“When the money keeps rolling in, you don’t ask questions…” So asserts Che in Evita. We’ve got some money rolling in, and we’re doing nothing BUT asking questions. First came tax filing weekend. Last year I decided that, with the online tools available, it surely can’t be that hard to do our own taxes. Instructions and online assists, and the math is pretty basic. On top of that, it means saving the $400.00 that most local tax preparers charge. OK, so it’s a lot of time, but it IS $400.00 staying in our pockets. This past Saturday, I got all my business paperwork done and chose to use H & R Block‘s free online filing software through the IRS website. It was soooooo easy to use! No, no one’s paying me to say that. The form is very user-friendly and I didn’t have to calculate much of anything. It also keeps a ticker of your refund or debt, and our refund numbers kept going higher and higher. I looked at it and said, “That’s not right. That’s too much!”
I got to the end (in under two hours!) and announced that everyone would be happy with this year’s refund. The first thing Peter asked was, “Is there enough to go to Universal?” I replied, “Oh yeah. We could go on a VERY nice trip to Universal – after we’ve wiped out our debt snowball and saved up for it.”
And that right there is the cold, hard evidence of how Financial Peace University has changed our lives. Last year, we got our refund and immediately made reservations for a Walt Disney World vacation. We were content to continue making monthly payments in exchange for seven days of fun in the “happiest place on Earth.” Thing is, though, that, looking back, I had regrets. Sure, we had fun and made some good memories, but how much better would those memories have been if we’d been able to clear our debts first and save up for the trip! We rushed it, because my mom kept talking about taking our older daughter to Disney World, and we were afraid that she’d take the joy of her first trip away from us.
So, looking at this money that will soon be coming to us, the question is, What will we do with it? The temptations are many and great – landscape the yard, buy a new HD flat-screen TV, replace our garage door, go to Universal Studios. My Free Spirit husband would jump on any one of those. I Corinthians 10:13 promises that God will not lead us to more temptation than we can bear, and God will give us a way out if we find ourselves in a tempting situation. For Peter, God provided me to help lead him away from temptations, and I rely on God, because those things would be nice, I’ll admit. So I’ve made plans for it – squirrel some away for savings. Set some aside to replace the battery and tire on my Pontiac so I can sell it. And then… The debt snowball. That money will make a pretty big dent in it, which is reason to celebrate. (Can we say “no more credit card debt”?) In fact, we are confident that we can wipe out our debt snowball by the end of next year on the outside. That’s exciting to me! Then we can really start saving.
So, after relishing the thoughts of what it’ll be like to be out of debt and actually losing sleep from the endorphin rush (that’s some heady stuff there!), I was contentedly willing to wait for our refunds to be deposited into our accounts.
Then Monday, we heard our mail carrier beeping her horn twice, her way of letting us know that we have a package. My older daughter and I went out to retrieve our mail, and not only did I have a case of soap, but we had some cards and there was a small notecard sized envelope to us with our church’s address as the return address. Curious, I opened it up and found a blank note card with a gift card in a large amount to a local big box store. I was in shock!
My husband and I were puzzling over who could’ve sent this. He thinks someone from our Sunday morning small group may have done it after I was joking about the beans and rice. Sometimes we live like NO ONE else. Granted, beans and rice aren’t our favorite meal, but they sustain us, we’ll eat it and no one goes to bed hungry. Not once did we complain or grouse about what we were lacking; after all, we knew it wasn’t going to last. We were grateful for what we had, and, as meager as it was, we knew it was so much more than many people have. It felt funny being the object of someone’s charity, though we were grateful for it. (We could actually buy meats that didn’t come from fowl or cows; we had a delicious roast pork shoulder for our Valentine’s dinner.) Someone felt moved because we weren’t living at their standard of living and wanted to make that better. It was very sweet of them to do so, but I don’t think we’re in need because we don’t keep up with our friends’ lifestyles. After all, it costs a lot of money to keep up with the Joneses, and it’s not worth keeping up with their debts, too.
Say you were going to be receiving $5,000.00 to use however you’d like. What would you do with it?
- Ten Ways to Use That Tax Refund (turbotax.intuit.com)
- Resist The Temptation To Blow Your Tax Refund On Something Stupid (businessinsider.com)
- Murphy’s Law: If anything can go wrong, it will… (bfcu4u.wordpress.com)