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What Would You Do?

Heidi Shenk

Happy Leap Day! I originally had planned to take today off and call it an extra day. However, that quickly seemed close to impossible as I've got my work cut out for me this week with finishing up a new line of cards, various appointments and errands, and a few other necessities that need to get taken care of. That's ok, though. Sometimes that's just how things work out, and I'm excited about what the week has to offer.

This past weekend, we finished our taxes. We had mostly completed them, but were waiting on one last form for Andrew. As it turns out, we're still getting the hang of this whole taxes thing. This is the third year that we were able to file jointly, and I'm still trying to figure out my estimated taxes for my business. Last year, I failed in that department, so most of our federal refund was swallowed up paying Maryland state taxes. This year, the opposite happened. We calculated too much, and now we're staring down a surprise chunk of change from both federal and state tax refunds.

And thus, here comes the dilemma. About four months ago, after sleeping on one of the most comfortable beds I've ever happened upon during a quick weekend away in Philadelphia, we vowed that we would buy a new mattress (to replace our current inherited one that has seen better days) if we got a tax refund. That's still the plan. However, we realize that after throwing down a chunk of change for that, we'll still have refund money left.

Hence the dilemma-- how do you choose how to allocate that money?! It feels impossible to choose! Do we save it for a rainy day? Do we use it to travel? Do we finally install new flooring in the basement since we've been wanting to do that for years? Or should we replace the tile in our bathroom? Or do we purchase a new coffee table? Or do we throw it all at student loan debt? Or do we try to do a combination of these things?

We're not ones to burn a hole in our pockets when we come across extra money or spend money on luxuries, so the decision seems insanely difficult. And usually when we have a little extra money it goes straight toward super lame things like a new roof or an air conditioning unit. If I'm this indecisive with a tax refund, I can't even imagine what I would do if I won the lottery-- maybe I'd just put it all in the bank, too scared to spend it.

How do you usually spend surprise extra money? Are you saver or a spender? Do you splurge on luxuries like traveling and eating out, or put it toward debt or home projects?




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