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$10 Ibotta Bonus & More News

January 16th, 2016 at 12:25 am

Another chance to sign up for Ibotta and earn $10 after you redeem your first rebate. I'm about ready to cash out at $20. It seems there are a lot of great rebates right now. Especially for those of us dieting this month.

My referral code is

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here. I earn $5 after you redeem your first rebate. I think there is someone out there that used my code last time that hasn't redeemed their first rebate yet. Don't forget to do that! Over time the savings really add up.

We got our first W2 in the mail. It was a bit of a surprise. It is a result of our move. I can't quite remember what it is for. I think it is for the stuff we moved ourselves. Part of it isn't taxable, some is, and some was withheld for taxes. I was actually glad to see that, since I think that means we will owe even less than I originally estimated. I was thinking around $400-500. Now it will be about $250 less since more was withheld then I remembered.

Changed Withholding and More

January 5th, 2016 at 05:38 pm

We had changed the withholding on my husband's pay late in the year to account for overpaying. We have now changed it back to 8 for the coming year. It will go into effect for January 15 pay. The net check will be lower, but it is still higher than it had been before. It may still put us on target to pay around $400 each year, but that I can deal with.

I also remembered that we had put extra funds in my daughter's Educational Savings account (ESA) early last year and dropped our Roth IRA payments initially. By April we increased them to make sure we got the maximum funds in by year end. It worked well, but it means we now have $167 each month in our favor to budget with.

Along with a small pay increase, we actually have another $336 more each month to work with in 2016. I'm thinking I just need to funnel it away and not think to specifically what it needs to go for. By year end that would amount to $4032. I'd really like to make sure we are still adding to our savings, particularly now that we don't have a mortgage. I would pay that down if we did. Smile

In other news, I took my daughter to the dentist today. All good. We have known that she will need her wisdom teeth pulled. We have set into motion a plan to make that happen. We have a consult over spring break with the oral surgeon. We had to pay $95 to even make the appointment, but it will be applied to any costs we incur. We expect the oral surgeon will want to remove all four wisdom teeth, and will have that done in the summer when she is home on break. That will give us time to monitor her for any complications. I think our insurance will cover most of the cost of oral surgery, but I will be attempting to get more information on that soon so I can plan. Checked and our insurance covers 40% up to $1300, so we will definitely have some costs.

Do you need to change your paycheck withholding now that it is a new year? It's a good time to calculate what you might need it to be. The IRS has a withholding calculator on their website. Have you paid for wisdom teeth removal? What did you pay?

Identity Theft & Move Offer

October 28th, 2015 at 03:11 pm

My information was stolen from the government along with my husband's and 21.5 MILLION other people this summer. Ironically just this week the Army posted reminders about how to avoid identity theft. As if we only need to do these things to avoid theft of identity. What about our own government keeping the information provided to them safe?

We have been given three years of credit monitoring including our daughter under 18. Not sure about our oldest daughter seems she should get it too. She may be notified separately. There is identity restoration service and $1 million worth of insurance attached to this as well in case our identities are stolen causing financial harm.

Ick. Sometimes I really do dislike the government!

Oh, and the insurance company for the moving company is offering us $1400 of the $2600 we claimed for the damage they did to our things. One of the items that is damaged the most is being denied! We can appeal. We are going to discuss tonight to determine if we will or not.

Everything that was moved was put on an inventory. The driver logs it along with current damage. He seems to have logged damage on an entertainment center that would match the area we are claiming, but I think his notes were for other damage in that same area...not the big damage we now have and didn't have before. It is really hard to prove this unless we had up close pics before, which we don't. Why would we take a close up of the corner of furniture when it wasn't damaged? It appears someone attempted to repair the area with wax, marker and spray stain. It looks awful. And I feel so mad when I think about it.

I'm working on calculating our net paychecks for next year. I won't really have all information until January, but I have the taxable portion so I should be able to roughly calculate taxes owed for 2016. I need to know this to figure the withholding necessary. I was way off this year since I hadn't figured out the tuition tax credits. The main reason I want to figure net pay is so I can determine if we can actually afford this Europe trip my daughter wants to take. It is a trip that will cost us close to $5K. It is definitely something to plan for and figure out.

Tuition Plan (Second Post Today)

August 31st, 2015 at 01:02 pm

I do often use this blog to remind myself what my plans are. It can be helpful to look back months later to see what I did as well. This post is about how I plan to handle the tuition bill due Sept 12.

The total bill is $7,198.55. The housing portion is $5,154.55. The tuition portion is $2,044.00. The housing portion will come from our daughter's Education Savings Account (ESA) which is currently invested in mutual fund. The remainder is coming from savings/current cash.

I could pay $20 a semester to divide this bill into three equal payments. But that's just more outflow that I don't think is necessary. Initially, I'm simply going to transfer the full payment from our savings. We have quite a bit of cash in our emergency fund and from the proceeds of two homes.

The goal is then to pay ourselves back before the end of the year. We are adjusting our withholding to 18 (yes, that is not a typo) to have no Federal withholding for the remainder of the year. This will increase my husband's paychecks by $259.36. There are 8 paychecks remaining for 2015. This will result in $2,074.88 back into our savings account. Notice that is just over the amount of fall tuition. Smile Because we are paying this tuition out of pocket we can claim it on our taxes with the American Opportunity Tax Credit.

The housing portion needs to come from our daughter's ESA account in order to pay ourselves back. Since the market is crazy, I'm not going to withdraw the full amount right now. Instead I'm going to withdraw in three equal portions of $1718. Currently I plan to wait to see if the market stabilizes a bit more later in September, but worse case wait until mid to late October to make the first withdrawal.

That's the plan. I think it is a pretty good one, too. No student loans, yet! Would you do anything different?

Withholding Calculations

August 28th, 2015 at 02:25 pm

I now have more information about the costs of tuition this semester, what can be claimed for the American Opportunity tax credit and how it will impact our taxes owed. And the good news is we will owe less in taxes as a result!

The bad news(good news?) is we have already had too much tax withheld to cover our taxes. A whopping $1775. Yes, most people rejoice at such things praising the government for providing them a tax refund. Unfortunately, I blame myself. I actually increased our tax withholding to compensate for the fact that we would no longer be able to claim the child tax credit (of $1000) for our oldest daughter and my husbands increase in pay. I didn't take the time to figure out about the college credits available and how that would impact our taxes. Oops!

The good news is I have changed our withholding to 10 for the time being. In order to avoid any more withholding we need to claim 18! My husband will need to do this in person, as I can't change the amount higher than 10 online. Once it is changed to 18 his monthly paychecks will be $518 larger! Money that I plan to set aside for the tuition bill in February.

Of course, I will need to change the withholding in January to make sure we do have money withheld in 2016! I haven't figured the correct amount to withhold right now, but trust me I will do a better job this year in getting it right. I will have more clear information this time around. Smile

Do you know where you stand on your withholding and taxes owed for 2015? Is it possible you need to make changes due to a change in circumstances? Do you prefer a refund or just to owe a little on your tax return?

College Tax Credits

August 23rd, 2015 at 07:41 pm

So...I know about the American Opportunity Tax credit. It seems it doesn't cover room and board. It does cover tuition, fees and books...after scholarships. For this semester alone we have $2100 towards those costs.

If I understand correctly, I can claim tuition paid in the first three months of 2016 on our 2015 return. This means probably another $2K of expenses. So around $4k that we will pay from sources that are not college savings plans. My understanding is if I take this money from our Coverdell ESA those expense covered with this money can not be claimed for a credit. Which is fine with me since I currently plan to use that money for room and board, which I can't claim for the AO credit.

Then my understanding is the first 2K in expenses is a 100% credit. The next $2K is applied at 25% for a maximum of $2500.

Since this is a credit, it will directly impact our taxes owed. Currently I have us withholding about $520 per month for taxes. I think this is slightly more than our taxes before this credit. Now I'm debating about changing our withholding knowing this new information. If I reduce it, then I can save it for the next tuition bill in February. Or I could keep withholding the same and get a big refund, which I could then use to pay back the tuition we pay in February. I making an assumption that I wouldn't have the IRS refund by the Feb 12 due date.

Am I making any sense? Any other guidance? The credit is nearly always better than a deduction, so I'm not even looking at that scenario.

Taxes Filed

February 18th, 2015 at 10:06 pm

I finally filed our taxes for Federal and State. They were both accepted within an hour of submitting them! We are even on State since military pay isn't taxed here. We owe $638 to Federal. I have until April 15th to mail the money but I expect I will do that the beginning of April. I'm saving $105 each of the next three pay periods to add to the $315 I already have saved for this bill.

The next step is to adjust our withholding! We are at 7 now, I think I need to adjust to six. I will double check and then make the change to my husband's paycheck online.

To make sure I don't forget to pay Federal, I put a reminder on my calendar for April 1. I have my voucher and envelope ready to go. I will just need to write the check...which I could probably do now and just record later. Smile

One less thing on my long to do list! One of our next big goals is to get at least two realtors out here in the next two weeks to talk about what we can list our home for. One just sold the house across the street and was the selling agent for our home when we purchased it, so she knows our builder. The other just sold a home identical to ours down the street. I think they will both have good information about what is going on in our neighborhood!

Did you file your taxes yet?

We Owe

January 22nd, 2015 at 03:44 am

I knew this was coming ever since my husband's promotion and raise. We owe the federal government income tax. At this point it looks like $630. I did change the withholding so it could have been far worse. I'm going to change the withholding again for 2015, so we may not owe quite as much.

No complaints here. I don't mind paying in. It means I had access to that money nearly all year. No free loan to the government.

At this point, I will wait to pay the money owed. It isn't due until April 15th, so I'm not sending it in much sooner than that! There are six pay periods before and including the tax deadline for us. I will save $105 each month toward the amount we owe and have just the right amount at just the right time!

There is a small chance I may have missed some interest owed, so if that information arrives I will make the adjustment. I did several bank offers this year, I'm not sure if I missed one!

Do you know if you will get a refund or owe for your taxes?


November 25th, 2014 at 09:30 pm

I had to go back to the grocery store because when we purchased wine on Sunday, they only rang up 11 of the bottles. I needed that 12 one to show on a receipt so I could redeem a rebate worth $18. Luckily they were cool about it, and rang up another bottle, and gave me the additional discount for another 6 bottles. I paid another $1.93 after that so that I can get the $18 back! Well worth it.

We have been notified by Wells Fargo that we are short in our escrow account. This is because our property taxes increased by $306. The shortage is just $244.67. We have the option to pay in full before Jan 1, or have the amount spread across the next year. Normally, I would be inclined to pay the shortage up front. However, I really expect we will be moving, thus sending in more money a larger refund check later just doesn't appeal to me. I will have the amount spread across the next 12 months this time. Because of increased taxes and the shortage, our new payment will increase by $43.78. I think we can handle that change.

We may be changing our upcoming travel plans do to weather. I'm not a fan of anyone driving when roads are snow and ice packed. It is just not safe and not worth the risk of an accident.

It looks like we will make a little money from my husband's last travel trip. A whopping $25.81. Seems like a snowflake to me! I will add that amount with the $6 I have from a refund and a Pinecone survey and send to the mortgage to meet that goal by year end.

Have a super Thanksgiving! Stay safe and enjoy those you love and care about.

Estimating Taxes Before Promotion

August 28th, 2014 at 10:16 pm

With the new promotion and increased income, I figured I should check out where that puts us with taxes. We are still in the same tax bracket of 15%. But 15% of more is still more taxes!

I also realized and kind of knew that we would no longer be eligible to claim child tax credit on our daughter that turned 17. That right there is $1000 more in taxes than we have had in the past.

I have estimated that taxes(after the credit for one child) on our taxable income will equal $4,891. So far in eight months we have only had $2,308 withheld and withholding another $450 for four months will still put us short. I went ahead and changed withholding from 8 to 7. This will have us withholding $488 each month for the next four months. I could have made it more, but decided it was okay to keep it where it should be for next year and we will just owe the government again this spring. I expect in the end we will owe $630.

I plan to set aside $105 for the next six months for this particular debt. This way it won't be a big surprise or burden at tax time.

Each pay period we will have $440 more income after all the changes. DH and I did discuss this last night and he is all for just sweeping the money into savings knowing a move, and college are in our future. Seems like the best plan for now. We may evaluate retirement at the first of the year.

Do you evaluate your taxes anytime during the year? Or only at tax time?

Paid Bills

March 31st, 2014 at 05:46 pm

It's the end of the month, and my husband's paycheck is pending deposit. I went ahead and recorded all the bills that automatically draft this next pay period. First is the mortgage payment of $1,415 which included an extra $103+ as a principal payment. Smile

I also went online and made a large payment on our Southwest card. It was $961.70 to cover our recent Honda maintenance expense, our cell phone bill and other miscellaneous spending from last pay period. There is still a balance on the card. Much of that is some travel expenses by my husband. We should get most of the reimbursement very soon. I'm hoping tomorrow. Once we do I will send all that in and get the card down to zero again.

I set aside $50 for Christmas, $114 towards our auto registration and insurance, and the $57 for the 52 Weekly Savings Challenge. I wrote one check for a school field trip and another for a flute lesson later tonight. I will be getting cash out for allowances, and another future flute lesson. Oh yes, some of the cash I need to get is for my daughter's birthday. She received a check for her birthday and she wanted me to get cash for it.

At this point, I plan to send the check for our taxes late next week, around April 11. We have the $413 in our account now, so I can mail anytime. I'm just waiting as long as I can to pay! I will go ahead and right the check, and stamp and address the envelope. I sure don't want to forget to pay the government.

I'm waiting to hear about the $100 credit I have on my US Bank card. I want them to mail me a check, but I have not heard back yet. The credit is from those Ooma referrals I received. If they won't send a check, I will use the card to pay a utility bill and just take the difference to send to the mortgage.

Are you paid on the first of the month? Do you record all your bills for that pay period right away? Or only record when it actually happens?

Taxes Filed, But Not Paid

March 31st, 2014 at 01:44 am

I finally filed our tax returns on FreeTaxUSA. I paid $9.72 to file both returns. I even went through Ebates to get another 25% back. Smile

As I have known for awhile, we owe $413 in Federal taxes. The first time we have owed in quite some time, but not a big deal. I will likely write a check, to avoid any additional fees from using a credit card. If I needed to pay right away or meet a credit card spending requirement then I would be willing to pay the fee.

I will send the payment in the next two weeks, of course, so that we aren't late. Have you filed your taxes? Are you waiting until the last minute because you owe money?

Little Snowflakes & More

March 25th, 2014 at 06:53 pm

I received a $3 Pinecone survey payment last week. Just today I requested that money be moved from my Paypal account to our checking account.

I also ordered two $5 gift cards from Swagbucks last week. I got them the next day! I have never received any redemption from them so fast. For now, those are loaded on our Amazon account, until our next purchase. I will officially account for them as snowflakes when used. I also plan to use the $9+ in Discover rewards when I make that next purchase. It is the only way I can get those last rewards off that card! Smile

Not sure if I wrote about this yet. We HAVE met the $2000 spending requirement on DHs Southwest Visa and then some. I noticed my husband put some more work trip transactions on there today. I don't see another worthwhile Southwest offer for me to apply for. I think we are at a little standstill for now with credit card offers. There are not any compelling offers that we haven't already done in the last year. But the cash and gift cards have not yet arrived for the recent cards, so there will be some big snowflakes soon.

I still need to finish our taxes. I'm pretty sure I've entered everything in. We owe $413. I was going to put this on that Southwest card, but we spent up to the minimum before I could get the taxes filed. I expect I will just pay by check and avoid the fee. Is it right that I can file and wait to mail the check by April 15? I think it is and I'm sure I can look that up to be sure.

I did write a post on my other blog today about a discussion we had with our girls the other day. Oh, and in fitness news, I have done 30 minutes of cardio the last two mornings and lifted weights. I feel so much better! I'm on track to meet my fitness goals this month. Yippee!!

Tax Credit For Saving

February 11th, 2014 at 02:27 am

Make sure if you qualify you take the Saver's Credit, which can increase your refund or decrease the amount you owe. If you didn't save for retirement last year...make sure you do this year!! Smile

Here's a chart I found on the IRS website. You can get more details about the chart and the rules

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We didn't qualify this year because our AGI is too high. If I'm looking at this correctly, we could actually save in Traditional IRAs rather than Roth's and possibly qualify. I'm not sure that its worth it being in the 15% income tax bracket. I'll have to run the numbers for this coming year.

Did you qualify and take the Saver's Credit on your tax return? Were you aware of this tax benefit for saving?

A New Savings Approach

January 31st, 2014 at 10:28 pm

I wanted to give you a heads up on a new savings approach I read about today on The Simple Dollar. It's called $4 Per Gallon Savings. The link is on

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Our Money Blog, or you can search for it on your favorite search engine. I haven't decided if this approach is something I will incorporate yet, but definitely an interesting way to establish an emergency fund.

I also wanted to mentioned that I changed our withholding from 9 to 8 this week. I did this because we owe $413 this year, and we expect my husband will be getting a raise in several months. As a result more income taxed with similar deductions, means more tax owed! We might as well be close to getting it right rather than owing a large amount. I don't mind owing, just not thousands of dollars! The IRS withholding calculator and the calculator I used on Paycheck City came up with the same result.

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previous post today is my final tally of snowflakes for the month of January and the amount of principal we paid on our mortgage last month.

Estimated to Owe

January 27th, 2014 at 03:45 pm

I worked on our taxes this weekend using FreeTaxUSA. Right now it looks that we will owe $413 to the Federal government. We are exempt from state taxes in our state for military pay, so we don't owe or receive anything back.

This is the first year in a very long time where we are unable to itemize our deductions. We were about $1000 short. I guess it is good news...we get a higher deduction than we 'earned' so to speak.

I'm still waiting on 1099Rs from Fidelity for the rollovers we did earlier this year. These will not change our taxes owed since the rollovers are in tax deferred accounts. I just need the numbers to report correctly.

I won't be in to big of a hurry to pay the government, but knowing me I won't want that 'debt' hanging around until April 15th either! Smile I might consider paying the fee imposed to pay the amount owed with our credit card since I know we will get that money back in bonuses. Depends on if I need the payment to meet a goal. I estimate the fee would be between $7 and $10, depending on the service we use.

Speaking of credit card bonuses. I need to double check, but I'm pretty sure we have met our $3000 in spending on our Chase Sapphire card just this weekend. I activated a US Bank card today and paid our Verizon wireless bill with it. That payment already meets 34% of the spending we need to get $125 bonus.

I'm hoping we can stay frugal through the week and keep our spending low. I don't think we will need much of anything, but with three other people in this household I just never know!

Do you know where you stand with your tax return yet? Owe or refund? Any frugal plans for the week?

Tax Forms Rolling In

January 24th, 2014 at 05:59 pm

The military pay site is having some issues with all the traffic in the last two days. W2's were released for three branches of full time employees. Everyone wants their information at the same time. I finally got in and was able to download my husband's W2 and his January earnings statement. I wasn't quick enough to get his TSP rate changed to 8%, so that isn't effective until next month.

I expect to start working on taxes this weekend. I'm pretty sure we will owe taxes this year. Not more than $500. It might be time to actually change our withholding. Since our daughter turns 17 in 2014, I don't think we will get the tax credit for her next year at this when we file. I need to that into account now so we don't owe more next year.

If you are wondering about how to handle your refund or how to calculate your withholding for your situation, you might want to read my post on

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Our Money Blog today. Sorry if my post is a little harsh at times. I just really want everyone to succeed financially! Really. Smile

Do you have your W2 yet from your employer? When will you start working on your tax return?

$125 Capital One Bonus Arrived

January 21st, 2014 at 01:45 pm

Right on schedule, my husband's $125 bonus from Capital One was deposited into his checking account today. I decided to leave it in the account since it earns a little interest.

I did however send that money (took it from our checking account) and the $25 American Express reward to our mortgage this morning to pay down principal. That means the balance is lower by $125!

I generally update at the end of the month, but I thought you might like to see all the snowflakes that I have accumulated this month. A whopping $722.45!

Including our regular principal payment this month, we have paid $1,273.53 in principal. Again, I'm always happy about less debt! Smile

Anyone else have a total of your snowflakes so far this month? Any amount is great in my book!!

I posted a tip about free tax filing on

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Our Money Blog today. If you like free, take a look!


January 20th, 2014 at 03:03 pm

Our American Express billing statement closed on Friday. We earned more rewards, I believe from our kitchen table purchase. We had enough to redeem for a $25 statement credit. I have already requested it, but don't expect I will see it post for a couple more days.

Our balance before the credit was $150, so I just need to send in $125 to have it paid in full. The remaining balance is the last of the Washington DC trip costs. Once I have paid this off, it will free up $150 in our budget since that is what I have been paying every month. Of course, there has been no interest on this card. I wouldn't pay know that!

I will send the $25 reward money in to the mortgage since I didn't have to pay that portion on the card. I love less debt! Smile

P.S. I'm over at

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Our Money Blog today discussing my tax preparation plans.

Yes! No Spend Day Again Today

January 17th, 2014 at 02:07 am

Another no spend day! Yippee.

We actually had an inflow of cash today! There were two checks in the mail. One was $18 for a wine rebate. The other was my Capital One rewards check I requested last week for $2.54. Super fast. I will get these deposited tomorrow and sent to pay down some more mortgage principal.

I wrote yet another post on

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Our Money Blog about some of my thoughts during my low spend week. I'd love to hear your comments about the post.

I'm getting ready for preparing taxes soon. I have a couple things I need. My husband's W2 will not be available until next Friday. Today, I totaled up the thrift shop value of our Goodwill donations. I'm not sure that they will help us get beyond the standard deduction, but they are ready to go if needed.

Did you get any checks in the mail today? Where are you in regards to preparing your tax return?

The Mortgage Escrow Account Update

August 22nd, 2013 at 05:40 pm

I did hear back from the mortgage company about our escrow analysis. As I mentioned yesterday, our property taxes are increasing significantly. This was expected as the home is a new build.

I know some would say to contact the mortgage company only when they ask for more money, but in my experience this just leads to larger requested amounts. Either upfront or added to the payment. The first property tax payment is due before the end of September, so really I'm just sending in the money to get it paid on time.

I was pretty close with my numbers yesterday. I had based mine on an effective date of September 1. They ran theirs based on October 1. I suppose they need to give proper notification...even though I directed the change.

We need to send in a lump sum of $1,880.13 before October 1 to make up the shortfall. This is fine with me because I have been saving monthly for this increase in property taxes. By September 1, I will have exactly $1800 saved. And the extra $80.13 can come from that September 1 paycheck with no problem.

Our new payment will increase because of the amount they need to collect for escrow from $1083.56 to $1,311.28. The interesting thing is I've been saving $300 per month, and paying that lower mortgage payment. Once I switch to only paying the new mortgage payment, I will actual 'save' $72.28 each month. Happy, Happy!

I did find out that since this is a VA loan, we are required to escrow for the life of the loan. YUCK! But it's actually okay since we don't expect to be here for the life of the loan.

I received my $25 from Swagbucks in my Paypal account today. I just ordered it Monday! That was super super fast. I will transfer that to my checking account so I can make another principal mortgage payment. Smile More people are watching my Ebay items that end on Sunday. Bid high, I say!!

I'm not really watching the stock market, but I know it has been down. Glad it was down when our automatic investments were pulled to our Roth IRA and ESA accounts. More shares for us!!

That's my financial news. Now I think I may go shop at Kohl's with my $10 coupon...for something that costs just a little over $10, of course!!

Capital One Bonus = Snowflake = Less Debt

August 21st, 2013 at 07:33 pm

I did receive the $100 bonus on my Capital One 360 Checking account right on time as promised. I have sent it in to be applied to the principal balance reduction!! Ah, I love bonus money. Smile

One item I put on Ebay has a bid, so it will sell on Sunday night. That just means I'll have less stuff, and less debt because that snowflake is going to the mortgage, too.

I deposited a check into our account yesterday using the mobile feature. In my rush, I indicated the check was for $30, when it was really for $60. Oops! Luckily, the system caught it overnight and my account was adjusted for my error already this morning.

Our taxes on our home are increasing. I knew this would happen. Our home was a new build and valuation and taxes lag behind. I've been saving $300 a month in preparation for this. My calculations show I need to send in $1,654 to meet the banks standards for our escrow account. Our payment will need to increase as well to accommodate the increased taxes. I sent an email to the bank to see if they agree with my calculations and asked them to run the analysis. I'll update you when I hear back.

Did anyone else go for the Capital One checking bonus offered at the beginning of July? If so, did you get your bonus yet?

No Promotion

July 2nd, 2013 at 01:42 pm

We found out that my husband did not get promoted to Major this year. He was being looked at Below the Zone, so it would have been an early promotion. Next year, he will be right on schedule to be promoted. It is disappointing because he works so hard.

A very tiny part of me is relieved only because I know the increase in pay was going to change things for us tax wise, definitely being pushed into a higher tax bracket. Specifically, $8790 would be subject to 25% tax. I was going to need to make decisions about whether to put more money into traditional IRA's rather than Roth IRA's. I will have more time to ponder that decision.

In the meantime, I feel very blessed with the financial situation we are in. My husband has a good job and provides for us well. We have no reason to complain.

Would you put more money into traditional IRA to avoid current tax on $8790? Or would you pay the tax now to keep the money in a Roth?

Poll: Tax Day

April 15th, 2013 at 01:01 pm

Today is April 15th. The deadline to file your tax return is today.

So did everyone get their taxes done, or expect them to be done by the end of the day? Or did you have to file an extension? Let us know in the comments where you stand!

Tax Refund Arriving Soon

February 23rd, 2013 at 04:08 pm

I checked the IRS website this morning. Our refund has been approved and is expected to be sent to our bank on February 27. I'm looking forward to that $442 refund, since I know it is going straight to the truck loan!

I received the $25 PayPal deposit from Swagbucks this week. Just last night, I cashed in for another one! That never happens to me, but I seem to be getting quite a few big surveys, as well as an Inbox offer (Entertainment Now) that is crediting me with many, many Swagbucks. No complaints here.


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previous post was about the importance of an emergency fund. Since you can redeem
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Swagbucks for cash in your PayPal account, it might just be another small way to help you fund your emergency fund or other financial goal.
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Dave Ramsey also has a few basic tips to get you started as well.

I am finally going to get some items up on Ebay tomorrow for sale. I've been putting it off for some reason, but I feel motivated about it now. The proceeds from the sales go in to my Christmas Fund.

Are you selling anything right now? Did you get your taxes done? Have you had a good month on Swagbucks, too?

Taxes: Good News

February 16th, 2013 at 02:43 pm

Finally, I was able to complete our taxes correctly, after using a fourth online software program. You can look back at earlier posts to get an idea of the problems.

Thanks to Looking Forward's suggestion, I used to complete both our Federal and State returns. Federal is free. State is $9.95. I wanted free, but I less than $10 is very reasonable. I had no problem with this program, but did have to manually input our sales tax deduction information from the IRS website, which other sites were calculating for them wrong unfortunately!

We are even with our state, no money owed, no refund. This is because my husband's military is exempt from taxes in this state, which I love! We are getting a $442 refund from Federal, primarily due to paying a VA mortgage premium this year with our new loan. If not for that we would have owed $271.

The refund will be going towards the truck loan when it arrives. I would expect to have it by the end of the month. I also have scheduled a $300 principal payment on the truck, which will not arrive until Tuesday because President's Day. I'll update the loan balance when it hits the account.

I was able to cash in my Swagbucks last night for a $25 deposit in my Paypal account. I have earned $50 in gift cards and cash since February 1. I sure appreciate those of you who are my referrals for helping me earn more Swagbucks in the last couple days. Smile

Threw More At Truck Loan

February 15th, 2013 at 03:29 pm

Several months ago, my husband traveled for work several different times. His expenses were less than the reimbursement. We ended up with $132 and change. I set aside in our cash fund.

It dawned on me this week, that I should just throw that money at the truck loan. It was really a snowflake. Not sure why I held on to it. Luckily it didn't melt!! Smile

I sent in $132.02 towards principal to bring our new balance to $3,094.00. Our regular payment process on the 17th, but probably will be delayed until the 19th because of the long holiday weekend.

I also expect to have some extra funds from today's paycheck to throw at it too. Before I pay bills, I'm am going to try another software program for taxes. Turbo Tax indicated they would help me download a program for free to correct the math error I'm getting using their online program. Unfortunately, I'm not getting a timely response. I'm moving on!

Is today payday for you? Do you have less debt? More savings? I hope so!!

Not Again...Some Sort of Sign?

February 14th, 2013 at 08:32 pm

I took yesterday off from thinking or working on taxes after my frustrating day Tuesday. I decided to start in again using Turbo Tax this time. The Federal return would be free to e file, and over $35 for our state return. Too expensive. I had planned to file our state return with pen and paper and snail mail it in.

Sooo...the long story short. Turbo Tax puts our Federal Tax refund LOWER than HR Block and Tax Slayer by $90, because it is somehow adding $380 worth of income that I didn't input and isn't there.

I'm soooo annoyed. I have never had this many problems with this many different tax software programs. Definitely check the math on your return before you send it off.

Maybe this is some sort of sign that I'm not suppose to file yet. Maybe something else is coming in the mail. I have no idea what it could be though.

Any tax problems you want to vent about today? Feel free to comment here on my blog and we'll cry about it together. Or just ignore me and have a Happy Valentines Day!! Smile

Agh! Frustrated Filing Taxes

February 12th, 2013 at 11:23 pm

It shouldn't be this hard. E filing taxes. Unfortunately, I think I know too much and know these companies I'm using are doing it wrong!! Ugh.

I'm attempting to efile using HR Block Free File available to us because we are military. I linked up to it through I get to nearly the last portion to efile before I can actually view the forms. Everything looks great. Except. Except I see the system is going to have me send in by snail mail Form 8283, which are the non cash donations we are itemizing. I have never had to snail mail this form in. I only have one page...not six or something crazy.

Now, I should probably just do what they want and go for it. It is only the cost of the stamp, since we can efile federal and state for free. Of course, it is also suggested I sent it certified mail to have confirmation they receive the form by the tax filing deadline.

My other options?

I tried TaxSlayer also. They are also free from military. The issue I have with them is that I cannot add in our nontaxable income for figuring in our sales tax deduction. That makes for a smaller refund of $15.

I could try Turbo Tax, also free for Federal only. I haven't entered anything with them yet, so there could be errors lurking there too. I have used them in the past and things have always gone well. The state return is $36.99!!! I could snail mail the state return for the cost of the stamp. We are already even with the state...we don't owe and we will not get a refund.

Are your tax filings going better than mine? Any ideas why I'm running into problems with HR Block and there snail mail plan? Should I just snail mail the state return?

Tax Return Update

February 8th, 2013 at 08:33 pm

Last I reported here, we were going to owe the Federal government $161. Things have changed...for the better.

First, I realized I had entered in our locality tax incorrectly. Instead of 1%, I was entering the full tax rate of 7%. That sure made it look like we had much more sales tax to deduct than the tables indicated. I was confused about that one for some time! That error was not in our favor, and it looked like we owed $271. I was okay with this since this more accurately matched my estimate I computed this summer.

Today we received in the mail a 1098 from our mortgage lender. It seemed odd to me, since we already had it emailed to us. At the bottom, and on the form itself, it was noted this was a correct 1098. Apparently, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 extended mortgage deduction for mortgage insurance premiums. This figure was added to our form.

We took out our first VA loan this time around, which requires a 'funding fee' paid to the Department of Veteran's affairs. This was actually mortgage insurance and it turns out is fully deductible this year! That means that once I add in the figure, we are now deducting quite a bit more from our income tax (read: more than the standard deduction) and have a refund. A refund of $434.

Weird how these things work out sometimes. That is a net change of $705. Once we have the refund in hand, I'm going to add the amount we would have owed the IRS to it and knock down the truck loan a bit more.

We are still waiting for the 1099INT from Sharebuilder, where I earned $75 in interest last year. It should be here this time next week. I have already included it in my calculations, but want the form in hand before I file.

Have you had any good news on the tax front?

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