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10 Most Commonly Missed Tax Deductions

Most Commonly Missed Tax Deductions

Tax time is fast approaching and soon everyone will be either updating their TurboTax files or going to their local H&R Block office. The problem is that many people view this simply as a process and not as an opportunity. They are in such a hurry to finish their taxes that they end up missing tax deductions and leaving money on the table. With effective planning throughout the year, you can take the appropriate steps to catch these mistakes, and maximize your return.

The 10 Most Commonly Missed Tax Deductions

1.Medical expenses. When it comes to missed deductions, unclaimed medical expenses are at top of the list. There are so many facets of this, that it hard to list them all. Basically, if your doctor prescribes a treatment, then most expenses associated with that treatment (up to the appropriate level) are eligible. Even travel expense, or costs to cover family member assistance, if need.

2. Charity. Direct charity donations aren’t typically missed, but the associated expenses are missed more often than not, such as mileage. In addition, many taxpayers forget that some charity contributions, such as United Way, are often deducted from their payroll, so they have to remember to count that.

3. Credits for energy-saving home improvements. While most of the tax credits for energy saving home improvements have expired, there are still many that exist through 2016. So why not do some research and find a home improvement that qualifies?

4. Refinancing costs. The deduction of these costs are not as sexy as deducting the points when you purchase a home. You have to spread it out over a longer period of time, but that’s fine. It adds up, and it’s your money.

5. Childcare. This one is better than a deduction, it is a credit. That means that it reduces your actual tax for each dollar that you are eligible for. Where most people do deduct something for their children, they often don’t maximize their expenses and quantify the full amount.

6. Self-employed expenses. If you own your own business, you should be looking for any way possible to deduct work related expenses. For example, if you travel for business and you have to pay a baggage fee, claim it.

7. Career Finding. If you have been out of work and are looking for a job, you can deduct the costs involved which your job hunting. This one is overlooked simply because people do not track this that often.

8. Relocation costs. Okay, so you found a job of your dreams, but they are making you move across the country to head up their office in Montana. No problem, you can start to deduct any of the costs involved with relocation.

9. College Expenses. A lot of adults are going back to school to either finish their degree or advance their degree. There are tax credits associated with the costs of going back to school, and they should be taken advantage of.

10. Student loan interest paid by parents. If you have children in college or that have recently graduated, you may be making their student loan payments for them. If so, the interest paid is deductible. This is often missed.

This article makes no claims or offers regarding tax advice. These are simply suggestions and you should contact your tax professional for advice on your particular situation.

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Amazon.com

Amazon

Amazon.com, the Seattle-based web store, is named after the Amazon River as a display of its power over typical bookstores, and is the world’s largest online retailer. You most likely have purchased something from the retail giant at one time or another, whether it was an e-book, an MP3 download, or a wrapped gift for a relative. Like most people, you know that Amazon is where you buy stuff. But, you probably didn’t know these seven interesting things about the store.

1. Amazon.com was originally called Cadabra.com

Caldara, as in abracadabra, was the original name of Amazon when its founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, turned it into an incorporated business in 1994. It wasn’t until a year later that its name changed to Amazon to set it apart as the leader in the bookstore industry.

2. Amazon makes its own movies and TV series

Amazon has its own movie studios, called Amazon Studios. The project is designed to be a medium for common-day folk without connections in Hollywood to get a great script put into production as a movie or TV series. They have connections with Warner Bros., and if they like your stuff, you very well may be the next big director in Hollywood.

3. Amazon owns big websites such as IMDb and Zappos

Amazon doesn’t just sell books – it is also the proud owner of media outlets and other online retail stores. Some of its biggest investments include IMDb.com, Zappos, Wikia, Pets.com, Alexa.com, Diapers.com, and Casa.com.
4. If you live in Seattle, Amazon will deliver fresh groceries to your door
Amazon also owns a grocery delivery service named Amazon Fresh. You can shop for fresh produce, dairy, meat, and seafood, just as you would at any other grocer, and have it delivered to your door the next day.

5. Amazon makes online social games and mobile apps

In August, 2012, Amazon launched Amazon Game Studios. Its first project is titled “Living Classics,” an online social game that can be found on Facebook, which deals mostly with stories from classic fairy tales, such as Alice in Wonderland and The Sword in the Stone. Its newest project, titled “Air Patriots,” is a tower defense game for iOS and Android.

6. Amazon will help you publish physical media, such as DVDs, CDs, and books

Amazon also owns CreateSpace.com, in which you can self-publish your own book, CD, or DVD, and have it distributed. They take care of all the hassle for you, and open you up to a large network of potential customers to help get you started.

7. If you’re not home, Amazon can leave your package in a locker at 7-Eleven

Recently, Amazon has been testing a service in which your package can be dropped off at a locker within a retail store, such as 7-Eleven, Staples, or RadioShack. This can be a secure alternative for those who might not be home when the package is delivered, but rather out and about running errands.

Best Google Adsense Alternative Combination for Bloggers

Best Adsense Alternative Combination

Hi bloggers/webmasters, building and maintaining a website could be a hardship, so getting some extra money from advertising networks will be a nice reward to make us happy and motivate us to make our websites become popular all over the Internet. Adsense is the best advertising network that I have ever known, however it has very strict rules and guidelines that will suspend or disable any publishers at any moment if it detects you violating its rules.

Alternative Combination

adsense logos copyright respective owners

My purpose of this lens is neither about Adsense nor about alternative advertising networks. It is about my experience of combining the adsense alternatives to get the maximum earnings for you as much as possible. That means I am using the advertising networks on my websites together. If you like you can do the same as me.. I will also try to give you some tips on how to customize banners, place ads and apply mobile ads (possible of best earning source).

1. Infolinks

best alternative to adsense with good earning

Infolinks is the best in-text advertising on the present market. Some bloggers say that infolinks has very low paying rate because they receive tens of clicks but what they receive is lower than 1$. It’s not totally correct because the click rate depends on what sources of traffic you get and its conversion rate as well. A good click can earn you even 1$, but a normal click earns only 0.01$. From my experience, I choose infolinks because it is my highest earning source so far. For maximum earning with infolinks, you should activate your blogs’ mobile view and embed your infolinks code to each of your posts so that you can see infolinks ads on mobile view and double your infolinks earning. 5-10$/ day from a website of 5000 visitors daily is quite easy to earn. If you are using an Android device, it will be great because Infolinks has integrated a real-time tracking earning section that is only available for Android app.

2. Bidvertiser

the 2nd best with wide range of banners and ads options

Bidvertiser is ranked #2 as the best options to adsense alternatives. With Bidvertiser you can add banners or add popups / sliders ads to your blogs to maximize your earnings. Bidversiter uses a point system, then convert the points to money. They do not count clicks, but the point system is a combination of clicks and quality traffic. If you do not get any clicks, however you can still earn from your visitors. A good click, you can earn 1 – 2$ with ease. Of course, you can’t get it daily, but for a month you can get it several times. You may take a look at one of my blog to see how banners are organized to maximize your earning: Best Happy Birthday Videos on Youtube.

3. Kontera

same as infolinks

Kontera is also a good network for you to combine with the above Adsense alternatives. Its paying rate changes daily. I do not get much from Kontera like Infolinks, but combining it with Infolinks can be a good way to maximize your earning. My Kontera earning is usually 1/3 of Infolinks earning.

I just get a notice from Kontera that it is not recommended to use both Kontera and Infolinks in a same blog because it is against their TOS. It is better to try them both, then it depends on you to decide which one you like to use.

4. Adfly

Good for download contents or high visitor bloggers

Adfly is the best paid link shortener, where you can get paid for every visitor who visit/download your contents. If your website is designed for purpose of sharing files or download contents, you can get a good amount of earning from adfly with ease. My blog has about 2k downloads daily and it brings back about 1-1.5$/day. It’s good, isn’t it? Also, you can earn from your visitors when they visit your blogs by embedding an adfly code to your blogs. From blogger view point, I don’t like that because it is kind of annoying, so I do not embed the code to my blogs. Just shortening my links and getting downloads are fine with me.

5. Chitika

not much but enough to make you happy

Chikita was one of the best well-known adsense alternative, however now some bloggers are not interested in the network anymore because of its huge decrease in paying rate. Anyway, as long as I can get some extra from the site, I do not really care about that. For increasing chitika earning, it is better to put the ads near download contents or at the end of the post.

How do I start Game Development?

Not sure where to start?

With many people looking to start a career in game development, this guide is aimed at those people who are serious about giving game development a try, but have no idea where to start or which is the best route to take.

Millions of us enjoy playing the latest video games on the market. Billions of dollars and hours are spent on one of the most popular forms of entertainment on the planet. But have you ever wondered how they work?

Game Development

If you have the ability to create your own video game, you could find yourself turning a nice profit, while at the same time doing something you are passionate about. The hardest step to take is Where do i start? Its easy to get confused with which is the right step for you. Everyone has their different way of starting, different ways of learning.

I had an idea to be a game developer. At first I had no idea where to start. Was it even possible? Was game developing something only certain people could do? Its not for everyone, you have to be prepared to make mistakes, constantly learn and have lots of patience. The rewards of seeing a game in action you have created makes it all worthwhile.

If you didn’t have what it takes, then you wouldn’t be reading this article? Would you? If you have talent and passion for game development, then the sky is the limit as to how far you could go.

 

The First Step for Game Development

If you’re still reading this, the you have already taken the first step into game development. It was once just a crazy idea, impossible to implement. But now your here. About to turn that crazy idea of yours into something special.

A passion for gaming is essential. After all, those many hours spent on that PC or console has given you plenty of experience in what is a good game or bad game. That also depends on the type of games we play. Some of us prefer strategy games, while others prefer the Call of Duty frantic action packed style of games. It would be pretty boring if we all liked the same games wouldn’t it? You have to make a game which people will want to play, but more importantly a game you will enjoy making.

I’m not going to mislead you here. You won’t have the skills to make that game you dream off for some time, possibly several years. You have to start small. But even before that, you have to pick a language to learn. Its important to understand the very basics. The good thing is you aren’t limited to one language. There’s nothing stopping you picking up a new language somewhere down the line. They each have their own advantage and uses. You just have to pick the right one.

The First step I took after deciding I was serious was to pick a language.

 

Picking a Language

There are various different games, simple ones, complex ones, all written in different languages.

One of the very basic games you can write right now on your computer is a Batch (.bat) game. These are very simple to make. It will be text based, allowing you to tell your own story and giving the player an option to choose which path to go down. Creating one of these games was really useful for me. It gives you a slight insight into how coding works and how the different commands interlink with each other. If you type into YouTube how to make a Batch game, lots of tutorials will come up. I’ve found the majority of them are very useful. The important thing is that if you struggle at first, don’t give up. This is probably completely new to you, so keep plugging away.

start Game Development

Of course you could just skip this part, and move onto picking a language. By having a language to learn, it’s much easier to begin your journey.

Popular languages for gaming are C, C++ and C#. Majority of games are written in either of these languages, although more commonly the latter two. You could pick to start with a different language such as Java and Unity3D. I personally decided to choose C#. This was because big budget games are commonly written in C++. Java and Unity3D are designed for 3D programming. I found C# to be one of the more straightforward languages to pick up.

Another advantage of C# is that if you are interested in making Xbox 360 games or Windows games, then you can use the XNA to write these games. XNA is offered from Microsoft for free.

Assuming you have decided to learn C# as your language as I did, then it’s take to download the correct software. The first thing you will need is Microsoft Visual C# 2010 Express.

go to http://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/eng/downloads and find Microsoft Visual C# 2010 Express and Download.

The final bit of software you will need is XNA Game Studio 4.0.

go to http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=23714 and download.

Once you have both pieces of software installed, you will now be able to start programming. If however you decided to start with a different language, then the rest of this guide will probably be useless.

I have the software, Now what?!?!

You now have the software which is capable of turning the code into a game on screen which is playable. I searched the web for tutorials for beginners, and i came across thousands. While some of these were no doubt helpful, there is one problem. These are written by people in their spare time. Some things may be unclear to you with regards to what they are showing you or be too brief. I admire these people as they do a great job. Unfortunately, I just didn’t find they explained why I had to something this way instead of another, or why he has done something differently to me. There are some out there which will be perfect, but the majority already assume you have some knowledge. That is the reason they didn’t work for me.

What worked for me was books. These are written by authors who are paid lots of money. Therefore, they ensure they go through each step clearly and in detail. You will find the majority of them are pretty much idiot proof. That’s not so bad eh?

The only problem is what ones do you choose? You can buy your own books, or if your young or strapped for cash, the library may be a great place to check out. I found Amazon to be the best place if you are looking to buy. Before buying, do a review on Google on that book and check out what people are saying. Its pretty common sense really. I found several great books for C#. The books take you step by step on how to make a game. These can range from a RPG to a scrolling shooter.

Be warned! These books are on average over 400 pages long. It’s important to take your time and make sure you understand each step. Designate certain and days so you can really get into it. This isn’t a project which can progress with 10 minutes here and there I’m afraid.

If reading books isn’t your thing, for one reason or another, then the next best bit is video tutorials. YouTube is a good place to start, but I’m sure with abit of research you’ll find some very detailed ones. Some people learn from watching and doing, listening or reading.

One thing is for sure though, you are only going to get he hang of it and improve by actually DOING. Make mistakes, and start again. It’s all part of the learning curve.

 

Hopefully you find this guide useful and helps you get started on the marathon which is Game Development.