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February 11, 2011 by Ellen V

With a new year comes a new tax season, and Eric and I had enough time together today to file our taxes.  What a daunting process!  Last year was ultra disappointing, as I actually owed the government a significant amount of money.  Gross.  This year, our time and efforts in filing provided a nice little kick back, so maybe I’ll be more inclined to do the tax thing with a more positive attitude next year.

The whole process reminded me of one of the biggest struggles in our home budget: what to do with found money?  By “found money,” I mean and cash brought in over and above one’s usual salary.  This includes gifts, bonuses, tax refunds, or yard sale income.  Stuff you haven’t already budgeted away.  What to do with found money is usually a good problem to have, but still… we struggle.  Should we spend?  Save?  Put it toward loans?  Give it to charity?  Throw it in the air like confetti?

For us, it seems we take a slightly different approach given our circumstances at the time.  A year ago, our wedding gifts went toward some big (though practical) furniture purchases.  Last June, we spent every penny of our garage sale income on a big fancy Milwaukee staycation.  And this year’s tax refund?  We’ll probably save a little and spend a little, guilt-free–that is, whenever if we ever come to an agreement!


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