Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Last of the Tax Return

I've become, as I've grown older, rather anal about my tax return. It irritates me that my personal IRA takes the entire month of January to prepare my statement. I want to get the forms filled out and out of here. That way, if I have to pay elebenty billion dollars to the gov'mint, I have several months to figure out how to mail all those pennies.

This year, they were quicker and I received my statement on the last Monday of January. I spent the next weekend with TaxAct online doing my taxes. I had used TurboTax but found the fees they charged for electronic delivery to be distasteful. I've also found, and this will be the 3rd year of using TaxAct, that their forms are easier to fill out and they have suggested things I wouldn't have considered. I think it's your preference.

I was rather amazed at what I was to get back this year. It was more than last year. I wound up owing the State of Illinois an amount that constituted the price of a delivered pizza. I hope they enjoy it. Knowing I had this refund coming, I spent a whole week analyzing my financial life to decide the best way to use this.

I whittled down my needs to the following: 1) Replenish the savings account. This is kind of a no-brainer but with the financial problems I sometimes have, I have to make a conscious choice to put this first. 2) Fix the car. There has been a small problem with the steering dampener for over a year. It had a leak. It's not the kind of thing you have to jump up and fix NOW. It doesn't cause a safety or driving problem until the dampener is nearly empty. It just makes the steering column shake more when you go over bumps. But, I decided that I would fix it because I could and that would prevent a bigger repair later when perhaps I can ill afford it. Get an oil change and new wipers at the same time. I'm good to go now. 3) Get my eyes checked and get new glasses. It had been over 2 years since I'd done this. I noticed a very slight degradation in vision, not enough that I couldn't see, but enough that I knew I needed to do this for myself. I picked up my new glasses today. They are the ones on the left. Yes, there will be a before and after photo next week.

There was some extra after doing all these things. I saved my initial target amount and realized I could save more. What a wonderful feeling! I decided I deserved to take myself out and have tickets for The Tannahill Weavers and Red Green in concert, not together although that would be quite the show. I have not been to a live concert in several years. I couldn't afford it. I think the last concert I attended was with Pam and we went to see a Scottish Military band. Fitting that my return to concerting would be a Scottish folk group.

So, with the pick up of my glasses, the divvying up of the tax return has ended. I think I was much smarter this year, than last year. I don't think I planned as well. It's still baby steps to get where I'd like to be and sometimes I think someone moves the markers back. But I'm happy and that's what matters.

Beverage:  Dr Pepper


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