A Lesson in Financial Responsibility

February 16, 2012 at 7:30 am | Posted in Life and Living | Leave a comment
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check out this awesome plant I'm growing

When I was in middle school, I was pretty good at math.  I was good enough to be in the advanced math class that put me a year ahead of what was required at the time.  For some reason, I totally got algebra.

But as I got older, I started to struggle with math, but not enough to take science in its place. Just enough that I started to get Cs and bring in special treats to my math teachers to make them like me.  I learned how to save formulas in my calculator so I could pass calculus, and somehow I passed a test that allowed me to waive the first year requirement of math in college.

Then the smart phone was invented, and all responsibility for remembering basic math went out the window.  I would never again trust myself to calculate a tip when I had the tip calculator app.

Because of my fear of screwing up numbers, I have always been cautious with money. With credit this and debit that, this fee and that tax, interest here and debt there, I get easily confused.  That is part of the reason why when it comes to tax season, I immediately throw up my hands and give all my papers over to my father.  Our family friend will take care of it. No worries.

Except that that favor has finally run its course. So this year, I took it upon myself to figure out my taxes.  I used Turbo Tax (you can get a Turbo Tax Promo Code here), which was super easy.  Sure there were questions that I didn’t understand, but that was mainly because they did not pertain to me.   Overall, it was really easy and I got an accurate return.  And better yet, I was proud of myself for taking responsibility for my financials and learning a little something in the process.

Of course this doesn’t mean I’m not going to ask for assistance when I need it when it comes to financial stuff. I still don’t get all of it, or really most of it. I know I will still look to my father for advice when determining my 401K investments, and I know one day I will definitely need some guidance on how to get a mortgage.  But I will learn, and if there are more tools like Turbo Tax to empower the financially confused, the world would be a better, more self-sufficient, place.

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October 20, 2011 at 7:39 am | Posted in Life and Living | Leave a comment
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I have some big news.  This week, I paid off one of two student loans!  This has been a goal of mine for quite a while, and it wasn’t easy to do, and well, and I may need to resort to eating Ramen noodles for a few weeks before I recover, but it was really worth it.

Consistent with my characteristic control freak-ness, my student loans continue to be a thorn in my side.  I’m just not one of those people who can treat it like just another bill.  It’s not like a mortgage or my cell phone service.  I am in debt for something I am no longer directly benefiting from (yes, I always use my education, but it has quite expanded since college, and at a much lower cost).

And I know I’m not alone in this.  With the rising cost of college, the next generation is going to start out life in an even bigger hole than I did.  There is a huge disconnect between the cost of college and the starting salary of the average entry-level employee.  Without mommy and daddy’s help, it is really hard to become financially stable — and I only went to college for three years!

So with this big move in my repayment plans, my mind does a few things, none of which are to relax.  One — I immediately start up with the “when I have kids, they are going to work as soon as they start walking, they are going to save money, and they are going to a state school!”  Of course, my perspective is skewed on this one.  I’m not a parent and have not yet experienced the absolute devotion and willingness to give up everything for my child feeling.  It’s a fine thought in theory, but who knows how it will play out in reality.

Second — how and when am I going to tackle my remaining loan?  At the moment, my finances are tied up in wedding planning, so beyond my regular monthly payments, I’m going to have to suck this one up for a while (and maybe find web sites like Promotional Code for some good discounts!).  Perhaps I will pay it off before I have kids.  Fingers crossed.

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