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Ask Amy: Here are things you need to do to get your spending and savings off to a good start this year

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Happy New Year!

I know we're already well into January, but this is my first newsletter of 2020. To get your year off to a great start, we need to start with a few housekeeping notes.

KPRC
KPRC

My Action Item of the week

Check your driver’s license right now to find out if you have the new “Real ID” that will be required before you board a plane to travel beginning in October. The new ID’s have a gold star in the top-right corner. If you don’t already have one, you need to get a new license before October. You can read all of the details about why renewing may take more effort this time around here.

It's Tax Time!

It's time to start gathering all of the forms and documents that you will need. If you routinely go to a tax preparation company every year & pay to have them do your taxes, please rethink that. Did you know that 70% of all taxpayers (about 100 million people) are eligible to do their taxes for FREE? Unfortunately, only about 50 million people use the free services every year. Don't waste your money paying a company or individual if you don't have to.

If you make $69,000 or less, you can use the IRS’ Free File program with free, easy to use software that helps you do your taxes yourself.

If you make $58,000 or less a year, you can stop by any one of these 11 Neighborhood Tax Centers to get your taxes prepared and filed for free. Click here.

If you make $56,000 a year or less, are disabled or speak limited English, the IRS provides free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing. Click here to find a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site near you.

AARP provides free tax preparation for low to moderate income people 50 or older.

Furniture Warehouse Deals

If you save some of that money you would have spent on a tax preparer, you can take it to Southwest Surplus and hunt for some great deals on second hand furniture and home decor. I’ve featured this business that specializes in used hotel furniture several times over the years. The owner called to let me know he has sold the property. He is closing the doors to the public on February 16th so the new owners can move in. I stopped by on Tuesday to see what kind of gems he has in the 50,000 square foot warehouse and what you can expect to pay. You’ll find a gallery of some of my favorite items here.

Happy Shopping!

Have a great weekend!

Your consumer expert,

Amy Davis

KPRC Channel 2 News