Taxes are part of every persons life. As Benjamin Franklin once said, there are only two things certain in life, death and taxes, but everyone acts like the government is giving away free money during tax season. That’s not the case, they are just giving you the money back that you overpaid to them. Most financial experts will say that it is bad to over pay the government, but I might just disagree unless you are a financial wizard or are great with your money. My reasoning is that if you live your life thinking you need to live off of X dollars a week, but your paying an extra $40 in taxes a week (A $2080 return) you will live your life without ever missing that extra cash. Many people would just blow the $40 dollars on a dinner, drinks, Star Bucks, etc. So loaning it to the government could be a huge help to many people. The big problem comes in when people decide to spend it on a new TV, Phone, Gambling, Vacation, or a down payment on new sports car. These are horrible uses for your tax refund. The smart thing to do would be putting it into a IRA, paying down credit card debt(Don’t build it back up after paying it off),paying principal on a car loan or mortgage. Someone could do this with the money through out the year, but physiologically paying off a debt all at once or putting a large some of money into a IRA at once feels better to me. Plus, I may of just blew that extra 40 dollars and never have noticed I spent it if the government wasn’t keeping it in a “savings account” for me. This year I paid off all of my credit card debt with my tax return. Next year I will not have any credit card debt to pay off. So I will get to invest it, but that’s a story for another time. If you get a large sum of money this tax season, just make sure to spend it wisely and your future self will thank you. If you really feel like you need to blow some money make sure to cap it a 5 to 10% of your return. Lastly, if anyone tells you that it’s dumb to let the government take more out of your pay check than is needed just tell them that your using the government as a 0% savings account. Most national banks are only paying around 0.01% anyway.
The best gifts in life come from the heart. They’re not expensive or extravagant and the people who really love you won’t expect them to be. Most of the Joneses in this world will spend a shit ton of money on Flowers, Chocolates, fancy dinners for this Valentines day and guess what none of that really shows any love at all. How does another man delivering flowers to your women for you sound romantic?!?!? Or how does chocolates that some worker made in a factory in who knows where say I love you ether? Lastly how does a dinner cooked by some guy or gal you don’t know say I love you. How about from now on we show people love the frugal way and get your hands dirty. Make your significant other some chocolate covered strawberries and don’t buy them already made. First, because it shows you care enough to do it for him/her. Secondly, It’ll be less than $5 to make a bunch of them vs $20 for just a few. Then how about you go to the store yourself and pick out the kind of Flowers you know she likes and take them to her on your Lunch Break? She’ll get to see you and you’ll get to see her face light up. Lastly cook a romantic dinner for your your significant that he/she loves!! Put some candles out and buy them a bottle of there favorite wine or 6 pack of beer. It’ll be a hell of a lot cheaper and you won’t have to fight any crowds. And this does not have to be for Valentines day. Do these things for your your significant on any day. Show them you love them randomly, but you don’t have to break the bank to do it.
Are you one of the Joneses or are your neighbors across the street? It could be both, it’s in our culture to the buy the biggest, newest, fastest, shiniest possession. It starts very young, you want that cool toy that your friend has, you or your parents think you need fancy clothes or that new pair of shoes that cost $300. Then you envy the guy or girl with the sports car or jacked up truck. Here are 6 steps to try and avoid being one of the Joneses, because I believe we have all tried keeping up with them at one time or another in our lives.
- Stop watching so much TV. TV ads are there to make you want that new car, Iphone X, or Beats by Dr. Dre. They are there to make you want to consume more. Not only do ads do this, but so do shows by showing how cool it is to have the nicest things, and most luxuriance homes. I’m not saying TV is all bad, but watching to much of it will get inside your head no matter if you’d like to admit or not.
- Enjoy the free things in life. Go for a walk, hike, bike ride, run. Head to the park and play with your kids. Make a fancy dinner at home. Go to the local museum. Lay a blanket out under the stars and count them. Skip Rocks across a pond. Have friends over to play cards or a board game. These are just a few things in life that you can do for free and not worry about buying a thing.
- Disconnect from social media. No ones lives are perfect, but on Facebook everyone looks like they are living in a fairy tale. They show off there vacations, fancy dinners, new house, car, Jewelry, phone,laptop, or clothes. Not only that, but social media sites want to sell you on there ads, just like TV does. You don’t have to delete your Facebook, but maybe delete the app and only get on through the browser, or at least turn off the notifications.
- Buy things you need first. Buy essentials first, food, shelter,transportation, clothing, etc. That doesn’t mean you have to buy these if you already have them. You don’t have to have the latest in fashion, a house way to big for your family, or a brand new luxury car. Transportation could be a used car or one you already have, bus pass, bike, scooter, or even those two things we call feet. Make sure you have housing that fits your size of family, not one to keep up with your colleagues or friends.
- Then ask yourself if you really want the wants. Wait 30 days before purchasing anything that you don’t need. Write it down or type it into your computer/phone and come back to it in 30 days. Most likely you will realize you don’t need that Iphone X, 4K 70 Inch TV, or any other new thing that your cousin, brother-in-law,friend, or parents got? I mean your old phone, TV, or (insert anything) works just fine and there’s a good chance that whoever just bought that new (insert anything) went into debt for that product or could of spent it on going out with friends, family, or hell maybe even a vacation, or you could always save it for a time you NEED something and have an experience for free.
- Don’t buy Luxury possessions that don’t out weigh the cost. I’m not saying don’t buy anything expensive. If you need a Mac for your job, get it, but don’t buy a Mac to surf Google, Facebook, or Twitter. Your just wanting to look like one of the cool kids. Do you really need that Brand new 50K car or would a used 2015 car bring you that the same happiness for less than half the price. Don’t buy that new Phone that came out last week, when your old one does everything that you need it to. If you don’t want to be one of the Joneses collect memories not expensive possessions that will mean nothing to you next week.
Cable or Satellite TV
Should anyone have cable or satellite anymore? There are only 3 reasons that I can think of for anyone to have cable or satellite TV anymore.
- You Live in the middle of no where. If you live deep in the country and you have slow internet you may need cable.
- You don’t have home Internet.
- You LOVE the NFL. If you “NEED” the NFL Sunday Ticket package your only option is AT&T’s Direct-TV, but you could cancel it after the season is over if your not stuck in a contract.
If you are one of these people or you just don’t want to give up your cable here are a few tips to try to lower your bill.
- Get rid of Showtime,HBO,Sports Package add-on, or any other add-on’s you may have. Go to a lower tiered package plan, you may not watch all of the channels you are paying for.
- If you’re contract is up or you’re not in a contract, shop around. Dish Network,Direct-TV, and your local cable company are always running deals to try to get you to switch to them. Sometimes they may even pay early termination fee’s if you are stuck in a contract.
- If you find a better deal call your provider and tell them you want to cancel. When they ask why tell them (Dish/Direct-TV/Cable Company) is offering you deal of ($$$$) per month. Let them offer you a deal. If it beats the other companies deal stay, if not leave them. Remember you are nothing, but a number to these companies. Don’t let them make you feel like you’re part of there family. They only care about making money off of you.
Please see my next post for Streaming devices you can purchase and great streaming alternatives to cable or satellite companies.
This year I am going to cut my credit card debt from over 5k to 0. Which will mostly be done with my tax refund. I do this on a yearly basis, but it keeps getting worse and worse every year. I started out having 1K in credit card debt in a year. Then it grew to 2K,3K,4K,5K. Now it has to stop!! This will be the last year I use my tax return to pay down a credit card balance. My main goal for this year isn’t to save an extra 10K,100K, or 1 million dollars. It’s going to be saving up for a emergency fund(1k), new windows, and last but not least staying out of credit card debt. This may sound like no goal at all to some of you, but for me it’ll be HUGE. My Family of 3 only brings home around $2500 a month after taxes, insurance,and 401K contributions. My wife works 4 days out of the month, and I work 5 days a week. So we are not bringing in a crazy amount of money and have we have a house payment, two car payments, car insurance, etc . We Usually get over 5K back on our tax return and from 2019 on I am going to use that to pay down debts. In 2019 one of our car payments should be below 5k and paying off one car would free up an extra 281 dollars a month to save/invest/spend and that would be HUGE for us. My goals may seem like nothing to some of you, but I’m just happy to be start on my journey to a better and more secure life. If any of you think you’ve got some good advice for us please let me know down below.
And Don’t Forget Never Keep Up With The Joneses They’re in more debt than you.
If you are using Verizon, or AT&T you are paying to much for your phone service! Stop paying crazy high cell phone bills for no reason. Here are some carriers below you should think about switching to. I recently switched my parents from Verizon to Cricket and now they are saving about $750 a Year!
- Cricket Wireless is owned by AT&T and uses the same towers for way less. Right now they are running a deal for 4 lines of unlimited data for 100 dollars. All Taxes and Fees are already included in there plans.
They also offer the following per line
2GB for $30
5GB for $35 w/ Auto Pay
Unlimited Throttled for $50 w/ Auto Pay (Throttled @ 3 Mbps)
Unlimited High Speed for $55 w/ Auto Pay
They Also have great discounts for people who have 2-5 people on a plan. Please Click here to see all of there pricing and save up to $70 a month if you have 5 lines.
- Republic Wireless This Companies plans are very basic unlimited talk and text for $15 a month. Then for each GB you use it will cost you $5 Dollars extra per month. There towers run off of both Sprint & T-Mobiles. To Check if you current phone is compatible with Republic Wireless click here and if your in need a new phone they sell them for as low as $99 Dollars. Also, you can Check there coverage here.
- Freedompop This one is for the most frugal or most in need of a way to save a few bucks a month. It does not have the best service or the best rating, but you can get it for free each month. It’ll only cost you 1 penny for the sim card and 10 dollars to downgrade to the free plan. Make sure you downgrade right after setting up the phone. The free plan will give you 200 Text/200 Min/ 500MB of data. Which is plenty if you live around WI-FI all day and night like I do. You can get a texting app from Google Play/App Store and use things like Facebook Messenger on WI-FI to make sure you don’t go over your limits.
This blog is going to teach you and I that we really don’t have to keep up with the Joneses I’m far from perfect, I have always wanted the latest phone or newest gadget, but I want all of that to change. Does having the latest and greatest ever make us happier for more than a few minutes…hours…or… days???? Does that brand new car sitting in your driveway really make you better than your next door neighbor that has a paid off 13 year old vehicle in his? Does getting into more debt each year to have that new shiny (blank) really make you happy or is that just what society wants you to think. I mean I thought I loved new things, but I’m coming to realize that I don’t love them they only make me happy for a short period of time then I need something new to fill that void. Then it just keeps happening over and over again. I want to be happy without new or expensive things. I’m not rich, but I’m not living on the street. I’m not looking to become the next million or billionaire, but I would like to stop living pay check to pay check. I don’t know exactly what this blog will all be about, but I hope a few people will come along for the ride.