

Be prepared in advance of a tax year to plan how you will deduct specific expenses and other ways that you can benefit from good planning.

 

Top Daily Hidden Costs

If you are just starting to live on your own or beginning to become financially conscious you’d be surprised at all the added costs that sneak up on you. There are things that we take for granted and don’t think about until it’s time to start making a budget or planning to save.

Luckily the first step is acknowledging and finding these hidden daily costs. First let’s look at something that everyone uses and needs in a home, utilities. If you’ve ever been told to turn off the lights when you leave the room you know that electricity can be a big expense. This along with the water bill and heating can all add up at the end of the month. By just doing a few simple conservation actions you can cut that bill in half.

One thing to be conscious of is turning off the lights after leaving every room. This adds up and try not to use any lights during the day as you can use windows to illuminate whatever you are working on. Make a note of how long you spend running appliances and if there is any way to cut those down. Bills can spike in the winter depending on place of residence because it’s darker outside more and the heater is on a lot of the time, same thing in the summer months as air conditioning is used more. Try looking into more cost friendly alternatives and efficient appliances that will give comfort but be able to cut costs.

Another important daily cost would usually be categorized under miscellaneous; we’re talking here toothbrushes, toothpaste, cleaning accessories, batteries and anything you’d likely see in the checkout aisle at the grocery store. This stuff is constantly misplaced and is usually pretty cheap when replacing it. If you start adding up the price spent on missing items it begins to add up.

If you’ve ever done a deep cleaning of your house and find several lip balms or discarded nail clippers you’ll realize you are double buying. It doesn’t only have to be the little things we overbuy as well.

Overuse is also another problem that comes into play with the hidden daily costs. Think about how much you have to use of a paper towel to clean up a stain, when a washrag would do just fine, soaps and razors that need to be constantly replaced. They say it’s the little things that count and that is a true statement when it comes to hidden costs. Just as the little things you do on a daily basis make up your fundamental finances, it’s the little things you spend on and do daily that make up how much you’re going to be spending.

Overview of Small Expenses

Essentially it comes down to not being forgetful and being mindful at the same time in regards to the little things no one really thinks about and take for granted.  Thinking about these small expenses add up over the long run when looking at it in months and years. Would you really want to be wasting your time and money on the little things when these hidden costs could go away by being more proactive.

Quantum Computer by D – wave

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Quantum Computer is a new revolutionary step into the computing world. Primarily, you need to be well aware of the term ‘Quantum’ to understand its technology. Quantum is a computation device which allows the direct use of quantum-mechanical phenomenon. Entanglement and superposition in relation to Quantum are being used to perform operation on data. These computers differ from digital computers on basis of its transistors.

To speed up the entire computation process, quantum computers tap directly into reality framework. We all are aware that, information is stored in form of 0s or 1s on any computer device. But a quantum computer uses qubits to store information in form of 0s, 1s or both simultaneously. The effects of quantum tunneling and entanglement peruse all combinations of bits together to boost up computation in comparison to a classical computer device.

Let’s look at an example to better understand the entire working of quantum computers. Suppose, if you’re to find the lowest point on a landscape, then how would the computation of a classical and quantum computer works. Let’s find out. The challenge is to find the lowest point on landscape. The aim is to find the optimal solution to this problem. Altitude of landscape is ‘cost or energy’. Hence, a quantum computer would take an immediate action by tunneling through landscape to find the lowest point rapidly – whereas a classical computer would only be able to run classic algorithms and walk over the landscape. The D-wave processor considers all possibilities to make relationship between bits swiftly to give you an output.

A quantum computer can easily give you 10,000 answers to your question just in one second. This computer not only solves problem, but also leaves alternatives for you to choose from. D-wave device has been designed to be used as a co-processor in conjunction with classical computers.

Progression of D-wave quantum computers steered the development of D-wave 2X quantum computer. The announcement of this latest generation has already been made and in action. At moment, it is the most advanced form of computer in world. The 2X processor has been designed by keeping in mind the complex optimization problems. Its especial structure has been built to tackle highly complex problems, through its advanced and effective superconducting processor. Such type of processor uses quantum mechanics to enhance the computation at massive level. The optimization solution of a particular problem can easily be attacked and run on larger level with help of 2X processor such as; machine learning, optimization, software/hardware verification and validation, financial analysis, pattern recognition and anomaly detection.

D-wave 2X comes with 1000+ qubits along with countless technological and scientific advancements. This device is capable to operate in temperatures below 15 milikelvin and 180 times colder than interstellar space. The goal with complex problems is always to get the most nearest optimal solution to proceed further. The Time to Target (TTT) metric test on 2X quantum processor has given positive results to beat classical computers.

Apps to Make Managing your Money Easier

photo-1423784346385-c1d4dac9893aKeeping your finances in order is important, but it can be tedious and complicated to do on your own. Thanks to today’s technology, however, you can manage your money easily without having to employ an advisor. There are lots of handy applications you can download to make your life easier. These are the ones you won’t be able to imagine ever having lived without.

Acorns

Wisely investing to build a reliable nest egg for retirement should be a priority for everyone, but life’s other expenses can sometimes make us forget to do it. Thankfully, Acorns has come along to make investing a cinch.

With this app, you link your debit and credit cards. Acorns keeps track of your charges and rounds them up to the next dollar. Once the money adds, up, you can invest it into the professionally managed portfolio of your choice. You can even choose between six levels of risk investment. Fees are $1 a month for a portfolio under $5,000 and 0.25 percent per year for portfolios over $5,000. You aren’t charged if your balance is $0.

The Acorns app was developed with guidance from Nobel winning economist Harry Markowitz. Your investments are secured up to $500,000 by the SIPC.

SavedPlus

Along with investing, saving is one of those things that just passes us by. Don’t worry–there’s a solution for that, too! The SavedPlus app automatically transfers money from the checking account of your choice directly to your savings account. Transfers happen once a week and take 5 business days to complete.

Currently, the app is 100 percent free. With SavedPlus, you can save conveniently with a minimum amount of mental effort!

Mvelopes

This app provides you with a simpler with to budget. It syncs with your bank accounts and asks you to input income information and financial goals in order to develop a realistic budget. The app allows you to keep tabs on your spending activities and stay within your limits without having to pinch pennies.

Tricount

This is the perfect solution for keeping track of events and big expenses involving lots of people. Tricount divvies up the costs and sends everyone an email so that they know how much is do. You can combine Tricount with Venmo, which allows you to send your friends and family money for free.

Mint.com

Probably the most comprehensive money-managing app you’ll come across. Not only can you link your bank accounts and credit cards, but your mutual funds as well. Keep track of your spending and deposits in real-time. receive alerts, and even get a free credit score. This award-winning app is made by Intuit, the company behind Quicken and TurboTax. It’s very reliable, keeping your accounts safe.

And unlike the other services developed by Intuit, Mint is completely free.

With so many tools available, there’s no excuse for not getting a handle on your personal finances. Visit the App Store or Google Play and get started planning for your future!

Is it really hard to make your piggy bank happy during the festive season?

Rarely you’ll find anyone, with average income, who won’t say that it’s a bit tough to save money during the festive season. It is that time of the year for which you deposit money in your piggy bank throughout the year. However, it’s not that tough! All you need is careful planning and making some wise decisions. And, you’ll be happy that you didn’t have to break your piggy bank; on the contrary, you’ve made it heavier.

Plan a budget and follow it strictly – To save money and to avoid overspending, first of all, you need to plan a budget. Only then, you’ll have a clear idea about how much you’ve allocated for gifts, decorations, travel (if any), eating outs, along with other categories. It will help you avoid overspending on any item.

Use your credit card wisely – You can put extra bucks in your piggy bank by taking advantage of credit card rewards programs. There are also several cards which offer special holiday rewards when you swipe your card to buy items during the festive season. So, if you’re thinking of applying for a new card, make sure you research well and choose one that offers you such rewards facilities.

Don’t spend lavishly on decor – If Christmas decorations is not what you’ve been dreaming throughout the year, then use what you already have. Most of the retailers offer discounts on decorations in late December; so, keep an eye for the sale events, buy and store them for the next year.

Another thing you should think about! Do you want a lavish decoration or just want to welcome the festive season with lights? If you’re planning a vacation during Christmas or New Year, then there’s no point decorating the indoors of your house with lights. Just stick to outdoor decoration. Hang up lights and decorations outside your house and you’re done! Deposit the extra money in your piggy bank or in your savings account and financially benefit yourself at the starting of a year.

Avoid window shopping – Go to the mall with a list and stick to it. Once you’ve ticked every item in your shopping list, avoid strolling around just to check what all the stores have. If you do so, there are relatively higher chances that you’d get enticed and overspend. Also, the stores have ample items to entice children; so, it’s better to tell them to look for items written in the list instead of checking each and every item they see. This way, you’ll also inculcate a good habit in them.

Make gift-giving enjoyable instead of burdensome – Do you think gift-giving is burdensome and stressful at the same time? First of all, you spend a lump sum on buying gifts and your next concern is whether or not the receiver(s) will like it. Most of us also buy gifts as a mere obligation. This year, take the initiative to change this!

This Christmas, focus on giving meaningful gifts instead of concentrating on price tags. For example, gift homemade gifts with a personalized touch. There are very few people who won’t appreciate your gesture. If you have two or three kids and they want expensive gifts, then ask them to decide on one gift which all of them can enjoy, and you can buy them that.

And, another thing! It’s foolish to spend extra about $5 to wrap each gift nicely. You can use wrapping papers already there in your house or you can also give the gifts in the bags provided by the retailers.

Save energy to save dollars – Many of you forget that you can save a significant amount on energy bills during the festive season. So, why not light a few candles instead of decorating your house only with lights. You can also dim the lights to save energy and in turn, dollars.

It can be concluded by saying that this year, make a promise to yourself to save money during the festive season and to make your piggy bank happy without compromising on the enjoyment. And, after reading this article, you might have understood a bit that it’s not that much difficult as it seems to be. So, enjoy this Christmas and step into a new year feeling happy that you’ve become a financially responsible person.

How to Stop the “Buy it Now” Mentality

It happens to all of us at one time or another.

There you are, innocently walking through the mall, shopping plaza, or your favorite store. All of a sudden, you see “it” and you are instantly infatuated. What the “it” is varies from person to person. Some people are into shoes, dresses, jewelry, or handbags. Others are hypnotized by electronics like huge TVs, stereo equipment, or the newest tech-gadgets. Whether it’s a pair of expensive boots or the most recent incarnation of the iPhone, it’s there, it’s calling to you, and you’ve got tunnel vision.

Cue the justifications.

“If I don’t get it now, it might be gone when I come later for it.”

“That will never go on sale, I should just get it now.”

“I don’t really have the money for that, but I just want it.”

“I work hard, why shouldn’t I treat myself?”

Whatever reason you use, it works, because we all know how to justify our poor choices to some extent. You find yourself in line with the item, burning up your plastic, floating on a little happy cloud of consumerism as you walk out the door. And that? That is exactly what they want.

They? Who are they?

They are “the establishment.” The stores, the stockholders, the ones making big bucks off of your lack of control.

Impulse spending, the “buy it now” mentality or whatever term you’d like to call it, is a huge money maker for stores. It is based on psychological principles that prey on some of our most basic emotions. The fear of not being part of the crowd. The fear of not being able to get the item you want. Seems like an awful lot of fear for something that is supposed to make you feel good, right?

The way to stop the buy it now mentality is to recognize the tactics that are being used to push you in to buying something, overcome them, and take control of spending on your own terms.

#1-Recognizing the Tactics

Selling is persuasion. Stores or brands are trying to persuade you into buying their product and the sooner, the better. Everything, from the colors they use, to the way the display is set up, is designed to make you buy their product. But, what if you don’t want to? If you’re tempted to buy something that you weren’t initially planning on buying, look to see if they’re using any of these common persuasion tactics:
• Repetition—Using the item’s name or slogan again and again
• Bandwagon-you don’t want to be the one to miss out, do you?
• Testimonial—“This product works!”
• Emotional Appeal—“You’re only young once…”
• Expert Opinion—“3 out of 4 doctors agree…”

Persuasion techniques are proven, studied ways in which you are subconsciously swayed toward something—whether it’s having a belief or opinion, or in this case making a purchase.

#2—Overcoming

Once you’re aware of the invisible battlefield going on in front of you, you’ll find you’re in a much better position to identify the tactic being used, recognize you are being manipulated (sometimes by something as simple as a bag of potato chips), get righteously offended (within reason), and resist any temptation you had to make that impulse purchase. Pat yourself on the back—what you just did isn’t easy!

#3—Take control

The more you can practice overcoming your impulses, the more you can take control of your spending. Amazing things start to happen when you find you’re the one in charge of your purchasing decisions. For one thing, you no longer bust your budget because you decided suddenly to buy an item that you hadn’t planned on getting. For another, you might find you have some legitimate extra money you can stash away—in savings or to save for a planned splurge (those are the best kind!).

We all know our emotions can be powerful—powerful enough to make people spend their rent money on a pair of shoes or the newest “It” bag. When we realize we allow our emotions to be compromised—oftentimes unwittingly—at the hands of corporations looking to make money, it really puts the allure of the “buy it now” mentality into question. Do you want to be among those who made all their psychological research pay off? Or would you rather be the one who was too smart for their sneaky tricks?

5 Easy Ways to Make Legitimate Money from Home

In this day in age, are there really ways to make money from home? There are several skeptical people who believe the only way to make money is to go to a job site every day, work several hours, and get a paycheck every week. Whether you want to make an extra couple of dollars on the weekends or you are one of those stay at home parents, making legitimate money online can be easier than you think.

Swagbucks

Who doesn’t love to browse the internet? We use it for the purposes of work and entertainment. Why not get paid to use the internet for your enjoyment? This is where Swagbucks.com comes into play. This is an amazing website, free to join, and will pay you for your time and input, with popular gift cards. You gain points by taking surveys, watching videos, playing games, searching the web, and shopping online. Many can even do this while on the go, simply by using a smart phone or tablet. Each task you complete is worth a certain number of points. Once you earn so many points, you are eligible for multiple gift cards of your choosing. Some of these gift cards are for places like Amazon, Walmart, or Target. Sure you are not getting a paper check, but you are getting a gift card for places you love. Instead of spending cash money on groceries, buy them at Walmart using your gift card earned through Swagbucks!

Sell or rent items online

EBay is probably the best known site for selling goods you no longer need, but what about renting out your items? There are several other websites that allow you to rent out your clothes or shoes to other people, and they pay you for the rental. Say you have a nice formal dress and you don’t want to sell it. You can rent it to those looking for a certain style they only plan to wear once, rather than spending a fortune on a new dress.

Be a website tester

This one seems unreal, right? It is true! You can actually get paid to test out a company’s website. Usertesting.com will pay you upwards of $30 an hour to test out a website. All you have to do is visit a website or app that usertesting.com gives you, complete a set of given tasks, and speak your thoughts about the site. It is as easy at that!

Sell your talent

Are you a crafty person who likes to make unique items? Well you no longer have to attend craftshows or flea markets in order to sell your items. Etsy.com is a wonderful website that allows anyone to become a shop owner. You are in charge of what you sell in your shop, and can even limit the number of a specific item available. Sellers on Etsy also provide buyers with an estimation for completion of personalized items. Sellers gain more customers through the use of positive start reviews, which can make a person even more money!

Sign up to be an instructor

Udemy.com is a wonderful resource for anyone looking to learn about a topic of interest. Not only can you learn and take classes on Udemy, you can make money by becoming an instructor. They have any topic imaginable, from learning how to use the newest version of Windows to introductory photography courses. You can work along or with other instructors to develop a course which is made available to users around the world. If Udemy helps to promote your course, you get 50% of all profits made, and get 100% if you promote it on your own. There are some rules and regulations for becoming an instructor, but many of them are common courtesy rules. Making money for teaching a topic in which you are an expert is an awesome way to make extra cash from the couch.

 

How to Avoid Wasting Money on Groceries

 

If you’re like most people, food probably takes up a big chunk of your monthly budget. Whether you’re feeding a family of four or just yourself, there’s a good chance you’ve already fallen victim to the classic trap of overpaying for food, or buying food you don’t end up eating. It happens to all of us. But if you plan well and shop smartly, you can avoid wasting money on groceries and instead use that cash productively. Here’s how to do it:

Always Check the Circulars

One of the easiest ways to avoid spending more than you have to on groceries is to check the circulars at your local stores before you head out shopping and see what’s on sale. If, for example, your family goes through 12 yogurts a week and a local store has your brand on sale for $0.50 less than another supermarket, you can save $6 right off the bat. Most grocery stores post their circulars online, so all you need to do is commit to giving them a weekly read at your convenience.

Pay Attention to Expiration Dates

Sometimes we all have no choice but to shop for food when we’re in a hurry. How many times have you grabbed the first container of milk off the shelves only to get home later and realize it expires within a couple of days? To avoid wasting money on food, be sure to pay attention to when the products you’re buying are about to expire. If you can’t find the item you’re looking for with a decent date, ask a supermarket employee to check the stock room. The more time you have to consume your food before it goes bad, the less likely you are to waste money by having to throw it away.

Avoid On-Sale Items You Don’t Tend to Use

It’s easy enough to fall into the trap of getting lured in by a good deal, but remember, on-sale items are only worth something if they’re things you use regularly. If, for example, you see gorgonzola cheese on sale for half-price but only eat it once a year, don’t buy a giant block. Similarly, if you see a certain type of fruit or vegetable on sale, only buy the amount you’re likely to consume within the week. Having extra produce on hand to spoil is definitely no bargain.

Plan Your Meals in Advance

One of the best ways to avoid wasting money on food is to plan out your meals ahead of time. Take one night a week to write out your menus and make a list of the ingredients you’ll need to bring your dishes to life. This will help you avoid getting tripped up by missing ingredients once you’re already cooking, but just as importantly, it will help you avoid spending money on items you don’t need anytime soon.

Keep a Solid Inventory

Buying things you already have, especially perishables, is a good way to throw out your money. To avoid this, keep a detailed inventory of the items you have in your refrigerator and pantry, and update it every week before you head to the supermarket. In fact, you can, and should, use your inventory to build your weekly grocery list.

Make a List, and Stick to It

One final way to avoid throwing money away on groceries is to make a list before you shop and limit yourself to whatever’s on it. If you commit to skipping impulse purchases or sales that aren’t particularly relevant to you, you’re more likely to bring home items that’ll actually get eaten.

Remember, you work hard for your money, so there’s no sense in wasting it on unnecessary food. Follow these tips, and before you know it, your grocery bills will be much more manageable, leaving extra cash in your budget for when you need it the most.

3 Ways to Have Excellent Credit Even If You Have Debt

My credit? Excellent.

Whenever I’m having my credit checked I always feel a little surge of pride, like I’m about to get a big fat gold star on a piece of homework I’ve worked on.

Except I have tremendous debt, so that gold star? Yeah, it’s more than a little tarnished. Despite having credit card, student loan, car payment, and mortgage debt, I’ve been able to maintain a squeaky clean credit record for a long time.

Having no debt doesn’t equal having excellent credit. In fact, lenders want to see that you’re able to manage your debt—as in pay them back on time, even if you maintain a balance over the long term. Of course, if you’re able to always pay your balance in full each month, that’s great for you too—since you aren’t paying for finance charges and never need to worry about late fees.

Don’t Pay Late

The first thing you can do to maintain excellent credit is always, always, always make your payments on time. This doesn’t mean you have to pay more than the minimum amount due, but it’s a good idea to do so since it will take you forever to climb out of that hole if that’s all you’re paying! What if you’re late once? Will that show up on your credit? Well, the answer is it depends. Usually it depends on how late you are. If it’s a few days or a week late, you’ll get slapped with a late fee and possibly a higher APR, but it’s unlikely that if you made a payment at this point it would show up as a black mark against you on your credit report. Still, why take the risk? Set your bills to auto-pay and when you forget them, you’re already covered.

Hit Your Repayment Goals

Secondly-it’s a testament to how trustworthy you are as a borrower when you’re able to pay back what you’ve borrowed in full. When you pay off your car, your house, or finally see a zero balance on those credit cards, it will reflect in your credit score—even if you still carry other debts that you’re still working on. Don’t give up—it might be a long journey, but it will come to an end.

Don’t Close Your Paid Off Accounts

Part of your credit score is determined by your credit to debt ratio. This means if you have ten thousand dollars of available credit, but only have a balance of one thousand dollars, you’ve only tapped into 10% of your available credit.

Though it might seem to make sense to close your credit card accounts when you pay them off—don’t. It will hurt your credit score immediately. Why? Less credit available means you’ll a higher ratio, even if you haven’t spent any more money. Imagine you have the same ten thousand of credit and only a balance of one thousand. Then you close a card with five thousand dollars available on it. Suddenly, your ratio goes up—to 20% of your available credit.

While we all wish for freedom from debt, it’s a hard fact of life that it’s likely we’ll be under some kind of debt during our lives. At the very least you can take comfort in the fact that just having debt doesn’t mean you have to have bad credit and in fact, you can have fantastic credit if you pay your bills on time, eventually pay off your debts, and keep your credit to debt ratio balanced.

The top 5 Wallet Drainers and How to Eliminate Them

It’s Monday morning and once again you hit the ATM on your way to work. But, by Wednesday afternoon you’re broke again… You’re frustrated, but not shocked. Why? Because your unmonitored spending habits are slowly eating away at your budget. You carefully watch your spending, yet it seems like your money is held hostage by a wily magician and caught up in a disappearing act.

The only real “disappearing act” to your cash is wearing a blindfold when it comes to day-to-day expenses. Note – we said “expenses” and not necessities. To get a handle on these wallet-drainers, let’s look at the most common pitfalls.

1. That Morning Brew/Afternoon Pick Me Up

It doesn’t matter if it’s the premium coffee purveyor or its more prevalent and discounted cousin. Your morning caffeine ritual is costing you big time:

Obviously the $4 latte isn’t the only threat to your budget. Even the “premium” brews from the less expensive drive thrus add up. The two most popular spots for “affordable” coffees can still cost you $20 – 40 at the end of the month. And that’s only for a five-cup a week habit. If you need a 3:00PM “boost” for an afternoon lull, you’re doubling that amount.

Even if your morning jolt of choice is a soft drink, smoothie, or fresh juice the outcome is still the same.

Fix It: Even buying premium bean coffees will cost you less. Stocking up on your favorite soft drinks will cost you less than the company vending machine. You don’t even have to go “cold turkey” – just cut down to a few days per week.

2. Paying Too Much at the Pump

Even with a short commute (or relying on public transportation for most of your daily travel needs) you can risk paying way too much for gas. Not taking the time to find the best-priced gas station is going to hit your wallet pretty hard.

Gas prices can vary from .15 to .40 per gallon – and if you’re running on empty at a “premium spot,” e.g. an off ramp of the expressway, you’re paying way more than you need too.

Running on a low gas tank also means that sediment from the gasoline is settling in the bottom of your tank. Over time, it’s going to hurt your filter.

Fix It: Use www.gasbuddy.com or other popular smart phone apps to find the best deals. You could also become a member at a “big box” store that offers fueling services.

3. Banking and Service Fees

Banking fees are also “spending fees.” Meaning you’re penalized for spending and using cash. If you find that your frequent trips to the cash station are coming with a little “price tag” of $2.50 – $4.00 per month from your bank, you’re accumulating expenses that you don’t need to.

If you’re in a pinch and use an out-of-network ATM, then congratulations! You just cost yourself anywhere between $2.50 – $4.00 per transaction.

4. The Cost of Convenience

Our days are busy and long. Taking time for a healthy lunch might not be in the picture, but a carry out salad or rice bowl will at least tide you over until the time you get home.

The good news, you’re not starving. The bad news is you’re paying for a lot for convenience foods. It all adds up: Carry out lunches and dinners, delivery fees, eating out, tipping your wait or counter person. An average lunch out can cost between $9 – $13. That’s close to $50 per week…

Fix It: Brown bag it a few times per week. If you do order out, choose dishes that will make good lunch or even dinner leftovers. You could also look into the services that deliver fresh ingredients to you to cook at home.

5. Not Saving Receipts

Even if you’re paying cash for a packet of mints, not saving the receipt doesn’t mean it was “free.” Whether you’re using a debit card, credit, card, or cash, all those receipts account for spending that might not be essential.

Fix It: For just one week save every receipt from every purchase. Look where your money is going and see what spending patterns emerge. From there you’ll have an idea of where to cut.