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Archive for February, 2020
February 18th, 2020 at 02:38 pm
I filed our tax return for 2019 on Sunday. The IRS and our home state where we file have both accepted the returns. My husband's income is exempt in our home state, so we owe nothing and since we didn't have any state withholding taken, there is also no refund.
We are getting a $1,308 refund from Federal. I had several years in the past where we tried to get closer to zero refund or owed, but I have skipped that the last two years because of tax changes and different credits applying for college expenses.
We have decided this refund will be set aside to assist with our youngest daughter's tuition bill. Her junior and senior years are higher tuition because she is an engineering major, so starting in the fall we will have an additional $1000 per semester on top of what we already pay. It is possible that she will get a scholarship that will reduce the costs.
I did run my oldest daughter's taxes through a program and she is getting a $94 refund from Federal and $34 from the state. We have not filed it yet, as I do want to run through it with her so she understands it.
In other money news, we had to buy a Blu Ray player. It sort of sounds archaic to buy one, because we do stream a lot of content, but we do also own DVDs and Blu Ray discs. We have also started renting newer releases for $0.60 from Redbox (after coupon code), which is less expensive than rentals through Amazon, ect. Our old player was cutting off the sound intermittently during playback. We paid $62.99 after a coupon and it's more than I really wanted to pay but we did shop around a bit and this was the one for the right price with the features we wanted.
I redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 Amazon gift card, and American Express rewards for $36.06. I also sold another item on eBay last night that needs to be mailed out.
What will you do with any tax refund you get this year? Save? Pay off debt? Or make an purchase?
Sales, Surveys, Rebates,
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February 16th, 2020 at 03:35 pm
I've been watching a couple that's on YouTube work on getting out of a lot of debt. They were behind on their mortgage and didn't know until people started commenting that they needed to get current first!! When you are behind on payments that IS a debt and one that can get bad very fast, potentially losing a home or a car.
They have been gazelle intense on selling lots of things and their house is on the market to sell. They are finding cash in their home, including redeeming Ibotta rewards and credit card rewards for cash and gift cards, things that just weren't on their radar.
They are creating budgets, using cash envelopes, stopping monthly subscriptions and eating out. They shopped at Aldi for the first time. The skipped buying each other Valentine's gifts this year. They are rocking it!! And it's very inspiring. If you are in major debt, or looking to figure out what to do, find those that are making it work and follow their example for inspiration. There are lots of people who live debt free, and are climbing out of debt.
Yes, it's overwhelming to be in debt, but it's freedom to make the changes and strive to live a debt free life! Now go find yourself someone to inspire you if you have lost your way.
7 Comments »
February 5th, 2020 at 09:49 pm
I've listed quite a few things on eBay. I've already sold a pair of brand new jeans I never wore when I was that size! The other items may or may not be in demand. I have noticed that it is easy to keep listings up long term, through the Buy It Now option. Eventually someone seems buy many of them. I just have to manage how long I want the items that I no longer want sitting in my closet!
My husband traveled for work in January. His travel payment came through this week. He kept his expenses under the allowed per diem, which made us $122.15. That money will be allocated towards the Big Goal.
By the way our Big Goal is to save $200K towards our next home, possibly four years from now. It's BIG. It may not be realistic, or attainable, but we are moving in that direction. It may be some of the funds will get used for something other than a house. But I didn't want to spend years renting and not making some headway towards a home if that make sense. The effort and the progress is where I am currently focused. It's not necessarily what we do with the money when the time comes. As a saver it may be really hard to part with a large pile of cash, but I also want to keep debt, if any, realistic, too!
Are you decluttering? Are you selling anything to bring in extra funds?
Sales, Surveys, Rebates,
4 Comments »
February 4th, 2020 at 10:39 pm
I started working on our tax return today. I've been dreading it.
Figuring the American Opportunity Tax credit correctly is always a chore for some reason. I only felt it was a chore last year when I realized both schools report differently on the 1098T. You would think there would be clear requirements. One includes books bought at the school book store and the other doesn't is one example.
Only the youngest qualifies for the AOTC this year, and I'm still waiting on her to get the 1098T from the community college she took summer classes with.
The oldest daughter will need to actually file her own tax return this year due to having a job, and selling her mutual fund this year. I'm going to work on it for her initially, but will try to walk her through it at some point so she knows a little about what to do going forward.
My husband said to me the other day, how did you learn how to do taxes? I learned from my dad! And then, of course, learned how to read up on the regulations as they change for our situation as we went along. His dad was a tax accountant and always did my husband's taxes for him. And for a couple years, he did our taxes as well. But he died in 2002, so I was back to doing our own taxes. My husband said he would have no idea what to do if he had to file his own taxes.
I recently remembered having an argument with his dad on the phone when he exchanged our oldest daughter's mutual fund to a new investment. I was only made aware when the statement came in the mail. I did not like him making decisions for me! He explained why and then I did my research after to confirm he made a good choice. And that is the fund I stayed with up until our daughter sold it this summer.
So far we are expecting a refund, and it will probably be a little less than last year since we have to use the less valuable Lifetime Learning Credit for our oldest daughter's tuition.
Have you started your taxes? Do you do your own or do you pay someone else to complete them for you?
3 Comments »
February 2nd, 2020 at 10:28 pm
We are paying ourselves back for money we put down on our daughter's car in May 2019. I am putting all sources of extra funds towards that goal. Here's what I found in January:
US Bank $13.00
Chase Rewards $3.82
Amex Rewards $67.30
Utility Rebates (2) $59.91
USAA Rewards $3.12
Pinecone Surveys $3
Ibotta Rewards $22.09
Swagbucks (Paypal) $25
Ebay Sale $5.37
Extra Funds $175
Prior Payback Balance: $875.75
New Payback Balance: $498.14
I have extra funds that I could just call this done, so it's likely I will just call it done pretty soon. The extra funds listed seem to be an extra payment I added in YNAB to no detriment to the budget...so I'm leaving it. We did a very good job of keeping to a pretty frugal budget this month!
Sales, Surveys, Rebates,
1 Comments »
February 2nd, 2020 at 10:10 pm
As mentioned earlier this month I have increased the amount we save automatically each pay period going forward to create at least an additional $2,020 in 2020! In the future this will be $260 per pay period.
January Big Goal Additions
Paycheck 1/1 $175
Paycheck 1/15 $200
Extra contribution $125
Total Interest $183.99
Total Contribution $683.99
YTD Total $683.99
New Big Goal Total $72,767.92
Oh, how I would love to to get to $100k! We will just keep plugging along.
1 Comments »
February 2nd, 2020 at 10:01 pm
Here's the interest we earned on our cash savings last month:
All interest was saved towards our Big Goal.
Interest adds up. I was a bit shocked at the total on one of the 1099 INT statements that came in the mail. Over $1400 on one account alone. Best year yet for interest!
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