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What We Do With Our Tax Refund

February 10th, 2014 at 07:22 pm

Getting a chunk of money back from the Feds and/or State? What to do with that money? Here is the strategy we use each year. I will use a refund of $5,000 to make the math easier.

10% - $500 to Charity
10% - $500 hers
10% - $500 his (which really means hers)
70% - $3,500 to savings (retirement, emergency fund, regular savings)

So 20% will probably be going for wicker furniture or upgrading a bathroom or new drapes or some other exhilarating project. Sadly it probably won't be going towards a shopping spree at Victoria Secrets.

If we had any outstanding debt I would use at least half of the 70% for debt repayment.

Don't forget to consider adjusting your withholding with your payroll department so you get more money each paycheck instead of a large refund. The only reason we get a tax refund is because of the EIC (earned income credit) we get because of all the yard-apes.

Now all I have to do is finish gathering all my 2013 tax docs so I can get my refund. Lame I know. I should have done that by now.

A Short Post About 2013

February 9th, 2014 at 05:33 pm

Here are a few stats from our 2013 budget/expenditures. The good and the not so good.

Groceries:

This is for a family of 14. At any given time 1 or 2 kids could be out of the house but we also have friends, acquaintances and those we can hardly tolerate over for meals a lot.

Food and Drink Expenditures for 2013 (includes eating out).

Year - $15,120 ($1,080 per person per year)

Monthly - $1,260 ($90 per person per month)

Daily - $41.54

Average cost per meal per person = $1.15. I used 12 family members since sometimes kids are out of the house. But really it's more like 99 cents per person per meal.

We used to spend $1,600 per month a few years ago. But when Aldis opened our monthly bill dropped dramatically.

Granted some of the kids are young. But 7 of them are age 12 and older. Plus my wife eats like she is going to the chair.

And no we aren't eating junk all day long. Plenty of fruits, veggies and meats. Everyone is fairly healthy...well Sam is coughing like she's gonna hack up a spleen, but she'll live.

I could save even more if I could break the gallon-a-day milk habit my kids have.

The Feds need to take cost efficiency advice from us.

Utilities:

Average Monthly Expenditures

Electric - $250

Natural Gas - $115

Water - $100

Average per month for all 3: $465

Before 2013 we were spending well over $500 per month. So it's improved but is still too high. This older rambling house that has been added on to many a time is very inefficient to heat and cool. And 5 loads of laundry and 2 loads in the dishwasher daily adds up. Plus thankfully the kids bathe/shower daily...for the most part.

Retirement Savings:

Without going into specific dollar amounts. I was able to funnel 30% of my salary into retirement investments. A major improvement over years past when it was usually in the 10-15% range. The main reason for this was the paying off of our mortgage in the fall of 2012.

Medical Expenses:

$225 per month. I could reimburse myself for these costs from my Health Savings Account (HSA) but choose to pay for them out of pocket and let the HSA buildup tax-free.

Gasoline:

$150 per month (no work commute and no excessive hauling the kids around)

Kids Activities/Sports/Piano/Trips/Fun etc:

$200 per month

Homeschool Expenses:

K-8th grade (5 kids) -$1,000 for the year. That is mostly for an at-home tutor/teacher helper. Less than $100 was for books and supplies.

Tutor Fees for 2 high-schoolers - $5,050. Plus a few hundred dollars for books.