Wednesday, March 10, 2010

budgets and taxes and fafsas, oh my!

In light of the exciting news that most of you know by now--I was accepted into the University of Edinburgh Master's programme for Highland Studies--scary things now follow that offer and my decision to accept it. It's only a little over six months before school starts, and there are a lot of things that need to be done before we can go, not the least of which being things like, oh, buying plane tickets, getting a student visa, getting Cael's paperwork in order, and selling or storing all our stuff. With that said though, I have already gotten a number of things done. I finished up and filed our taxes last night, finished and submitted my FAFSA this morning, and wrote essays and things needed for the scholarships I'm applying for. The essays for the scholarships weren't difficult at all, I just pulled from and tweaked parts of my application essay for the University, since they asked basically the same questions, so that was finished relatively quickly.
Filing my taxes proved to be a bit more difficult and frustrating--as taxes tend to be. Firstly, as I sat down about a week ago, thinking I had everything in order, I realized after entering almost all of our W2s that I had either misplaced or never received my Biltmore W2. So that was frustrating, I had been hoping to finish everything that night, and had to put everything on hold until I could locate it--which I couldn't, and had to request a copy sent to me. I finally got everything in order, for real this time, and sat down last night to finish everything up. More frustration soon followed. One, Biltmore did not withhold any Federal tax from being hired in August to the end of the year, and for all I know now, still aren't. Two, Jeremy's father did not withhold any State tax from Jeremy's Moments paychecks last year. (And on top of that, is 1099ing Jeremy this year, so that means I have to keep up with putting money aside out of each paycheck so we don't get screwed next year). Three, I was 1099ed for my nannying job and my swim lessons at Cheshire, the first I knew about, but the latter I had to idea I'd be subcontracting. Those main things, among a plethora of minor details that made things difficult were the story of my tax journey this year. Now being finished, albeit still frustrated, I see the goodness of the Lord in it all. We somehow qualified for a Make Your Work Pay (or something like that) tax credit which was $800, which covered the 500 and some odd dollars we would have owed for Federal, and even had a federal refund of $267. Awesome. Then I did the State taxes, and discovered that we owed the State $457 (and thankfully Jeremy did all his stone masonry in SC and had state taxes withdrawn there). I had managed to save about $200 while I was nannying, knowing that I'd owe at the end of the year since I was just being paid straight out by personal check. So with the refund and the money I had saved, we actually will have about ten dollars that won't go right back to paying taxes. As frustrating as that is, and as much as we could use a nice fat refund, even more so we need not to owe a fat sum to the government that we cannot afford. God made sure that happened, and I'm thankful for it. We broke even, and we can continue to save without disruption for our Scottish adventure in six months.
I've also been working on a budget, which I'm terrible at, I hate numbers. I know we need guidelines with our spending though, so I'm writing everything down again, categorizing it, and keeping track of it in a notebook by the computer and on our huge dry erase calendar in our kitchen. I'm saving all pay stubs, receipts, and bills, and filing them into envelopes labeled according to each month and whether it's receipts and bills, or pay stubs. I'm keeping up with it pretty well, and I just hope I continue to do so.
One more thing that has changed some plans is that we found out the Jeremy was not accepted into the University, which at first upset us (me more than him, ironically), but the more we think about it, the more it makes sense that we don't go at the same time. Jeremy will work while I get my Master's, and when I graduate and get a job he'll apply to The Free Church of Scotland College, which is the original school he was looking at, and a better fit to what he wants to study.
So, all in all, things are looking up, and coming together, but I know it'll be difficult to get it all done and in order. I take heart in the knowledge that if we're supposed to be there, we will be and things will come together one way or another. God is faithful.
Cael's vet appointment and blood test are tomorrow, so it will be officially six months until he can travel. Hopefully all his Pet Passport things will come into order swift and painless (I'm not holding my breath), but as long as they just get done.




Ellar said...

Ah, those lovely moments of life. :p Glad things are working out, though. And I kinda haven't seen you in forever. Miss you...

Amethyst said...

Oh my. It happens, doesn't it? Life, I mean. Always does. As soon as things get a little cozy, something else happens--but at least its always excitement. You and I will have a fair bit goin on in the next few months, no? Much love.

Caitlin said...

Let us all get together soon. I think I might have need of some snippeting, yes?

Ellar said...

Oh, yes, please!