What To Do With A Tax Refund

My wife and I filed our taxes this evening.  The process was pretty straightforward and only took a few hours.  We have a small refund heading our way – we plan to use it to help rebuild our long-term cash savings.

Over the years, we have used our tax refunds for:- funding our emergency fund, purchasing furniture for our new home, paying off credit card debt, and going on vacation.

In a perfect world, we would have our withholding dialed in, and our refund would be very, very small.  As many have stated before, there’s no reason to give the government a “tax free loan”.  The reality is, our income fluctuates each year, and we would rather play it safe and over-withhold, rather than get stuck with a tax payment at filing time.  Also, I had some business-related expenses that reduced my taxable income more than I had anticipated.

Over the past year, we have begun the process of rebuilding our cash reserves.  I had to deal with a series of medical expenses in 2016 -which cut into our savings.  The tax refund will go towards our six-months-of-expenses savings.

What do you plan to do with your refund?

Leave a comment below or connect with me via Twitter @NCN – and have a blessed day!

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Paying Off Our Mortgage – Update For February 2017 With Chart

My wife and I are working to pay off our fixed-rate, conventional, fifteen-year mortgage.

Our goal is to eliminate our mortgage debt in less than 10 years.  We have been paying off our mortgage for 7 years now – and it’s cool to see more and more of our monthly payment go towards our principal.

 I use a simple pie-chart to track our progress – and post our updates here at No Credit Needed. Having a visualization keeps us motivated!  Here’s a chart with details for our current progress –

 

The percentages above represent the amount of our mortgage we have paid – 42% – and the amount we still owe – 58%.

Our process is pretty simple –

We make our regular, monthly payment on the first of each month.

We make an additional, principal-only payment on the fifth of each month.

On the fifteenth of each month, if we have managed to earn or save any money, we send and additional, principal-only payments.

Payments are initiated via our online bank, and a notation of “principal-only” is included, when applicable.

This chart doesn’t represent our entire equity;  it represents the amount we still owe on our mortgage.

Thank you for patience between regular posts.  We’ve had an exciting but busy few months.

Thanks for checking out No Credit Needed.  Please subscribe to No Credit Needed via daily email or rss – and follow me via Twitter and Facebook – for future content.  Blessings.

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Day 3: The Shed Must Be Organized!

Several years ago, I purchased a really nice barn-style shed to store my lawn mower and a few tools. Since then, I have added a lean-to to the side of the shed – and now park my mower there. As of right now, the inside of the shed is literally over-flowing with tools, Christmas decorations, and an assortment of other stuff/junk.

Before you think bad of me, allow me a few more details. I was recently gifted with a huge selection of power tools, fasteners, hardware supplies, and other belongs-in-the-shed type items – but I haven’t had the time to organized them. They’re just in the shed, ready to be sorted. That’s this week’s after-work project.

Here’s a picture of the shed from when I first purchased it. It has 2, 4×8 feet lofts, one at the front and one at the back.

shed new

Not only do I have the shed, which I believe measures 12×16, I also have a playhouse that I built for our kids, which measures 8×12, with 8 foot walls. Between those two buildings, I have attached a roof, which forms a covered-space, for bicycles and garden tools.

I’ll show you pictures of this stuff tomorrow, once I’ve managed to tidy things up a bit.  Right now, it’s a disaster.

I am working out the details (mainly in my head) for adding shelves to the inside of the shed and to the inside of the playhouse. My goal is to have an area for long-term storage AND an area with easy access to the tools (and other things) I use on a regular basis.

I am torn between building the shelves – which may be more cost efficient – and biting the bullet and buying some shelving units from the big box store. I have the tools to build the shelves myself, but I don’t really have the time to both build the shelving units AND sort through all of the stuff. I’ll let you know what I decide.

I know that I will be giving away a pretty decent amount of the items I was recently given. One can only use so many hammers, I suppose. Oddly, I don’t actually mind the sorting-and-organizing. I actually find it to be somewhat relaxing. What stresses me out (as much as something this not-really-a-big-deal) can stress me out is, my lack of a real system for organizing all of the stuff. Right now, it’s just in there – taking up space – in a big jumble. I have a dozen flashlights, and I’m not sure I could find ONE, if pressed.

Today, I started the process, by simply going out to the shed and taking a quick inventory. I also did some quick research, pricing out the cost to build some new shelves and the cost of buying new ones. I also began sorting through a few of the easiest-to-reach boxes.

Tomorrow, I’ll make my decision on the shelves, get as many of those installed as is possible, and (hopefully) begin the process of organizing all this stuff. It’s going to take a few days, at a minimum, because this is one of those do-it-right-so-you-don’t-have-to-do-it-again type projects.

Thank you for checking out today’s post. I hope you have a blessed day!

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