Author Archives: christaclips

Save Time & Money with TurboTax Online

Christa Clips Save-at-Home-Mom Saves Time & Money with TurboTax Online

The April 30th deadline for filing our 2014 taxes is looming, and if you’re looking for a way to save time & money by preparing your tax return(s) on your own, check out TurboTax Online! And by “check it out”, I don’t mean drive to the store, compare the boxes to see which version is for you then come home to install your CD. I mean click through to TurboTax Online, let it tell you which version you need, and start doing your taxes within minutes without ever leaving the comfort of your home!

Turbo Tax Online helps you determine which version you need with a few simple clicks.

TurboTax Online helps you determine which version you need with a few simple clicks and you can start preparing your tax return within minutes – no trip to the store needed!

Did you know that there are FREE versions of TurboTax Online available for some income situations? If you start out on one of the FREE versions but are not eligible, TurboTax will alert you to the version you should purchase. Spread the word to family & friends who may fall into the eligible categories.

progress report

Naysayers of DIY tax prep insist that it’s too much work to do one’s own taxes. I respectfully disagree. For me, the biggest amount of time & effort goes into finding and organizing my receipts for my self employment and business-use-of-home expenses: a step that I’d still have to undertake if outsourcing my tax preparation. Once my papers are in order, being guided through the process by TurboTax Online is a breeze and I suspect that it takes even less time than delivering my receipts to an accountant or tax service. And for those who push the filing deadline and run out of time to take their taxes elsewhere, TurboTax Online might just save some late filing penalties!

Being the clutterbug that I am, I especially appreciate the heads-up approach that TurboTax Online offers – I always know what I need to focus on next and avoid the frustration that comes with not being able to complete a section because I can’t find a particular receipt or document. Breaking any large project down into smaller sections is always an effective strategy, and TurboTax Online does a good job at making me feel like I’m moving forward at all times, with the option to come back later if I find some rogue receipts. (I’ve hear that can happen!)

Turbo Tax tells me what I need to go and find before I can fill in the next section.

Turbo Tax tells me what I need to go and find before I can fill in the next section.

And whenever I’m not sure about what qualifies as an expense or not, there are built-in help features to … well …. help!


By clicking on the HELP feature located on every screen throughout the interview process, I can type in terms and questions to the search function and choose from a number of FAQ and definitions. For example, I see in my checklist that I need to prepare all of my papers and receipts for my business use of home expenses. By typing into the search bar when I click on the Help button on my screen, I am given several frequently asked questions and definitions to choose from.

help results

And whenever I’m not sure if my situation applies to the definitions and explanations provided, LIVE help is just a click away.  A real person. I was thrilled to find out that this feature is included FREE in my Home & Business version – I use the feature often! TurboTax Online offers the option of Pro Review and Audit Defense as well. Again, all without having to leave home!

extra help

Still not sure if you’re up for doing your own taxes? You can start for FREE with TurboTax Online for all versions, even business. You can progress a fair distance before you’re prompted to purchase the version that fits your needs, so you can check it out with no commitment or expense. What have you got to lose? I certainly found time & money to gain by doing my own taxes with TurboTax Online!

robin taub twitter chatWant to learn more about TurboTax Online? Got tax questions? Join CommonCentsMom and I for a special #CDNmoney Twitter Chat where we’ll be joined by tax expert Robin Taub on hand to answer your tax questions. We’ll also be giving away free copies of TurboTax Online to 5 lucky #CDNmoney Twitter Chat participants!

See you there!

*This is a sponsored post. All opinions belong to Christa Clips and are not altered or influenced in any way. Thank you to TurboTax Canada for providing  a copy of TurboTax Online Home & Business for me to test and review.

Exploring the Credit Union Difference

As part of Financial Literacy month, @CommonCentsMom & I are diving in deeper and exploring different options for gaining more control over what we know about our money, and which resources and institutions are available to help us secure our financial futures.  This week we’re exploring Credit Unions as a credible alternative to traditional banking.  This video by Education Credit Union is a fun comparison of banks, credit unions and piggy banks!

Join us for #CDNmoney chat on Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 with special guest @Money_On_Trees blogger Fabio of @FirstOntarioCU Credit Union as we explore cooperative banking.

  • #CDNmoney Twitter Chat
  • Tuesday, November 18, 2014
  • co-hosts @ChristaClips and @Tullyman77
  • Special Guest @Money_On_Trees
  • No RSVP
  • hashtags to include #CDNmoney #FLM2014 (for Financial Literacy Month)

#CentsAbility Challenge Complete-ish. Financial Literacy Tune-Up Required!

#CentsAbility Mission Complete-ish Christa Clips Save-at-Home-MomMy goal for the Manulife 30-Day #CentsAbility Challenge was to measure my monthly successes and savings, down to the penny. I happily snapped photos of my savings strategies and frugal lifestyle hacks and shared them on Instagram and Twitter, then celebrated the tiny daily achievements of the other #CentsAbility challengers with hearts, thumbs & stars (that’s how us bloggy-types operate!).

  • I saved money by using coupons and price-matching with Flipp at the grocery store
  • I saved money by washing our laundry in cold water during off-peak hours and hanging it out to dry
  • I saved money by working from home and thereby avoiding daycare fees, the cost of commuting, having a professional wardrobe, etc,
  • I made extra money by selling our stuff on

Saving was a cinch! Measuring all of those savings, however, turned out to be a very unmanageable goal …. and almost impossible to calculate!  Turns out there isn’t an app that says “Way to go, Christa, you just saved $4 by showering your kids at the YMCA after swimming lessons and taking advantage of the towel service included in your membership!”Instagram Collage Christa Clips Save-at-Home Mom #CentsAbility Challenge

Something that became glaringly obvious to me, when I lined up all my Instagram photos in my mid-challenge blog post with $2 saved here, and $6 saved there, was that my savings are on a really SMALL scale. And while I’m a firm believer in “it all adds up”, the #CentsAbility challenge has reminded me that I need to take a second look at some of the bigger pieces in our monthly budget.

It’s time for a Financial Literacy Tune-Up

October was a month of #CentsAbility and monitoring my day-to-day spending habits.  I’m devoting the next few months to assessing and changing some of the services we’re paying for each month in our household so that I really understand where my money is going. The fact that November is Financial Literacy Month is perfect timing!  There are oodles of resources and #FLM2014 reminders floating around to help me make sure that I’m not wasting money on these bigger budget pieces, and that I’m tapping into the right resources to stretch my savings even further.  As such, it’s time for a Financial Literacy Tune-Up!

My Financial Literacy Tune-Up to-do-list includes:

  • trim our satellite channels to the bare minimum
  • research Netflix and online streaming as an alternative to satellite in  2015
  • check my internet & home phone bundle to find possible savings
  • research options to cut home phone land line in 2015
  • touch base with Insurance Broker to find possible savings, including bundling life insurance
  • touch base with Mortgage Broker to find possible savings
  • connect with a financial advisor to review longterm savings strategies
  • research credit union or change of bank to save on fees
  • increase  automatic savings contributions
  • research tankless water heaters so we can cut our monthly hot water tank rental

I’m not sure how long it will take me to get through the entire list, and I suspect the list will grow as I discover other monthly charges that have been coasting under my radar over the past few years. I’m grateful to the #CentsAbility challenge for inspiring me to dig a little deeper into my Save-at-Home-Mom strategy to make sure that I’m saving on all levels and stretching those savings as far as possible by tapping into resources available.

So as the 30–Day #CentsAbility challenge comes to a close, I’m ready to start my next challenge, to make sure I’m #DiligentWithMyDollars.  Any words of advice? Or at least a catchier hasthtag?!  Drop a line in the comments below!