April 18 is creeping ever closer, but you're not alone! Take these helpful tips.
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Just like that weird smell coming from the back of the fridge, if you ignore your taxes, they won't go away.

I totally get it. Taxes can seem really stressful and intimidating. So much so that sometimes it's easier to just forget about them altogether.



GIF via "Empire."

But with a little prep and some research, the experience can be totally painless and, yes, even enjoyable.

If you're a recent grad or just young enough to remember the "Fresh Prince" theme song, there may be a lot of free money and deductions on the table. So put on your best grown-up face and get ready to do this. Because you totally can!

Now, whether you've already submitted your taxes for 2015 or you're thinking ahead to next year, keep these six tips in mind.

1. Get your act together.

Beginning in January of each year, you're going to start receiving some important tax forms in the mail (or electronically if you've set that up with your employer). The envelopes will usually say "IMPORTANT TAX DOCUMENT ENCLOSED." When you see it, stop what you're doing, grab the document, and put it in a safe place. If you're into fancy office goods, this is a perfect opportunity to splurge on a nice paper tray. However, any manila folder, Trapper Keeper, or padfolio will do just fine.


Do not keep them outside where they can blow into the water and your future wife has to jump in and get them. GIF via "Love Actually."

2. Call your mom.

Before you file, it's important to know whether or not your parents or guardians are still claiming you on their taxes. If you're a full-time student or living at home, you should really check in to make sure everyone is on the same page about your status.

GIF via "Party Down South."

(Plus, your mom remembers when you were really small, and she's going to be really proud and excited to hear that you're doing your taxes on your own. Let her have this.)

3. Look for tax credits and deduct like a boss.

First a quick terminology lesson. Deductions reduce the amount of income subject to tax while tax credits directly reduce the tax itself. Got it?


GIF via "Planes, Trains and Automobiles."

If a tax credit or deduction applies to you, you should strongly consider taking advantage of it. Here are some that many millennials often miss:

Hit the books with the lifetime learning credit.

This tax credit allows you to deduct $2,000 of qualified education expenses. It includes things like graduate school tuition or courses you're taking to acquire or improve job skills. You don't have to be working toward a degree, and you can use this credit for as many years as you want. Still an undergrad? The American opportunity credit may be a better fit for you.

Photo by Brittany Stevens/Flickr.

If you're done with school but still paying, you can deduct student loan interest.

With this deduction, you can reduce your income subject to tax by $2,500. Like most tax credits, there are some income stipulations, but odds are good you fall under the umbrella.

Photo by Ed Ivanushkin/Flickr.

Going on job interviews? Deduct those fresh resumes.

If you spent time looking for a new job in your current field, then you may be eligible to deduct job search expenses. These include printing and mailing resumes (in case you're hunting for a job in 1975) and travel expenses. It's important to note, though, you can't claim this one if you're searching for your first job or if you've taken a big break after your previous job ended.

Photo by Robert Sheie/Flickr.

— Moving for work? Get reimbursed for that U-Haul.

Did you move more than 50 miles to take a new job? First off, congrats. Second, you may be able to deduct reasonable expenses you incur as a result of the move. This includes things like your plane or train tickets to get to your new destination, the storage unit you rented, the hotel you stayed in while traveling cross-country, and even the miles you put on your car. Save every last receipt and report your expenses on this form.

Photo by shrinkin'violet/Flickr.

— The government may pay you to save for retirement. Take them up on it.

The saver's credit is meant to help middle and low-income workers save for the future. (You can check out this helpful table to see if you meet the income requirements.) If you do qualify, it's a chance to get a credit for contributing to an IRA or 401(k). You can also stack your benefits and take your credit alongside your tax deduction. Boom! Now we're talking.

Photo by Ken Teegardin/Flickr.

4. Be sure to report your side hustle.

Drive for Uber on the weekends? Sell vintage tea kettles on Etsy? Win a few thousand bucks playing the ponies? You need to report all your extra income, along with gambling and contest wins to the IRS. And if you are a small business owner, you may be eligible for a few extra deductions or credits.


GIF via "Regular Show."

5. It's totally OK to ask for help.

You don't lose any adult-ing points if you need help doing your taxes. The U.S. tax code is complicated and filled with exceptions. If you bought a home, made investments, or just need help navigating some of the credits and deductions, it may be worth your time and money to talk to a professional tax preparer or accountant. If hiring a pro isn't in your budget, many communities offer free tax help from knowledgeable professionals and volunteers.

And if you already filed, no worries. Make an appointment this summer to see what receipts, forms, and documents you should be saving for next year.

GIF via "The Big Bang Theory."

So while death and taxes are pretty much certainties, this is not a season to dread.

Armed with all of your forms and a little inside knowledge, you can make tax time work for you. And in this day and age, you can even make the Internet work for you by asking a real, live CPA for advice or searching through more specific deductions to see if you qualify.

Just take your time, take a deep breath, and remember:

GIF via "Community."

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

"Toy Story 2" got deleted and backups weren't working. Whoops.

A newborn baby saving an entire animated film production from unprecedented disaster? Sounds a bit like the plot of a Pixar short, doesn't it?

Something (sort of) like that actually did happen during the making of "Toy Story 2." (There are a several retellings of the story out there, from an in-depth interview on The Next Web to the simplified, animated version in the "Toy Story 2" extras shown below.)

Here's a basic rundown of what happened:

The film was well underway when an unnamed Pixar employee who was trying to delete unneeded files accidentally applied the "remove" command to the root files of the film. Suddenly, things started disappearing. Woody's hat. Then his boots. Then Woody himself.

Pixar folks watched characters and sequences disappear in front of their eyes. Obviously, this was … not good.

Oren Jacob, the associate technical director of the film, got on the horn to the systems crew with a panicked "Pull the plug!" They did. Were they able to stop the bleed? Nope, 90% of the movie was gone. Surely there was a backup system, though, right?

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!