32B's Blog

…where I write my words

Taxes & Financial Discipline

This is the season for stupid questions.  My ex-husband pays child support bi-monthly.  Per our legally signed divorce agreement, he shall claim one of our two children when he is current on his child support payments for that tax year.  He has never been current on anything.  Late 2009, he voluntarily quit a job to move elsewhere with hopes that the Great Recession was a myth.  This unemployment flowed into 2010 but he ended up with a job.  I started getting child support payments again which was a definite plus to my bottom line but that job was short-lived.  Weeks turned into month before I received another payment.  It was not until August 2010 that the payments became regular again.  I had to contact my attorney to have the withholding agreement forwarded to the correct HR dept so everything could be set-up….again.  Never once during his unemployment did he send any money my way, try to have the kids when they were out of school so I wouldn’t have a childcare bill, or anything that would have helped.  Did that stop him from asking me to claim one of the kids on his 2010 tax returns?  Of course not.  Audacious?  Absolutely.  Surprising?  Absolutely not.  He didn’t really ask though.  He said, “which kid are you claiming on your taxes this year?”  I immediately thought, “I didn’t know it was Stupid Question Day! Yayy, let’s play.  Both!”  I referenced the divorce papers even offering to call my attorney and ask her to FedEx another copy to him but he said he has read the papers and know what the agreement is but he also know I can go over the agreement if I choose to.  You’re correct.  I can but why would I ever decide to do that??  I love Stupid Question Day 🙂 it’s funny.

So, I filed my own taxes again this year.  I think this is my 3rd year filing on my own and I must say I am starting to know forms by name and understand what they mean/do.  My return this year was accepted and will be about $1k more than it was last year.  I have no plans other than to put 90% of it into my Emergency Fund which will finally bring the balance to $10k by March 2011.  Yayyy!  I am inching closer and closer to my goal which is awesome so I can start pursuing financial goal #2: either saving for a house and/or consistently maxing out my Roth IRA contribution.  No desire for a car (although my kids think we desperately need one), new purse/tote, big stupid TV (although everyone keep begging me to upgrade my ancient big booty one), or to buy stupid stuff.  What I probably will do is grocery shop like I’m at the mall.  I follow a set grocery budget every month and I have tried to plan meals out, go to the store with a list, and find sales but for once I just wanna throw some stuff I want and need in the cart with little regard to price.  For now, that is my idea of a splurge.  Homeowner: years in the future since I have no intentions on leaving Chicago any time soon and I have no intentions on buying a house in Chicago.  I am still working on improving my horrible credit score too so the additional time saving up about 20% for a down payment would be helpful on both fronts.  Retirement: I hope to live long enough to see retirement and I plan to have money to sustain my lifestyle at that time.  I do not have any 529 or other college savings for my kids because, imo, planning my own retirement is more important since there are a wealth of options available to pay for college educations.  Retirement?  Social Security isn’t even a safety net and I don’t want to burden my kids in my old age with financial help so the more I save the less they have to worry about mom.  However, if I never live to see my own retirement, at least they will have thousands of dollars at their disposal to use when they need it.  That reminds me, I need to figure out how to add stipulations to things like this in writing.

The AFP officially granted me permission to sit for the CTP exam!  I knew I had to buy the textbook, study, and take the exam but I totally forgot about certain criteria I had to meet to be admitted to take the exam.  I’m on chapter 2 of 17, using my flashcards, taking 3-4 hours to study kid-free on Thursday evenings, and lugging this heavy textbook with me during the week to read on the train to and from work.  Chapter 2 is about regulations and regulatory agencies.  To say this part is boring is an understatement.  I would much rather the test consisted of computations than concepts and terms but I didn’t write the test.  But, given the Great Recession, this is the important stuff.  How, why, and when all these regulations came about from the beginning of the banking/financial system of this great country.

I’m blessed.  I see other situations people are in, hear their stories, and think of how I used to be there and pray I never find myself there again.  Turning anything into a habit takes great discipline.  If I didn’t have at least a goal or desired to achieve something outside of what I was told I should have, then I wouldn’t be here.  This morning, I texted a friend about how great God has been to me.  “Absolutely phenomenal” was the exact phrase I used.  In a consumer world, few understand the concept of saving, investing, and making smart financial decisions.  It’s not that I expect to live forever to enjoy any of the sacrifices I have made to get where I am.  I saw my parents and their parents struggle.  I see friends struggle.  I see family struggle.  I know what it’s like to want for nothing even when my bank account is overdrawn.  I know how it feels to be poor with thousands of dollars at my disposal.  It’s not about money and never will be.  Freedom is all I desire for myself now and for my kids later.  To never feel pressured or a slave to something or someone just to uphold a ridiculous lifestyle or definition of what “rich” truly is.  I’m babbling but I’m happy.  OAN, did I mention I got tickets to the Janet Jackson concert in March?  Ms. Jackson if you’re nasty!!  Hasta luego 🙂

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January 28, 2011 Posted by | Life | , , , | Leave a comment

To Pay or Not To Pay?

My friend texted me yesterday to tell me she’d received her tax refund check.  She did Turbo Tax which told her 2 weeks for direct deposit.  I’d originally did H&R Block Online but, since my childcare provider refused to give me her SS#, H&R Block’s system would not allow me to submit the form 2441.  This was after I paid my filing fee and my return was rejected.  So, I called H&R Block, asked for a refund (which they gave me), I printed off my 1040 form their system had populated for me, and I filed my taxes free at irs.gov (federal filing only).  I filled out a form wrong as it related to my direct deposit and I forgot to type my own name, address, etc (lol) so it was rejected.  That night, I called the IRS tax dept and this nice guy walked me through the errors explaining what each meant.  I re-submitted my return and it was approved!  I got my full return yesterday as well.  Do not fall for that lie as far as childcare providers are concerned.  The government isn’t perfect on a lot of fronts but cheating working parents out of money they paid persons to care for their children while they worked and/or went to school is not gonna happen.  I’m not sure if or when the IRS will contact her about those monies unclaimed….probably after April 15th to at least give her a chance to file.  I really don’t care.

My point today is the purpose I had for my tax money….to pay off my creditors.  Student loans aside (which amounts to a house), I owe about $3k in closed accounts which are now in collections.  No interest accruing.  No more late fees.  Just the balance as is.  I have already called 3 creditors who told me I must call the credit bureaus to request the record deleted from my account after I pay it.  I listen to this person lie to me over the phone and then I say, “listen here boo boo, I have talked to the credit bureaus already and they told me you’d say that because they only report what you tell them to report.  If you tell them it’s delinquent then they report that.  If you tell them it’s paid in full then they report that.  If you tell them to delete it then they do that as well.”  Then this person on the phone says, “well, let me check with my supervisor”…yeah, you do that.  The supervisor gets on the phone and politely tells me they do not delete but they offer this pretty picture of how awesome “paid in full” will look on my report.  They make it seem like the best picture ever painted.  Hmmm.  Most items fall off 7 years after it was reported 180 days delinquent so that means I have about 3-5 years for some things to fall off completely. 

Honestly, I have a list of stupid stuff on my report…..STUPID!  Library late fee for $200 which will fall off after it’s held a “paid in full” status for a year.  Old gas bill from college for about $100.  Old electric bill from college for about the same amount.  I have 3 credit cards….one for $850, another for $600, and the last for $1,900.  The last one does not report that amount on my report which is suspect to me so, if I pay it, I will pay what people can see on my report.   It’s not my problem they aren’t reporting the full information.  I have a $1,900 medical bill and another $600 medical bill.  I have a $600 auto insurance policy I kinda skip out on years ago.  All in all, I don’t owe much.  My plan is to pay off those which will be removed in a decent time instead of having to wait the full 7 yrs anyways because, in my little knowledge on this matter, I am not sure which is to my advantage.  Two items did get deleted from my report based on the Quarterly Update I get from Bank of America.  This increased one bureau’s score for me by 30 points.  I have 3 items that are paid that aren’t reporting correctly so I gotta call the 3 bureaus on that.  Credit stuff is irritating although the BofA guy said my score was actually pretty good considering his is about 100 points lower than mine.  Wow!

Should I keep my tax refund or spend it clearing up my credit?  Will it make a difference?  I don’t do the crazy shopping like most folks do. I need a new TV but I could care less about it…no one is seeing it unless they come over but if it bothers them then don’t come over at all.  Perfect solution.  I have a tendency to hoard money though.  I was always broke when I was married and it wasn’t one of those “he fell on hard times” situations.  Nope, he was just one of those “keepin up with the Joneses” so it devastated our finances.  Since then, I keep money just-in-case.  Sometimes I have my moment when I gotta make a bill next month but it’s not an issue when I’ve been paying them one time each month for the last 6 months.  I don’t have a boyfriend so Valentine’s Day is not an expense.  Both of my kids are on punishment till the summer so no expenses there unless they need to eat between now and then.  I don’t need anything as far as things are concerned.  I have a reunion with my sorority I plan to attend in April.  Basically, I have nothing planned.  I don’t have a car and I could seriously buy a car outright right now but I don’t want to.  Living in Chicago with a car is a “want” and I don’t want a car insurance pymt, sticker fees, and the headache of finding parking on residential streets.  My kids would love for mommy to have a car but, when they complain, I tell them how I walked 5 miles in 5 feet of snow on my way to school as a youngster and had to do it all over again on the way home with no backpack having to carry each book in my arms with my girly shoes and dress on so walking 3 city blocks to take the bus or train is a dream!  Ok, I lie to them from time to time but I thought I might as well keep that lie of a story alive  lol carry it down from my great grandparents to my grandparents to my parents to me to my kids.  In the meantime, I’ll figure out the best strategy for getting a house in my near future as well as a car.  Till then, I’ll hoard like no hoarder ever has before.

My friend’s birthday is next week.  I thought to bake something since I don’t wanna use any of my money towards a gift.  My friends think that shows too much effort and I should just buy a shirt or something.  Hmm…both require effort.  What is an effortless gift?!

February 6, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fresh Eyes

I have an hour before I get to leave work and go home. My eyes are tired and I know this because I keep catching mistakes on a report I did last month so, to prevent another “what the hell was I doing” moment with myself….I am taking an Eye break.  Fresh eyes are always needed when you star too hard at numbers for long periods of time….eventually they seem to run together or look the same.  I have a few random thoughts today:

I’m sitting in my little cubicle next to my supervisor when I get a little window from Outlook…I have a new email.  I glance at it to see if I wanna read it now or later.  I read “Denisha, you will be doing training for (company’s name)….” I clicked the lil box which opened the email and my heart started beating like crazy.  A one day training in Schaumburg, IL for a new client of my dept.  I’m nervous as hell!  My sup said I can take a veteran guy from our company with me but, as she said it, she sighed really loudly as if to mean “if you really feel you need help or someone to hold your hand” so I read between the lines.  I have to go solo.  No one asked me if I wanted to go solo.  She emailed my manager, he replied back “I agree with Denisha going”, and I was the last to know.  Great!  Some time next month I will do training #1 and #2 eventually which my sup kinda slipped on in the convo.  Public speaking is not my thing.  I like to talk but in front of people about something they have no clue on and I am supposed to be the “expert”…nope!  It should be easy if they don’t know anything anyways, right?  Well, it’s not.  I’m just freaking out.  I’ll be fine.  I’ll prepare beforehand and make sure I can set the training crap up (lord knows I know nothing about setting up technology anything) and I’ll give it my all.  I hope I don’t pass out.

I printed off 2 forms I need for my taxes since my childcare provider would prefer I not claim the thousands I paid her for 2009 but she has clearly fell and bumped her head on something.  She doesn’t have an EIN# and she refuses to give me her SS# so the IRS told me how to file for my credit(s) and still cover my butt just in case.  It’s something called Due Diligence but the forms are needed so I gotta get that done.  I usually do my own taxes but I’m not sure if I will this year since I have additional paperwork that is new to me….don’t wanna mess things up for myself.  Also, I need to file because I married an azzhole who may try to claim one of the kids for his tax purposes.  Per our divorce documents, he can only claim one of the kids if he is current on his child support.  If he is behind for whatever reason (which he is since he quit his job for p*ssy over the summer), I have the legal right to claim both.  If he claims one behind my back, I have to take him to court so the judge will legally force him to pay the money back to me along with my attorney fees.  See how irritating this can get?  No one has any idea the ball of shyt I married….all they care about is seeing my family back together again.  Walk in my shoes first and then you can suggest how I wear them.  I don’t get frustrated anymore although I used to.  I just let people have their own opinions, think I am going to hell, blah blah blah, and smile as I walk away.  So, tomorrow I shall file (I really have to make time actually) my taxes so I don’t give him time to exercise his potential to be an azz.

I made a meatloaf last night and it did not fall apart 🙂 this is my 3rd time in my life trying to make it.  This time I used eggs cause I don’t remember if I used any the last 2 times.  Anywho, my oldest ate it like he hadn’t eaten in years!  That boy has a tapeworm or something.  I think I cook enough just to find out I have nothing for leftovers.  Counterproductive if my goal is to cook enough for several days as opposed to one.

Church.  I try not to complain or let anything bother me so I have something to complain about but I just have small annoyances.  The guy I mentioned earlier who is married gave me this big smile and opened his arms to hug me.  I suddenly found my 4 yo very interesting as I walked on by pretending I hadn’t noticed his arms.  One lady told my oldest I need to have him in Sunday School.  My initial thought, “is she coming to pick you up?!”   My next thought, “she need Jenny Craig but you don’t see me putting my nose where it don’t belong”.  My kids should go to Sunday school.  I would even say they need to go to Sunday school.  That comment just irritated me a tad bit because she could have said something to me instead of to my son but it’s cool….I’ll act like I didn’t hear it.  But, if I do take them, what will I do for that hour??  Adult classes are boring. 

I haven’t ran in 2 weeks but the weird thing is that I’m losing weight.  When I do run regularly I end up gaining weight.  Really strange!  It’s warm enough outside but I don’t feel like dodging patches of ice still on the ground AND my work schedule for this week and next is cutting into my work from home days (aka running afternoons).  This week, I only have 1 work from home day but my 4 yo is out of school that day too so I will have him home with me.  Next week, we have auditors coming in which means we have to be in the office that whole week but I have Friday off to go to Indy for the weekend.  You see?  I won’t be able to run til February 😦 I’m losing what fitness level I have gained but it’s cool.  I’m Bunny…I will bounce back.  Ok, back to work and happy MLK day!! Hasta luego amigos!!

January 18, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Ex-Factor

becca20raynes1I was so gonna write about something different today but my focus was changed when I checked my email.  My ex-husband and I claim one of our kids on our taxes each every year so I emailed him today to make sure he was claiming the one he had claimed last year.  A simple email one full sentence at the most …

Hey, just checking to see if you were still claiming blah blah blah on your taxes this year so we don’t claim the same SS# by accident.  Let me know what you decide.”

So, he replies back within an hour or so with a brief response of …

I think it may be best for you to claim the kids since I may end up owing and not reaping any benefits from it.  I will let you know next week though.  How are the kids?  How are you?”

Ok, so the question concerning the kids was normal but my eyes lingered on the … “How are you?”  He has never in recent history asked about me.  We have kept things about the kids and this has been pretty civil and I thank God for that since it could be much worse.  I replied with a response to the tax issue and said I would wait for his email or phone call next week.  Then I spent the “How are you?”  portion of my email talking about the kids, their doctor appts, school, grades, and my work-from-home days recently.  Then, trying to be courteous, I added a “How are you?”  at the end to close out the email.  What he replied back had me speechless. 

I miss being able to help you out with things instead of you having to do it all yourself.  I miss you very much.  I dream of you from time to time. I know I may not be what you are looking for but I have realized my mistakes and feel that I am a different man.  I am sure you have found someone by now that treats you better than I had.  I have no shame in saying that I am sorry and wish that I could have you back again.

He ends the email by stating that he will stop being mushy and will see me and the kids soon.  My thoughts?  I have none.  You know how you can go so long without seeing a face you used to love that, when they return, you recognize them but are they the same person you used to love?  That is me right now.  When I see him that is just it … I see him.  I feel nothing.  Not that I am trying not to but because there is nothing there.  Apart of me notices a pattern of behavior where he messes up, loses something of value, realizes it later, and makes an attempt to have it back again.  Only … this time it is his umpteenth mistake and his umpteenth time trying to come back. 

I will never say he has not changed because I don’t spend enough time with him to determine that.  I will never bad-mouth him (anymore).  I will never laugh at his efforts.  I will continue to support him and encourage him but a man must be a man whether he has a woman on his arms or not.  I have yet to see that man … that does not mean I never will … but regret is a b*tch.  I can only imagine what he may be feeling right now.  I commend him for his honesty.  I applaud him for getting his life together.  Who is he getting his life together for?  Me?  To win me back?  The one thing he does not see is that if he would just focus on God and take his eyes off me, when he turns around, I will be there waiting. 

I prayed to God a month ago concerning my ex-husband.  I was sitting at home thinking while he had the kids for Christmas and something came over me making me miss our family.  I talked to God and said that if He brings him back to me in all seriousness then I promise to give “us” a real consideration.  I see him coming back but I don’t see God anywhere in the vicinity.  I need confirmation….

January 17, 2009 Posted by | Love | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments