The BIG Tax Refund

Tuesday was Tax Day.  Did you file your taxes on time?  We did!  Filing our taxes were a little different this year: we’re married, we bought a house, oh and had a baby!  With all these changes, we didn’t feel comfy doing them ourselves this year.  So we enlisted the help of a CPA recommended by a friend.  With the advantages of technology, we never even had to meet with her!  We gathered all the paperwork, then scanned and e-mailed it to her.  After a couple emails back and forth about details, we were done!  She told us how much we’d get back and now we’re just waiting for the tax fairy to leave the money in our bank account… 🙂

So, with a number in mind, we started thinking about how we would spend the refund.  Savings? Pay off debt?  Splurge and spend it on the house? Here’s a cool info-graphic from Mint.com (I’m contemplating using this site to track our finances) that helps map out how you could spend your tax refund:

source

Well, we were lucky to get back enough to do a little of everything.  Here’s the breakdown.

2011 Tax Return Allocation:

1% Pay Tax Lady.

A small price for a confusing task!

38% Pay down student loans. 

My ambitiousness has left me with a substantial amount of student loans (Undergrad+Grad School, fully paid for by ME adds up!).  I’ve been slowly chipping away at it and my goal is to have them all paid off by my 30th birthday.  Since that is now only 3 1/2 years away, I better get working on that!  So, we’ve dedicated a good chunk of the refund to payoff one of my loans. Yay!

38% Reduce credit card debt. 

We’re really good about not putting anything on our credit cards that we can’t pay off the next month.  But there is a little lingering debt from a before we were married.  So, with this, our cc debt will be almost gone!

12% Avery’s College Fund. 

Avery has a Gerber Life College Fund that we contribute to monthly.  In addition to that, we’ve decided to put away the refund money we get each year for claiming him as a dependent.  After a few years of this building up, we’ll invest it.

11% Deck! 

So, with the little leftover, we’ve decided to splurge on something we have on our Honey-Do List.  Not necessarily something we need, but we’d love to have…a deck!  Perfect for use this summer… grilling, enjoying the weather.  This empty backyard will soon become our outdoor living room.  We have plans and permits to work on before we can build it…more coming soon…!

How are you spending your tax refund?  Do you do your taxes yourself or have help? I think we’ll try it ourselves next year since we have a nice guideline from this year. Have you used Mint.com?  Should we give it a try?

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8 thoughts on “The BIG Tax Refund

  1. That is awesome. My husband and I use Mint.com. It is such a great resource! We have a CPA do ours as well (luckily it is my uncle). We felt more comfortable doing it through him since I own my own business and Andrew works for a non-profit. I didn’t want to mess them up! Sounds like you did well this year! Can’t wait to see how the deck will look!

    • Hey Arryn. Good to hear some nice reviews about Mint.com. I setup an account…it’ll take some time to set everything up but it looks really helpful. And we’ll share the progress on the deck soon. Maybe a Memorial Day Weekend project… we will see.

  2. I love the breakdown and yes, we filed our taxes back in January and got everything back in mid-March. We’re also fortunate that my cousin files our taxes so we don’t pay him, but it falls around the time of his daughter’s birthday, which also happens to be my Goddaughter, so we always give her a nice check.

    I love the breakdown of what you’re spending the tax refund on. As for us, I’m not too sure what we’ll be doing with our money. We’re in the middle of a tax appeal, since our property tax is (gulp) almost $13,000/year. So of course because of this, we put money in escrow which causes our mortgage to be way up there, so we try to put that money in our checking for good cushion. I would LOVE to save money, but I”m going to be taking some grad classes in the summer. Well, there goes a few thousand dollars.

    And I can’t wait to see the deck either. Love your before and after pics.

    • Wow, those taxes are crazy!!! I don’t know how you do it. Putting some $$ towards grad classes is awesome though – good for you!!! How exciting! We’ll give more info on the deck soon 🙂 It’ll be a weekend project in May probably.

  3. My husband always does our taxes so it’s nice not to have to pay anyone. But I think ours are pretty straight forward.
    We actually filed our right when we got the forms and have had (and spent) our refund for quite some time now:) Sadly we did nothing fun with it…just made extra payments on my car and added more to the baby’s college fund. I guess we’re definitely grown ups now! Haha:)
    Good luck with the deck! I’d love one too, but I don’t think we have enough space in our backyard without taking up all of the grass. Be sure to post your “after” pictures!

    • Hi Adrianne. Don’t be bummed about your tax return spending – sounds like you guys made some smart choices. You’ll be happy about it later when things are paid off or payments are less. We got A LOT back this year, because of the house, so we are splurging on the deck.. plus it adds value to the house so it’s a smart choice, we think. It’s going to be a low deck, almost a patio. I love pavers and patios… is that something you guys could do with your small yard?

    • Wow, paying off a car is great! Savings is always good too! We were lucky to get lots back this year so we had enough to pay down debt, save, AND splurge a little! 🙂

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