Tuesday, February 14, 2012

January Monthly Recap

January was a budget Challenge to say the least (aren’t all months?). We came in over out expected budget by quite a bit, but also managed things pretty well. Most of our overage boiled down to tuition, and auto repairs.  Tuition was funded on a credit card, while the auto repair was funded from out emergency fund.  We were able to restore the emergency fund at the end of the month

Here’s how the rest of the month went

Friday, January 13, 2012

December Monthly Recap

December was a challenging budget month for family Lwil. Our Christmas spending was in line with our expectations, but we didn’t quite have the surplus funds we needed to handle things. For the month, we spent over our income by about $1000, which is what we had projected in Christmas spending. Our debts went up slightly from November. Finally, we are making some significant changes to our budget to in order to make progress with our highest interest rate debts.

Here’s how the rest of the month went

Saturday, December 17, 2011

November Monthly Recap

November turned out to be quite an interesting month. We learned that there will be an addition to our family in May 2012. I’ve accepted a new job, and will begin in January. finally, by far, the biggest financial challenge we faced was coping with a mistake our tax preparer made.

We’re very excited for a new baby, but along with the great news comes a certain amount of stress over budgeting. I’ve felt like we made great financial progress, and I know if we really buckle down, we’ll continue too, but there’s also a huge unknown to everything right now.

I’ve been overseeing a call center for the past 6 years, and while I love the people I work with, and I love being able to help our customers, the work that I was doing has become a little stale to me. I’ve been chasing a new position for the past 5 months. Really, I’ve been preparing for it all year through this blog. Starting at the end of January, I’ll be taking over a role in Social Media. It’s exciting and a little intimidating, but I’m happy for the change.

Our Taxes are the never ending story(that is an understatement). Instead of getting $700 back on our Federal taxes, we owed $700. We were pretty fortunate to have be in a good month for an unbudgeted expense. We were projecting a little more than $1000 in surplus, and with the unexpected tax burden, we ended up making close to $300 in extra debt payments. Still, this was one of our leanest months for debt repayment.

Here’s how the rest of the month went

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Tax Consequences

We finally filed our 2010 taxes.  It took 7 months to figure out the consequences of the 1099C we got against Mrs. Lwil’s condo foreclosure.

I had projected that we would owe $8000 this year. The Cancelation of Debt order that we got, from all I’ve read, would have meant $60K in income that we had not accounted for. Cancelation of Debt is the result of our foreclosure from March of 2010.  The condo sold for $110K, but we owed $168K.  I read a lot about different tax strategies designed to deal with this issue, and we strongly considered bankruptcy, insolvency, and a few other ways to write off the income.

We did not qualify for insolvency, and most other write offs seemed to rely on the condo being a primary residence instead of a rental property. WE really weren’t sure what was going to happen.  We turned over all the materials to our tax preparer and let her do her work.

In the end, we received an amazing email.  We were due a refund of $1300 from the IRS, and $400 from the State of MA.  We were thrilled,for about a week.  I drew our emergency fund down in order to pay off some debts that we had been hanging on to. I had allocated our Federal refund towards Christmas, and we were ready to have two great months to end the year.  Unfortunately, our preparer did not inform us that she calculated our Federal taxes as if we pre-paid $2000 in April  In fact, we went back and forth on that amount, and she told us NOT to pay anything. 

I’m struggling on what to do next.  We now owe $700 by the end of the month.  If we had known that, we would not have spent so much of our emergency fund. I feel like the entire time, our preparer didn’t listen to us.  She didn’t keep me in the loop on what was going on.  At the same time, she’s a family friend, and I feel some what obligated to continue to use her.  In each of the last two years, she has made a mistake. These mistakes have cost us a total of $1400.  The worst part is, if she has taken the time to involve me in the process, I would have caught both mistakes.

Finally, I feel good that our taxes are finally complete, and that the mess that was Mrs. Lwil’s condo is forever gone and buried, but I think next year, I have to strongly consider hiring an outside accountant to help with my return.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

November Monthly Recap

November turned out to be quite an interesting month. We learned that there will be an addition to our family in May 2012. I’ve accepted a new job, and will begin in January. finally, by far, the biggest financial challenge we faced was coping with a mistake our tax preparer made.  

We’re very excited for a new baby, but along with the great news comes a certain amount of stress over budgeting.  I’ve felt like we made great financial progress, and I know if we really buckle down, we’ll continue too, but there’s also a huge unknown to everything right now.

I’ve been overseeing a call center for the past 6 years, and while I love the people I work with, and I love being able to help our customers, the work that I was doing has become a little stale to me.  I’ve been chasing a new position for the past 5 months.  Really, I’ve been preparing for it all year through this blog.  Starting at the end of January, I’ll be taking over a role in Social Media. It’s exciting and a little intimidating, but I’m happy for the change.

Our Taxes are the never ending story(that is an understatement). Instead of getting $700 back on our Federal taxes, we owed $700.  We were pretty fortunate to have be in a good month for an unbudgeted expense. We were projecting a little more than $1000 in surplus, and with the unexpected tax burden, we ended up making close to $300 in extra debt payments.  Still, this was one of our leanest months for debt repayment.

Here’s how the rest of the month went

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

September Monthly Recap

September was not a kind month.  We spent, and spent, and spent.  I’m delayed in actually posting a recap because, frankly, I’m embarrassed by how poorly we did on our goals in September.  We overspent our income by $1500.  Fifteen Hundred Dollars! Admittedly, most of that was from a suit that I bought ($800) and a buy 1 get 2 free sale. We didn’t contribute at all to our debts, other than minimum payments. Overall our debt went up. Our retirement accounts are up only slightly for the year after a brutal quarter, and month of September.  Sigh.  AS Good as I think I’m doing, there’s always a reminder.

Here’s how the rest of the month went

Saturday, September 03, 2011

August Monthly Recap

August has been a very fun month filled with vacation time and trips, and great weather, but it didn’t do much good for our budget.  Overall, we ended up spending about $150 more than we made, and did not make the additional contributions to our debts that we wanted.  On the other side, out standing debts are still down, reserve funds are still up, and we still have a $1500 holdback from our child care account that we hadn’t tapped.  Though that’s currently earmarked for October when our tax bill finally comes due, and to cover what I see brewing as a shortfall that month.

Here’s how the rest of the month went