Tax Refund Preparedness

We are coming to the time of the year that has become the second Xmas for many Americans.  And I purposely chose to write xmas because it has nothing to do with the real Christmas we should have celebrated so recently.  What I’m talking about is the look people get in their eyes as they get some portion of their taxes back from government.  To many people this is the only surplus of cash they will see during the whole year, and our business world thrives on the swing in spending this influx of cash creates.

So, if you are one of those looking at receiving a check from Uncle Sam in the next month or two, why not put a little more thought in how it can be used for preparing your family for the year ahead?  The following list of ideas might help stimulate your family in a way far better than buying some toy you’ve been looking at recently.  Each of the following is a simple idea, that will later be posts of their own with all the details you’ll want.

Debt:

“Debt is the slavery of the free”  Publilius Syrus (Roman author, 1st century B.C.)

Do you have any? Especially any consumer debt such as credit cards?  Have you paid off even your Christmas bills, much less things from before then?  This is the first place your money should go, no doubt about it.  You’ve already spent that money, and you will have no greater comfort than seeing the debt go away.

Savings:

Hate living between paychecks?  Do you always seem to have an emergency car repair or medical bill just when you have no money left?  Don’t you wish you just had a stash of cash.  Well, it’ll only happen when you put it there, and now is your chance.

Open a new savings account, put the money there and forget about it. That way it will be there when you REALLY need it. You also wont be tempted to buy that big TV on sale if it isn’t burning a hole in your pocket.

Food:

Last year, my wife and I saved most of the tax return we got (we usually keep our withholdings tight, so we don’t get much), and had them ready for when the local stores had their spring caselot sales.

Firearms:

Many people now are looking at the joyous occasion of bringing their first firearm home.  While I definitely don’t think people need to buy the most expensive guns out there, especially for a first firearm, they are still quite expensive.  Especially when you understand that the firearm is only part of the cost.  Proper safety gear, locks, etc add to the expense, and ammunition has been climbing at an amazing rate.  This is the chance to get some of what you need.

Clothing:

I cringe at mentioning this, as many people want nothing more than to spend that refund check on new clothes.  But probably not on the same kind I am mentioning here.  Would you be willing to walk home from work in the shoes you are wearing?  Do you have clothes tough enough to do some real outdoor labor in (I know many readers here are desk-jockey’s like me!).  Some quality clothing that can last through hard work is what you need.

Medicine:

An important thing to have on hand is a supply of medicines you often need, or could need in an emergency.  For common usage think of allergy medicine, contact solution, and other over the counter items.

If possible, also look at getting longer terms of any prescriptions you need.  Often you can get your normal 30-day dosage in a 90-day quantity for a cheaper price through certain pharmacies.

Tools:

If you have money after the previous ideas, well, you’re ahead of most.  And now it’s springtime, and time to look at that garden, and those can rollers and shelving you’ve wanted to build.  Now you need some good quality tools to do all that.  I’m not talking about the latest gadgets to simplify your life.  What I mean are the tried and true tools that will last forever, and allow you to work in a rewarding manner on your home, and for your food.

Books:

There is a wealth of information on the internet, and hopefully we can be a part of that.  But what do you do when you don’t have power?  What about just the comfort of reading from your easy chair to learn a new skill?  As big of a geek I am, there is a lot to say about having a “Dead-tree” version of information you want.

Bags:

Have you finished your Bug out Bag, Get Home Bag, 72 hour kit? (or any other term that fits your needs)  If not, well, no excuse now.  You’ve passed over many other things that should have such a high priority in your life, it’s time to finally *finish* your bags.  Get them ready to use, after all the kitcamp will be coming, and you don’t want to miss that.

Taxes are the way the government has of artificially inducing the rainy day everybody has been saving for

4 Replies to “Tax Refund Preparedness”

  1. Regarding savings, I’m planning to bring my bank balances down to minimum during 2009. The season of crashing banks has just begun, and the FDIC is not set up to save more than a few bank’s depositors. Even if the Feds step in with more printing-press money to save all the banks failing down the line, you may not recover all your deposits in the event of bank failure. This could be a time for cash storage for the same reasons as food storage, but consider inflation. Dollars during an Obama government will lose value rapidly.

  2. Regarding savings, I’m planning to bring my bank balances down to minimum during 2009. The season of crashing banks has just begun, and the FDIC is not set up to save more than a few bank’s depositors. Even if the Feds step in with more printing-press money to save all the banks failing down the line, you may not recover all your deposits in the event of bank failure. This could be a time for cash storage for the same reasons as food storage, but consider inflation. Dollars during an Obama government will lose value rapidly.

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