Don’t call us, we’ll call you

April 6, 2011

Me and Julio down by the schoolyard

Actually, it was me and 1040 down in the bedroom, but that was the song that kept running through my head as I did the taxes yesterday.

Here’s a little confession: I actually like doing my taxes.  Perhaps it’s the fact that Neal takes over all baby-related duties (although yesterday he was assisted by a fortuitous visit from my mom) so I can focus and just pound them out.  Perhaps it’s taking a bird’s-eye view of our financial picture from the last year.  Perhaps it’s the precision of it all — I go through every last receipt from the previous year to make sure I haven’t missed a business expense.  Perhaps it’s just the fact that I’ve turned it into a cheery Paul Simon tune.  In the end, it’s a cathartic day for me (though, of course, I try to make it seem as onerous as possible so that Neal feels he owes me).

I work very hard throughout the year to ensure that we neither owe taxes nor receive a refund, which is tricky when you are working with self-employment taxes and an irregular income.  I can see why some people like getting that fat tax refund in April, and I think it can be a good, sort-of forced savings plan if you are worried about fiscal discipline (although spending it immediately as if it’s some unexpected windfall seems to defeat the purpose).  But personally, I would rather not give the government an interest-free loan for half a year — even with interest rates as low as they are, something is better than nothing.

In light of my efforts to avoid a tax refund, yesterday was more than a little surprising.  Having a child + me not working on campus + Neal making slightly less from the SAT-prep business = one big fat refund.  I seriously overestimated our tax burden for 2010 (but of course, with self-employment, it’s better to do that than underestimate since you can rack up some hefty penalties for not paying enough estimated tax throughout the year).

No doubt some of you are bored to tears by all this financial talk (sorry if the title was misleading and you really thought this was about a cheery Paul Simon tune), but I’ve got to admit that it excites me.  Probably in something of the same way that a dysfunctional relationship is exciting (remember how I’m pathologically frugal, emphasis on the pathological — case in point: I once told Neal to return a 50-cent item to D. I. (a local thrift store) and was pretty miffed to learn that they don’t accept returns).  All that is to say that I’ve decided to add a Finances category to my blog and opine about it when moved upon.

And if that’s not what you signed up for, then watch this entertaining video:

I love me some Paul Simon.  Of course, with Garfunkel, he was amazing, but without him he’s one talented and inventive dude.



  1. Well you know I love hearing about other people’s money so write on!

    Comment by Emily T — April 6, 2011 @ 7:46 pm

    • Haha, Em…I thought you would be at least one person that would respond that way!

      Comment by llcall — April 6, 2011 @ 7:48 pm

  2. i LOVE this song!!!
    It reminds me of growing up and listening to my Dad play it over and over in the car when we traveled.

    Comment by kjell — April 7, 2011 @ 2:06 am

  3. I love hearing about finances. I’m kind of becoming a finance nerd and spend hours on MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, Investopedia, and other finance sites. Who knew?

    Comment by Andie — April 7, 2011 @ 4:28 pm

  4. Ok I secretly like doing taxes too! Except its not too secret because I was going to be an accountant…then about your $.50 return, after buying something I immediately notice anything that was less and freak out that maybei didn’t get the best deal–like on gas. Notice how the station closest to you always seems to be the most expensive? And then you try to remember which station closest to your errands is cheapest…that’s why I finally got a gasbuddy app. I can know where the cheapest gas is closest to me without wasting gas to get there. Tyler says I’m obsessive.

    Comment by carissa — April 8, 2011 @ 4:02 am

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