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Taxes, IRAs, and Food Strainers for Tomatoes

March 6th, 2022 at 12:51 am

We set DS up with a Traditional IRA today and taught him how to do his taxes.  Of course we have to wait to get paperwork from Vanguard before they actually get submitted, but he dumped $3000 from what he earned last year into it.  So instead of having to pay $300 in taxes, he will now be getting $161 back.

He has been wanting to get this set up for a while and we didn't want to miss it.  I know we still have a month, but I never like to push it.  He would have got more back, but we still claim him as a dependent.  Which we will until he works full time, buys his own groceries (or contributes his share to our groceries), and pays 1/4 of the bills.  Then he can be an independent while still living with us.  He's not even working right now, so it is a moot point.

DH finally sent off our taxes today.  I thought he'd done it in early February like usual, but nope.  So I'll stop looking for it to be deposited and just check on Wednesdays, just not this coming one.  We always seem to get stuff deposited on Wednesdays from the IRS.  We usually do them in February because it only takes a week at that point and because we want to get it in early in case someone tries to pull identity theft.  Someone used DH's SSN back before we were married, and while it wasn't to claim taxes, it was to pay them.

He had to go through the rigamarole of proving that he didn't earn that money, because he wasn't living in California, so that we could prove he didn't earn an extra $50K that year. It was a pain, but since he was working at home, he hadn't started in Alaska, it was pretty easy to prove.  Plus he had receipts from his credit card proving he was making purchases during that time and the location.  So it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

We keep having these beautiful sunny days, but they are too cold to sit outside with the wind.  DS says it is still too cold most days to go on walks.  I want to soak up some sunshine, but I don't want to get chilled.  It's probably just false spring #2.  We can't plant around here until mid-April, but I really need to get my tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and basil going.  I'll have to check the chart for anything else that takes a long time to germinate.

I'm only planting two varieties of tomatoes this year and it'll be mostly Opalka paste tomatoes  They are heirloom and open pollinated, so seeds can be saved from them.  I've grown them before twice with great results.  The tomatoes can be as big as your hand.  These aren't your typical baby romas.  I will also be planting Lillian's yellow heirloom tomatoes.  I'll probably just do two plants there.  Since I am planting organic seeds and using organic planting medium, I will easily be able to sell any extras I don't need.

I'm seriously going to be making homemade tomato sauce, pasta sauce, pizza sauce, and ugly sauce (from the yellow tomatoes), and anything else will be quartered or diced.  I need to buy a food strainer.  My food mill that came from my grandmother and was new in 1934, won't hold together anymore.  I am trying to decide between a hand turned one or an electric powered one or just the add on for the Kitchen Aid.  The latter two are quite a bit more expensive, but none of them are out of budget.  Anyone have any experience with these and could recommend a good one?  I want to make the purchase sooner, rather than later, before prices go up for tomato season.

Money Money Money (and Medical)

March 13th, 2021 at 01:46 am

Our income tax refund of $809 was deposited into our account on Wednesday and I just checked and our stimulus payment is pending for next Wednesday.  We got the full amount for us and our dependents of $5600.  That's $6409 to work with.  This is what I am planning.

$641.00 10% donation to the local Christian Homeless Shelter

1350.00 Handicapped Ramp Fund

1000.00 Vacation Fund

_500.00 Meat Fund

_500.00 Miscellaneous Fun

2000.00 Emergency Fund

--------------------

$5991.00 Total

That will leave us with $418.00.  I am not sure DH will get all of his hours in this week.  They are having a cyber security issue that isn't allowing anyone to work online.  He is doing what he can and saving it to his hard drive, but there is a lot of sending around of drawings for checks that can't happen if you can't send them around or can't even send them in to the office to be printed out because of this.  So I will be holding on to that money in case the paycheck is short.

This will finish off the Handicapped Ramp Fund so we will be able to order one for the front door.  Our share is $1750.  This one is twice as much as almost triple the amount of the back door because it will go down the frong of the house from the steps, then there will be a platform for a turnaround and it will go all the way back the length of the first ramp to the ground and end in front of the steps.  It's a lot of money, but these ramps don't have to be maintained like wood ramps do.  It mostly just needs to be swept periodically and pressure washed a couple times a year since it is aluminum.  Wooden ones will rot out on the pilings after five to ten years, so those would have to be replaced frequently) and would require staining or repainting every few years.

It will nice to have a good bump in the Emergency Fund and to pay for a little vacation for DH and me to get away to the cottage by the sea we've gone to twice now.  He will be taking several days off in April.  Part of them will be spent getting the garden up and going and then we will go away for a few days.

MIL is talking about taking us on a family vacation by the water as well.  It probably wouldn't be until September or October, after the summer is done, but still nice enough out to cook on the BBQ and walk on the beach.  And soak in the outdoor hot tub.

DD wants a web cam.  She is the only one who doesn't have one, so we are going to pick her up a cheap one.  She starts online therapy next week, so this way she can do it in her own room instead of mine and with my laptop.  Her brother was just diagnosed with ADHD and we think she has it, too.  But it is a process.  First counseling, then a psychologist, and then the psychiatrist who can prescribe meds.

I also think I might have it.  Girls and women present differently than boys and men do, but as I was filling out all the forms during DS's drug trial I felt like I had a lot of the same issues.  Each week we had to fill out a sheet based on symptoms during a four week trial of adderall.  Except it was a blind study so two weeks were placebo, one week was 5 mg and one week was 10 mg.  He had to fill out his own forms based on his opinion and I had to do one based on mine.  Every time I filled it out, I was thinking I really have a lot of this stuff, too.  I always thought it was the fibro fog and the last brain injury, but now I have to wonder.

So once we DD gets through all this, I am going to talk to my doctor about it.  I've been thinking I might be needing anti-depressants again for a while.  I haven't needed them for about 15 years and never needed them for more than a year at time, but I kind of feel maybe I do.  Or maybe it is just fibro.  But I'd like to see about it, you know?  Because it is not normal to want to stay in bed and sleep all the time, even with fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.

 

 

 

 

I Think Next Time I'll Just Wait

January 29th, 2021 at 02:30 am

With all of DH's messing around trying to figure out our taxes and freaking me out about owing taxes, once he actually got his forms from work with all the real numbers, we don't owe.  I couldn't figure out how we would have based on our withholdings, but at least we have the answer now.  He was just wrong.  Next time I'm just going to wait and not let him jump the gun and get me all worried for nothing.

We will be getting back around $800 and I'd like to ear mark some of that for the garden.  Not all of it, though.  Mom is getting all weird about the house and talking about splitting it three ways again instead of giving us the house and each sister getting $100K from a mortgage we would take out on it, so we've decided to precede as if we aren't getting the house after all.  I should have known she'd break her word.

It's hers to do what she wants with, even though my sisters have done nothing for her all these years.  She doesn't care about the fairness of that all being on me anymore, but suddenly she's worried about fairness in estate planning.  So I'm not going to build the cinderblock garden I had planned on if I don't get to use it for the rest of my life.  We'll use free pallet wood instead, paint it with linseed oil to protect it from the elements, and line it with black plastic to protect the inside wood from the dirt.  Each wall panel will be easily replaceable in the future as the dirt will hold it's shape if the wood is removed from one side.

I am trying to pray and be pragmatic, but I am getting awfully tired of Mom taking us for granted.

Hopefully we can get the 6 month EF fully funded by the end of the year and start working on a down payment for a house.  I know it'll take a long, long time, but hopefully we will have enough time before my mom dies that we can go into a house purchase and move before that happens without having to rent.

This and That

January 17th, 2021 at 06:07 am

My daughter came home from the hospital last night.  They got all of the tumor.  We have to wait a week or so for the biopsy results, but it did not appear to be cancerous.  She is doing well, eating soup and Welch's version of Jell-O, which has no artificial dyes in it.  She's a little high on the pain medicine, but that's kind of how she reacts to it.

I started physical therapy on Friday.  They can't do much with me because of how inflammed I am right now, but they started an electrical stimulation thing called a tens machine and did that over the L-4 and L-5 vertabrae on my back.  I think it made a small amount of difference, but it is early days.

The pantry challenge is going well.  We still have not gone to the grocery store yet.  I have only repeated one meal and that was because there were leftovers.  I have salmon and spot prawns thawing in the fridge, both of which my husband and son caught.  DD thinks those will be easy for her to eat.  Her jaw and throat are pretty sore from having a breathing tube in during surgery.  So easy to chew foods are on the agenda for a couple of days.  We have a lot of seafood in the freezer, but it is getting close to the time when it needs to be used up by.

I finally succeeded in finding some dye free, fragrance free shampoo and conditioner.  I am hoping they are good products.  I still can't find a body wash like that that doesn't use coconut oil.  We make do on the castile bar baby soap that is fragrance and dye free, but sometimes you just want a liquid body wash.

If that new stimulus Biden wants passes that will give you money for all dependents not just children, we will be getting quite a lot of money.  DH made a mistake when he was trying to figure out our taxes early.  Turns out we will owe somewhere in the $900 range, not the over $2000 he'd originally thought.

If so, and if this stimulus comes quickly I figure we'll open a spousal IRA for 2020, which may be enough to get rid of that tax bill, and see about getting a new ceiling in the tiny bathroom.  If it doesn't pass or we don't get it, then I guess we will just have to save up to fix it.  First off I will need to price everything, but I think DH and DS can do it themselves.

It should only require two pieces of the moisture resistant drywall and rental of a drywall lifter, and some tape, some mud, and some paint.  We have plastic sheeting to keep paint from dripping onto the floor, tub, sink, mirror, and shelves.  We saved everything our mattresses were wrapped in.

I got my first seed order today from Victory seeds.  I am really excited about starting to plan for the new garden.  We are completely redoing it with cinderblock raised beds that we will use mortar on to make a permanent structure.  The wooden beds just fall apart too quickly and I don't want to throw away anymore money on this.

I have another order coming from Fedco and I have to order a couple more things yet, but not much.  I am just waiting on one of the companies to put up its seeds for the year, which should be any day now.  It's just the type of broccoli and the type of lettuce I want.

Not too much going on here.  I have slowly been working my way through the novel I am reading and am about 80% done.  I can't read like I used to since the concussion a few years ago and because of the floaters in my eyes so I mostly take 3 to 4 weeks to read a large print novel these days.  I set my goal on Goodreads to 12 books read for the year.  I listen to a lot of audio stories and books, though, but I don't count that as actual reading.  I do read quite a bit online, but I have to put the magnification up pretty high.

I've now lost 13.4 pounds, but I gave in and ate gluten today, still within the confines of my diet.  It was breaded cod fish.  We will see how I feel tomorrow.  I don't react like my kids do, but it usually makes me feel bloated.  At least I made it halfway through the month.

 

Change of Plans

January 10th, 2021 at 02:38 am

What is that old expression about making plans and then God laughing at them?  Well, my plans for 2021 just got thrown for a loop.  Not completely, and it is something we can cash flow through March for, but it means only putting $195 a month into the Emergency Fund.  For the first time ever we will be owing taxes.

It isn't an exact amount just yet, and won't be until DH gets his W-2, but with the numbers we do have, he estimated we will need to pay $2304 in taxes.  It might vary.  That means saving $768 a month for the next three months.  The only place to take that money from was what we planned to put into the Emergency Fund.

If I want to hit our goal of six month's expenses by the end of the year, that means I will need to save $1018.55 a month from April through December.  What I had budgeted for was $950 a month before all this.  So that is a shortfall of $68.55 a month or $616.95 total.  We might be able to make up for that on 3 paycheck months where medical would not be taken out so the checks are bigger.  There is one in April and one in October this year.  I would know how much it would be by April to know if it was enough in October to make up that difference.  If not, I'll just have to find the money somewhere.

I'm not sure what our tax situation will be for 2021.  We will be almost maxing out our 401K which one would think would lower our taxes by quite a lot.  We only did 5% in 2020 and are doing 15% this year, which is $17,160.  The max is $17,500 for 2021, although since we are over 50 we could do the catch up rate of $19,500.  But we're not, at least not this year.  Once we have our six month's expenses saved, the plan for 2022 is to max out to the catch up rate if we can.

I don't know if they will eliminate that tax cut Trump put in or not, but if they do that will affect everything, too, so until we see what they will do in Congress, it is kind of tilting at windmills to even try to think about taxes for 2021.  Of course, that drives my planner's mind crazy.  I am going forward assuming it will be eliminated, though.

I guess if we do have to pay taxes in 2021, we will probably be fine just doing what we are doing this time, altering the budget to cashflow the taxes.

You know what?  I am so grateful we have no debt.  So, so grateful.  This would have made me so upset a year ago, but now we can just absorb it.  Yes, it makes me annoyed, I don't like change, but not "Oh, my gosh, what are we going to do?" freaked out.  I knew exactly what we could do and how to manage it without even blinking.  That peace of mind, after so many years under the burden of debt, is priceless.

I don't know if I mentioned here about my little grand niece, but she was in the ICU at Children's for a couple of days, then one day out of the ICU and today she got to go home, but she's still not great, just not life-threatening anymore.  There is something wrong with her blood sugar, like she's not absorbing enough sugar or something and it just got so bad because she stopped drinking for a day and got dehydrated.  They had genetic testing done, but won't get that back for a week or so.  Meanwhile they gave my nephew and his wife some sugar paste that absorbs directly into her gums if she won't drink enough juice to keep it up.  They haven't mentioned diabetes at all, so I don't think that is the issue.  Hopefully they will get it figured out soon.

Tax Refund Arrived

March 1st, 2019 at 02:08 am

Wow, that was the fastest we've ever gotten back our tax refund. We sent it in on the 15th at 2 a.m. and it was deposited into our account yesterday, so 12 days. We got back $1349, but as I stated last night, most of that is going to be eaten up with truck repairs. At least $1000 of it. On the bright side, we won't have to shuffle money around from the EF and then reimburse it since it is now sitting in the checking account.

I still feel cruddy today. I really wish this would stop. It took me until 12:30 to get out of bed today. I don't have the stamina to cook dinner so we are getting take away.

Since MIL is buying fast food for herself and SIL almost every day of the week, she has said we can get one meal out for the family every week for us on her. So this will be that meal. We may not take her up on it every week, but it nice to have that as an option on a week where I feel so icky.

Taxes, Work, Goals, and Dreams

February 19th, 2019 at 12:05 am

DH got the taxes done and submitted and we will be getting back a little over $1300. I don't know the exact amount since Dh did the final bit. We did do deductions because it meant a slightly higher return, but this will probably be the last year we have such major medical expenses as to put us high enough to do that with the new taxing structure. If DH gets the raise to stay here, we will be upping our 401K percentage to 7% so that our higher tax bracket will not mess things up for next year. I don't want to end up paying ever. I'd rather just a small refund.

I do have my total out of pocket medical expenses for last year and it is $28,248.75. I believe that is more than in 2017. If things go the way they are looking our medical spending should be greatly reduced this year. Our charitable giving (tithing) was only $5800, but we didn't start doing that until about mid-year, when DH got hired on permanently instead of through the temp company.

So DH's work is just waiting on a signature or two to get him that raise if they want to keep him here. If they do get it, it will be a raise in net income of $15,700 a year. It is not as much as up there is offering, but after air fare and having to pay Cobra for two months, the difference would only be $3000 to $4000, because a lot more would be lost to taxes from being in a higher tax bracket. That is an awfully big change in our lives for only $3 to $4K. Without the raise it is worth it. With it? Not so much. The second year it would be $6K extra because it would be without the Cobra.

Current job has better insurance and better 401K matching, which makes the trade off for up there less appealing. I am hoping they come through for him. They need to do it soon though as DH would need to make the decision and let them know up there if he's not coming so they can get someone else in place.

Current job implied they are planning to move him up into a better position when someone retires in December, also. So...there is potential for advancement, which there never was up there. And with that movement would come another raise, it is assumed, since there would be more responsibilities and a change in title.

With the raise it would take us 13 months to pay off the loan and we could still get our gym membership back. Then it would take us 8 months after that to get our 3 months expenses emergency fund. After that I want to take a small break and go on a vacation with my husband, no kids. We would take one month's worth of what we would have been putting into the EF and go on a short cruise, 3 to 4 days, booking last minute for a deal. We can plan our time for when work is at a lull. We don't care to where as long as it is on the west coast out of Seattle. We likely won't even leave the ship. It has been 8 years since we have been on a vacation and we've never been on a cruise.

Then we would start saving towards the 6 months emergency fund and a down payment on a house at the same time, with an uptick in our 401K percentage.

But until there is signed paperwork in his hands, there is no decision to be made and all of the above is simple dreaming. Except the taxes part.

Jury Duty Update and Taxes Update

March 30th, 2018 at 10:21 pm

DH's boss told him that if he gets called in during his week of jury duty he can work on the weekend and come in after jury duty if he wants to to get as many hours as he can. If he worked for them directly, instead of through the job recruiter, they actually still pay you for the week.

I told him to call the job recruiter and see if they offer something similar, because that would make things easier. But even if they don't, he can still get some work in, so it won't be a no pay week. We think he should be able to manage 30 hours. 30 hours of pay I can work with. Even 20. Just losing that full check would have been too much.

It's also possible they won't call him in for some of the days. They have you call in each morning to see if you are needed that day. If he only gets called in for 3 days, then he can get a full five days of work in. Best case scenario. Well, best case would actually be if they don't need him at all, but I don't know how likely that is.

DD has a cold. I hope she is better by her surgery on the 9th or we will have to postpone it. She has a pre-op appointment on Tuesday so I guess we will see if she needs to go on antibiotics then. It's not like we can wait until she's well. She's never well.

If it does get postponed that'll put us closer to when we get our tax refund. DH did finish the taxes the other night. I just hope it doesn't get audited or something. We claimed $21,000 in medical expenses and that might be a red flag. I do have all the receipts. We might have even spent more, but that was all I had the receipts for. We also never got the HSA people to issue a corrected form, so I'm just kind of hoping we slide under the radar with that. We should be getting $8000 something back.

Once we get the $8K back, I feel like we'll have some breathing room. DH has been given a new project, so he's still employed for a couple more months. Hopefully by the time June 6th arrives, they will offer him a direct job. They do like him and like his work. There are people that are going to be retiring within the next year or two, but I don't know how soon.

If not, then slope work is picking up again. If he goes back up there it is a lot more money and we could sure use it to get back to a place where I feel financially secure again and I can finish paying Mom back. I think as it is, I am going to give her $1000 out of the tax refund. Unless the surgery costs are just too high. We'll see.

Ugh, We Don't Need This

March 28th, 2018 at 04:17 am

A summons for DH to do jury duty came in the mail today. It is only for a week, but right now we really can't afford to lose a week's income. We are still in recovery from all the unemployment and with the upcoming medical bills we will have for my daughter's surgery and my son's wisdom teeth it is going to be tight enough. If we lose that week of wages we will be struggling really hard. We will try to get him excused based on financial hardship.

I have set up the appointment for the consult and the x-ray for DS's wisdom teeth. The consult is $90 and the x-ray is $96. I also set up for him to get impressions done at the dentist for a mouth guard. He has been grinding his teeth and it is starting to cause some damage and worse, cause pain. The mouth guard will cost around $500. Life without dental is fun, not that dental would pay for much of it anyway. I am not sure how much the wisdom tooth removal will be but I imagine around $1000 to $1500.

DH needs to get our taxes done so we can get our refund and have a little breathing room again. He's been working so much overtime he hasn't had a chance to do it. He's got it half done, he just needs a chunk of time to finish. Hopefully he can get to it this week. This is the first time in years we haven't had our taxes done by early February.

I really need to put my head down and get some writing done. I have kind of been in the wrong head space, but I think I just need to set a goal of 1000 words a day and start churning it out. It doesn't have to be good, but I have to get back into the practice of doing it and then worry about making it good. Writer's block can be such a bear.

Help on Taxes--HSA Related

February 17th, 2018 at 12:18 am

We are having an issue with our taxes in regards to our HSA. We maxed it out in the first half of the year and spent it in the first half of the year on medical costs. But then DH got a job with medical insurance after that that did not have an HSA. So now they are saying that we can only claim part of that based on the months we had our own self-payed insurance, not the fact that we used it all during the time we had one.

We can't just put the money back because the government counts that as putting in additional money, not returning it to the fund. We don't have the money, regardless, because we spent it on medical bills. The people at the credit union where we have our HSA have no idea what to do to fix it. They assume there should be some paperwork, but they don't know what is is and have never had this issue come up before.

We really can't afford to go see a tax professional as we are barely keeping our heads above water right now due to medical costs, so I was hoping one of you here that is one could tell us what form we need to fix this and possibly where it is located? DH is looking for info on the IRS Website, but you all know that that is like looking for a needle in a haystack, assuming you even have the right haystack to begin with.

Tax Question

April 19th, 2017 at 07:04 pm

I am probably going to earn around $500 to $600 this year through youtube and adsense which is considered self-employment. If I put all of that money into an IRA will I still have to pay any taxes? I am still trying to figure out how the whole self-employment thing works.

Taxes Done, Unemployment, Cutting Back, and Helicopter Antics

February 6th, 2017 at 05:22 am

DH did our taxes today and we will be getting back $9043.02. Most of this is due to medical expenses. This will be a welcome boon to our bank account and should cover about 2 months of living expenses. DH only gets unemployment until the middle of March and then it ends. I never imagined he'd be unemployed this long.

The interview he had earlier did not pan out. He was too over-qualified and it was an entry level position. He said he would work it no matter what it was, but that's not what they wanted. It is frustrating.

He put in for some upcoming stuff at Hanford, so maybe something there will pan out. At this point I don't care where we have to move, though I'm not thrilled about some of the possibilities.

It feels like everything is grinding so slowly. I just want to get back to some kind of normal life where we don't have this hanging over us anymore.

After today's transfer we are down to just over $35,000 in savings. Today's transfer will pay for all of February's expenses with a little left over towards March. I try to make only one transfer a month.

I am going to try to belt-tighten some more, but it is getting hard to find places to do so. I don't want to cut out all fresh fruits and vegetables for canned, but I may have to until it is warm enough to grow lettuce and spinach. I'm making bread and rolls now and that is helping a bit. We were spending a lot on that. I always forget how expensive it is in comparison to making it and with the Kitchen-Aid it is not hard at all to make it.

Oh, my goodness that freaking helicopter just flew too close to the house. I don't think that was the Med-Evac as it is still flying around and didn't land. Med-Evac is supposed to fly above a certain height and is supposed to circle around and come in over the freeway, not the neighborhoods. This was so low it shook the house, the windows were rattling, things fell on the floor. I wonder if there is a man-hunt going on? Excuse me while I go double check that the doors are locked.

Oh, it's back... Dang, that helicopter barely cleared the neighbor's ham operator antenna. It's not Medi-Evac, no cross on it. I can't tell if it is a police chopper or a news media one. If it is news media I am going to be peeved. I can't see any markings, but they are shining a spotlight. Man, I hope I don't lose any rabbits. I've had low-flying helicopters freak them out enough that one broke her back and died. I can hear the tom turkey freaking out. *sighs*

So anyway, I'm just not sure what other cuts to make right now. I hate to take away the kids' allowances as they work really hard with the animals. They both know it might be coming, though.

Well, maybe I am just going to have to try to cut the food budget even further. I can manage with only oranges for fresh fruit. We can give up the more expensive spinach and eat more cabbage. I wish healthy food wasn't so expensive. At least I don't have to worry about buying meat, though.

I might have to cut back on my physical therapy, but it is being so effective right now, I would hate to do that. Might finally give up the DVD's on Netflix. I hate to, it's our only entertainment, but if we do, we do. That's the way the ball bounces.

Frustrated

February 5th, 2016 at 08:59 am

I am so frustrated with DH's work. We still haven't received his W-2 form. Which, you know, means at this point they're breaking the law. I want to get the taxes done so we can get our refund back. I don't know what the hold up is. It's the only thing we are waiting on. They've been a day late in the past, but never this many days late. I hope it's not lost in the mail.