Monday, February 21, 2011

2010 Tax Refund

This morning I completed our 2010 taxes at work. The wife and I file together as a couple and we itemize deductions to get a better refund. I been using TaxAct Online for the past 9 years for free but this year I had to pay $9.95 due to a large number of stock transactions last year. As soon as I clicked on the signature to file, I got an email saying the tax return was accepted by the IRS:


Our refund this year was only $1,900. I think last year we got close to $2,200. I'm not going to look in to the different too much, I'm just glad we are getting some money back. Most of that money will go my Citi Forward credit card or I might splurge a little and go buy some new clothes.

Some people say we are lending the government interest free money every year but I rather get a lump sum from Uncle Sam than to get that money every month. The advantage of having a large payment helps us to make a nice dent on our debt.

How much was your refund and where is your money going?

HS

New Sponsor

I would like to thank our new sponsor CareOne Credit services. They specialize in debt consolidation and financial counseling. If you are looking for help managing debt or for advice dealing with creditors, please reach out to them.



HS

Friday, February 18, 2011

Updates

Happy Friday! Today is sunny and the weather is in the 60's. I'm at work at the Continental Airlines headquarters building in downtown Houston. I am in the 47th floor, Here is the view from my desk:



The view you see is Midtown Houston with the Galleria area in the background. I got here at 8 AM this morning and I'm hoping to be out around 2 PM. That's my location update, here's a few more updates:

Debt: We are still in the denial and avoidance step. I refused to add up the numbers right now but I estimate the credit card debt to be around $8,500. I keep patching things here and there but as usual, life happens and I still charge a little here and there. I'm hoping to get more serious about credit card debt in the spring (April 2011).

Career: I gave up on the job search. I had a lot of interviews and calls but I'm tired of the disappointments. Last week one of my coworkers got the job I talked about a while back so that did it for me. It was my dream job and the starting salary was $100,000. I don't understand why they picked him, I know I'm a better performer but there's nothing I can do. I know something better will come along, right now is just not the right time. I'm going to stay where I'm at, the plan is to pass GO and collect the salary every 2 weeks.

Life: As most of you know we had fertility issues and basically gave up on starting a family. Our weight loss journey took a lot of that pressure away. If it happens I will be thankful, if not life goes on and faith will decide the rest.

Me: I started focusing on running, I can now run 5 miles in a decent time. I also started cycling again, I feel like I can ride non stop but so far the most I've done is 25 miles each time I hit the road. My bike is not in very good condition and I'm dreading buying a new one. I spent close to $1000 on my current bike 5 years ago but I'm starting to see a lot of rust on it. I was hoping a TREK would last forever... I went to look at new bikes and they average around $1,200. I'm going to wait, I just don't want to spend that kind of money right now. I've also been playing a lot of Golf, the only complain I have is how expensive the game has become. Last weekend I spent close to $60 just to tee off.

That's all the life updates I have right now... I hope everyone has a good weekend!

HS

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

This Is Who I Am

This is who I am! well the new me. I walked in to the bathroom at work this morning and for the first time in what seems like a very long time, I’m proud of what I see. I had to take a picture and show the world. I will blur out my face since no one knows about this blog and I’m ashamed of all my debt and money mishandlings. Anyways, this is who I am:



Please keep in mind I used to be fat. The picture above is significant because I used to be a size 40 with a giant beer belly. I know my female readers are thinking YUCK and so was I. My weight back then was 216 pounds and I could easily put down 12 beers at any time, followed by all kinds of foods I don’t even care to mention.

So what happened? Back in November 2010 my wife was not happy with the way she looked so she decided to change. She started doing Body-for-Life which I have mentioned before but I think part me was doing it just to be supportive. She asked me to help her and like any good husband I said YES (I always tell her, it’s your world I just live in it). She wanted me to be there for her work outs and help her with planning all meals and grocery shopping. I can only say it was the best thing that ever happened to us.

The picture you see above is the new me. My weight this morning was 185 pounds. I’m wearing size 34 pants (need to go down) with a size 16 shirt. I no longer have a beer belly, in fact I have a lot of definition in that area, hopefully abs come next. Over the last 3 months I have lost close to 31 pounds and lost all kinds of body fat I didn’t even know I had.

If you are looking to make a change and are interested in BFL or need ideas or support, please let me know. Just click on the contact me button above and it will send me a private email. My goal is to encourage others to change and experience what I felt this morning.

BFL is not hard, it takes some commitment for 6 days of the week but on the 7th day you get to cheat! You can eat anything you want, what program could be better!?

HS

Monday, February 7, 2011

New Vehicle Tires

I had a post about the wife's car a couple of months ago, you may recall we are almost done with that debt, I think we have $800 left. Unfortunately a paid off car also needs maintenance. This past weekend I was hoping to get the tires rotated so I could avoid spending money but no tire shop would do it. They all told me they had to be replaced. I tried Firestone, NTB and finally gave up at Discount Tire, I went ahead and got new ones:



I went with the Michelin LTX M/S2, pictured above. This is probably the best tire in the market for SUV's, they are rated 70,000 miles and the way the wife drives I'm hoping we get 80,000 miles out of them. The bad part is the price. Each tire is close to $200 so I walked out of there with a $1,100 purchase, at least that includes free replacement warranty. I put this amount on my Citi credit card but rest assured, the money came out of savings the next day and I made the payment back to Citi this morning.

$1,100 may seem like a lot for new tires but we are hoping this is the last set we ever have to buy for this vehicle.

What do you think? Is $1,100 too much for tires?

HS

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Gotta Love Texas

The weather is going to be in the low 20's tonight with 2 inches of snow expected and everyone is freaking out! schools are closing, stores are adjusting hours and even our client sent a memo to go home at 2 PM today and stay home tomorrow.

Now if you live up north you know 2 inches of snow is nothing to worry about but down here everyone freaks out! I love it, I get to stay home tomorrow and relax...

Stay warm, I hear most states are covered in snow.

HS