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Archive for March, 2008

Sent Tax Refund to my Roth - $1,230.00

March 29th, 2008 at 11:37 pm

As I posted earlier, we ended up getting a tax refund this year when I fully expected to owe a couple thousand dollars. The state refund came in this week. We owe about $900 to federal which will come out on 4/15. The net gain is $1,230.00 so I just transferred that amount to my Roth account. I figure it is $1,230 I didn't expect to have so I'd put it all into savings and help get the Roths maxed out sooner. Now I only need another $1,840 to max mine and $3,000 for my wife's.

Entertaining at home is expensive

March 23rd, 2008 at 06:14 pm

We hardly ever have people over anymore. I realized today that one reason for that is the cost. We were hosting a meeting of the planning committee for a retreat we do every fall. All together, there were only 7 people but we spent nearly $50 buying food and goodies to put out a nice spread. Of course, not everything got eaten and we kept all the leftovers, so the true cost wasn't that high, but still, the money got spent on stuff that we wouldn't have been buying otherwise.

Having a bigger party for a couple dozen people can easily run into hundreds by the time you add in paper goods and plasticware and everything.

I'm glad we did it and we had a very productive meeting, but it was still kind of pricey.

Another $855 to the Roths

March 18th, 2008 at 01:37 am

This time to my wife's (I alternate between our accounts). Her account is in a bond fund and is one of the few bright spots in our portfolio this year, up over 7%.

Based on my usual investment breakdown, I was actually only due to put $575 in this week. Due to knowing that we don't owe anything for taxes and will be getting $1,200 back, I upped the contribution. I picked $855 because that makes the YTD total an even $2,000.

Between the 2 accounts, I've now put in $3,930 of the $10,000 limit. Next check, or possibly sooner, I'll probably put $1,070 into my Roth to bring it to an even $3,000 YTD for the account and $5,000 overall.

Tax Refund not as big as I thought

March 16th, 2008 at 01:21 pm

The numbers I posted yesterday were wrong. I had only quickly glanced at the forms from the accountant. I took them out this morning to review them and sign them and saw my error.

We are getting a state refund but we owe on the federal. We're still netting a refund but it is for $1,230, not $3,036.

That's not quite as bad, though it is still $100/month that we've overpaid.

Surprise Tax Refund

March 15th, 2008 at 08:27 pm

I posted this on the forums but it belongs here, too. We have owed taxes in each of the past few years. That's fine with us as we don't believe in loaning money to the IRS all year. Due to some large capital gains and some extra side income in 2007, I fully expected to owe again. I was expecting to owe in the neighborhood of $2,000 and had set aside money for that purpose.

We went to the accountant on Thursday and got everything back today. Between state and federal, we are getting a refund of $3,036! I'm not sure how - my accountant isn't in today. I'll call him on Monday to see what happened and adjust so it doesn't happen again next year.

So I'm not glad that we overpaid our taxes by that much, but I can't complain about an unexpected $3,000 windfall.

Most days are no-spend days

March 12th, 2008 at 12:54 pm

I see so many posts about no-spend days, and I think it is great if you are reforming your shopping and spending habits. It just never occurred to me to post about my own NS days because most days are NS days. I work Monday-Friday and rarely spend money during the week. Yes, I pay household bills and things that I can't avoid, but actually going out somewhere and spending money rarely happens M-F.

I pack my lunch for work, so no spending there. My office is only 8 miles from home so I only get gas about once every 3 weeks unless we use my car a lot on the weekend. I rarely go anywhere in the evening after work - just go home.

My spending days are Saturday and Sunday. That's when we go out, eat out, do our food shopping and other shopping, take day trips, etc. So I probably average 15 no-spend days per month.

Another $680 to the Roths

March 4th, 2008 at 02:27 am

Every 2 weeks, I send money to the Roths, alternating between mine and my wife's. This week was my turn. I just sent $680 to my account. That makes $3,075 total for the year out of $10,000, so only $6,925 to go.

Bat Mitzvah Planning

March 2nd, 2008 at 09:32 pm

My daughter will have her Bat Mitzvah in late September. For those not familiar with Judaism, that is a service/ceremony when a Jewish boy (Bar) or girl (Bat) reads from the Torah, the Jewish bible. It symbolizes them becoming adults in the eyes of the Jewish community.

Anyway, along with the service, there is typically a celebration party. Both to be creative and to keep costs down, we are doing a lot of the work ourselves. I've designed the invitations and place cards. We will be making the centerpieces. And we will be making some of the favors.

Today, we went in search of something to use as the base for the centerpiece. I had seen a metal planter at A.C. Moore recently that I liked, but it was $6.99 and I was hoping to find something a bit cheaper. We checked Michael's and found nothing. Then we went to the new Container Store and found something novel for $4.99. We bought one so we can play with it and make a mock-up centerpiece to see how we like it. I just searched online and I can get the same item for under $3.00 each from a few different vendors, so if we like the idea, I'll order them online and save a couple of bucks on each.

For favors, we want to do a chocolate mold related to our theme. My wife searched at Amazon and found just what we are looking for, so I just ordered a couple of those along with a few other things I needed from Amazon. I have nearly $400 in gift certificates with Amazon from doing surveys, so that helps limit the out of pocket costs.

In case you wonder why I'm being kind of vague on details, I want everything to be a surprise and you never know who might be reading your blog, so no specifics.

All of these little costs will keep adding up to a not-so-little total by the time we're done, but we're doing our best to find the cheapest way of doing things.

Where did all these twist-ties come from??

March 1st, 2008 at 04:28 pm

I'm sure most everyone has a "junk" drawer in their house, typically in the kitchen I would guess. We somehow have managed to develop 3 junk drawers in our kitchen. I decided to tackle cleaning a couple of them today. The first one wasn't too bad. A few assorted items that really didn't belong in the kitchen. Way too many pens. A bunch of new pencils that didn't even have points yet. Some expired coupons. You know - junk.

Then I moved on to the 2nd drawer. I was running short on time by then so chose not to dump it and start fresh. Instead, I just kind of dug around in there to see what I could find that didn't belong. The main thing I found was twist-ties, twist-ties and more twist-ties. Dozens and dozens of them. Different sizes. Different colors. Both new and previously used.

We buy trash bags that come with twist ties, but we never use them. We tie off the ends of the bags to close them instead. So the pack of ties goes in the drawer. Well, after a few years of this, you end up with a drawer overflowing with twist-ties apparently.

Twist-ties also come from bread packages, toy packages and assorted other places. Being the thrifty type, I don't throw away the used ones. I straighten them out and stick them in the drawer. Boy, I won't ever do that again. It was tough, but I made myself throw out all the old, used, twisted ones and just saved the new, flat, clean ones (and I saved way more of those than we would possibly need).

Who knows what lurks in drawer #3? That's a project for another day.