Income Tax Payment Is A Wake Up Call

A year ago, I owed an unexpected $900 on my federal income tax return. I juggled a few financial responsibilities, cut some costs and was able to pay my tax bill by April 15.My Frugal Life

I was already pretty frugal, but I found I could be more so. It felt good and I kept it up. Now, because I can manage my day-to-day expenses better, I'm actually chipping away at my wish list. Last Christmas, I actually managed to spend $500 on a new computer and LCD monitor, in addition to buying holiday gifts. And this spring, I paid a $374 tax bill with only a grimace. I still live mostly paycheck to paycheck, but it's less of a struggle because I'm more penny-conscious than I used to be.

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I avoid going to the grocery store until I'm pretty much out of everything. If I run out of milk or bread or eggs, I'll stop at the discount store rather than expose myself to a store full of food. If I walk into a grocery store for milk and bread, I walk out with $40 worth of groceries. I buy most of my toiletries at the dollar store, which has some good name brands that perhaps have fallen out of fashion. Breck shampoo? I grew up with it. I'll buy that for a dollar. The Jergens hand lotion (original scent, cherry almond, mmmm) I looked everywhere for. I finally found it on the shelf of my local dollar store. I buy six at a time.

I buy good-condition clothing, household items and some electronics (I try to test the electronics stuff first) at garage sales or Goodwill. I search for bargains on eBay. My last computer cost $100. I just picked up an Nintendo 64 for $5, which pairs up with my $1 Playstation. I let friends and family give me stuff they don't want. I happily take home leftovers. I rarely eat out and I always bring my meals to work.

Saving money brings me a feeling that is similar to that which I get from spending money on something I want. Both are about control in my life:

  • If I save money, I show myself that I am controlling that which I can do something about.
  • If I spend money, I show myself that I have the power to do so. I can make that decision.

Being frugal feels good. I'd like to think that I would keep some of my frugal ways if I came into money. At the very least, I'd keep buying my Jergens hand lotion at the dollar store. Mmmm.

Laurie from Bemidji, Minnesota

Laurie - My Frugal Life
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May 21, 20070 found this helpful

I had a big white pump bottle of Jergens Almond lotion sitting on my dresser when I was in high school. I will have to go to the dollar store and get some. Thanks for bringing back the memory!

Kathy in Illinois

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May 21, 20070 found this helpful

Hi Laurie! You are doing a great job at being frugal. I watch my pennies too, just cuz I want to save for retirement and meet all my bills. It's kind of fun to see how resourceful we can be. Plus, we recognize how smart we can be as well as what really is worth spending money on. We find out what really is important and learn alot about ourselves....Thanks for sharing your story.

I got hooked on learning ways to cook with vegetables and beans instead of buying meat which I think is expensive and not always the best quality. Plus, animal fat tends to clog the arteries, so, save money now by eating vegetarian and save money later by not having coronary artery disease! I became interested in Indian (as in India) cooking and I've had alot of fun with it.

Best of luck to you and all of us frugal gals.

Barbara

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May 21, 20070 found this helpful

Hi! You sound like me, LOL, I am a great bargain shopper. I was thinking about your taxes though. Wouldnt it be better to have a little more money taken out of your check each week for taxes? Then you would get a nice refund instead of another headache of a bill. You could even just put away the refund to use for emergency money. Just a thougt. Keep up the great bargain hunting!

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May 22, 20070 found this helpful

Hi Laurie glad to have a smiley face with the name.

I used to live in Hackensack, MN when I was growing up. Old fashioned values really do come from that area as well as frugality. I am glad to hear you still practice what you grandpa or grandma or mother taught you. I do too. My grandparents were the Engers' of Hackensack, maybe you knew of them they owned the Realty company in that town. I lived on the lake with them almost all the time. Maybe your family knew them. I hope you keep up the good living. Frugality can lead you to become rich in the future. My grandparents were frugal their whole life that is how they became rich along with the Realty company income of course, but you know real estate is risky business some people don't make it at all. My family did make it. We were lucky to have frugality in our lives even without the income we would have been ok, because of the way my grandparents did their taxes too. I was wondering do you have a garden? It is a frugal fashion icon to some, although not everyone. If you want to I would love to hear about how that area is doing. Email me @ Trjomml1@aol.com. I can also email you what I learned from my grandparents on business dealings. It may help you become wealthy while living frugally too. I am always happy to pass on info of any kind to anyone.

From a former local,

Tanya

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May 22, 20070 found this helpful

WE HAVE ACTUALLY OWED $4000 AT TAX TIME DUE TO MY HUBBY BEING SELF EMPLOYED

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