Happy couple at home filing taxes online stock photo

Tax filing deadlines are approaching…have you filed yet? To lessen the anxiety of the season, take this opportunity to explore overlooked deductions that can help lower your tax bill. While most people are aware of popular deductions like mortgage interest and charitable contributions, there are several lesser-known categories that can help you save. (Ready to check taxes off your list? File Free HERE.)

Child and Dependent Care
Did you pay for childcare while working or job hunting? If so, you likely meet the criteria. Typically, your child must be 12 or younger and considered your dependent. This credit also applies if you’re paying someone to care for a spouse or dependent (irrespective of their age) if they are incapable of self-care. In most instances, you’ll need to acquire the care provider’s social security number or taxpayer identification number and include it on your return.

State Sales Tax
If you live in a state without income tax, or if you’ve made significant purchases like a vehicle or boat, you may be able to deduct state sales tax on your federal return. This can be especially advantageous for residents of states like Texas or Florida, where there is no state income tax, but substantial sales tax may be incurred on large purchases.

Job Searching
Hunting for a new job? Related expenses may be tax-deductible. Costs such as resume preparation, travel expenses for job interviews, and even fees paid to employment agencies can be claimed as deductions. While there are limitations and criteria to meet, exploring this deduction can ease the financial burden that accompanies unemployment.

Medical Expenses & Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
Besides the obvious healthcare costs, travel expenses to and from appointments, medically justified home improvements and even some alternative treatments may be deductible. Contributions made to your HSA are also eligible for tax deductions. Not only do the funds in your account grow tax-free when used for qualified health care expenses, but your contributions can also help lower your overall tax liability.

Student Loan Interest Paid by Others
There are instances where parents or others contribute to the repayment of a student loan. In these cases, if the individual is not claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return—and is legally obligated to repay the loan—they can still benefit from the tax deduction for the interest paid by others. This gives a valuable opportunity to families or benefactors assisting with educational expenses to alleviate the burden of student loan interest.

Home Office
The IRS allows taxpayers to claim a portion of their home-related expenses, such as mortgage interest, property taxes, utilities, and even a percentage of rent. The deduction is calculated based on the percentage of the home used for business, offering a practical way for self-employed individuals and remote workers to recoup some of the expenses incurred while conducting business from the comfort of their homes.

Educational Expenses
Whether you’re enhancing your skills for your current job or investing in a new career path, some educational deductions can maximize your tax savings and help ease the financial strain. The Lifetime Learning Credit and the American Opportunity Credit are two valuable options. These credits cover qualified education expenses, including tuition, fees, and course materials.

Energy-Efficient Home Improvements
If you’ve invested in energy-efficient upgrades for your home, such as solar panels, energy-efficient windows, or a new HVAC system, you may be eligible for tax credits. The Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit and the Non-Business Energy Property Tax Credit can provide substantial savings. Not only do these improvements help the planet, but they can also boost your tax refund.

Note that GreenPath Financial Wellness™ does not provide legal or tax advice, this information is intended for general guidelines only. Please consult a tax advisor or connect with your financial institution to see what tax resources they have available and check out these tips on how to allocate wisely if you’re receiving a tax refund this year:

Make the Most of Your Money
5 Wise Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund

This article is shared by our partners at GreenPath Financial Wellness™, a trusted national non-profit.

Empowering Black Voices in Finance: Six Names You Should Know


  • This month we celebrate Black History and spotlight six financial educators who are making an impact.
  • From wealth-building to debt reduction strategies, these individuals offer money management guidance that is refreshing and relatable.
  • Listen, watch, and read what they have to say. They just might inspire you to revamp your budget for the coming year.

Do you have someone you can count on when it comes to financial advice? When talking about money–how we spend it, save it, and in this era of inflation, worry about it—it literally pays to have personal money management guidance.

In celebration of Black history, we’re turning the spotlight on six gamechangers who are simplifying finance and dispelling the taboo around money talk. Read, listen, watch, and learn something new!

1. The Budgetnista

Tiffany Aliche is a former teacher and the author of the New York Times Bestseller Get Good with Money. Combining her passion for both finance and education, Tiffany Aliche partnered with lawmakers in integrating financial education into New Jersey’s middle schools (The Budgetnista Law.) Through her Live Richer Movement, she has empowered women to save more than $350 million dollars and pay down more than $200 million in debt.

2. My Fab Finance

Tonya Rapley is an internationally recognized speaker, best-selling author, and professor at the City University of New York- Guttman Center, leading the development of their financial literacy certificate program. She focuses on helping people make informed financial decisions and started My Fab Finance in 2013 when she realized that “it was time to stop acting like I had it all together and start getting it together.” Tonya was named the “New Face of Wealth Building” by Black Enterprise magazine and selected as a modern History Maker by TV One.

3. Popcorn Finance

Chris Browning wants to teach you something about finance in the time it takes you to make popcorn. His podcast tackles stocks, making your career recession-proof, asking your boss for a raise, and more. Formerly an art major, Chris realized he had a talent and passion for money management and went on to work in the finance industry, as an analyst, bookkeeper, content creator, and producer. His down to earth money tips have been applauded across major media outlets including Forbes and NerdWallet, and he’s interviewed more than 100 financial experts.

4. Make Real Cents

Carmen Perez is the mind behind MakeRealCents, a platform committed to empowering individuals towards financial independence. Carmen specializes in educating millennials and Gen Z on effective money management and wealth-building strategies, imparting insights on topics such as investing, debt reduction, and savings. She’s also the mind behind Much, an app for budgeting and finance management. While her guidance is broad, she has addressed specific financial challenges and offered advice on side hustles relevant to the LGBTQ+ community.

5. BuildingBread

Kevin L. Matthews II, named one of the Top 100 Most Influential Financial Advisors by Investopedia, is on a mission to help individuals plan their retirement. A husband, father, and author of Starting Point: How to Build Wealth that Lasts, Kevin wants others to leave a financial legacy so wealth can be passed across generations. He leads classes and corporate events about investment planning, distilling concepts into plain English so finance feels approachable to people of all ages.

6. The Wealth Playground

Jasmine Paul is the award-winning author of A Boy, A Budget, and a Dream and Granny’s Vintage Camera. She is a certified financial education instructor, speaker, and entrepreneur whose primary focus is making wealth fun and accessible. She’s on a mission to inspire money conversations with children early and often and will be the featured guest on GreenPath’s Real $tories podcast this month where she reflects on her path to homeownership.

This article is shared by our partners at GreenPath Financial Wellness, a trusted national non-profit.

Summer financial planning

Summer is in full swing and so is peak travel season. And while July is a prime time to get outdoors and cash in on any plans you may have—at home or beyond—the reality is that financial concerns (and recent credit interest rate spikes) remain a pain point for many of us. Here are five steps to take to boost your financial health and reduce your worries this summer.

1. Assess your Budget
Do you have a budget? Midway through the year is a great time to build one. Money management apps typically provide monthly breakdowns that pinpoint where you might be overspending. A common strategy is to follow the 50/30/20 rule, but those percentages may differ for you, depending on your income and cost of living. Can you eliminate unused subscriptions or comparison shop for more favorable rates on home or auto insurance? Small cutbacks can add up to big savings.

2. Check your Credit Report
Obtain a free credit report from the major credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, Experian) through www.annualcreditreport.com and carefully examine it for any errors or discrepancies. Ensure that all your accounts are accurately reported and that there are no signs of fraudulent activity. Addressing any issues promptly will benefit your credit score which in turn can positively impact your future borrowing capabilities.

3. Evaluate your Investment Portfolio
If you currently have an investment portfolio, mid-year is an opportune time to assess its performance over the past few months and rebalance if needed. Ask yourself: does my current strategy align with my long-term financial goals and risk tolerance? If you’re new to investing or feeling uncertain about what money moves to make, consider connecting with a financial advisor who can offer guidance.

4. Develop a Savings Strategy
Do you anticipate any large expenses in the latter half of the year such as home improvements or educational costs? Start setting aside funds or exploring financing options in advance to minimize future stress. Consider automated, recurring deductions from your paycheck that can funnel into a savings account. Not able to save just yet? That’s okay! Create a reminder to revisit again in 2-3 months’ time.

5. Make a Plan to Pay Down Debt
This is a good time to evaluate your outstanding debts, such as credit card balances, loans, or mortgages. Consider the balances, current interest rates, and payment terms for each. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your debt, explore the option of a Debt Management Program (DMP) which could potentially lower your monthly obligation and improve your credit score over time. There is no one-size-fits-all solution so chatting with a counselor from our non-profit partner GreenPath Financial Wellness can help you determine if a DMP is a good fit for your situation.

This article is shared by our partners at GreenPath Financial Wellness, a trusted national non-profit.

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