January 2, 2014

It’s Been an Interesting Year. Time to Let Go and Move Forward.

Posted in Finances, freelancing, Health, Life happens, personal finances at 3:33 pm by otherdeb


As some of you know, my health took a huge turn toward pear-shaped in 2013. In February, I went through congestive heart failure. In April, I was referred to a cardiologist. In August, I was finally diagnosed with a congenital heart defect that had lain dormant for over 55 years, and now had become something of a time bomb. In December, I had another round with my old enemy, cellulitis.

The interesting news for the purposes of this blog, however, is pretty good. Except when health issues have gotten to me, I’ve been doing freelance stuff all year. I haven’t looked yet to see if it has earned enough to be called a living, but I do know that it was better than the previous year.

I also took a course from Ed Gandia, of the International Freelancers Academy, called the B2B Business Launcher. I had sat in on one of Ed’s webinar’s, and walked away with so much actionable information that I knew I wanted to do the course. It did not disappoint, either. I now have a functional professional website, to which I will soon be connecting my writing blog. If you are looking at freelancing as a career, I highly recommend any course that Ed is teaching, and please feel free to tell him that I referred you. He really is one of the good guys, and he’s a heck of a nice guy, too boot.

I am setting one major financial goal for this year: to create an emergency fund for myself and get it funded so that when the next emergency strikes, and I have no doubt it will, I don’t have to scramble so badly to get things dealt with.

My other main goal for the year is to get back to blogging on a regular basis. I consider that part of taking back my health, and it’s been far too long.  For now, I am planning to stick to my long-established schedule: the food and weight blog on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; the knitting blog on Tuesday, this blog on Thursday, and the writing/grammar blog over the weekend. We shall see how well I can stick to that.

Other than that, I am hanging in. There is some rough family stuff going on, but we all have families so we all have family stuff. I will get through it. It will involve some tough decisions that I never wanted to have to make, but I will make them. It’s also clear to me that I am going to have to really fight to get the proper resolution for my health issues. This is the kind of fight I totally hate, because I am not a medical expert by any means, and I am going to have to fight the arrogance of surgeons who refuse to see beyond chart numbers and risk profiles. But I am nothing if not persistent (Yeah, Glasser, you can say stubborn…..), and I will keep at them until what is done is what gives me the best chance of getting my life back.

So, that’s where things are at right now. What the future holds is anybody’s guess, and I’ll be just as curious to find out as everybody else.

Finally, I wish each and every one of my readers a 2014 that is filled with joy, good friends, family of the heart, health, love, and prosperity.  You all keep me going, and I am grateful for each of you, whether I know you in real life, just from the Web, in comments, or even by your silent presence here. You are all important to me, and I thank you for being there.

September 5, 2013

Understanding the Form 1099-Misc

Posted in Finances at 10:52 pm by otherdeb


It’s been a while since I’ve done a financial post, and it’s way past time for one. I was going to sell this article, but the gig fell through, so here it is.

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The IRS 1099 Misc form needs to be filled out if you have certain specific types of what is called miscellaneous payments to non-employees like independent contractors. It also covers payments you make for certain types of business transactions where a middleman is involved. The form is filled out by the person making such payments to you, and must be included when you file your income taxes in April.

When to Use the IRS 1099 Misc

 

If you have paid an individual or service provider at least $10 in royalties; over $600 for rent, prizes, awards, services, medical payments health care payments; any payments for the proceeds from a fishing boat; or any payments of over $600 to an attorney, you must file an IRS 1099 Misc. You also need to use this form in you have made a sale of $5,000 or more to a buyer who will be reselling your goods. Note that personal payments are not to be reported on this form. Some of the forms of compensation that must be reported on this form are payments to non-employees, professional fees, payments by attorneys to witnesses, payments to non-employee entertainers, referral fees, and exchanges of services between two businesses.

 

This form is only for reporting payments made by you in the course of your business dealings. The IRS’ instruction Form breaks down not only all the items that you must report via this form, but it also notes all the exceptions and the various types of payments that should be reported on other forms, as well as those that should not be reported by you at all.

 

Filing the IRS 1099 Misc Online

 

You must send 1099 Misc forms to those you have made payments to by January 31st. Further, you must then file the forms by March 31st. These completed forms must also be filed with the state tax agency. The filing dates for state agencies vary so you need to check with your state’s tax agency to ascertain the date.

 

Currently, it is recommended that you complete filing the IRS 1099 Misc online. To do so, you will need to have software that allows you to scan in the completed forms for transmittal to the IRS. The preferred system for filing the IRS 1099 Misc online is the Filing Information Returns Electronically System (FIRE System), provided at the IRS website. This system is available to you at no charge, and can be accessed seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

 

Filing the IRS 1099 Misc form, and filing it in a timely manner, is a good way of staying on top of your payments to independent contractors and other non-employees that you do business with, whether occasionally or on a regular basis. Filing it electronically (online) makes it easier for you or your accountant to stay on point with your reporting activities each year. It also eliminates the need for extra cover/transmittal forms for each group of 1099 Misc forms you file.

 

June 2, 2013

21-Day Simplify Challenge – Day 21: Happiness (Final Challenge Post)

Posted in 21-Day Simplfy Your Life Challenge, Organization at 10:07 am by otherdeb


Jigzone Puzzle, © 2013, Deborah J. Wunder

Jigzone Puzzle – 247 piece, triangles layout – © 2013, Deborah J. Wunder

This is the final Challenge for this project.

The object I picked to represent my happiness is a screenshot of one of my favorite addictions: Jigzone. It’s a wonderful page, that allows you to do their puzzles, picking the number and style of the puzzle from a wide selection of choices. It also allows you to upload photographs to a private section and make them into puzzles. And, if you are as addicted to jigsaw puzzles as I am, you can even have them send you a puzzle to do every day. They do change their additional puzzle choices for the day somewhere around 1:30 in the afternoon, so you actually get a choice of 15 different puzzles to do each day, even if you don’t go into their archives.

The thing is, I’ve always enjoyed jigsaw puzzles, ever since I was a small kid. The idea of taking a jumble of pieces, and putting them in order is just soothing to me somehow. It’s the first thing I do after checking my email each morning.

There are, of course, other things that make me happy: music, books, hanging out with friends….I make sure to do them all at various points, because as much as I love my new computer, if that was ALL I did all day, I’d go buggy.

The one thing I am committing to going forward, is to physically getting out of the house more. Between my heath, retiring, regaining the weight, and the crazy weather we’ve had the last couple of years, I have become something more of a hermit than I’m comfortable with. So my big happiness goal for this year is to get my walking range back, and to spend more time out of the house doing things I enjoy, like walks, museums, lunch or tea with friends, etc.

 

21-Day Simplify Challenge – Day 20: Sleep

Posted in 21-Day Simplfy Your Life Challenge, Organization at 9:50 am by otherdeb


2013-05-14 16.28.05 HDR

My nice, comfy bed © 2013, Deborah J. Wunder

This challenge had us look at our sleeping habits. I looked at where I sleep, and when, and how.

I have never slept eight hours in a row unless I was really ill. It just doesn’t work for me. What I do instead, these days, is make sure that within each 24-hour period, I do get at least six to eight hours of sleep. It may be in the form of two-hour naps; it may be one really long nap and a couple of short ones; it depends on what I have to do and what I feel like.

I instituted this change last September, when I hit my 60th birthday. The really good thing about my schedule, as a freelancer, is that I can generally sleep when I’ tired, and be awake and not sluggish when I’m not tired. With the health issues I’ve had over the last year, this has become more important than ever.

The other changes I’ve instituted have been to turn off the tv before going to bed, and to turn off the light when I go to sleep. Until I hit 60, I never worried about those tow things, but I’ve become much more protective of my health since then, as I’ve become much more aware of how easy it is to lose it.

21-Day Simplify Challenge – Day 19: Diary

Posted in 21-Day Simplfy Your Life Challenge, Organization at 9:32 am by otherdeb


This challenge looks at how we keep ourselves on task calendar-wise.

Me, I use a combination of Toodledo and Google Calendar because I find that the most effective route. I used to also use a paper diary, but I was able to discontinue that. Both Toodledo and Google Calendar sync to my phone, making it easy to keep track of things.

My Toodledo To-Do List © 2013, Deborah J. Wunder

My Toodledo To-Do List © 2013, Deborah J. Wunder

 

My Calendar © 2013, Deborah J. Wunder

My Calendar © 2013, Deborah J. Wunder

The other good thing about this plan is that I can also keep track of things I need to know for the roomie. She’s  given me permission to view her Google calendar, so I have a clue when things come up for her that I need to know about, which does happen from time to time.

The other thing I like about this system is that I can put tasks on Google Calendar, and put appointments on Toodledo. So I have a backup system created for myself.

The only thing I would have different, if I could, would be to have my Google Calendar automatically sync to my Toodledo account. Hmmm, I may write Toodledo about that! I bet if I’m thinking of it, others are, too.

Anyway, that’s it for Day 19!

May 31, 2013

21-Day Simplify Challenge – Day 18: Clutter Boundaries

Posted in 21-Day Simplfy Your Life Challenge, Organization at 3:57 am by otherdeb


First, I am backed up by a couple of days, but I haven’t given up. Life was being rather weird, deadline-wise.

Jammed Sock Drawer © 2013, Deborah J. Wunder

Jammed Sock Drawer © 2013, Deborah J. Wunder

Today’s Challenge is about getting rid of clutter. We were asked to choose something cluttered, and begin removing things we no longer love or use from it. For me the choice is easy – in fact, I knew it the moment I read the post – my sock drawer. As you can see from the picture, it’s so jammed I can’t even open it properly. And that doesn’t take into account the huge bag of unmatched socks I have in the other room.

Of course, it’s going to take more than one day to deal with this, but it’s my intention to work on it a bit each day until it’s done. So that’s at least part of my plan for the rest of the week (in addition to writing, etc.)

May 27, 2013

21-Day Simplify Challenge: Day 17 – Email

Posted in 21-Day Simplfy Your Life Challenge, Organization at 11:25 pm by otherdeb


This will be short and sweet, because I have had a very long day, and I need to get to bed at a reasonable hour, because I am doing tech support for my sister tomorrow.

Today we looked at email again. The question was how we could more effectively deal with the email we are now letting reach our inboxes.

Turning Off Apple Mail Notifications © 2013, Deborah J. Wunder

Turning Off Apple Mail Notifications © 2013, Deborah J. Wunder

For me, that involves turning off the notifications from my Apple Mail program. I find them easy to ignore, truth be told, but not having them there makes them even easier to ignore.

So that’s about it for today’s simplification of my life.

May 26, 2013

21 Day Simplify Challenge – Days 15 (Procrastination) & 16 (Doing Less)

Posted in 21-Day Simplfy Your Life Challenge, Organization at 4:18 pm by otherdeb


Sorry about not posting yesterday – I wasn’t procrastinating, I was sick. As in, turn off the computer, don’t write, don’t read, stay in bed sick.

I’d be in bed today, too, but I do have deadlines to meet. And – quite honestly – the one downside to being a freelancer is that if I don’t work, I don’t get paid.

The 30℉ temperature drop isn’t helping. Neither was finding out that someone (probably my Landlord or his kid) had put shims made of toothpicks into the lock on our back door. I found that out when the wind blew the door open. Needless to say, I pried the shims out and locked the door, but the door blowing open did nothing toward keeping any heat in the apartment.

SO, I’m sitting here in sweats and socks, drinking hot coffee, and trying to get my brain into enough of a gear to get some writing done.

Stuff that I Need to File © 2013, Deborah J. Wunder

Stuff that I Need to File © 2013, Deborah J. Wunder

Day 15 – Procrastination: I don’t procrastinate too much, as a rule. The things I tend to procrastinate about (besides writing), are filing and vacuuming.

So here is my current filing that needs to be done. The pile next to the bag is about two inches high, and the bag is a fairly good-sized one. Still, it does have to be done at some point.  Probably tomorrow, since I have writing deadlines, which must come first.

 

 

Yet Another Instance of 'Too Many Books'  © 2103, Deborah J. Wunder

Yet Another Instance of ‘Too Many Books’ © 2103, Deborah J. Wunder

Day 16 – Doing Less: Hmmm – they want you to choose something you are doing and stop doing it. I think for me that would be downloading more books to my Kindle app than I can read.  I download at least one or two books a week, sometimes a lot more than that. It’s not that I don’t love reading; I do. But I think between the books in the house, the books from the library, and the books on my Kindle, I may have more books than I can read in my lifetime.

 

 

 

 

So, That’s my work on the Challenge for yesterday and today. More tomorrow!

 

May 24, 2013

21-Day Simplify Challenge: Day 14 – Single-Tasking

Posted in 21-Day Simplfy Your Life Challenge, Organization at 1:51 pm by otherdeb


So…today’s Challenge is to stop multi-tasking.

Multi-tasking Desktop ©2013, Deborah J. Wunder

Multi-tasking Desktop ©2013, Deborah J. Wunder

Not to stop multi-tasking everything; there are some things, like listening to music while you work, that are fine, even if they don’t save time.  They can help us keep from getting so stressed we can’t function.

However, there is multi-tasking that makes you crazy. Switching from the ten articles you need to write to blogging to editing a manuscript, then adding in cooking dinner while writing, and looking for more work so that when your current projects end you will have new ones, and working on your website, and feeling guilty over not doing your filing, and carrying on three chat conversations and two Skype conversations…..you guys know the drill as well as I do.

Today, and for the rest of the challenge, my plan is to pick one (or two) things to do, and work on just those for an hour. Then I will see if I need to work on those more, or if I can switch up to concentrate on other things for the next hour. Wash, rinse, repeat.

I will also remember to schedule in time to not be on the computer, or – at least – to do something fun, rather than work-oriented – so I don’t burn out.

May 23, 2013

Posted in 21-Day Simplfy Your Life Challenge, Organization at 10:07 pm by otherdeb


Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 9.49.17 PM

Email to Unsub from © 2013, Deborah J. Wunder

First, here are the pics from Day 11 – Information:

 

 

 

 

and Day 12 – Grooming:

Makeup I'm Destashing © 2013, Deborah J. Wunder

Makeup I’m Destashing © 2013, Deborah J. Wunder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, here’s today’s pic – Day 13 – Saying No:

Taco Chips © 2013, Deborah J. Wunder

Taco Chips © 2013, Deborah J. Wunder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I’m caught up here. The taco chips in the last photo represent foods that don’t support my health, which is what I want to say “no” to.

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