Every Fall, around October, when the weather starts threatening to turn cold, my financial anxiety increases two-fold and I have to remind myself that I’m only a few short months away from receiving my annual windfall! I file as single parent/head of household, which seems to be to my benefit at tax time.
Unfortunately, also around that time of year, I’m counting my losses and planning the best way to benefit from my anticipated upcoming tax refund.
Typically. somethings gone wrong in the house that I had to patch or just do without because I couldn’t afford to get it fixed at the time. The funny thing is, over a decade ago when I purchased this tiny house, I thought I’d be able to use my tax refund to make some sort of upgrade to my old house. That only happened once and I was able to get central air installed.
By the end of 2013 I had had my 10 year old car go up, but I loved that old car and the body was still in great shape, so I decided to keep it and get a replacement engine for it with my tax refund. This vehicle is less expensive and more gas efficient than the truck I drive 60 miles every day! To me, getting that car back on the road would save me money in the long run.
Speaking of the truck I drive to work everyday, that needs fresh tires, break repairs, a new driver’s side mirror, and the heating and air conditioning needs fixing. I’m very fortunate that we didn’t have ‘the worst winter in 10 years’ as I heard everyone saying last summer! I couldn’t drive my truck far if the weather were below 32degrees with precipitation. My windshield wouldn’t clear and also, my toes would become so cold they’d be hurting and feel like they’d fall off by the time I got where I was going due to lack of heat on the driver’s side. I finally bought an electric blanket that could be plugged into the cigarette lighter. I used that sparingly because I feared something else would short out by my using the cigarrette lighter for an extended period of time.
I am also due for countless home repairs, but having lived through the winter as if we were camping, I’m more laxidaisical about rushing off to get those fixed so quickly.
There are two bills that will be paid off early this year, an old campsite membership, and my truck note! With my tax refund I will finish those bills off even earlier. Still, there are other outstanding bills I have, such as the vet, outstanding late fees, and if things run as they have in the past, by the time I get my refund I’ll need to pay catchup on my mortgage and electric bill.
Finally, I plan, as I have in the past few years, two change the way I pay my mortgage. I’d like to go from making one big payment everymonth, to paying bi-weekly. I need the extra money from my tax refund to allow for the extra upfront payment and set-up fee to get started in paying this way. I think twice a month, not only will I be making an extra payment every year, but it should balance out the rest of the month so that it won’t be tight every two weeks while I wait for the non-mortgage paycheck.
When I get my tax refund every year I try to hold onto it for as long as possible. I pay off whatever bills I can and get caught up on the rest. If by some good fortune anything else is left, I toy at the idea of taking a daytrip or small vacation. Let’s hope this proves to be a good year!