It’s Tax Season again. You can tell because the poor bastards dressed up as Uncle Sam or the Statue of Liberty (or, in once case, Captain America) are out on the street corners, frantically waving signs urging you to get your taxes done with whatever company they’re shilling for.
As soon as I get my copy of TurboTax (yes, I’m a brand partisan) and The Wife’s W2s, I’ll get our crap filed, and hopefully reap a sweet, sweet refund. We’ve already figured out the main purpose of the refund: build up our savings. We’re not choking on debt like so many of our peers- we’ve got a few credit cards, none of them maxed out but all of them with balances that are heftier than I’d like (AKA “not zero”) and for the past few years, we’ve thrown a chunk of that refund at the debt, only to have unexpected expenses come up. I can’t say that this was my idea— my wife was the one who pushed hardest for the cash to go into savings rather than toward the cards— but I’m happy to go with it.
With that in mind, she proposed a completely novel idea: how ’bout we QUIT BUYING STUFF. I know, it’s groundbreaking, the world’s economists might scoff at our audacity and bleeding-edge thinking, but it makes sense. Here are the things that we figured out:
- We’ve got a huge backlog of movies, video and board games, and TV shows that we’ve acquired but haven’t yet consumed. Years and years worth. I can’t even count the number of video games that I’ve started and then put down. And books? Don’t even get me started on books.
- Getting new stuff is awesome, and it’s going to be hard to quit acquiring new stuff.
- If we don’t have debt and cut down on things, there’s the chance that I could take some other kind of job and get further along in my education. Doubly so once my wife gets her second degree.
- Maybe, just maybe, I don’t eat out so often on lunch at work. I should brown-bag it more.
Paired with this, we’re going to try to stash away some extra cash on each paycheck to keep that savings account strong like bull. I’d love to eventually have half a year’s salary locked up in there in case the worst happens, but that’s gonna take time. Lots and lots of time. Still…
This isn’t to say that we won’t be paying more attention to the previously mentioned credit cards. We need to get back on our old plan of using the Snowball Method to get rid of the debt on the cards. I mean, how awesome would it be to not have to pay bills? How much more cash would we have? It’s gonna be worth it. And (based on prior experience) it doesn’t really cramp our style. I just need a general awareness of what money is or is not budgeted toward stuff, and work around that.
We can do this.