Friday, February 17, 2012

A Taxing Situation

I’ve got some bad news for you.  If you were looking forward to pictures of me frolicking on a white, sandy Caribbean beach next month, you’re going to be disappointed.  My tropical Spring Break vacation plans have been brutally, painfully crushed. 

Why?  Let me explain the situation. 

I have never dreaded doing our taxes because I have an excessive amount of money withheld from my monthly paychecks.  I do this purposefully; as you know, I don’t have much extra “emergency” money in the event that we would owe.  As a result of my withholdings, we usually get a substantial tax return each spring.  We walked into our accountant’s office with a spring in our step.  We walked out dragging our feet.

This year, we owed.

I’ve owed money to Sallie Mae, Visa, Nordstrom, and Wells Fargo…but I’ve never owed money to the government for taxes.

We only owed $247.  Not the end of the world.  We certainly had the money to take care of it right then and there.  But still.  My dreams of getting $2,000 back (like we have in all previous years) were immediately dashed – along with my dreams of going on a vacation.

Tax day was obviously a big disappointment for both of us.  It was tempting to say, “Let’s just go on a trip anyway.  You only live once – let’s just do it!”  BUT…I was firm about not dipping into my Stopping Spree savings or putting anything on a credit card.  For perhaps the first time in recent memory, I was practical.  And reasonable.  And prudent.  And all those other sensible adjectives that nobody has ever used to describe me. 

Brian and I absolutely WILL travel again.  It’s hard for us to imagine this, but if we pay off our debt and start a consistent savings, the time will come when we’ll have money to go on multiple trips every year.  It just might require us giving our passports a break for a few years.  It is challenging to give up the “now” for the “later,” but that is exactly what I have to do.  It’s the right thing to do, and I need to break my habit of giving into the “now.”

I may have cried a tear or two after we finished filing our taxes, but I’m ready to move on.  Pollyanna-mode is in full effect as I view this as an opportunity to make my Spring Break better than ever.        

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