Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Against the grain

Is there anything in your financial life in which you go against conventional wisdom?

Being tax time there is lots of internet talk about tax returns. The ones that always catch my eye are the people who brag that they are getting back $46 or something like that. I’ve known for a long time that I don’t follow the rules for getting a tax return. As I said previously my husband claims zero so that we get a huge return. When I worked, I did the same. The thinking is that it is a forced savings. I like to “trick” myself into living on less. I’m aware of the numbers and I know that if we put the extra income that we could be getting into savings we would have more than just our tax return. Or would we? The big question is whether or not we would actually put every single dollar of that money into savings. I don’t think we would. I don’t think at the end of the year we would have over $11,000 in the bank. I think that when we went car shopping last spring we would have ended up with a more expensive car. I think that when we landscaped our back yard last summer we would have used a more expensive paver. I think that when we went on vacation last winter we would have eaten at fancier restaurants. Why not? We would have had the money.

But because we didn’t have the money sitting right there we cut corners when we could. I still got my minivan but I got the base model Kia instead of the Toyota we had been eyeballing. The backyard patio is made of concrete pavers, that my husband laid himself. Sure stamped concrete was what we really wanted, but we couldn’t afford it. And for our vacation I stopped at Costco the morning we left and bought a big pack of blueberry muffins to eat for breakfast in our hotel, so we only had to pay for two meals a day. Since breakfast for four in the hotel restaurant costs over $30.00.

I do consider myself responsible with my money. I’m conscious of my spending, but I don’t think I could be diligent enough for every single extra dollar to make it into the savings account. I’m sure I would have a significant amount saved, but not the full $11,632 even with interest.

1 comment:

JB said...

I agree with this 100%... I like to do the same. I don't think any of us would save 100% of our return if we received it little by little each month. There's no way to distinguish it between the money you're supposed to spend... I think getting a return is a good idea.