Everyone is looking to make some cutbacks in these difficult financial times. Unstable governments and changes in other countries have made people look for ways to save more money to bump up their 'just in case' fund.

There are a few ways to save money without cutting back on things that we enjoy doing or resorting to something illegal. Here are some ideas to consider to help legally reduce your taxes this year and help save money. You can talk to a tax firm like Monheit Zongolowicz Frisch CPAs to learn more about these options. 

Pay Into an IRA or 401K

When you put money into either an IRA or 401K, it goes in tax-free. So every penny that goes into either one of those provides instant savings directly to you.

Give to Charity

Giving makes people feel good about themselves, and it'll make you feel even better when tax relief comes with giving money to good causes. Every penny that you give to a qualified organization you can deduct the amount on your next tax return. All that's needed is a receipt.

Another nifty way to save some dollars by giving to charity is to clean out your cupboards and donate any old items to charity. You can list a fair market value on your return and save some dollars there.

Make Overpayments

Homeowners are able to make use of some extra tax benefits that are associated with homeownership. One of the benefits is the mortgage interest deduction. If you make your normal 12 payments over the year, there is no benefit, but as little as one overpayment can make a big difference. The IRS allows you to deduct overpaid interest, so not only are you saving money, you're shortening the life of your mortgage too!

Hang on to Those Investments

If you're fortunate enough to have some winning investments, consider hanging onto them a little longer — at least a year and a day. Short investments are subject to high capital gains tax, where longer investments are subject to a long-term capital gains tax which has a much more favorable rate.

There's also some good that can come from investments that have gone sour. By hanging on to bad investments for a year and a day, you can offset your loss against capital gains. Every cloud has a silver lining!

Give Yourself a Home Office

For those that are self-employed, instead of heading to the coffee shop to work from there, give yourself some office space at home. By having your work address at home, you're able to claim a home office deduction on your taxes.