with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
My strength is writing, not math; this is why I have an accountant. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that the key to running my own business was going to be figuring out who I needed to help me. So, back to my accountant: he is very patient with me. Some aspects of bookkeeping and payroll taxes and such I’ve picked up easily, and other things involve him trying really hard not to laugh at me as I sit in his office, asking for the umpteenth time which form it is he needs me to fill out on the state treasury site. (I am a fun client to have, I bet. Ha.)
Anyway, one of the things I didn’t have that much trouble digesting as I came into this world of business taxes is that certain expenditures are deductible, and that’s a good thing. I keep meticulous records, now, after my first few years being a little less, shall we say, stringent. (”I bought some stuff for my office. That’s deductible, right? … receipts? I… hmmm.”) It’s all good now.
And this is a very long prelude to admitting that I got a shiny new iPhone 5 this week. Not because I always want or have to have the latest-and-greatest (I was upgrading from an iPhone 4, not a 4S, because when those came around I kind of shrugged and said, “Yeah, I’m good”), but because periodically it makes good business sense. This year has been dismal, financially, and so it turned out that this month was a great time to spend some money. No, really.
[Sidebar: I just went and looked it up. I bought my first iPhone back in 2008, and I felt like I'd entered the space age. I also paid a crazy amount of month for that thing, and it was slow as molasses. Hang on while I ask Siri to laugh heartily at my enthusiasm over that one.]
Anyway, the logic goes like this: It’s been a bad year, financially. But in the grand scheme of things, $150 (cost of the phone) still isn’t going to break me, and I still use my phone for work an awful lot, and wouldn’t it be lovely to sit down and do my taxes next month and owe a little less money, post-holiday-craziness? Indeed it would.
Truthfully, the phone isn’t the whole story. I also cleaned and revamped my office this month, springing for some new shelves, donating some items I didn’t need anymore (don’t forget your donation receipt; that’s deductible, too!), and evaluating which of my technology items might need replacing. My computers are still fine, so the only upgrade was the phone. But every little bit helps, right?
Plus it’s a little Merry Christmas to me, because wow, this thing is light. And fast. And shiny.
If you’re just getting settled into running your own business, the thing you want to determine as quickly as possible is whether there’s a more or less advantageous time for you to make larger business expenditures. For me, because my shopping site obviously makes the largest profit in the 4th quarter of the year—but that money doesn’t get paid to me until Q1 of the following year—I can do one of two things: I can either make my extra purchases in Q4, like I did this time with the phone, lowering my already-low tax bill in January (and thereby saving money to put towards the Q1 tax bill I’ll be paying in April), or I can make those purchases in Q1 to offset that April bill a bit. It doesn’t really matter; I’ve done it both ways. When I’m replacing computers I generally do wait until Q1 because those are bigger bills and I need the extra income to pay for them.
Is this all an elaborate excuse for finally bringing Siri into my life? Maybe. But let’s pretend it’s just good business sense.
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