My Story: The Tax Refund That Keeps Giving

contributed by Debora

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Thinking of what to do with your refund? I have been doing just that. Visions of a winter getaway, wishes of an updated wardrobe, and longings for a weekly housecleaning service all flood my thoughts. Then, reality sets in and I conclude there is a better solution (for my family, at least).

As I think, and think and think some more, I ask myself one question. What weighs the most on my mind? Is it taking a trip, having household help, or getting a makeover? No, not really. What I think about more often than not is how do I "stretch" our dollar(s) to go further? How can it be done, starting with this tax money? Well, I started thinking first of credit card debt (as many people do).

We can pay down a least part of our credit card bills, which should help to a certain extent. But are there other ways or means to cut down on expenses? How about those quarterly (and maybe monthly) bills that could be paid in an annual lump sum? Well, there is our son's life insurance policy (which is usually paid in quarterly payments). That is a good choice, and the insurance company even gives us a price break for making the annual payment. Ok, that's a good start. What else? Our auto insurance can also be paid annually, rather than intermittently. Next? How about checking on our trash pickup service? It is also a quarterly bill.

It doesn't sound like much, but a total of just these three bills adds up to over $600. Now we can take that amount of money and use it to pay down other more substantial bills throughout the year. Or start that emergency fund we have been contemplating. Maybe save for our nine-year-old son's future "set of wheels" (have mercy!). Well, maybe a down payment on it anyway.

When we take care of these bills that must be paid anyway, it does give us a bit more breathing room. We can save for a future event, pay extra on present bills, or just be prepared for life changes.

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money please send it by

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