It’s that time of year again, the time when people find out if they over-paid or under-paid their federal and state governments. It can be a blessing for some and a curse for others.
I finally got a call from my accountant at the end of March telling me that my tax returns were completed. When I met him that evening to sign my returns I found out the news: I was getting a $734 federal refund, but I owed $130 into my state government. This was the smallest refund and biggest payment I’d ever had to make. I guess being a student has some advantages: for tax year 2012, I was only a student for half the year, but my return was MUCH, MUCH larger.
When I got the bill for my tax-prep in the mail a few days later, I was shocked. $445?! Holy smokes! After paying the state and my tax-prep bill, I only got a net of $159 back.
Time for some full disclosure: I have no record of where this $159 went. But I have some ideas – I went out to eat twice and used my debit card, I re-loaded my Starbucks card, I got a snack and drink during Happy Hour on the way to my weekend job, and I bought an E-book from Amazon. I guess I’m a bad PF blogger… I didn’t track my money and I didn’t do with that money what I said I was going to. (increase savings, pay off debt)
The good news is I didn’t completely blow my budget for April. The bad news, I don’t have much of that tax refund money left and since I’m not sure if I have any more pending transactions, I have to wait a few days to see if any others go through.
I’m human and I made a mistake, I know it happens, but I’m mad at myself. I spent money mindlessly! This is one of the biggest habits I started this blog to change. To successfully get out and stay out of debt, I believe you cannot spend money mindlessly.
What happens now? Now, I have to pick myself up, get back on the band-wagon and track all of my purchases. I will mostly likely not be getting any additional big chunks of money this year, so I HAVE to be careful with what I spend.
I know this will likely not be the last time along my journey to debt-freedom that I fall off the wagon and make some poor spending choices, but I have to remember that 2 steps back still doesn’t put me behind where I started, as long as the backward movement stops there.
What money mistakes have you made along your journey? What have you learned along the way?
Note: I didn’t meditate last night… I forgot 🙁 Hoping to start tonight?!
Check out my Pick My Brain page if you need help balancing your budget!
Photo courtesy of: 401(K) 2012