By Andrew Schwartz, CPA

Wikipedia defines money as follows:

Money is any object or record that is generally accepted as payment for foods and services and repayment of debts in a given country or socio-economic context. The main functions of money are distinguished as: a medium of exchange; a unit of account; a store of value; and, occasionally in the past, a standard of deferred payment. Any kind of object or secure verifiable record that fulfills these functions can serve as money.

Here’s how Vince Vaughn and Jon  Favreau define money in their hit movie Swingers:   Money: (adj) Top shelf (e.g., “You’re so money.”)

Trent:   Baby, that was money! Tell me that wasn’t money. Mike:  That was so demeaning. Trent:  She smiled, baby. Mike:  I can’t believe what an a**hole you are. Trent:  Did she, or did she not smile. Mike:  She was smiling at what an a**hole you are. Trent:  She was smiling at how money I am, baby.

Regardless of how you view money, let’s give some thought to some  tax-savvy and prudent steps you can take with  your money during 2012.

Find Some Money:

What better way to start the year  than by uncovering some money sitting  there waiting for you to find?  Start by making sure you submitted sufficient  receipts to get back all the money you set aside last year to fund your employer’s  Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA).  Many people take advantage of FSAs to pay for their family’s healthcare expenses and dependent care expenses  with pre-tax dollars.  Most FSAs give you until 3/15 to submit receipts for  the prior year.

You might also consider checking to  see if there is any of your money sitting in your state’s unclaimed money fund.   The Massachusetts Abandoned Property Division web site estimates that one person  in every ten has abandoned property.  According to the Massachusetts Abandoned  Property Laws, most financial assets that have been inactive for more than three  years are declared “abandoned” and turned over to the Commonwealth.

Check in tomorrow for “Money – Part II: Save and Put Away Money”

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