Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Taxman Cometh

Well I made it to the end of March relatively well with limited overages. One thing I have to say is that when last Saturday rolled around I official began April budget-wise, and now, one weekend and 2 surprise house guests later I'm already down about $100 in borrowing from April's money. Bad Jen! Bad.

I will never, ever stay within budget if I begin the month in a handicap, so I'm using the lovely tax refund I will receive to beef up my emergency savings and a small amount of it will go to even out April's budget and perhaps buy me some badly needed work shoes, my $20 Payless flats have been rocking some massive holes for a few months now. I think it's time.

I sent my taxes in via Netfile last Friday so I should be getting my return soon. I'm getting about $2400 back this year which is awesome. I had planned to pay off most of my outstanding OSAP loan from University, but since my job future is questionable (whose isn't?), I thought that making some savings should be a priority. So I'm sending $1000 to my super serious savings account and $500 to my semi-serious account since it was recently depleted when I jumped on airfare for two upcoming trips (May and October, what can I say, I'm a planner).

The other $900 will go towards doing something I've meant to do for months. My bank account is a no fee account if I have a balance of over $1000 in my account. Because this has never been consistently the case, I also have overdraft protection. The regular account fee is about $4 and overdraft is $3. If I just keep $1000 in my account and get rid of my overdraft (having created my own cushion) I will save $7 a month or $84 a year, or $840 in 10 years. Small peanuts? I think not.

I would encourage people to see how much you can save with reading the fine print on your bank statements or your banking website. I've given up using my debit card for everyday purchases so I have the lowest cost account possible (which gives me 10 free transactions) and now it will be free. Some companies like PC Financial and different credit unions offer free accounts with no minimum. I'm in the interest of keeping a great relationship with TD Canada Trust for now since I've been there for 14 years, but look at your options.

As far as your tax return, don't delay! You pay something like a 5% penalty if you submit it after April 30st, so get on it.

I make doing my taxes a delight every year by taking extra money off each of my paycheques ($40/pp) so I don't have to pay anything at the end of the year, even if I do a bit of freelance work on the side. It guarantees that for now, while I'm mortgage and investment free, I'll get back at least $1000 a year. It's only so much higher this year because didn't work full time the whole year and I still have some school and tuition credits from last year since I was finishing up my degree. Yay money back! I'm pleased I'm spending it wisely too, it's not getting my OSAP paid off, but I sure have some good piece of mind.

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OSAP Repayment
Final Goal Date: Sept 2009

Started: May 2008
Finished: JUNE 2009!!

$0 .

TD Line of Credit
Final Goal Date: Sept 2012

Started: May 2009
Finished: ??

Only $33,326 to go! .

$12000 in Emergency Savings
Final Goal Date: ASAP

Started: Jan 2008
Finished: ??

$12000 in savings .