Hooray! 2011 - the year of MUCH discussion as to whether to gladly kiss it goodbye or fondly make memory books out of its events - is coming to a close. And FAST! Here are some important things you can do in the next few hours to make sure you start off 2012 with your best foot forward, knowing you closed out 2011 with financial savvy and class.
The stock market is already closed, so I will skip the "sell the losers" speech about maximizing your tax numbers and portfolio. We'll save that for next year :).
However, it is not too late to give donations to your favorite charities! If you do so before the clock strikes midnight, you can also include those donations in your taxes for 2011. While I consistently give and include my donations in my taxes each year, I am no expert on the specific tax calculations. What I do maintain is that giving and being selfless is incredibly classy. Plus, many charitable organizations are in more need than ever due to recession-related donation decreases. If there were ever a time to give, it is now.
If you don't already have a charity or cause of choice, check out one, some, or all of these links to find great opportunities to give!
- Charity Navigator - Use this site to find great causes and confirm the validity of organizations.
- Kiva - Loan money to people around the world to support their economic endeavors, and maybe even get paid back!
- ParishPay - Give to your local church community with great record keeping and the opportunity to get credit card points from your donations (not a reason, but a side reward).
- DonorsChoose - Peruse great educational projects for which your local and/or state schools need financial support. Make a classroom's wishlist come true!
- Educational institutions - Give to your alma mater, and often your employer will match it!
As mentioned before, I leave the details to the experts as to the ultimate return of your donations when it comes to your taxes. Needing more details behind the financials of charitable gifts and how they can give back to you?
- All about tax deductions and credits - by TurboTax
- An economic perspective of charitable giving - from Learning to Give
- The rules for year-end giving - from the IRS
And keep these articles close as you plan your financial and personal activities for 2012 :
- 5 easy moves to increase your tax refund - by Faithful with a Few
- Things you can do to cash in at tax time - by TurboTax
Last but not least, if you are a bit beyond your limit tonight while celebrating, please keep in mind that AAA is offering free rides home and tows to members and non-members alike. Now THAT is Classy and NOT Pricey.
Happy New Year, and here's to a Classy Not Pricey 2012!