Tax Time is Here!

Hard to believe, but tax season is in full swing! I’ve got a couple ways for you to save money on filing your taxes, and some tips to make it a little easier.

I already prepared and filed our taxes using Turbo Tax online. It’s quick and they walk you through everything. Because of our tax situation, we are unable to do our taxes for free, so for my family, TurboTax is the best/easiest solution. If you want to try Turbo Tax out, here is a link where you can receive up to 20% off any paid online federal product!

If you make $72,000 or less, check out the IRS Free File.

There is also E-File, which offers free federal tax returns for those who qualify for a 1040ez.

    • Free Error Correction – Our software will automatically check your tax return for common errors. If our software finds any errors, it will prompt you to correct them.
    • Get Your Refund Quick – Who doesn’t want their refund quickly? Filing online allows you to receive your refund quicker than off-line.
    • Helpful Software – Our software will walk you through common deductions and credits that you may be eligible for with its easy and quick question & answer format.

If you aren’t sure what you need to file your taxes, here are just a few pieces of paperwork you may need (depending on your tax situation):

  • W-2’s- one from each of your jobs
  • 1099’s: if you are an independent contractor
  • DMV paperwork (if you don’t have this, then the VIN and license plate # from your car, and go here– CA only, I’m sure other states may have something similar).
  • Receipts for any tax-deductible donations
  • Receipts for any medical expenses (co-pays, prescriptions)
  • Paperwork from your Mortgage Company regarding your interest paid
  • Paperwork regarding your property taxes paid
  • Dependents Social Security Numbers
  • IRA Year-End Statements
  • Interest Statements from banks

I start a folder (like this one) each year and I put all of the paperwork in it as it comes into the house. Then, after we do our taxes, I print a copy out, pull out all of our supporting documents, put them into a manilla envelope, write the year on the front, seal it, and stash it with our other past years’ taxes. We keep 10 years’ worth of tax records, just in case.


Talk Back: Have you done your taxes yet?


Small Changes to Make your Box Cake Mix Taste Scratch-Made!

When cake mixes were first invented most of them only required the addition of water and one or two eggs. Some early cake mixes only required the addition of water, as the cake mixes contained shortening and powdered eggs.

Nowadays most of us use cake mixes, but we long for the taste of scratch-baked cakes and pastries.

Here are a few tips to make your boxed cake mix taste a little bit more like the scratch-baked treats you remember your grandmother or mother making in your youth.

  1. If a cake mix calls for water, use milk.
  2. When the cake mix calls for vegetable oil, use softened butter. Or coconut oil (room temp).
  3. If you are using a spice cake mix, omit eggs, oil and, water and substitute a (14.5 Oz) can of pumpkin to make a tasty pumpkin spice cake.
  4. If you are watching your cholesterol, you can omit oil and eggs in a cake mix for applesauce. 1/4 cup of applesauce per egg, and an equal amount of applesauce instead of the oil. The cake will come out delicious and moist.
  5. Adding ingredients such as chocolate chips, dried fruits (I like dried blueberries, dried cranberries, and dried cherries), or chopped nuts can also make your box cake a little fancier.
  6. I love making a yellow cake mix into a coffee cake by making a streusel topping: 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup room temperature butter, 1 tsp. cinnamon or pie spice to taste. After the cake batter is poured into the greased cake pan, sprinkle the streusel topping on top of the cake and bake per box directions. It makes a great coffee cake for brunch!

If you are looking for more ways to fancy up a plain boxed cake mix, check out the Cake Doctor books on Amazon!

Food Resources for February 2021 (San Diego County)

I’ve decided to put together a monthly round-up of food resources for San Diego County.

You can still find resources here for Central and East County, and Here for North County.

Neighborhood Distributions for February 2021:

These Distributions are primarily produce/fruits & veg, however, some locations may also distribute canned goods, dairy, and bread.

Super Pantry Locations can be found here (this listing is countywide).

If you have a child attending public school in San Diego County, check to see if your school distributes free lunches daily.

In Eastern San Diego County, Grossmont Union High School District schools are distributing lunches to kids ages 2-18, Monday through Friday at various times (Check your closest school to find out exact times and locations within each school). They also do Pizza Fridays, where each kid receives a pizza, drink, salad, plus food to be eaten over the weekend. It is definitely more than enough food to keep kids fed over the weekend.


If you know of other resources, please leave a comment! And feel free to share this post with anyone you may know in need.