Making small donations to charitable orgs throughout the year can add up in your favor quickly

CLEVELAND - As another year comes to a close, financial advisers are encouraging people to review their finances and look at ways to save money.

“It’s important for people to take a pause and say ‘Let’s look at how things are for the next year,’” said Bob Smith, president of Spero Smith Investment Advisers in Beachwood.

One way to keep money in your pocket is to donate unwanted items to charitable organizations and deduct the value of those items off of your taxes.

“We’re pretty accepting of the things we receive, and if they bring it to the door, we’re not going to turn anything away,” said John Habat, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of greater Cleveland.

Except for clothes and shoes, Habitat’s Re-Stores accept furniture, building supplies, appliances, cabinetry and much more.

If you’d like a tax deduction from your donations, Smith said you need to document what you give away and itemize those deductions.

“Many people don’t have an expectation of a tax write-off but the IRS is very considerate that this is good for public policy,” said Smith.

Smith added that for every bag of clothes you give away, you can deduct $40 off of your taxes. If it’s a piece of furniture, you deduct 20 percent off its original price. For example, you can deduct $100 off your taxes for donating a couch that you bought for $500.

Other financial tips include contributing to your retirement savings before Jan. 1 to qualify for a tax credit. Also, pay for energy efficient upgrades in your home and double-check your withholdings to make sure you don’t have too little or too much in taxes taken out.

All proceeds from the Re-Stores go to build homes for needy families. You can drop off your donations at any Re-Store location, or the Re-Store will pick up your items for free. For information on pickup, call 216-429-3631.

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