Monday, April 14, 2014

Money Monday: Taxes and Tithing on the Secondary Market and Tax Day Deals

Are you one of the millions of Americans scrambling to get their taxes done before the 15th? 

Luckily for us, my husband and I worked hard to get our things organized and we filed at the end of February this year. We have waited until April before, and it is stressful, so these past few years, we have wanted to avoid the stress and pressure and filed as early as we could. 

Obviously, our tax system is complicated, confusing, and down right byzantine. 



Loopholes
 deductions
 credits
 o my...
I am so confused
 I could cry. 

One grey area that many Americans fail to report is additional income obtained on secondary markets. For example, did you sell something on Craigslist? A question that many of us, myself included don't ask is "Should I pay takes on that item?"

Answer: It depends on your State and Municipality.  

Most states will not go out of their way to collect sales tax on income from a secondary market. Kay Bell, author of Don't Mess with Taxes says that "if an item you owned for personal use, such as a car, refrigerator, furniture, stereo, jewelry, or silverware, your gain is taxable as a capital gain. But, if that sale nets you less than you originally paid, not more, there is no gain tax. 

However, if you find that your online sales become profitable and you are able to turn them into a business, then yes, you will need to begin filing taxes on those funds. 

That takes us to the moral side of the argument. For Christians, they believe that you should tithe 10% of all monies to your local church. Are monies collected from the secondary market included?
A recent survey I saw said Mormon's are 90% more likely than anyone else to pay a tithe on those funds received from sales.

Interesting, no?

And finally---Tax Day Deals--- Don't forget to cash in on a few of these deals 
Arby's--Get a free snack sized curly fries
Boston Market- Get 2 half chicken  individuals meals for 10.40 (Named for the 1040 form)
Great American Cookie Co--Free chocolate chip cookie
Hard Rock Cafe--If you preform a song on sate, you will get your meal for free
Orange Leaf- Fill up yogurt cup for 4.15
Schlotzsky's--Free small original sandwich when purchasing a chip and drink.


Do you report or tithe on extra income? Are your taxes done? Going for a tax day freebie?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Confessions

Hey y'all, happy Friday!

I hope you have had an amazing week. Let's get our confessions on.

1.After a work out, I laid on the floor and let my dogs lick my face. I was hot, sweaty, and didn't have the energy to push them away. Its sick, and I probably will get rabies or something.

2. Sometimes, I try to convince P that I speak fluent Spanish.  I usually insert Spanish words in the middle of a sentence. For example, I will say Come to the store, con me. Con is the Spanish word for with. Or, I'll say Yo Soy tired.

3. I sneeze on P.  Sometimes I don't cover my mouth and I sneeze right on him. And I sneeze all the time.

4. P and I ate 3 big bags of chips in 2 days. We have a problem.

Fess up Friends!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Money Monday: Status Symbols of Today

Status Symbol: Perceived visible external demotion of one's social position and perceived indicator of economic or social status.

Growing up, it was a really big deal to have expensive china. The type of plates, bowls and silver wear that you take out a few times a year, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and if the Pope comes to your house for supper.

While we never went without food, when I was younger, money was tight, and there was not much extra for nice clothes, vacations, or luxuries.

Here it is. Red Avon Pope china. My mom has loads
of this stuff. And, like this photo, she even kept the boxes.
But, we did have the special Pope china. It was not the designer stuff, it was from Avon. My mom built her collection over many many years, and I remember when she completed her set, she was so happy and excited.

I think for her generation, that was a major status symbol. It was a symbol of how far they had come.

I don't know anyone my age that has a set of china. Do you?

What about the fancy soaps? The ones shaped liked objects that you were not allowed to use. Again, these were reserved for royalty, like Princess Di, or again, the Pope.

I also think that another status symbol that has begun to pass is the McMansion. The 5,000 square foot house in the suburbs, that cost $650,000 or more.

I think for us from the millennial generation, our priorities have shifted a bit. When the recession hit, many of my generation were just a few years out of college, and we were working hard to pay off our student loans, establish our careers, and learn to stand on our own two feet. Then, the dreams we thought we were entitled too, the dreams that we quickly realized were not guaranteed, came crashing down.

Somewhere along the way, our priorities shifted, and like the generation after the Great Depression, we have come out on the other side, changed.

We decided we no longer needed the huge houses, the Rolex watches, or the fur coats. Many of us have shunned those things as relics of the past.

From what I can tell, the status symbols for my generation seem to be as follows:

Homes: There seems to be a trend to purchase a smaller, older home, the remodel it, and make it open, modern, and contemporary.

Cars: BMW's seem to be left by the wayside. Now, Audi's and Infiniti's tend to be the car of choice.

Boutique Gym Memberships: Pure Barre, Yoga, Barre 3, Physique. These studios that specialize in one type of workout are now major trends that show how we spend our disposable income.

Accessories: Many of us pride ourselves on purchasing mid priced clothing, but if you look close, the accessories speak volumes. Hipster glasses, Fitbit's, iPhone's, iPhone cases, purses, and wallets speak loudly about how we spend our dollars.

No better, no worse, but trends have changed, and we as a collective group have changed. We felt immense pain during the recession. It hurt, we lost a lot, and we had a brush with reality that many of us were not prepared for.

What do you think are the status symbols of today?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Confessions

Happy Friday Friends!!! It is time for our weekly confessions.

1.I said something really mean about a teenage girl. My boss and I were at lunch, and a teenage girl was really dressed up, and walked by our table. I tiled my head and said "She is going to make a really good trophy wife one day." I am so very mean.

2.I cleaned my cup I drink from at work. Not a big deal, but this is the first time in probably 6 months. After washing it, I realized how dirty it was, and how dirty I am for not washing it sooner. Egh.

3. I was invited to an event, and I told the person who invited me that I was busy and couldn't go. I ended up going, and the first person I saw was the one who invited me. I had to make up some lame excuse that I had a change in plans.

Fess up my friends!!!

Happy Friday! :)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Pinterest Success

Hey gang. It's been a few weeks.

Moving on from my radio silence........

I have not blogged much these past few weeks because I have been traveling, doing some home improvement projects, and taking care of some really serious business like watching all the seasons of Pretty Little Liars on Netflix. I am totally hooked, and am dying to find out who A is. Don't tell me if you know.

One major mile stone that we have reached during the 1st quarter of the year....I have finally had a Pinterest success! Well, not so much me, but P.

I saw this pinned this ages ago, and I thought it was beautiful.



I showed it to P sauce and asked him to make one for me. So he did.

First, we went to Home Depot to look at 5 panel doors, and they were pretty expensive, and we didn't want to spend that much money on the project. After doing some research, we found a scrap yard on the South side of Dallas, and we stopped by one early Saturday morning. We asked if they had any doors on sight, and the guy running the shop laughed. He said, "Yea, we have about 3,000."

Awesome.

After door hunting, and some negotiations, we were able to get this beauty for $45.00



As you can see, we may have gone a bit overboard an purchased a few doors. Now, we are those weird people in the neighborhood with a lot of doors.

At one point P suggested hanging them around the house like art. I suggested we not do that.




That door had 8 layers of paint on there, all different colors. We went through containers and containers of stripper, trying to remove all the old gunk. It took days to work through each layer, peeling and scraping one area at a time.

After getting all of the main layers off, it was time to start working on the panels and in the corners. The detail work.

At this point, one of us got bored and stopped working on the door. I'll give you a hint, there was a certain handsome gentleman working on the door way past midnight one night to finish, while the other gentlewoman was snuggling with the dogs, passed out on the couch.

Finally, we got the door stripped, sanded, and ready to paint.

The real delay started here. P left the color selection up to me, and for some reason I was dead set on teal. Even though teal goes with nothing in our room, I wanted teal. I bought teal, painted a portion teal, hated the teal, and declared that this thing would never be finished.

A little about me, I don't do well when I have a lot of options. Have you ever looked at paint samples? There are around 86,000 colors to choose from, and each is slightly different from the next. And once you chose the color you have to choose the finish, gloss, high gloss, matte.....Are you going to distress it. You know who was distressed, me.

Lots of really tough first world problems I was facing.

Finally, I was able to move from my paint induced paralyzed state, I chose a color from the 18 sample bottles I purchased from the Home Depot. (I wish I was inflating this number.)

I picked, I painted, and here is what we were left with.
Our lovely headboard.

Please excuse the sloppily made bed.

Thanks to Pinterest and P, I think it looks awesome!!!

Any Pinterest successes recently?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Confessions

Happy Friday everyone.

Hope y'all had a great week. Let's get our confessions on shall we?

1.My zipper was down all morning at work. No one told me. I would have appreciated someone saying "Barn door's open" or "XYZ." Nope, my bright red undies were showing themselves.

2. For some reason, everyone at work thinks I am an expert at March Madness. So, I have been dispensing bogus advice. I really don't know what I am talking about but everyone says "Allison, you are sporty, and you run, tell me about basketball." So I  have........

3. I am going to be late to work today. Rather than rushing to get out the door, I am blogging instead. Its already 7:20, and I have not done my hair or make up, and I am still in my pi's. I will get ready soon. Employee of the year right here.


Fess up friends!!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Money Monday: On Trusting your Gut, and Doing What is Right for You

Traditionally, I have always heard there are 5 things you should not talk about in public.
                                                       1.Money
                                                       2. Religion
                                                       3. Politics
                                                       4. Sex
                                                       5. Medical Problems

So.....let's talk M-O-N-E-Y.

I don't know if its my generation, but it seems as if we are more open and willing to discuss our personal finances that our parents were. Maybe its the media, maybe its the the prevalence of student loans in everyone's life, or maybe its just that we are becoming more open as a society.

Personally, I feel as if I have discussions about personal finance on a weekly basis with someone, somewhere. My husband and I are very open about where we are, where we've been, and where we hope to go.  I basically have Dave Ramsey's face tattooed on my forehead, but whatever.

Since getting married, P and I have fought long and hard to get to where we are now financially. We both entered marriage with debt (credit cards for him, graduate student loans for her), and neither of us had ever done a budget. Somehow, we were turned onto Dave Ramsey's program, went to his live event, got inspired, cut up the credit cards, learned to budget, learned to save, paid off all our debt, blah blah blah. You have heard the story before.

Now, we have 1 bill left to pay, our mortgage. We are attacking that thing as best we can (some months more than others), but our goal is to get it paid off as quickly as possible.

I had a point to this post. And I have not made it yet. So, lets give it a try now.

Because I talk finances so often, I often realize that not everyone has the same financial goals, or the same path to achieve those goals and P and I do.

I am ok with that. (Trying to be ok with that)

Last week, I was at lunch with a coworker/friend and we started talking money. He has a completly different approach to personal finance than I do. He could not understand why I would work so hard to pay off my mortgage given that I have such a low interest rate, when I could invest the money instead and earn a higher rate of return.

He put up a good argument. I had no mathematical response to give him. On paper, everything he proposed made perfect sense. My only argument that I could make in return to him was that he never calculated in the risk. I know there is a complex mathematical formula to calculate risk, but I don't know it. (Math is hard.) All I know is that financially, there is no such thing as a perfect senario that lasts. Markets crash, bubbles burst, wars happen, and humans steal. We agreed to disagree, and continued eating our taco's.

But, I realized something. Sometimes, you have to trust your gut. You may not have all the answers, but you have to do what is right for you. If you are not comfortable with a plan or strategy, no matter how good it looks on paper, you need to do what you think is right. Ultimately, its your money. The money you were paid for logging long hours at the office. For late nights at the second job. The beauty of personal finance is that you get to call the shots. You get to make the decisions. You get to determine your financial future. You. No one else.

Yes, P and I are out there in left field. We are on the extreme, and we are ok being there. We know that not everyone is so focused on being debt free. We know that not everyone cares about using coupons and having enough toilet paper stockpiled for the next 3 months, or having enough laundry detergent for the next 3 years. (True story) But, we want those things. We don't want to be vulnerable to anyone, and for us, debt= vulnerability.

In the end, you have to be at peace with your decisions. You can always change them. The choice is in your hands, not anyone else's.

Tell me....Are you at peace with your financial plan? Do money conversations come up often for you too?