My sister Americans (I’ve been watching too many political speeches lately), why wait until thoughts of April 15 circle your mind like mad gnats on a glass of cheap wine?
You could get your tax return done now and get it in ahead of that date. Of course there’s always that blessed word extension! But if you’re a procrastinator, will the extension just add more days for you to put off what you could have accomplished back in January? Would it just be five more months of gnat swatting? If so read on.
Here’s a letter from a reformed tax paying procrastinator. Her story just might inspire you to get going now before the gnats come!
What a difference a year makes! Last year at 11:55 pm on April 15th, I was in line with a bazillion frantic Americans all waiting to mail our tax returns before the stroke of midnight.
This April 15th I have already received my income tax refund AND that check from Uncle Sam paid off the LAST of my credit card debt thanks to the GOOD Book you wrote! I’m 43 and when I look back over my troubled financial past, every year I used my refund check to celebrate! Celebrate what? That I got some extra money, what else? Getting extra money and splurging it while I was digging deeper and deeper into debt was (I now know) the work of Marla (my inner child, named after my cousin who was so pampered and indulged by my aunt and uncle that she grew up to be a monster of an adult and ended up in prison).
No words can properly explain how good I feel now that I’m in control of a major part of my life, my money. I watch Marla with the eye of a wise adult and I am there when she emerges to respond to the ingenious skill of advertisers who are marketing to her! Trina
Trina made me remember a story I love that has nothing to do with procrastination or tax returns, but it just might help you get in touch with the reason behind your procrastination. This event happened to me after I’d written the book on organizing your finances, so it wasn’t included, but would have been perfect for illustrating our need to budget and what’s behind our lack of budgeting.
The Crab Lady
After I had dug myself out of debt I still had an acute awareness of Nelly (my inner child) and what she could do in a store if I wasn’t vigilant. This one day I was standing behind a woman at the fish counter at the grocery store waiting for my turn to order. I heard her order one pound of salad shrimp and one Dungeness crab which was on sale for $5.99 a pound. It was exactly what I was going to order, so I couldn’t resist playing with her!
“Copycatter,” I said with a big cheesy smile.
She didn’t smile back. (You always take that chance.)
“You just ordered exactly what I’m going to order. I only get to buy the crab when it’s on sale,” I added self-righteously.
“Oh, I buy one Dungeness crab every week, even when it goes up to 17 dollars a pound. It’s been worked out on a spread sheet and into the budget to allow the weekly purchases throughout the year.”
“You have a CRAB budget?” I wanted to know why and how someone would budget crab.
“Oh, yes my husband and I are both accountants and we work EVERYTHING we love into a budget. If it’s not in the budget we don’t purchase it.”
“Do you ever splurge?”
“Oh, yes we do, but we have a splurging budget.”
“How does that work?”
“Well, we have an amount each month for indulgences. It’s not a huge amount, mind you, because we aren’t the indulgent sort.”
I was speechless. I followed the woman all over the store (at a distance), watching what went into her grocery cart. The contents reflected her trim figure, her clothing, haircut, shoes and purse were all sensible. I’ll never be as sensible as the crab lady, and I surely didn’t want to go home with her and see her spread sheets. She's proof we can control our splurging by having a fund for when those special and unexpected temptations appear. It's also wise to work everything you want into a financial plan and stick to it. The end.
If you'd like to read the introduction from The GOOD Book: Get Out of Debt, please be my guest.
P.S. Not to be a gnat, but why not get that file out and start working on your taxes? If you'd like to know more about my book: The GOOD Book: Get Out Of Debt.