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Blog: If Your Money Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy
Make the Most Out of Your Tax Returns & Stimulus Checks

Not many individuals look forward to tax season and getting their taxes done unless they know they are going to be getting a tax refund. Stimulus checks are coming out on top of tax return money or even if you have to pay in taxes if you fall within a certain bracket.  So how are you going to spend your money?  It will be nice for some of us to be able to feel like we can loosen up the money belt a little and spend on something we might want to instead of putting our kids' future college funds into our gas tanks right now.  Here are a few things to think about if you are trying to decide what and where to spend that extra money so you won't just have fun until the money's gone but will feel like you had fun and accomplished some goals as well.
Here are some of the things my husband and are looking at before we get our money to achieve some of our goals but also enjoy ourselves some too.
We moved into a new home and had a baby last year so there are a few extra things we need to consider.  We also like to live as debt free as possible so most of our debt that we have is mortgage.  Which definitely is some debt but within our budget and reason. 
  1. Pay off bills - We have $300 left on medical bills for check-ups for the new family member.  We are paying on that every month so whatever is left we will probably get that paid off.
  1. Savings and Emergency Funds - We want to make sure we have enough money in our emergency fund.  A two adult household should have around $1,000 and a minimum of $500.  We are going to make sure our emergency fund is up to the amount we need. 
  1. Categorized Savings for the Unexpected - Next we're looking at the needs and wants lists.  Since we bought our car and truck new eight and nine years ago and are planning on keeping them until they are ten years old we need to make sure we have some money set aside for car repairs…it's better that having a monthly payment!
  1. Need vs. Want - Since moving from a condo last year to our new home, we now have a yard to take care of and realize we need some more "tools" to keep it up and we need to add to the lawn tool collection we start to acquired last year.  We have also hired a professional company to get rid of weeds and ants.  So if we want to pay that amount off then we can do so. 
  1. Want vs. Need - We have a screened in porch that we are eager to get done and know it will be great for summer time entertaining and relaxing.  We have already put our materials list together and know what we need to buy and we will be working on weekends to try to finish it. 
  1. Wants period.  There are a few things we just want and are going to use some money to just enjoy ourselves like having some money for vacation this summer that will be very reasonable and won't take lots of gas money but will be fun for the whole family. 
Sometimes it just feels better to know that you can tell your money where to go instead of it being gone too fast.  Keep chiseling down the bills until your money comes in so you won't just have to pay off debt…that's no fun!  Keep debt away, especially in the economic times we are facing, it will really hurt your enjoyment of life and cause stress that you don't need.  If you want to spend but do good at the same time start and finish your Christmas shopping when you get your check…you'll be making great strides towards greater financial freedom during the most "money stressful" time of the year.  Happy spending and saving!

posted on: 4/30/2008 11:30:00 AM by Triste Horrell
category: Finances

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If Your Money Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy

by Triste Horrell

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About Triste:

Being an organizing expert makes one want to be a "showroom" in all areas of life. However reality can hit hard when you're a mother of small children and a military wife and own an organzing business. Of course Triste would like to have a picture perfect Better Home and an even Better Garden. Throw a Pottery Barn in the backyard for exceptional creative time to become the wiz-woman for all the ideas and inventions that the world could not live without. But Triste has settled on the fact of telling herself "I can be perfect in my mind and no one can mess up my space there!" In reality Triste is very self-motivated and has true business accomplishments like having SYSTEMIZE since 1997, the first home and business organizing firm in the state of South Carolina. She has been repeatedly recognized in her Greenville, SC area for her organizing expertise and makeovers on local NBC and FOX news, Greenville News, local magazines such as Greenville Magazine and Upstate Parent and NPR radio. She has turned people's lives around by focusing on what she calls the "four building blocks of being organized" consisting of space, time, financial and personal. This is even represented in her business logo. "That's what I'm in business for, turning people's lives around!" Also applying her popular 3 Steps to Systemize have not only organized her clients but KEPT them organized for years.

Triste's Website:


Downtime Activities

  • Reading Magazines
  • Spending time at our cottage
  • Keeping our Westie pretty
  • Putting tealights around after the kids are in bed
  • Adventures with my awesome hubby
  • Making microwave smores...just for me
    1 graham cracker, broken in half 1 small piece of chocolate 1 big marshmellow On one side of cracker put piece of chocolate and marshmellow on top. Place in microwave and heat for approx. 17 seconds (while cooking replace marshmellow on top of chocolate if needed). Put other half of cracker on top, eat and enjoy and watch out for oozing chocolate!

My Organizing Tool-Box

  • Time - Outlook
    This is a great way to keep papers off the desk and track where you need to go, task list, jot down quick notes on the virtual "post-its, keep up with contacts in the virtual Rolodex
  • Personal Finances - Quicken
    This simple yet practical program keeps your bank accounts in tact...did I mention simple?!
  • Business Finances - QuickBooks
    I have used this program for years and have set many clients up on it. It is a must for keeping track of business transactions and keeping tax time easy...push a few buttons and out come the reports, your done and your tax preparer loves you.
  • Space - turntables
    I love these things! You can put them in cabinets, the fridge, garage, and closets. They are inexpensive, easy to find and available at any discount store and you can even find fancier ones. If you are not sure what they are, they are the white (or other fancier kinds) and spin around like a lazy susan, you can have a single or double-tier one for spices.
  • Personal - Magazines and Internet
    I love to look at magazines and the internet for good articles on personal development, pictures for decorating inspiration and fun projects to do with my family. I keep my magazine subscriptions to a minimum (3) so I can read them and enjoy each one. I look for things on some of my favorite websites for whatever fancies me at that time.
  • Online Recipe Boxes
    Use these on some of your favorite websites, bring the laptop into the kitchen while the recipe is up and you never have to have the paper clutter. One of my and my husbands favorites is Williams-Sonoma.

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