I have a confession to make: I still haven’t done my taxes! I’ll wait for the loud gasps from the crowd to pass…

This is my first time filing taxes, and I have to admit that I’m terrified. Absolutely terrified. I’m not really sure what exactly I’m scared of – aside from filling them out wrong and going to jail or something horrible like that. I have less than a month until my extension deadline is up, and the furthest I’ve gotten so far is staring at the computer screen with my paystubs and other tax-relevant info in hand. Once, I even took the papers out of the folder I’ve been keeping them in, only to distract myself with doing dishes in a matter of minutes.

My hope is that by putting all of this out there and committing myself to getting them done by this time next week, it will be the motivation (and accountability) I need!

The reason I’m writing all of this is not only for that, because I know I will get them done (as afraid as I am of doing them, my aversion to being irresponsible is a much stronger feeling). Really, I just keep thinking about how this translates to a larger problem for women – taking care of our own finances.

Most of the women I know don’t know a thing about their financial situation. Either their parents or significant others handle the bills, and some just spend with the hope that things balance out at the end of every month. I’ve always been a bit more proactive than that, but I know I should be better. So, I’ve resolved to learn more about what I should be doing to stay financially healthy amidst all of the chaos around us right now. I am going to start by wiping the dust off of my copy of Suze Orman’s The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke, and checking out Savvy Ladies. Do any of you have good resourced to help me out? Are there others out there trying to figure out their financial future too?

2 comments:

At Mon Sep 22, 03:36:00 PM pizzadiavola said...

the furthest I’ve gotten so far is staring at the computer screen with my paystubs and other tax-relevant info in hand.

In the long run, if you have the time and money, taking a tax class at a community college is a valuable investment. It demystifies the process a LOT and you learn about all the exemptions and deductions you qualify for (as well as the difference between exemptions and deductions and all the tax-ese).

In the immediate future, the easiest thing to do is to buy or borrow a copy of TurboTax, which will walk you through both state and federal taxes. It's dead easy and covers all the exemptions you might be eligible for. I'm not sure how much the software costs, though, so (believe it or not) the IRS has a helpful guide to filling out federal taxes, and your state tax board probably publishes a similar guide. Pub 17 (links to HTML and PDF version) is for the federal tax return.

Do any of you have good resourced to help me out? Are there others out there trying to figure out their financial future too?

Mint.com is free money managing web-based software that helps you keep track of your expenses and what you're spending money on from month to month. You have to enter a lot of confidential data, though, to enable it to pull information from your bank and credit card accounts, so another way of doing the same thing is to keep track of every purchase you make in a spreadsheet, sorting things by category (food, bills, etc.) and by month. It's a lot of effort but I found it helped me be more mindful of how much money I was spending. Another helpful tactic, if you're able to do it, is to set aside an amount for savings at the beginning of each month, rather than setting aside what's left at the end of the month.

 
At Mon Sep 22, 04:53:00 PM frau sally benz said...

Thanks so much! I may just need to invest in a class so I know all the ins and outs better. I think if I had just prepared myself a bit more, this wouldn't feel so intimidating.

 

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