So yesterday turned out to be a great day financially. As I’ve talked about finances are a big thing on my plate this year. It was about 5 years ago when I had half my debt paid but over the last 5 years that crept up again. Last week I got a sticker shock from Revenue Canada and have to pay taxes to them for 2007 (I basically gave up fighting them — sometimes it’s a better option to do that). I decided I wanted to avoid that and to do so, I paid a visit to H&R Block. US taxes have a notorious mythos around them at being difficult. And there is some truth to that. I spent a decent hour or so with the rep. It cost me just under $300 for the review (they base payment on the various forms you have to fill out) but it was worth it. As a result he found enough to double my fed refund and almost halve my state taxes owed (I didn’t know that NYC required separate tax collection — I’ll be speaking to the payroll department about ensuring that’s removed regularly). The result of my federal taxes this year for the US, however, may be enough for me to pay my state taxes, my Canadian taxes and pay off a credit card or two (my two lowest amount cards). This was a fantastic result.
This gives me hope and allows me to move forward in life. I’ve taken to researching more and more a frugal life. I do believe that one can still live an ethical life while being frugal at the same time. For instance I did learn that there is a shampoo/conditioner brand called White Rain. They sell for a $1 each at Walgreens or Rite-Aid (I refuse to go to WalMart where possible). This brand DOES NOT do animal testing or use animal by-products in their products. I was floored. I’ve been spending upwards of $7-10 each for conditioner and shampoo. This would save a lot more money if I got these products.
“Because of deep love, one is courageous. Because of frugality, one is generous. Because of not daring to be ahead of the world, one becomes the leader of the world.” — Lao Tzu
This week is my 39th birthday and I feel like there is still so much more to my life that I have yet to do that I really want to get rid of this debt permanently and not have it hanging around any longer. I’ve gotten smarter about how I manage my money and am recording every expense on my iPod Touch. It was a wise investment for me this year since I can get so many podcasts and books for free in a portable format in addition to videos and songs that I already had.
The trick for me is to immerse myself into it and make it a habit. Visiting the forums, recording my spending habits and such are all tricks to help me do that. If I can continue this when things are good, then overall I’ll benefit. I’ll say one thing about one of my ex’s: he was very good about being frugal. There are a few tricks that I picked up from him and intend on continuing to use. Others, I’ll create on my own.
Perhaps one day I’ll be able to reminisce how bad it was to have so much debt. For now, I take a single step forward in life