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5 Ways To Write Off Your Wedding On Your Taxes and Help Others.

5 Ways To Write Off Your Wedding On Your Taxes and Help Others.

Weddings are without doubt joyous occasions for families, friends, and of course the couple exchanging lifelong vows in front of those they hold dear. However, in many cases weddings can be both stressful to plan and stressful on budgets. However, this does not have to be the case. With proper planning you can even find innovative ways to write your wedding off on your taxes.

1. Put that extra food to good use.

Whether due to a couple of last minute no shows or a caterer that got a little carried away, having a lot of food after a wedding does not have to be a burden or a bad thing. You can arrange with a food bank to donate those extra edible favors or reception menu items. You will be helping people in need have a great meal (that was no doubt meticulously planned) and you can also get a receipt or letter from the food bank so that you can write off a portion of the food costs off on your taxes. It is a win-win all around, and some caterers will go ahead and package all left over food into nice containers to deliver to the food banks if you let them know before hand.

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Feeding America provides a list of food banks by state. You can also search by zip code.

2. Stop and smell the roses.

Then give them away. No seriously, unless you’re interested in getting a bouquet preserved for a memento. You can donate your flowers to a hospital, nursing home, women’s shelter or even school instead of them inevitably ending up in the trash. Get a receipt from the charity for about 25%-50% of the original cost because you used the flowers and decor at the wedding first. Additionally, there are a few nonprofits that utilize volunteer efforts to help with delivery of the flowers. Two examples of this are Petal Share and Repeat Roses.

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3. Ditch the Dress.

While some keep their wedding dresses for decades to admire, others choose to trash their dresses immediately after a wedding. Another option is to donate your dress to someone in need. This can go for bridesmaids as well, they can donate their dresses to an organization like Becca’s Closet which supplies underprivileged girls with prom dresses. Wonderful causes and wonderful uses for your dress that just so happen to be a tax write off for you. Simply get a receipt from the organization you donated to.

4. In lieu of Wedding Favors Donate to Charity.

This one is pretty self explanatory. If you and your fiancé have a favorite cause, let your guests know that you have donated to charity in lieu of doing wedding favors. You can give your guests a more personalized feel by having pictures and/or stories of people that the donation has helped. Another spin on this is to make your wedding into a charitable event, sponsoring a particular organization. Choose your favorite charitable cause and speak with them about turning your wedding into a fundraiser for their cause. Then instead of guests providing wedding presents they would make a donation to the nonprofit on your behalf.

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5.) Choose a Charitable Venue.

Many places of worship are tax exempt and if you give them a donation then the amount of the donation can be written off on your taxes. It is not allowed to write off expenses for venue usage fees or service fees. However, if you choose to pay any amount to the place of worship in excess of the amount charged for using the venue, then you can write off that amount on your taxes. Additionally, if you choose to hold your ceremony or reception in a nonprofit venue this rule will apply as well. Many museums, botanical gardens, and historical sites are nonprofit organizations. 

A QUICK NOTE: The IRS requires that you provide receipts in order to receive these tax write offs. These receipts should include the name of the nonprofit or charity, the amount you donated, and the date of your contribution. Large donations have additional criteria needed by the IRS. Always check with your accounting professional to get the more detailed ins and outs of what you need to do. Or you can read IRS Form 526 for more specific guidelines.

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Featured photo credit: © micromonkey via us.fotolia.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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