Introducing 21 New Ways to Use Paper Straws (Not Just for Sippin’)
There’s just something fun about sipping your favorite drink through a colorful tube. But there’s more than one way to enjoy everything — including the humble straw. (And we’re not talking spit balls!) We love being creative with ordinary objects, which is why we’re getting crafty with our straws. Round up those leftover straws and get ready for 21 DIY straw repurposes, from party props to DIY pixie stix.
1. Straw Paper Easel: Considering that the only materials required are paper straws and glue, this DIY is thrillingly easy. Make mini easels in a variety of sizes and use them to show off your photos and the kiddos’ artwork, or turn them into colorful place-card holders. So clever! (via Wants and Wishes)
3. DIY Pixy Stix: Remember Pixy Stix, that sweet-‘n’-sour powdered candy you loved as a kid? Make your own with paper straws! You get total control of the sugar content, plus you can choose straws to match your party decor. (via Cupcake Project)
8. Sweet Sips for Mom: Gift a bouquet of flowers that never dies. Not only do these blooms make a beautiful bouquet, but they’re totally useful too. Gift them alongside glass bottled drinks for the ultimate effect. (via Oh Joy)
10. Fruit Pops: This eye-catching sweet is stunning on any dessert table. They make perfect little wands for a princess party or stunning sparkler-style treats for patriotic holidays. In true sparkler fashion, they’re sure to be extinguished quickly… chomp, chomp! (via Bakers Royale)
11. Straw and Paper Airplanes: Straws and paper strips come together to create paper planes with a modern twist. These mini aircrafts are meant for little hands to enjoy, and it is such an easy DIY that kids can get in on the crafting too. (via DIY Network)
14. Straw Bunting DIY: If you just happen to have some leftover straws hanging about, turn them into a modern, three-dimensional bunting. We’re lovin’ the bright neons in this version, but stripe straws would make a cool garland too. (via Smile and Wave)
16. Printable Chalkboard Letters Cake Bunting: Transform an average cake (or cupcakes) into a party-worthy treat by decorating it with this charming chalkboard cake bunting. Just print the letters, fold, glue and attach to straws. (via Yellow Bliss Road)
17. Banana Pops: Food on a stick is our fave… especially when the “stick” is actually a pretty paper straw. Spear banana slices, then dip ’em in chocolate and load up the toppings. (via Bakers Royale)
Are you a sucker for paper straws, too? Share your favorite use for these sippers in the comments!
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
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Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
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You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com