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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 September 10, 2019

7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

1. Gratitude

Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

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The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

Gratitude-Quotes

    2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

    This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

    For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

    What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

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    Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

    3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

    This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

    Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

    An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

    Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

    write down goals

      4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

      According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

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      There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

      5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

      Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

      Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

      6. Rise Earlier

      The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

      For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

      So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

      Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

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      7. Listen to Uplifting Music

      Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

      Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

      It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

      Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

      More About Energetic Habits & Rituals

      Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
      [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

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