Where Are My Bootstraps?

Standard

​Unless you live in Massachusetts where it’s Patriot Day, today is Tax Day. If you’re just filing your taxes now, you’ve realized just how much the Republican Tax Scam screwed you over. Sure they raised the standard deduction, but they’ve taken away most of your itemizations through limits. We somehow managed to do okay despite our taxes rising by over one thousand dollars. In fact, married filing joint is only $100 less tax due than a single person making nearly the same amount. I believe the only reason we didn’t owe was because we were already having too much withheld. Our motto is live on less, so we can repair our house and car in the spring.

We reached our health insurance’s maximum out of pocket in 2018, and we still couldn’t deduct our medical. Or our taxes, mortgage interest, or the little we give to charity. Good thing we don’t give to charity for the tax deduction; we give because it’s the right thing to do when you have more than someone else (even if it’s not that much more).

We have two kids at home and in school and one out on his own, and while he’s been pitching in with his own expenses for quite some time now, his moving out didn’t lower our expenses. He is still on our phone plan, our automatic toll payments, our AAA, our health insurance, and we don’t begrudge or judge him for any of those things. One, it’s cheaper for all of us, and two, it’s what a family does. One day I’m sure I’ll be on his phone plan.

The main point isn’t that I don’t want to pay taxes; I do. It’s my responsibility as an American citizen to pay my share. What I don’t understand is how we allow the wealthy to avoid paying their taxes. I don’t understand how teacher are not allowed to claim school supplies on their taxes, but if you have a private jet, the gas is deductible. It’s absurd that we continue to allow this to happen.

So that’s my rant. Despite it, my taxes were mailed last week, and with no savings, now we’ll struggle until our refund comes and I can pay back the private loan I took out, maybe I can get a pair of glasses that I’ve needed for over a year, pay for half of my hearing aids before they decide to send those to collection, but there will be no new roof (again, this is year 3 of waiting), no smooth driveway (which isn’t as luxurious as it seems – the more it sinks, the muddier it gets, the icier in the winter), no toilet in our upstairs bathroom (a necessity in a family of five), no oven for another six months to a year, no fridge which should have been replaced when we moved in and were lied to about its age.

We have it good, but it still hurts to say no to your kids for something as innocuous as a trip to McDonald’s or a candy bar for no special occasion. I don’t want to spoil them with European vacations, but it might be nice to take a long weekend to Niagara Falls or Washington, DC.

I truly am grateful for what we do have, and appreciate how lucky we are, but sometimes it’s important to let the people who don’t understand “real life” know what is going on in most of America – your neighbors, your friends, your kids’ classmates. I wish the Republicans in Congress would see this, but I’m not sure they’d care to be honest.

I’d like to close this with a link to a 2014 article that is still relevant today about how the realities of living inn bootstrap America and how most daily annoyances are catastrophic for many people living paycheck to paycheck.

No Car

Standard

​We are on Day 39* without a car. Our car’s engine died the third week of January. Our trusted mechanic told us it wouldn’t be worth putting in a new engine with the body our 2002 minivan had; just too much rust. We knew this day was coming, but it still left us in a numb kind of shock. It’s been our only car for several years now, and we just can’t afford a car payment. There were also some new payroll deductions so for now our salary has been reduced, significantly, and we’re not really sure how we’ll get through that. However, that is one too many problems for this discussion.

Day 39. Continue reading

Giving Tuesday

Standard

In this time of holiday joy and generosity, please do what you can to support those organizations who help throughout the year.

ACLU

Planned Parenthood

RAICES

Random Acts

Where I Give My Support (list not inclusive)

Scroll down to the Stands links for a collection of worthy charities, all of whom do good works.

Add your own recommendations in the comments with how to reach them with donations and what their organization does. 

Book News – House – Fraud?

Standard

​What exactly is fraud?

What’s the difference between wanting your house to be in the best saleable condition and defrauding the buyer?

Some of the problems we had did have to do with our “professional” buyer’s agent. By the time we looked at the house we ended up buying, I could tell that she was a little done with us. We had only looked at three houses, so I don’t know if she thought we’d take the first one and she’d be out with her commission or if she was having a bad day or if we were just too needy. I don’t know. I can definitely be needy, especially on something as big as buying a house. Continue reading

Book News

Standard

​This update was supposed to appear at the end of last week. Unfortunately, chaos happened. Taking down the tree, planning my daughter’s sleepover birthday party, avoiding politics and failing all contributed to not completing my writing the way I wanted it to.

I did manage in the days before the chaos to get some introductions and background info on both House and Wales. They are by no means complete, and they’re barely first drafts, but they are something and I plan on continuing little by little. These updates not only get the job done, it gets it started and it gives me something to post on those biweekly Fridays.

Stay on track and Accountability.

Continue reading

Book News

Standard

​Book News is a new series that is for sharing, for sounding board, for feedback, and for my own accountability. I’ve mentioned several times in the past about the two books that I’ve been “in the middle of” for what seems like forever. I feel like my Wales book is a reward for when my House book is finished. The problem with that is that writing the House book is extraordinarily emotional and I have a hard time getting through it for several reasons that I need to address within the pages of the book.

I don’t know if it will be a monthly or a biweekly feature (I’m leaning towards biweekly) , but it will be on my calendar, and so I will need to set goals based on my outlines, and begin the research for some of their aspects.

Book News will let me keep a log of those things that aren’t necessarily post-worthy or essay/articles, but that still need to be accomplished in order to publish.

I think this will work for me, and I appreciate your support as I make changes and grow as a writer.

Quick Intros Continue reading

50-49 – Birthday Freebies

Standard

I have always been on the lookout for good deals. Kids eat free, free ice cream day at Ben & Jerry’s or Friendly’s, but the most freebie centric day has got to be a birthday.

You do need to get on email lists or sign up for rewards, but they are usually free to join, and they are well worth it.

A few of my birthday freebies and discounts that I’ve received in my emails this week.

Starbucks – free birthday drink if you’re a member of their rewards program. Don’t sign up at the last minute.

Red Robin – free birthday burger if you’re a member of their Royalty Rewards. A special note about Red Robin: their rewards program is one of the best I have ever been a part of.

Ruby Tuesday – free birthday burger with coupon.

Jimmy’s Egg – free birthday entree.

Hot Topic – $10 off $30 purchase (this is pretty reasonable)

Avenue – $10 off $50 purchase.

Hallmark – 20% off coupon

Pizza Hut – free cinnamon sticks with your next online order

Recovery Sports Grill – $5 on your Hall of Fame card (rewards card)

Olive Garden – free dessert

Chili’s – free dessert

Perkin’s Restaurant & Bakery – free Magnficent Seven meal (breakfast meal)

Texas Roadhouse – free sidekick of ribs or free appetizer

Smart Style Hair Salon (inside Wal-Mart) – discount with coupon

If you have kids, and join the kids club at Barnes & Noble, you will receive a free cupcake coupon for your child’s birthday month.