most profitable things

The 3 Most Profitable Things I Did This Week: The Lady’s Animated Memoir

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Wow. This week was a powerhouse of WINS. The Lady in the Black is kicking ass and taking names–yet there’s still a long road ahead.

The 3 Most Profitable Things I Did This Week

Week Ending August 18, 2017

Fist bump!

HiHo…HiHo…Off To IRS I Go

Last week, I had an in-person appointment to file my 2016 taxes with the Feds and CA State. I talked a bit about that in last week’s memoir.

This week I had to return TWICE to resolve some issues on past year’s balances due and to update my installment plan. In my post where I revealed all the dirty little details of my tax debt, I put forth a plan and I’ve been aggressively working it.

Here’s just a recap of my plan and progress with IRS.

  1. Pay HR Block their fucking ridiculous fee and get 2016 paper returns in hand.     Done
  2. Schedule IN PERSON appointments at IRS/CA local offices.      Done. (5 separate appointments)
    • Try to resolve 2011 discrepancy.      Done. 2011 is now PAID IN FULL!
    • Clear whatever security BS for 2015.      Done. 2015 
    • File 2016 taxes. Get solid numbers on what is owed.      Done. ($15,970 due for 2016.)
    • Request any additional remaining balances roll into existing installment plan.      Done. New Fed balance $29,673. I increased monthly payment by $100 to get more aggressive with payoff.
  3. Aggressively save and pay estimated taxes for 2017, as much as possible starting ASAP.      Still the plan–and now a mandate from IRS in order to keep my installment plan. 

In short, by finally filing an old tax return (my Christmas tree story), I dumped about $20,000 off my tax debt.

most profitable things

Lessons

  1. File Your Taxes…even if they are late. If you don’t they will “file” for you. It’s called a proposed assessment and doesn’t account for any deductions, credits, write-offs, etc. If you don’t tell them otherwise, their amount is what you owe. Filing late will cost you in penalties and interest but I’d say it’s best to submit your own return.
  2. Don’t assume e-file is automatic. If you e-file make sure to confirm your returns were received. I had an e-file fail and then had to jump through security hoops when I re-submitted via mail.
  3. Pay Your Estimated Taxes. If you are a freelancer with income that is not subject to withholdings, it’s super easy to spend that money. I’m in a bit of a snake-eats-tail scenario as I’m trying to pay past balances while paying toward next year’s estimated balance. Staying current is important.
  4. Celebrate Your Wins. While I calculated that I’ve eliminated nearly $23,000 of tax debt in 20 months, I know I still have a long haul ahead. But I had to celebrate and take note of the win. I made some big mistakes and I’m trying hard to clean up my mess. Integrity is always worth celebrating IMHO.
  5. Go In Person. If you have a local branch office for IRS or your state’s tax board near you, I recommend going to deal with tax issues in person. It’s quicker and easier to share paperwork, explain situations, and get things done. Reminder: before you go, check to see if the office is “appointment only.” I’ve watched countless people turned away because they popped in without calling ahead. Oh, and remember, it’s easier to catch flies with honey than vinegar.

Look away!

Avoiding “Bright, Shiny” Things

As many of you know, I started investing in stocks (as an experiment) just last week. My reaction to that has been…surprising. I detail how my shallow dive into the investing pool has shifted my reality in a recent article, however, needless to say, it’s the latest in a string of financial temptations–one I can’t let pull me under.

So far any success I’ve had in eliminating my debt is having a plan and working it. Paying off significant debt is a commitment and a long-term one at that. Sure, I’ve fooled around some on the side but I always return to the plan. The plan, hell any plan, can work if you commit.

And now, with the help of my financial blogger friends, I know I have access to hundreds of opinions and angles of advice. It’s too easy to get caught up in this or that. Yes, I love investing so far. Yes, I need to seriously save for retirement. Yes, FIRE. Yes, mimimalism. Yes, travel hacks. Yes, dividends investing. Yes, yes, yes. It all is good stuff–great stuff.

The reality of the situation is that I’m in a different space than many of my peers, and many of my blogger friends. I’m older, for one. My timeframe to achieve any level of financial success is compressed. I’m also fairly ignorant when it comes to financial strategies. It’s a steep learning curve, even for a smart Lady. I’m deeply in debt, the kind that crushes souls.

I am also just one Lady, one single old lady with one single income.

My agency released 20 employees this week. It was just another slap in the face to keep my priorities straight. This blog is fun. So is Twitter. So is investing. So are a lot of positive things. But nothing, NOTHING, can distract me from my priorities if I’m to succeed.

Priority #1: Keep The Job. Keep The Income.

Priority #2: Eliminate Debt

Priority #3: Prepare for the Future

That’s it. Simple as 1, 2, 3, right? I need to stay focused. I think I’m doing a fair job of it.

L-I-V-I-N.

Scaring Away Scarcity Mindset

When you receive an updated tax bill or watch 20 of your colleagues lose their jobs, it is super easy to slip into a panic. I felt it happen. In fact, it’s the reason for the tension in my shoulders as I write this post. This week also brought my daughter’s art camp tuition, gas for my car, groceries, and some pretty frickin’ important bill payments to make. (More on that next week.) My car lost a hubcap. Cats needed fresh litter, carpets need cleaning, etc, etc, etc.

Did I have enough? Will I bounce that crucial payment? How am I going to pay it all?

While these questions swirled this week (and are of genuine concern), I had to stop and relax.

I have no other choice but to trust the plan I have in place and that the money will be there when I need it. Call it “attraction” or “abundance” or “money magnet” or any new-age term you want, when it boils down to it, it’s about faith. Faith in yourself and faith in the Universe.

Even if the money doesn’t come in on time, I’ve proved my resiliency more times than I can count.

Lesson

When you’ve lived paycheck to paycheck for all your life, sacrificing this to pay that, you are unknowingly conditioning yourself to be fearful and weak around money. As I remind myself when I feel those negative emotions sneaking back,

Nothing improved for me financially until I improved my attitude.

I know it’s tough. It’s still tough on me, too–but I’m doing my best to release the past, live the present, and prepare for the future.

JKL, people. JKL.

So….how was your week? What were the most profitable things you did? Whose up for a Matthew McConaughey film? 

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8 comments

  1. ALWAYS up for a Matthew McConaughey film! haha

    Your week was a lot more productive than mine. The most profitable thing I did this week was have 2 zero days (per the Zero Day Challenge). I resisted the temptation to buy lunch THREE days this week at work (I was only there 4 days this week).

    1. GIRL! That’s awesome. Discipline is the toughest thing to impose on oneself. (I just made that up but sounds good, right?)

  2. Dazed and Confused all day, every day.

    Congrats on upping that tax payment and for investing! I’m proud of you.

    Nothing big to report on my end. Although today I ordered Drano from Amazon because my hair sheds like crazy and the bathtub is stopped up…again. It was cheaper/more efficient to order from there than to go get it from the pharmacy around the corner.

    1. Dazed and Confused, my friend. I hear ya! This week was good but I literally can’t think I’m so exhausted! I’m sure I’d have something pithy to say about the Drano…but, nope. Not today! JKL!

  3. I like Matthew McConaughey more in person than as an actor. He’s really got a good head on his shoulders and I love his philosophy on life. Watch this commencement address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmCTQ_mkzHU.

    I have a close friend (brother) who didn’t do #1 and #3 and now is paying penalties on top of his late tax payments. “Don’t mess with taxes.”

    1. Thanks for the comment! “Don’t mess with taxes” is right! They will work with you, but cross them or push them too far and BAM. You’re toast.

  4. These achievements are big for a small timeframe. Your last few paragraphs made me quite sad. Some credit is due though, you have a total mindset to win this fight. My parents have nothing saved for retirement between the both of them. Just $30K max if you include the fact that I owe them $20K for tuition.

    They’re not even worried after acknowledging that they are indeed poor. They want a house. Social security saves all was the plan. My husband will not be flipping my parent’s bill, it’s not his problem. He never had to worry, his parents are successful and financially intelligent people. My parents worked the bare minimum back in China until they had to make more money. All their friends became wealthy as trade blossomed between US and China, they didn’t catch that boat. I’m honestly disappointed I guess, doesn’t that sounds terrible?

    Oops I rambled…I digress.

    You’re part of the PF community now and it’s a kind one and we LOVE you (I’m giving myself the right to declare that). It’s not just advice or self promotion (ok.. some) that we’re spitting but we’re all learning and forging our path too. I’m proud of you, it sounds weird, you’re a kick ass Lady.

    1. OMG. Thanks, Lily. I hear what you are saying about your parents. I’m disappointed that I learned next to nothing about money from them. But everyone’s story is different. Looking through a different lens I could honestly say that your parents moving to a new country to start over is brave. Perhaps they are just feeling like their life has improved enough that chasing a comfy retirement isn’t worth the effort? I’m sure I don’t know. Thank you for the kind words. I am pretty kick-ass in many ways and have survived much. I’m grateful for the PF community!

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