:::: MENU ::::

Browsing posts in: Taxes

Housing

by

Warning:  The below is a stream of consciousness!  Have your coffee—or wine–before you read! 😉

I am guilty of looking way, WAY ahead and by July 21st, I’m already thinking about September 1.  It is my nature and while I am getting better about being in the moment, the part of my brain that is thinks ahead is still there.

As I’ve explained in a past post–our housing situation is unique (I can’t really think of the right word and unique doesn’t quite hit it…but you’ll see what I mean).  Steve owned a 3 bdrm, 2 bath home prior to our marriage that he lived in with his ex-wife and the boys.  He bought the house in 2007 right before things took  a downturn and he listed it for sale right around the same time that we met.  With no great interest from potential buyers he decided to take it off the market and we lived in it from our marriage in December of 2009 until September 2010.  There were several reasons for the move–we were driving 20-23 miles one way to work, the kids’ schools (all private at that time) and all extracurricular activities, the traffic was truly horrendous (an hour plus during rush hour to drive those 23 miles), a challenge with combining 4 children (3 boys and 1 girl) in the 2 available kids’ bedrooms…so we converted another living space to a third “kids room” and did the best we could…and one of the biggest reasons I think (with hindsight) is I underestimated what it was to move into “their” house where a maternal figure had already lived.

Steve’s boys were 15 and 11 when we married.  My son was 10 and my daughter was just 5.  It was a lot to ask of all of them to become step-siblings at all–let alone to ask them to overcome the housing challenges.  The tension and understandable “territory” issues as well as the feeling like a “visitor” was making the already difficult blending seem insurmountable.  After a short discussion we listed the house for rent (on our own–no real estate professionals involved initially just to see what would happen) and then things really started happening fast.  We were SO blessed to be contacted by a couple with no children and no pets (great qualities in a renter) who have now been in the home for near two years.  They have been phenomenal renters.

The blessings kept flowing in September 2010 and we found the perfect rental house for our current needs.   The neighborhood we are in could not be a better fit for this family!  Our office commutes are now 5 miles, the kids’ schools are either by bus or just 3 miles down the road and we have no traffic. The house is 4 bedroom, 3 bath and the positive impact on our household was worth the expense of a move just 10 months after we married!  Our rent is $1795 per month and we are in an excellent area.  I don’t want to own this house because it is much too big (and has foundation issues) and we envision being in something much smaller (and single story!) but it is perfect for where we are right now.

So, why this long drawn out story?  September 1 is the 30-day mark for our tenants to give us any notice of move out…and shortly thereafter is our deadline to give our landlords notice of our intentions…the tenants have expressed an interest in buying the house but we don’t know if they are financially able to right now…and if they can give us what we need to break even on the house and not have to show up with $10,000-$15,000 at closing…if they do want to buy and are able to do so, then we face another tough situation because we will get nailed by federal income tax if we don’t have a mortgage deduction but we don’t want to buy a house to fit our needs at this moment because we still have a houseful of kids…and we aren’t in financial position to buy a house anyway!  We can’t even afford to MOVE right now!  Whew.  Are you as worn out by reading this as I am by thinking about it?!  So little of it is within my control and I know that but the end of July last year and now this year is when this voice in my head starts talking about this stuff!  I feel better sharing it and will hope and  pray for the best.  Fretting over it won’t change anything.

Upon reread I am laughing at myself because my writing tonight really does come across as the frantic thoughts in my brain!  That’s a scary place for me alone and now I’m dragging all of you with me!  Ha! I’m particularly struck by the overuse of (parentheticals) in this post but I am laughing about them….a funny read for me!


Donating to Charity While In Debt…

by

One of the goals we came up with after filing taxes last year was to be more generous in our charitable giving. It’s easy to get so focused on penny-pinching that you forget there are folks out there less fortunate than yourself. For me, it’s difficult to not want to apply that amount toward debt and promise myself, “I’ll help out when I’m debt free.” To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t have donated any more than our usual amount… but like I’ve said before, I’m married to a great guy. That great guy has a heart for helping others. Now that we have a child of our own, he has become more active in giving to children’s hospitals, giving to help hungry children in famine areas, and to programs helping children with autism.

When I was preparing our taxes this year, I was surprised how much his *cough* I mean, our charitable giving added up.

We beat our giving amount from last year…

and it felt good.

Set some goals this tax season, you may surprise yourself.