Last week, a simple envelope caused quite the stir in our home. We opened it and it was as if manna from heaven floated out.

Typically, anything stamped from the IRS causes my stomach to turn.  I rant a little (a lot), but this time a complete shocker occurred. We actually received money back instead of owing.

Yes, it’s true.

Year End, “Cash in My Pocket” became a reality.

For many of you, this same manna could be yours, but you have no idea how to achieve it.

Things are becoming more and confusing, not only with the health care issue that I addressed a few weeks ago, but with tax laws as well.

Unless you are educated in not just the hundreds of existing tax laws, but the hundreds of tax law changes that get implemented each year, there’s no way to keep on top of the deductions that could be helping your budget, which bottom line, puts cash in your pocket.

Yet, understanding and aligning your finances to make the most of those dreaded taxes is critical.

There’s a very good chance that you may be missing out on some tax benefits that you aren’t even aware of within your household.  These could make a big difference on your year end planning.

I still can’t believe that 2013 is quickly coming to a close and while many of us are doing last minute shopping, we should also be taking advantage of last minute tax write offs.

We tend to leave any thoughts about taxes until April, but believe it or not, tax season has already begun.

So here are a few questions to ask yourself.

Are you ready for year end in terms of your taxes?

My husband informed me that in our home state,  our state legislature changed a bunch of tax laws that affect the way we need to figure out our taxes come April.

Do you know what the new tax laws that went into effect for  2014? Are you familiar with any tax law changes in your state?

Does it hurt you or help you?

Are you better off accelerating expenses for this past year? (which means you may need to do that in the next two weeks.)

I know, I know. STOP, JEN!!

It’s overwhelming and that’s why it’s so helpful to have  true tax experts who spend 100% of their time keeping up with those intricacies that we can’t begin to tackle.

Begin with asking friends for truth worthy recommendations that have stood the test of time. If you don’t know of anyone, an Endorsed Local Provider can take the tax hassle off of our shoulders while providing the biggest refund possible for your family.  Dave Ramsey’s Endorsed Local Providers have the heart of a teacher and wonderful customer service. They want to make sure that you get to keep money that is rightfully yours, and find ways to get you more returns.

I enjoyed reading through your comments and ideas in my 3 Ways to Save $500 Now post, but I should have definitely tacked this on for one more additional way.

Hopefully, by receiving some tax advice, it can save you much, much more than $500 for 2014.

Just out of curiosity, do you attempt taxes on your own or do you seek out professional help?

Any tips or experience that you’ve had from which we can learn? I’d love to hear in the comments.

Thank you to Dave Ramsey’s ElP program for partnering with me as I share our financial journey.