Friday, February 5, 2010

A New Spending Plan

I am sitting at my desk, drinking my smoldering cup of Starbucks tea, perusing my Franklin planner, working on my tasks list. It is snowing outside, and my neighbor and friend has briefly kidnapped my kids to build snow people in the backyard. Thank God that He has given us all diverse gifts. I would be making hot chocolate, but my daughter, Bobbi, detests chocolate, and Elijah, my 5 year old, will drink tea. I am just glad for this moment of solitude. Amazingly enough, my employer actually released us (yes as if from bondage) an hour early today.
You know how we go haywire when it snows in Columbus - emptying out grocery stores, filling up vehicles with gas, buying all the shovels and sidewalk salt - everybody is probably at home this evening, enjoying these same kinds of moments. It got me to thinking this might be God's way of improving the economy and creating instant family time.

I also think this weather may give some a chance to do something else that is very important. Rethink how you will spend your tax refund. It's definitely that time of year. I have some principals I have developed to help me deal effectively with any lump sum of money that falls into my hands (anybody who wants to throw some at me and watch me apply the principals, feel free to do so). I had to develop some principals early on, because I refuse to have a hand full of money one day, and the next day have nothing to show for that but a really, really nice jacket and some hotttt stilettos.
Ebeths Principal 1. Calculate - Calculate my tax return. Once I have done that, there are a couple of more calculations I need to perform. 10% is a really good round number, so I tend to use it for a lot of calculations. Follow me here - if my tax return is $5000 (we will round here for the sake of simplicity), 10% is a great number for an offering, a really grand number for both of my kids college savings plans, and a decent number for our emergency savings account. Those four 10% will decrease my return amount to $3000. That is not bad considering the investment that I have just made in the future of my family.
Ebeths Principal 2. Pay Up - I know that it is property tax time. Since my home is paid for, if I go ahead and pay the property tax for half the year, I won't need to worry about that. In addition to that, considering this economy, if there are any other bills that need to be caught up - catch them up. I don't care who tells you to do what with your income tax return - if you have outstanding debts and you can catch them up, do it. This is not a windfall, this is your money. Use it wisely to gain back steady footing.

So, at this point you may have $1000 left from that $5000 return. This is still more than you had when you didn’t have it.

Ebeths Principal 3. Forecast - Look at your immediate future. Does your car need a tune up, maintenance, an oil change? Get it now. Does your child have a trip to the dentist coming up - braces? Keep some of those funds in the bank for that time.

And finally, my final principal for income tax returns...

Ebeth's Principal 4. Budget an amount for yourself, and your family, to spend on something nice. An evening out? Tickets to see Dream Girls? Spa Day? One thing that is going to rejuvenate your spirit and soul, and encourage you, each of you.

I know that our government wants us to go out and spend, spend, spend to stimulate economic growth. But that is why we are in the mess we are in - I admonish you to make a plan. Think about it and use your return wisely, to benefit yourself and your family.
So ------>here is the plan - create your own Principals. Do what works for you. I tighten mine up yearly, depending on whether there is a return or the size of said return. The most important thing is that you make a plan that ends with most of your funds being used in a way that results in a measurable end. The same way you do with your monthly income. Right?

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