Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Tax-Man Saves The Day

Now that I have a full time job, a lot of financial responsibility has fallen onto my shoulders. Though I worked through college, I never realized how many expenses loans, scholarships, and some help from my parents were covering.

Enter the real world.

I was so excited to be getting paid the "big bucks!" Awaiting the end of college was a lavish lifestyle of fun and entertainment! So what was the first thing I realized when I started getting the bills?

Life is expensive.

That's right. Simply to live (especially in Southern California) you have to bring home a reasonable amount of dough! Here I am thinking I'd have a surplus of dough to play with, but instead I find myself making pizzas for property management, utility companies, and car dealers! And I'm not talking cheese pizza either. Property management is charging me for a freakin delux-combo with all the works and parmesan cheese on the side!

Suffice to say, I have to be frugal with some of my expenses to accomodate my savings rate (about 20%) and my addiction to fun, excitement, and adventures. I have actually been doing pretty well recently. I have been saving MORE than my goal, and have been having more fun and adventures than ever before!

Enter February. The month is half way done, and I am getting KILLED with expenses. Allow me to explain:

Unnexpected expense 1: I take my car in for an oil change and the guy tells me that my allignment is out o' wack, and my tires are bald because of it, thus putting me in a "real unsafe situation." Great. I shell out ludicrous amounts of cash to get this fixed. All good right? WRONG! I get my car back and I'm driving on the freeway when all of a sudden my car starts to kind of swerve within my lane! At first I thought it was just me getting used to the upgraded handling, but I soon realize that not only is my handling not upgraded, its completely gone!

I drive in this death trap for a week because I don't have time during the work-week to go back. When I take it back he tells me "We found the problem. Someone forgot to tighten XYZ bolt in the XYZ compartment causing the steering to wander." WHAT!?! So in my effort to get out of the "real unsafe situation," you guys create a killing machine for me to drive around in for a week because you forgot to tighten a bolt? Brilliant.

Unnexepected Expense 2: I just bought San Diego Chargers Season Tickets. Now let me make one thing clear. I HATE the Chargers. So it makes perfect logic that I buy season tickets right? Actually my plan is to go to the Chiefs (Greatest Team Ever) game and one other game, and then sell the rest. Tickets go for a pretty penny around here so I'll probably make some money. This is kind of an investment that won't pay off until next year, but its still a loaf from the bread bank.

Unnexpected Expense 3: Well this was only half-unnexpected, but a bunch of us are going to Mammoth next week for skiing. When you live in California, you generally don't have a lot of winter gear lying around, which means shopping spree time! Now I haven't skiied in probably ten years but luckily I have medical insurance which should cover my post ski trip expenses as well as the state-of-the-art turbo powered, breath controled wheelchair I plan to buy. There's like ten of us all staying in the same condo so there should be some stories and adventures from this trip.

Unnexpected Expense 4: UCSD has the most ridiculous parking policy. Essentially, unless you shell out for a parking pass, there is no time during the day that you can park there! It was only forty bucks but still, I was pissed for not only giving them forty bucks, but the way it happened. Four of us are playing tennis. One of our friends (B-Rye) and another girl are also there watching. B-Rye and girl go to Starbucks to get coffee. One hour later girl is back and sits on the side of our court watching tennis. Ten minutes later...

Us: "Where is B-Rye?"
Girl: "Oh he's moving his truck"
Us: "What? Why's he moving his truck?"
Girl:"Oh some lady is up there ticketing all the cars"
Us: "WHAT!!"

With that Aaron and dash up the hill to our cars and are each greeted with nicely placed $40 tickets. Yes, we were now playing an eighty dollar tennis match. Why this girl didn't think to say ANYTHING is beyond me.

I've been dreading having to do my taxes, but I finally sat down this weekend to bang em out and was greeted with a pleasant suprise. Not only am I getting money back, but I'm getting enough to cover all of the above expenses and to put some away! YES! I officially LOVE tax returns!

As a side note this was my first time doing taxes, but I HIGHLY recommmend Intuit Turbo Tax. It made everything super easy and straightforward, and helps you understand exactly which deductions you qualify for.

So if you haven't done your taxes yet, you might be in for a pleasant suprise and the Tax-Man might just save the day!


Tim said...

Heh, taxes are nice this year 'cause you only worked for half of it. If you're making a typical beginning engineer salary, they were withholding money like you were making $60k a year, but you only made $30k. $30k is taxed at about 13.5% as opposed to about 19% of $60k. Next year you'll find that not only do they want a lot more money, it'll even be a larger percentage of what you made. Don't go too crazy thinking you'll get this much back every year, especially with the Democrats coming back into power. We have a little while to enjoy being some of the rich guys the Republicans are always cutting taxes for, but don't plan on it for too much longer.

Arun said...

Hey no raining on my parade! So you do have a point, but money back is still a bonus! Hopefully, my income rises substantially within a year to compensate the increased tax payment.

tim said...

Well, you should still have about the same amount deducted every week, you just won't get it back next year.

Arun said...

I feel I should add the disclaimer that the girl who didn't mention the meter maid giving tickets is actually a good person who had a momentary metal lapse. I'm writing this for two reasons.

1. She actually is a nice person.

2. There's a chance she could read this article!