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Finances on the Fritz?

When it comes to finances at our house, someone is on alert to call 9-1-1. Budgeting is tough stuff, and let’s face it, hanging on your money is far more difficult than earning it. I tend to be far more frugal than my husband, and it sometimes creates some serious contention. Now tax season is here, and a walk down memory lane has me on the edge of my seat.

You see, several years ago, my husband filled out the form as the government suggested. He didn’t mention anything to me about having 11 dependents when it was said and done. Regretfully, I didn’t think to ask. Then came time to do our taxes. Imagine our horror when we OWED money. All those dependents were our downfall.

As a manager, I remember hearing people ask how to fill out the tax form. It took everything in me to NOT advise them just to put one. Sure, their check would be a chunk smaller every payday, but when it came to taxes, they’d be thrilled to discover they were getting it back. I kept my mouth shut.

Every year I advise my husband to use the tax chart in the workbook to determine if his employer is taking out enough taxes. If not, he needs to adjust. It’s about watching your money and being savvy about the game.

We watch our money. We don’t use credit cards. I worked for a credit card company and saw too many people fall into jail of debt, never to find financial freedom again. If we don’t have the money, we probably don’t really need it.

We modify our budget. This month’s budget may not necessarily be a wise choice for next month’s or three months from now. We stay alert on what is going out and coming in and make adjustments as necessary to keep us in check.

Gasoline. A necessary evil. A large portion of our budget goes to this monster. If the weather is nice and our errands are within a mile, I will walk. If they are further, we designate one day to run errands and map our course for the most effective time and use of gas. This stretches our dollar and allows us to allocate money for a small luxury.

Food is another necessary expense. When we first were married, the rule was, we wouldn’t spend more than $5 on a meal. We eat at home the majority of the time–this in itself allows us to save money. The economy has changed through the years, and our rule of thumb is around $11 per meal. Not every meal costs this, and that money is allotted to a “better” meal in the week. If we eat Macaroni and Cheese one night and another night Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup, we have enough to splurge on a Boston Butt.

Budgeting is the key to keeping finances in check. It’s awareness of what is happening. Most importantly, there is a compromise, and all members involved have the same goal in mind.

It’s unlikely that we’ll achieve the title of Millionaire. I’m okay with that as long as we continue to watch our money. As my grandpa used to say, “Keep track of your pennies, and the dollars will take care of themselves.”

I am participating in the Turbo Tax, Clever Girls campaign. I will be compensated for this post. All opinions are my own and were in no way influenced by the sponsor. Others’ experiences may vary.

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