Emergency Fund, Taxes

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…

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Budget, Emergency Fund

Get Out Of Debt – A Better Budget

I recently wrote about our debt reduction process – a simple one-page guide to getting out of debt. Step 2 of our process was: We created (and followed) a zero-based budget. We “spent” our paychecks, on paper, at the beginning of each month, so that we would know where our money was going to go. I thought I would elaborate a bit on our budgeting process – and some tips that work for us. We break our budget into three major categories: spending, saving and giving. Within those categories, we try our best to estimate upcoming monthly expenses.  We save for annual expenses (such as insurance premiums) and quarterly expenses (such as our car insurance premiums). The easiest way to…

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Debt Reduction, Debt Story, Emergency Fund, Savings

Get Out Of Debt – The Emergency Fund

I recently wrote about our debt reduction process – a simple one-page guide to getting out of debt. Over the next few days, I plan to elaborate on each of the steps mentioned in the article, starting today with a few notes about step 1 – and the emergency fund. My wife and I have our primary checking account with our local bank.  This allows us to deposit our paychecks locally – and is a great place for my son to find coins for his collection.  The account is interest bearing and is free. Our saving account is online – and that’s where we keep our emergency fund.  Withdrawals from our checking account and deposits into our savings account take…

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