‘Tis the season to start planning weekend trips, long vacations and, if you’re super ahead of the game, maybe even holiday travel? We’re all about making the most of our suitcases, weekenders and overnight bags, but are not about to sacrifice on style. To get YOU ready for a season of travel, we teamed up with the folks at The Container Store to round up our brand new (and on sale!) favorite finds from their travel section.
Before we get to our picks (you best believe they are SUPER colorful), we’re here to give you the 411 on a crazy awesome giveaway, courtesy of The Container Store. All you have to do is take a selfie (you know how to do that, right?) with your suitcase. For real.
Here’s how to enter: Share your Selfie With a Suitcase at SelfiewithaSuitcase.com or on Twitter and caption using hashtags #selfiewithasuitcase and #promo, and be sure to tag @TownePlacePromo. Just like that, you’ll be entered to win a 4-night getaway at the TownePlace Suites by Marriott® of your choice PLUS $500 in travel essentials from The Container Store!
From the most colorful suitcase we’ve ever seen to bags designed for every little thing, here are 11 ways to pack smarter for your next trip.
2. Kaleidoscope Wheeled Luggage ($99-$129 — on sale from $129-$169): I mean, that pattern? Is this real life? Aptly named Kaleidoscope, this piece of signature luggage has a mullet quality about it — party on the outside and all business on the inside.
3. Zippered Patchwork Pouches ($7 each): Confession: I have an addiction to small colorful pouches that zip. And now I’ve just added five color-blocked pouches to my wish list! These little bags are perfect for keeping small things organized when you’re on the road. Use one for makeup, one for jewelry, one for pens and pencils, one for a mini DIY kit and one for all your electronic cords. Oh, and go ahead and snag another one for all those temporary tattoos and friendship bracelets you can’t leave home without ;)
4. Go Clean Drawstring Wet Suit Bag ($18): If you’re on a vacation where swimming is an option, you best be swimming in the ocean, lake or pool on every day of your trip. To make sure your luggage doesn’t deter you from that very important task, make sure to bring a wet suit bag so you can toss your trunks or ‘kini in there en route to the airport.
5. Poncho & Pouch Twin Set ($9): Just because you’re feeling footloose and fancy free doesn’t mean the weather is on the same page. This twin pack of lightweight rainwear is a must for every trip. Each poncho fits easily over most outfits (even if you’re wearing a coat) and is as easy as throwing a scrunchy in your suitcase. Yep. We just suggested that you also pack a scrunchy.
6. Phone & Tablet Portable Charger ($18): If you don’t have a portable charger yet, it’s time to get on it. This high-capacity charger has the power to fully charge most smartphones and provide a significant boost to tablets. Forget just making sure you pack this for travel — keep this puppy in your purse at all times!
7. Hanging Toiletry Organizer ($20 — on sale from $25): This clever toiletry organizer is tricked out well beyond your usual Ziploc bag + fabric pouch combo. Made from polyester with a nylon lining, this dopp kit has a large main compartment with four small pockets to keep all your essentials in order. The attached hook makes it easy to hang up no matter what size bathroom you’re in — even for those times you need to do a quick change in the airport before heading to your best friend’s rehearsal dinner.
8. Eagle Creek Orange Pack-It Folders ($24-$27 — on sale from $30-$34): Folders for your clothes are a thing, and they are a beautiful thing that will save you from the pain of having a suitcase filled with wrinkled clothes. Each folder includes a special, lightweight folding board with folding and packing instructions!
9. Lollipop Travel Laundry Bag ($5): A travel laundry bag might just be your new favorite must-pack. Obviously, you can use it for keeping your dirty clothes separate from your clean ones. But, we can also see using it to separate things like coats or evening gowns from the rest of your stuff.
10. Go Clean Drawstring Heels Bags ($30 for 2): Keep your heels un-scuffed and your clothes un-snagged by packing your heels in these handy hot pink bags.
11. Blue Ikat Italia Smart Shopper ($15): And finally, you’re probably going to need an extra bag. This is a great tote to keep in your purse wherever you go, and a must for travel! Oh, and this sucker can carry up to 65 pounds, so your laptop, beverages and books are all fair game.
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