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Tax Setback

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Husband and I are both self-employed and, therefore, pay our own taxes (as opposed to having taxes withheld from our paycheck). We file “married filing jointly” and I knew that for 2014 we’d be teetering between two tax brackets: between paying 15% and 25%. (Side note: Doesn’t that seem like a huge jump? I don’t want to get political or anything, but the next bracket goes from 25% to 28%, which seems more reasonable. But the 15% to 25% jump hurts! Ouch!). As a result, the amount we paid for estimated quarterly taxes varied (I typically paid about 20ish percent of our income). Well, go figure, that wasn’t enough. And now we’re left with a pretty hefty sized tax bill.

So that’s fun. And something we’ll be dealing with in the coming months. I’ve never had taxes be part of the blog before (I’ve always reported our income “after taxes” – said in quotations, since clearly we weren’t withholding enough for taxes). So, although our tax bill is obviously a new debt, I’m going to keep going how I have been and simply pay that bill off the top of our income rather than putting a new line item (titled taxes) in our monthly debt list.

The big bummer, of course, is that I’ve been crossing my fingers for a pretty profitable next couple of months as income increases a bit. It’s not a guarantee, but last year hubs’ business was booming over the summer. And although I continue to get paid the same as always (same amount per class), the classes I teach over summer are condensed so instead of having my pay spread across four different months I get two lump sums, making two summer months (June and July) look really good for income. (Again – same actual pay per class, but it’s double the sized paycheck as during the Fall or Spring semesters). I still hope to make some big progress with other debts, but this is certainly a bit of a setback as we pay back Uncle Sam to the tune of $3500. Yes. *Groan!!!!* We’ve owed before (we owed a little bit last year), but never to the extent of owing multiple thousands of dollars.

I do have a plan though. I’ve already set aside some money from this month’s income that I’m going to put toward taxes. If I spread this out over three months, the hit won’t be as hard. We have about that amount of time to pay (longer if we pay additional penalties, but I’d like to avoid that and just pay this off ASAP), so about a thousand a month is going to be coming off the top of our income for the next few months. Disperse the pain a bit instead of being hit all at once.

I guess it’s a good thing. New tax bracket means we’ve had a higher income. That’s an awesome thing for us small-business owners! I only hope to continue seeing our income rise across time, so I better get used to seeing a growing level of taxation. ; )

Did you owe the government any money this tax season? If so, how did/do you plan to pay for it?

Did you get a refund? If so, what’d you do with it?


Weekly Debt Update #9- Over the Hump and Future Plans

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Hope everyone had a great weekend and a great start to the week!

I’ve officially paid off more on my student loans than I owe! I can’t describe just how good that feels (but I can try- amazing!) but I still have a lot of work to do…approximately $55,000 of work. So…I don’t really feel much need to celebrate anything, just take a nice long look at how far I’ve come, then put my nose back to the grindstone.

Here’s what my balances look like as of the 21st (my Navient auto-debit date):

Loan NameInterest RateOriginal Balance- May '09Current BalanceTotal Paid Off
Sallie Mae 015.25$27,837.24$24,224.78$3,612.46
Sallie Mae 024.75$22,197.02$19,006.27$3,190.75
Sallie Mae 037.75$20,692.10$0.00
$20,692.10
Sallie Mae 045.75$10,350.18$7,570.60$2,779.58
Sallie Mae 055.25$6,096.03$4,276.91$1,819.12
Sallie Mae 06 and 074.75$6,415.09$0.00$6,415.09
Sallie Mae- DOE 015.25$5,000.00$0.00$5,000.00
Sallie Mae- DOE 025.25$3,000.00$0.00$3,000.00
AES6.8$9,000.00$0.00$9,000.00
TOTALS$110,587.66$55,078.56$55,509.10

Since last week, I’ve been doing some thinking about what I’m going to do after all my (non-mortgage) debt is gone. I know my number one goal is going to save up 1 years worth of expenses. Basing the 1 year on my current expenses, less the student loans, since I’ve lived my entire adult life on a bare bones budget, I have annual expenses around $15,000. If I throw all the money that I put onto my debt into a savings account, it should take me between 5 and 6 months to do this. I also know that after I save this money I want to catch up my retirement that I missed on this past year, which will go to a Roth IRA- roughly $5,000.

So that’s what I know I want to do for sure. After not, I’m not quite sure at all. I developed a future budget that I could use:

Future Budget

Since I haven’t done any spending in the past few years, I’d like to have budget lines for a future vehicle and/or repairs for my current car (which is already at 86K miles), clothing, and some travel. HOWEVER, I also want to pay 2 mortgage payments monthly and continue to save. One of my biggest inspirations to really start hammering the debt was/is Mr. Money Mustache, so I’d really like to continue living a fairly frugal lifestyle while continuing to save as much as possible. Well- I can’t have it all, so I think this budget is a good balance between spending and saving. And the good news is this is all based on my current pay, which, hopefully, I should be making more in a couple years. I also based my income on the fact I’d like to contribute 5% to our company’s 401K plan to get the most match as I can.

I’d like to hear from people in comments on what you did after you paid off debt- were you to worn out from the payoff that you went into spending mode, or did you continue the lifestyle?

On a budget note, here’s where I currently stand in March:

Weekly Update #9

 

There’s couple of big items that came up this month (which weren’t all that unexpected): 1) I had a crown put in at the dentist a couple weeks ago. I have insurance, but I owe %50 out of pocket for this type of work. The cost- $397.50. 2) I filed and paid my local taxes. I knew when I withdrew my government retirement account (back in September) I would owe state and local taxes on it when I filed in the new year so I knew this was coming. I paid $700 to PA last month and $310 to the city of Erie over the weekend. 3) I had to take our one dog to vet a couple of weekends ago to have them look at an ear infection and to get her vaccinations. The costs- $132.02, but me and my GF have a plan set up- if it’s “her” dog (the white one, Harlow) that she brought to the relationship, the GF will take care of the vet bills and vice versa for my dog (Bubba, the black one). Since I took Harlow in while my GF worked, she wrote me a check for the visit that I just deposited yesterday and, thus, isn’t reflected in my budget, yet. 4) I had to put down a $100 deposit for the B&B I’m taking my GF to in April to make up for my V-day gift to her (the poorly timed concert tickets :/). I didn’t expect this since I didn’t remember putting a deposit down the last time I booked a room. O well, it just means I’ll pay less when we check out.

I also spent more in the groceries/eating out category than I normally do. I had to go into work for a couple of weekends this month, so I bought breakfast for myself on the way to make it easier to go in. I also had a surprise visit from one of my best friends (who lives in North Carolina) over this weekend. Didn’t spend to much, but I treated him to lunch at Moe’s while he was passing through town. It only cost $25 and he has paid for me more times than I can count in the past, so I owed it to him.

My slush plan is fairly low, much lower than I’d like it to be:

Slush Fund= $1,129.84 (plus $132.02 when the check clears)

I have future plans to fill it back up, but I’m not going to do anything at the moment, just continue staying the course for now.

Hope everyone has a fantastic week!


Interest Payments

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It’s that time of year again….TAX time!!!

Maybe some think of it as a “fun” time of year, particularly if you are expecting a refund (in which case…why are you doing that?? You’re essentially loaning the government money interest-free for a period of time! Change your withholdings so you end up with a smaller return. That means you’ll get more money in each paycheck!)

For our little family of entrepreneurs (him) and contract workers (me), this time of year isn’t so fun.

We pay estimated quarterly taxes, but last year we had underestimated our taxes and ended up owing a bit when April rolled around. This year, I fear the same thing may have happened. We haven’t finished taxes yet so I don’t know for sure, but I’m a little nervous of the bill we may find ourselves facing. We’ll see. *fingers crossed*

Relatedly, because I’ve started gathering the relevant documents, I’ve seen how much INTEREST we’ve paid this year and it is sickening!

Between student loans, the car loan, and the credit cards (note:  we no longer have credit card debt at this point, but before they were paid in full we did accumulate some interest from them at the beginning of 2014), we ended up paying a total of $5988.95 in interest.

Can you believe it? That’s sooooo much money to be simply giving someone in exchange for them lending us money. It sickens me as I think of all the things we could do with $6,000!

Perhaps not surprisingly, the majority of the interest came from the student loans (just over $3,000), the rest came from the car loan (a little less than $2500) and credit card debt (remaining).

I know you can deduct interest payments for tax purposes*, so that’s what we’re planning to do. Still, I’d much rather pay taxes on that $6,000 of income and get to keep the money in my pocket rather than paying it out as interest. Booo!!!!

Have you started figuring out tax stuff yet? Do you get a refund? How much did you pay in interest last year?

*I should mention that I know next to NOTHING about tax preparation, as I never do my own. Sooooo, don’t take anything I say about taxes as a 100% fact without double-checking for yourself : )


The Tax Man Taketh

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Ugh, taxes.  We have never owed before, but this year Uncle Sam held his hand out for about $2,300. It hurt, ya’ll. I can’t say that I didn’t have an inkling that this would happen.  For the last couple of years we have adjusted our withholding so that we would not get a refund at the end of the year.  I’d rather have that money year round than let the government hold on to it interest free for a year. Well, last year I did not figure it correctly and it kind of came back and bit me.  Luckily, we had what we needed to cover it.  It impacted our debt repayment plan a bit but I’m thankful that we had enough in savings to cover it. Hopefully this year I’ll do a better job with my figures!


2012 Taxes

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I have heard from my CPA friend and I am smiling big with gratitude!  Thanks to his guidance upon my ex’s move out, I made major withholding adjustments for the last four months of 2012.   As a result, I will owe less than $500.  I cannot begin to tell you what a relief this is!  And there’s more great news:  I can re-adjust my current withholdings because I was on track to get a refund for 2013!   Answered prayers my friends…answered prayers!  I was having near $900 PER PAYCHECK withheld!  I know I make a good income but losing $1800 per month hurts!  AND, let me just throw my shoulder out here patting myself on the back…I was STILL able to make payments toward debt and not incur any new debt.

I am a new person!  Truly!  I never thought I could do this.  Just a year ago I was spiraling out of control.  Bouncing checks!  Yes, seriously.  Only making minimum payments and sometimes scrounging to do even that!  I didn’t have money left after pay day and could not figure out why!  My debit card was flaming hot with the constant use!  And then I started blogging.  I slowly, SLOWLY started keeping track of every dime I spent and started downsizing my life in every possible way I could think of.  Remember when I went to the hair salon every 6-8 weeks for a $200 cut/color/style?!  My last salon visit was in December and I don’t plan to go back until June.  The examples are many and for those of you who have been reading since the beginning, you’ll surely remember the changes.  Have I hit major bumps in the road?  Uh, yea.  Like a surprise divorce!  And other smaller hiccups too.

I want people who are in debt to see my story!  I want to motivate others and, in turn, be motivated!  It has not and will not be easy but each of us can make changes to turn our sinking financial ship around.  Don’t be afraid and don’t wait another day to start this process.  You will find freedom like you’ve never known.


Ebay items are selling!

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I’m making some sales on ebay for my IRS debt fund!  When I update the numbers later this week I will include separate entries for what I have saved toward the IRS debt and yes…the total amount owed to the IRS.  I don’t want to do it but I know I need to do it.  I’m motivated and I hope to be further motivated by the readers.  I called the IRS earlier this week and must say they are extremely reasonable and easy to deal with–and even if they are faking their sympathy for my situation, I’ll take it!  I’m kidding.  I don’t think they are faking it b/c they can see on their system what I’ve done to right the ship.  Anyway, I got $1700 knocked off due to the extension my ex-husband filed being only linked to his tax return and not mine. Because we filed that extension jointly but then ended up filing taxes separately, I had a late file penalty on my side. Once again it never hurts to ask questions!

Separate quick note…took DD to the orthodontist yesterday.  That’s going to cost $2800 divided by 2 (because her father and I split everything).  That was a slight bummer given my good news on other $ issues, but the orthodontist has no interest great payment options that should result in very manageable monthly payments.  BUT I HATE the idea of yet another monthly payment!  If my kids weren’t dealing with cross bites that if not addressed now could result in surgery down the road, I’d be giving this second thoughts.  It isn’t only a cosmetic issue for them and two dentists that I trust and the orthodontist have confirmed this.  Always looking for a silver lining though I am glad we will be done with orthodontic treatment for each of them by the time they are in 9th grade.  At least we aren’t going to be paying for braces that much closer to college?!  Okay so I’m grasping…work with me!  😉  DS’s second round of braces will start this summer and estimate for his is $3800.  Some of that should be covered by insurance but I asked for worst case scenario from the finance gal at the orthodontist so as to properly prepare.

Have a great Wednesday!


I Do Now I Don’t

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www.idonowidon’t.com 

Has anyone heard of this website?  I remember a friend mentioning it in passing the first time Steve moved out but I didn’t give it much thought at the time.   Now that things are completely over I am ready to investigate.  It helps that Steve totally tried to screw me over on taxes and I need $5,000 to give the IRS by March 28.  I’d like to keep my emergency fund as intact as possible so it sounds delightful to have Steve indirectly pay for the tax bill by selling my wedding rings and his (that I made him take off and leave on the day of his move out—he hesitated because at that time I really think he thought there was a chance to play this game again). As you all know I’m sure, I’m not going to get a lot of money by trying to sell it to a jeweler.  I remembered this website and so I’ve started looking into it.  I thought I’d open it up to the readers in case any of you have better ideas or know something about this website.  It appears that there are two options.  You can auction the items like ebay or you can get a direct offer from the company.  Oh and you’ll love this tidbit:  Steve took a pre-marital 401K withdrawal to buy the stupid ring to begin with!  I didn’t know THAT until we had to pay the penalties for tax year 2009.

For those of you wondering, I will not be adding this $5,000 to my debt list.  I have a date certain that it must be paid and I refuse to consider it part of my “blogging away debt.”  Instead I am making plans to “find” $5,000 while still paying down my debt according to plan.  The tax nightmare has only just begun…not for me though.  I’ve “righted” everything and have a plan to pay what I owe.  So glad I’m no longer connected to that train.


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