Tax Time is Coming!

W-2’s are officially out! I got mine “hot off the press” at work Tuesday, and immediately set about filing my taxes that night. What’s the hurry? Well, I had all my documents, and I knew I’d be getting a refund, so why not?

I know, I know, it’s “against the rules” in personal finance to plan to get a refund. I’m not ashamed to admit that I break that rule, every year. Yep, I claim “single-0” every year, knowing it will result in a refund. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing. On state taxes I cut it close anyways, even claiming single with no dependents. This year I’m getting $71 back from the state, and that’s only due to some expenses I was able to deduct. More often than not, I owe the state a few bucks. I’m getting back $2,100 from the federal government. A big chunk of that is due to having educational expenses in 2013. Without those it would be somewhere in the ballpark of $1,500. We’re talking $30-42 per week on my paycheck. Sure, it equals out to the same amount. And yes, the government is getting that money on loan for free. But, it’s not like I’d be earning much interest throughout the year on that amount. As committed as I am to get ahead financially, it’s easy to waste away small amounts on a weekly basis without even noticing. Getting it one lump sum makes it easier to use it responsibly.

Of course, I have a plan for that money. Over the next few months, I’ll be using my tax refund and savings to finish up some things around the house, so that hopefully I can put it on the market late Spring or early Summer. I’m looking for ways to do things as inexpensively as possible. I then plan to sit on any remaining cash until the house sells. You never know what expenses you might incur during a sale; repairs the buyers want made, closing costs, etc. Assuming selling the house works out. I’m keeping other options open, just in case. If all goes well, the house will sell without a hitch, and I’ll walk away with some money still in savings, which I’ll then put towards paying off my student loan. If not, well, it’s good to have a safety net, and some options.

– Cindy W.

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