Try To Preserve These Financial Categories If You're Desperately In Debt

If you're dealing with so much debt that you're barely making payments and your efforts to use one of the many debt payoff methods available are tiny by necessity, you might be at the point where you want to start cutting back further on whatever you need each month. While this can work to an extent, you must be careful about what you cut. If you decide you don't need something that would save you trouble in the long run, or if you figure you could put off paying for something in order to get a little breathing room now, you have to be sure you aren't about to dig a bigger hole for yourself.

Your Taxes

If you do any independent contracting or freelancing, or if you run your own business as a sole proprietor, you have to send in estimated taxes, or at the very least, set the equivalent amount aside each month so that you can send it all in at tax time. It can be very tempting to not do this for a few months. While your basic expenses -- rent/mortgage, basic utilities, food -- come first, your taxes are just as important. If you don't have the money to pay for your taxes at tax time, you then start gathering interest and penalties. While the rates for these are fairly low on paper, they do add up fast and can make it harder for you to get ahead when all is said and done. Do your best to keep up with your taxes.

Reasonable Insurance Deductibles

A strategy you might have used before is changing your insurance coverage on your home or car. Higher deductibles and lower coverage amount to equal smaller premiums; this works sometimes. If you had a super-low deductible and raised it a little, that's OK. But you don't want to raise it too high or get rid of too much coverage because if something happens, then you're off the hook for a huge deductible or covering costs that exceed your coverage. Don't mess around with your insurance too much. Try to keep reasonable coverage.

Your Emergency Savings

Your emergency savings can help you if you are in danger of being late on rent or if you have no other money for food. Your emergency savings shouldn't go toward paying extra to pay down debt or to pay a bill in advance unless there is a pressing reason why the bill has to be paid now instead of when it's usually due. You need that savings to cover sudden problems. Do not borrow from your emergency savings -- try to build it up a little more instead, if at all possible.

With tax time approaching, you have an opportunity to get a good snapshot of how you're doing. Working with a tax preparer who is well-versed in debt repayment strategies could be a good thing because he or she may be able to find deductions and credits you didn't realize you were eligible for. To learn more, contact a Dave Ramsey recommended tax professional

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Do you prepare your own taxes each year? Have you received letters months after you have filed your taxes and spent your return telling you that you have made an error and that you owe the IRS a check to cover the discrepancy? This is something that has happened to me four times in the past eight years. Because of small errors, I have had to come up with money that I had to pay back and it made things more difficult than you might think. Since the last time, I have been paying to have my taxes prepared professionally and it has actually helped a lot. Find out what a difference a professional tax preparer could make on your taxes this year here on my blog.

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