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Archive for July, 2007

Jumped off the train

July 26th, 2007 at 02:56 pm

I officially ended my participation in the coupon trains today. I've been thinking about it for a while, and have seen several of the train members jump over the last few months for various reasons. I guess I finally realized/admitted that I wasn't getting enough REALLY great coupons from it. I was taking coupons for stuff I could use, but nothing that I couldn't do without. So with that, and the pressure that comes from getting it and knowing it needs to be turned around quickly, and the cost of mailing it ($4 each), I decided to call it quits.

I feel good about the decision though. I've needed to make some small changes like this for a while, so I'm glad to put them in motion. Another change: I'm going to start having my property taxes taken directly from the checking account. I've been meaning to do this for a few years now (I know - pathetic), but I just got my stubs in the mail today and it had the enrollment form for autopay, so now I really have no excuse.

Another long overdue change: I started having the kids do chores. They're 6 and 8 now. They both make their beds, put away their clothes after I fold them, DD sets the table and gets the mail, DS puts the recyclables in the garage and brings up the garbage can, and they both need to clean the playroom together. It may not sound like much, but it's been a really positive thing for me. I'll add more to their list as I think of them.

Finally, though I have mixed feelings about this one, we're dipping in to savings to pay off some debt/bills. We have about $4500 on a 0%cc that expires in September. This was from a home improvement a while back where we added a room and bathroom to our house. We also have $2700 for some other necessary home improvements, and the $1000 tax bill from the audit. So we're cashing in some mutual funds to wipe that all out. We're finally ready to start fixing the bathroom that was damaged in the flood last October, and I want to have the rest of this stuff cleaned up (financially) before we start the bathroom.

So alot's been going on...baby steps, but I feel positive about them. We'll see how it goes.

Audited!

July 24th, 2007 at 11:31 am

Ouch...got a certified letter in the mail yesterday. The state of NJ audited our 2004 tax return and found that we understated our income by $2600, which results in taxes due (plus interest and penalty) of about $1000.

I'll double check to make sure, but I think I know what happened...NJ doesn't allow you to deduct 401(k) contributions the same way the Federal Gov't does. I always get multiple sets of W2s, because I work in NY and live in NJ, so I must have submitted the Federal W2 with my NJ taxes, which would show the lower income amount.

Is there ever a good time to unexpectedly be told that you owe $1000? I don't think so, but this hurts more than usual. Sigh...

Where have all the old-timers gone?

July 10th, 2007 at 03:15 pm

It's been forever since I've blogged. Looking over my last few posts, each of them start that way. I'm swamped, but I've been swamped for as long as I've had kids, so that can't be it. I guess I just haven't been focusing so much on finances lately. At all. No major problems, everything humming along, but nothing exciting to blog about either.

Before I blog, I like to catch up on a few of the blogs on this site. It seems like many of the "old-timers" that started on this site around the time I did are posting less, or not at all. Remember Retire@50? What happened to her? I used to really like reading her blog. And PricePlus was always one of my favorites. Even the ones that are still posting seem to be doing it less frequently. (Except Ima - I'm always inspired by you!). I check in on some newer blogs now and then, but I haven't been able to follow them as closely as I'd like to. I'm not giving up, though. I just need to figure out a way to do it.

OK, pity party over. Here are some financial happenings over the past few weeks: Went on the annual vacation to the Outerbanks. Always relatively cheap. We split a house with my brother's family, and eat in every night but 1, so it's not that expensive.

Daughter made a travelling soccer team. We're really excited for her, but the letter literally went like this: Dear Daughter, Congratulations on making the soccer team. Please forward $375 and a copy of your birth certificate no later than July 20th. I'm going to track how much I spend on all of this just to see what it runs me.

I need to go cook dinner, but it was great checking in...