Recent Divine Discussions
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
I just E-filed my federal tax return. I'll explain why I went ahead and did my tax return instead of waiting until March or April like I stated in my previous post in a second. First let me share a very important piece of advice to take heed of when filling out your tax return:
Never rely on information from documents such as your last pay stub or last bank statement of the year to complete your tax return. Wait for your employers, past and present, to send your W-2s and for the banks to mail out your interest statement.
I used the last pay stubs of my two past employers and present employer and also used my last bank statement from each savings account to estimate my 2008 tax refund. And because I e-file, I really didn't need to wait to receive my hardcopy W-2s through the mail. Everything is done electronically. But being me, I waited to receive ALL my OFFICIAL documents and do yall want to guess how far off my original $1335 tax refund estimate was??
Now I would never have sent off my tax return using estimates but still. The huge difference blew me away. Just shows you how much "minor" mistakes can cost you.
Anyhoo. I went ahead and filed my tax return today because of three reasons:
1. I already had all my paperwork and could file at any time.
2. I spoke to a rep at the IRS and he confirmed that I could amend my 2008 tax return to claim the 1st Time Home Buyer Tax Credit once I had closed on a house and it was before the July 1, 09 deadline.
3. The $2207 tax refund I will be receiving will be better used now towards my home purchase fund.
Based on my IRS e-File Refund Cycle Chart I should be receiving my refund via direct deposit next Friday, 2/6/09. Here are a few dates from the chart:
|Transmitted & Accepted (by 11:00 am) between...||Direct Deposit Sent*||Paper Check Mailed*|
|Jan 16 and Jan 22, 2009||Jan 30, 2009||Feb 6, 2009|
|Jan 22 and Jan 29, 2009||Feb 6, 2009||Feb 13, 2009|
|Jan 29 and Feb 5, 2009||Feb 13, 2009||Feb 20, 2009|
|Feb 5 and Feb 12, 2009||Feb 20, 2009||Feb 27, 2009|
|Feb 12 and Feb 19, 2009||Feb 27, 2009||Mar 6, 2009|
|Feb 19 and Feb 26, 2009||Mar 6, 2009||Mar 13, 2009|
|Feb 26 and Mar 5, 2009||Mar 13, 2009||Mar 20, 2009|
Happy tax filing yall!!
IRS Free File
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Its that time of the year again.
I think this year I will do my own taxes again. One problem that I run into each year is remembering all the documents and information that I need to gather. So this time around I made myself a checklist:
- - W-2 from Employer #1
- - W-2 from Employer #2
- - W-2 from Employer #3
- - EIN and total amount paid from Daycare #1
- - EIN and total amount paid from Daycare #2
- - List of itemized deductions and receipts if applicable
- - Student loan interest amount
- - 1099-R for 401K distribution from Employer #2
- - Information needed to claim 1st Time Home Buyer Tax Credit (gotta buy a home 1st)
- - Information needed to claim 1st Time Home Buyer Tax Credit (gotta buy a home 1st)
Are you ready for tax season?
Do you have all your documents or are you waiting on some?
Saturday, January 17, 2009
The home I want:
Price: $0 -> $190,000
Ideal Monthly Mortgage (including taxes, PMI, HOA, & hazard): $1200 (max $1300)
Location: Surrounding Orlando Area
Square footage: 1700 s.f. +
Year Built: 2000+
HOA: $100/month max
* A-rated school district
* Quick access to major highways
* Good daycare
* Nice neighborhood
* Shower stall
* Large kitchen with pantry and lots of cabinet space
* Large master bathroom
* Walk-in closet in master bedroom
* Garden tub
* Family room and living room
* New stainless steel black appliances (a girl can dream can't she!)
Based on my research, an FHA would be the best loan for me to get. I chose to go this route because of the lower interest rate (currently 4.6%) and the lower required down payment (3.5%).
The following is basic loan qualifications for an FHA loan:
- Two years of steady employment (preferably same employer)
- Last two years of income should be same or increasing
- Minimum credit score of 580 and no more than 2 thirty day lates
- Bankruptcy two years or older (if applicable)
- Foreclosure three years or older with perfect credit since
- New mortgage payment < or =" to">
- 3.5% down payment
Here is how I stack up against the requirements:
- Two years of steady employment (preferably same employer). Check. I have 5 years of steady employment. Even though I have had 3 employers, they have all been on the same contract.
- Last two years of income should be same or increasing. Check. As most of you know I have increased my income by $25,000 over the past 8 months.
- Minimum credit score of 580 and no more than 2 thirty day lates. Check and check. My current credit score is 707 (Experian) and I don't have any late payments on my report.
- Bankruptcy two years or older (if applicable). N/A
- Foreclosure three years or older with perfect credit since (if applicable). N/A
- New mortgage payment < or =" to"> Check. The mortgage payment on my max price is 25% of my gross monthly income.
- 3.5% down payment. Almost there. The maximum down payment I am looking at is $6650. I currently have $3000 saved. I will have an additional $4050 saved by April, giving me a total of $7050.
I applied this past Friday and was pre-qualified for loan up to $300K.
I am looking into the 1st Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Program.
Facts on the programs:
- The tax credit is available for first-time home buyers only.
- The maximum credit amount is $7,500.
- The credit is available for homes purchased on or after April 9, 2008 and before
July 1, 2009.
- Single taxpayers with incomes up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes up to $150,000 qualify for the full tax credit.
- The tax credit works like an interest-free loan and must be repaid over a 15-year period (starting two years after you buy your home).
I meet all the requirements to receive the credit except for the home purchase prior to July 1, 2009 but that is in the workings. I read through the FAQs on the website and it says that I can claim the credit on my 2008 tax return on a home I buy in 2009 (obviously as long as you bought the home before the last day to file taxes 4/15). If that is the case then I would be able to get an additional $7500 on my 2008 tax refund. I am going to confirm this on Monday and if everything is what it seems then I will most likely wait to do my tax return so that I can claim the credit.
I know some of you guys might have concerns or questions about my HPP so let me see if I can alleviate some of them. I expect the seller to pay all closing costs. I don't plan on buying a "handy-man" special but if the house does need any repairs then I will request that the seller have those handled prior to closing or provide a repair allowance to be given to me at closing. And I am not worried about having money right when I move in to furnish my house. Its not like I don't have furniture. I am hoping to close on a home by April 15 at the latest (my lease ends April 30th). I'll then have about 45 days until my 1st mortgage payment is due. If I needed to I could use the money I would be saving from having no mortgage or rent due. I also have a $300 deposit on my apartment that will be refunded and some others sources of income that will be trickling in.
Anyhoo that is my plan. Think its a stretch? You don't know me very well do you? I'll keep you guys posted.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I know this is late but better late than never.
As you can see there has been a change in plans. I will be focusing on saving for the next few months or so. I have big and exciting things in the works.
Aside from the savings, there wasn't any significant change from this past year. January is a 3 paycheck month for me.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
My daughter and I opted to stay home rather than go out. This being our first weekend together (by ourselves) since I left her with grandma after Xmas, we decided to have some quality time. We just made this awesome drink and I wanted to share it with you guys, especially my fellow mommies.
Wondering what to do with the 30 plus candy canes left over from your Christmas tree? Well I was. I definitely wasn't about to have Sweet Pea munch on them for the next couple of weeks. So my mommy brain got to working and I browsed my fridge and pantry for some recipe ideas.
Candy Cane Chocolate Milk!!!
- 3 regular candy canes (I am sure you can do this with any of the other funky flavors)
- 4 cups of Almond Milk (We don't do milk but you can use it if ya want)
- About 3 tbsp of Sugar-Free Chocolate Syrup (you can use whatever type of chocolate you want)
Add all the candy canes and 1 cup of milk to your food processor. Process on high until you can hardly see any pieces of candy cane. Pour candy cane milk mixture into blender along with remaining ingredients. If you want you can scrap out the little bits of candy cane into the blender or just leave it till the end. Blend for about a minute or less. Pour into glasses and enjoy!!!
My daughter LOVED this!!! Talk about a hit. And she loved the lil pieces of candy cane at the bottom of her cup.
You can of course make this without the chocolate. I just loved the combination.
We are off to make chocolate chips cookies and do some arts and craft.
This weekend is going to be a very productive. Especially if the remainder is anything like my Saturday morning (mind you its only 9:30 am). I have estimated my tax refund for this year ($1335,) completed my monthly report for December 08, and calculated my January 09 budget.
Oh yeah, and like a typically mom, I am did all that while cleaning, cooking breakfast, and doing laundry. :-D
Remainder of my To Do List:
- 2009 Goals
- 2009 Career Plan
- Home Purchase Plan
- Pay bills
- Leave apt by 1 pm and have fun for the rest of the day
Hope you all are having a productive morning also!
Monday, January 5, 2009
Alright! Lets get to the nitty gritty. Over the next few posts I will review my 2008 Goals and do a short summary of all major events (good and bad) in 2008. Once we get that out the way, we'll see what Dimples has planned for 2009. It will definitely be a year for GREAT things!
I am not going to list every single goal I had on this plan. Once I made the choice to basically "upgrade" to the next level of my career, about 3/4 of my plan could not be applied to my new position. So here is a list of what I did accomplish:
- *Went on my first business trip to Shreveport, LA
- *Became Lead Engineer on 5 separate projects
- *Took a huge leap of faith and landed great job with client (and then successor)
- *Same leap of faith increased my salary by $25,000
- *Increased my knowledge of Access and databases
- *Taught myself Relex
- *Taught myself FMEA
1. Eliminate CC Debt - 54% complete
I paid off $7000 of $13K in cc debt. Unforeseen circumstances led to a $3K increase in my cc debt. The huge salary jump allowed me to attack a sizable chunk of my debt and I
2. Double Emergency Fund to $6,000 - Done (kind of)
In October I had about $7000 saved in E-fund. $6K of that was used later on to pay off a chunk of my cc debt.
3. Car loan balance < $15K - Nope
Current balance of my auto loan is $18K.
4. Obtain $300K in additional life insurance - Nope
I was able to obtain an additional $75K in life insurance. I will look further into this later on this year.
5. Increase credit score to 700+ - Almost
My current score is 686. I am almost there.
6. Change to paperless billing system - Done
7. Find permanent hustle - Done
This blog is my permanent hustle. I also jump on lil things here and there.
1. Business - Nope
All my business goals are on hold. Once I get things ironed out with my career, finances, and buying a home, I will look back into it.
2. Increase salary by at least 5% - DONE!
I increased my salary by 50%. Take that! Take that!!!!
3. Look into investment/rental property - NO!
Please! Not in THIS market. Don't know what I was thinking when I added that on.
4. Network - Yes, kind of
I have been to a couple of events but not as much as I should have.
1. Take at least 2 Out-of-State trips - Done
I went to Atlanta, GA last February with my girls and to Shreveport, LA on business. Yes I am counting the business trip.
2. Better time management - Ugh
Work in progress. I am getting better though.
3. Be more organized - Yes!
I'm a Capricorn so I am a master a this.
Not sure how to gauge how well I have done in this past year. Doesn't look good on paper but then again I am on a whole other level than where I was a year ago. I've done pretty good this year and I am very proud of myself. So is my daughter. And that is what really matters at the end.
I have a number of things I want to focus on this year and a lot I want to accomplish. I have the drive, I have the faith, I have the determination, and I have the intelligence. Once I concur my time management issues I will be a powerhouse. Play wit it if you want to!!
Look out for my 2009 Goals in the next couple of days.