Tax Time Procrastination

Posted on: April 25th, 2016 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

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      TAX TIME PROCRASTINATION…
HOW TO AVOID IT!


One of the top reasons that we procrastinate is because we feel overwhelmed and the thought of filing our yearly taxes certainly fits the bill. Despite being aware of the consequences of failing to file, as many as 45% of us cite procrastination as the reason why we delay to file or even let the deadline pass us by.

Here are our favourite suggestions for helping our clients overcome tax-time procrastination:

1.    Find a tax buddy who will keep tabs on you and encourage you to file your personal taxes on time. If you have your business taxes prepared by a professional, ask them to send you reminders.

2.    Make up your OWN tax deadline which is ahead of the traditional date. Mark your calendar accordingly and imagine how GREAT it will feel to have your taxes filed sooner rather than later. Remember that you only need to pay the bill by the traditional April 30th (or later for business) date.

3.    Break it all down into smaller pieces. If you have an intimidating amount of work associated with preparing to file your taxes, try to work on one section (income, for example) at a time and spread the process over several days.

Do YOU have a suggestion about how to overcome tax-time procrastination? Comment on our BLOG or FACEBOOK PAGE.

Get Motivated… by Richard M. Nixon!

Posted on: April 19th, 2016 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

 

    

 

THE TAX MAN COMETH…ARE YOU READY?

Posted on: April 13th, 2016 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

 

Cathy Mendler HAPPY BIRTHDAY to A NEW LEAF!

A New Leaf celebrated 10 years in business on March 17th!

Thanks to all of our clients and everyone who has referred clients to us. We have been very fortunate!

THE TAX MAN COMETH…ARE YOU READY?

I have a confession to make! This issue should have been published a bit earlier. I had assistance with it and wasn’t able to proofread it sooner because I was completing my taxes!!

Does the thought of getting your forms and receipts organized so that you can file your 2015 taxes make your stomach churn? While the best advice is always to work ahead and NOT wait until the last minute to get organized, these suggestions will help you to simplify your tax preparation.

1.    Start with last year’s return. Make a list of categories on your return which pertain to you. For instance, you might include basic items like T4s, investment income, RRSPs, medical receipts, charitable donations, and education expense (just to name a few!).

2.    Purchase an expandable accordion-type file. The traditional brown kind works well for us, but feel free to be creative! Make sure it has MORE sections than you have items on your list, so that you have room to add additional categories. Don’t forget to label the outside of the envelope with the tax year.

3.    Now, you will have a place for each form and receipt. Make sure to file them as soon as you receive them in order to prevent the headache of missing forms.

4.    If you have a number of receipts in some slots, medical expenses for example, add up the total for all of the receipts and staple the calculator tape to the pile. Repeat the process for each category as required.

5.    If you are a business owner, you will also have categories for business assets and expenses. We recommend that you keep a business tax folder separate from your personal taxes for ease of filing.

6.    If there is room, set up separate slots for completed returns, refund/payment information and assessments.

7.    If you are a tech-minded person, consider computerizing your financial records with one of the very effective programs available. Some clients scan in receipts and attach them to their respective files, but DON’T FORGET that you are still required to keep paper copies of your receipts for seven years. It is a good idea to hold onto ALL of your tax returns.

Now you can relax and calm that churning stomach…until you need to write the cheque!

P.S.  Do YOU or someone you know need a professional organizer? TAKE OUR TEST and find out for yourself today!

Mmm…Healthy Chicken and Leek Pie!

Posted on: March 31st, 2016 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

                HEALTHY CHICKEN AND LEEK PIES



                       Comfort food doesn’t mean extra calories!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large sweet potato cut into chunky chips
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, chopped into bite-size chunks
  • 1 leek, finely sliced
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 225ml low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 85g light soft cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped tarragon leaves
  • 2 sheets filo pastry

PREPARATION

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

2. In a roasting tray toss the sweet potatoes with 2 tsp of the oil and some seasoning. Cook for 30-40 mins, until golden and crisp. Heat 1 tsp oil in a medium frying pan. Fry the chicken until browned, remove from the pan and set aside. Add the leek and a splash of water, and gently fry until soft, about 7 mins. Add the carrot and cook for 3 mins more. Pour in the stock and boil until reduced by half, then add the mustard and soft cheese, stirring well to combine. Return the chicken to the pan, add the tarragon and some seasoning.

3. Divide the mixture between 2 small ovenproof dishes. Take the filo sheets and scrunch them up. Top each pie with a sheet and brush with remaining 1 tsp oil. Cook the pies in the oven with the chips for 15 mins, until the pastry is golden.

For more recipes, check out our GET HEALTHY archives.

 

GET the News!

Posted on: March 29th, 2016 by Cathy Mendler No Comments


Events and News

What’s Happening?  Click Here

 

DON’T FORGET! If you’re purging books, sheetmusic, CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, and video games, consider donating them to the Canadian Federation of University Women-K-W Annual Used Book Sale being held on April 22-23, 2016.

 

March Break is OVER…time to CHECK Your Homework Supplies!

Posted on: March 22nd, 2016 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

Get Checking...

Is part of your home office a dedicated homework area? We have a Homework Supplies Checklist just for YOU!

Check out the monthly ORGANIZE YOUR ENVIRONMENT Workshop Series at the Kitchener Public Library. These workshops offers tips, tools, strategies and resources you need to create your best environment. All speakers are members of the Grand River, ON Chapter of Professional Organizers in Canada. Cathy will speak on Effective Time Management in September.

There is NO charge to attend the workshops. Registration is required.

 

Do I Toss or Do I Keep?

Posted on: March 15th, 2016 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

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       TO TOSS OR NOT TO TOSS?


One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, right? Here’s a quick list of things to toss from your home office TODAY! Some of them are a bit TOO obvious!

•    Pens and markers that don’t work
•    Bent paper clips
•    Old newspapers and magazines
•    Old equipment like phones, computer components and printers
•    Old documents

Please remember to be kind to the environment and RECYCLE! Check out the WHERE TO RECYCLE resource page on our website to learn more about how to recycle markers, electronics and much more!

Do you wonder when is the right time to shred documents? Here’s a quick guide:

•    Pay stubs for one year, until you receive your new T4 (or W2) receipt
•    Credit card statements until the next one is received (remember to check for accuracy)
•    Tax returns and receipts after seven years – Check with your accountant and/or Canada Revenue.
•    Bank and investment statements for one year – Check with your accountant, financial planner and/or Canada Revenue.
•    Medical bills and benefits statements for one year – unless required for income tax purposes – Check with your accountant and/or Canada Revenue.
•    Newspapers and magazines ideally after you’ve read them

If you follow these simple rules to rid your home office of excess clutter, you’ll find that you have more energy to GET PRODUCTIVE!

Do you agree with our list? Comment on our BLOG or FACEBOOK PAGE, and share your opinion with our readers!

 

Get Motivated…with a Poem!

Posted on: March 10th, 2016 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

Our Newest Healthy Recipe…

Posted on: March 8th, 2016 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

  HEALTHY CHICKEN WITH POTATOES AND SQUASH



Healthy eating doesn’t need to cost a lot of money OR time!

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1 (3 1/2-pound) roasting chicken
Cooking spray
12 ounces red potatoes, cut into wedges
1 1/2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 8 ounces)
2 tablespoons butter, melted

PREPARATION

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Combine 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and sage in a small bowl. Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under chicken. Rub garlic mixture under loosened skin. Place chicken, breast side up, on rack of a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Place rack in broiler pan.

3. Combine potatoes, squash, butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Arrange vegetable mixture around chicken. Bake at 400° for 1 hour or until a thermometer inserted into the meaty part of the thigh registers 165°. Let stand 10 minutes. Discard skin.

For more recipes, check out our GET HEALTHY archives.

 

March 8th is Organize Your Home Office Day…are you ready?

Posted on: March 3rd, 2016 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

Cathy Mendler
  ………….  MARCH 8, 2016

   ORGANIZE YOUR HOME OFFICE DAY!

..

Year by year, home offices have become increasingly more common. They are no longer used only by entrepreneurs and telecommuters; we use them as a workplace for school work, playing the bills and simply running the computerized part of our lives.

For some of us, having a home office is almost as important as having a kitchen; and for many of us, our office space can end up being just as cluttered and disorganized.

This Organize Your Home Office Day, let’s GET MOTIVATED with 10 great ideas to help make YOUR home office better!

1.    Tame the paper tiger! EVERY DAY, keep up with your paperwork so that it doesn’t pile up. Toss it, shred it, file it or take action on it now, but NEVER pile it!

2.    Store office supplies in drawers, baskets, bins and storage containers, so that your space looks less cluttered. Use a label maker so that everyone knows where to find something when they need it.

3.     Make use of vertical space! Take a hard look at the clutter on the flat surfaces in your office and use wall space for things like calendars, shelves, and filing systems.

4.    Organize your books so that they are easily accessible AND easier to return to the shelf. Try organizing by subject or alphabetically or, if you prefer, organize them by colour to give your office a more organized look.

5.    Create a printing station. Designate one space for paper and printing supplies, preferably out of sight. Keep in mind that if you have a wireless printer, you don’t need to store it near your computer. You can stow it away anywhere in your office.

6.    Set up a mail station for controlling the paper coming in and out of the office. Create your own filing system and set up folders for mail (incoming and outgoing), paper to file and bills. If you have a very busy household with school-age children, you may need to set up files for each family member. Make it a practice to set aside a few minutes every day to deal with mail.

7.    Arrange your filing system so that it is colour coded and simple to use. For instance, you can use green files for all of your financial files (bills, credit cards, invoices), and red for medical files. Whatever system you choose, don’t be blinded by how pretty the colours look; it is still best to stow them out of sight!

8.    Create “life binders” for family members (and even for pets!) which contain important health-related information in case of a medical emergency. This would include immunization records, prescriptions, and allergies. If this system works well in your household, you can also create binders for your car (including repair records and insurance), manuals (including warranties and serial numbers) and household (including maintenance records).

9.    Use Velcro (the self-adhesive kind) to secure loose cords to the underside of your desk. This is one of our favourite tricks!

10.    PURGE! Take a long and hard look at what you actually USE in your home office. If you don’t use it regularly or if it simply doesn’t belong, send it to another part of the house or toss it altogether!

Can YOU think of more ideas to organize your home office? (There are DOZENS more!) Comment on our BLOG or FACEBOOK PAGE.

P.S.  Does your home office (or any other room in your house) need a professional organizer?

TAKE OUR TEST and find out for yourself today!