Monday, January 27, 2020

Tax Refunds: CDs with a Positive ROI, not "Interest Free Loans"

Tax Refunds: CDs with a Positive ROI, not "Interest Free Loans"
We're almost through January, so that means winter has set in, our resolutions are getting harder to stick to (or have bitten the dust entirely), and personal finance bloggers are trying to figure out how to get a few dollars of affiliate income from a tax prep software industry that has spent the last twenty years trying to keep citizens from filing their taxes for free.

You see, the IRS and the tax prep software agency struck a deal decades ago: the IRS would agree not to create its own free tax filing software, if the industry agreed to offer a free version to middle income and low income filers. Everybody wins, right?

Except the tax prep software industry apparently used a series of tactics to prevent people entitled to the free software, including a particularly disturbing approach targeting military service members, from actually filing for free.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

2019 Spending in the Done by Forty House

We haven't done many spending summaries on the calendar year here at the blog. We used to post a series of Budget Porn posts, sharing all the nitty gritty details of the past month's spending and how much we invested, too. For years, we used to share our net worth on a monthly basis, too.

But somewhere along the lines, we stopped. It felt weird after a while: like we were humble bragging. But instead of bragging like a huge jerk just once, we kept doing it over and over again.

Then recently we decided it might be good to be more transparent. We even decided to share the details of all the money we've ever earned, since, you know, the higher than average income was the real reason we can work towards financial independence, not our lukewarm frugality.

So in that vein, I figured why not share our spending from 2019?

Monday, January 6, 2020

Making One Car Work, and the Hidden Happiness in Small Challenges

Making One Car Work, and the Hidden Happiness in Small Challenges
Our Matrix looks remarkably like this, but with terrible, chipping paint.
One of my recurring internet distractions is looking at vehicles online. I've written about my car lust in the past, and it keeps coming back no matter how many times I tell myself that, since I work from home, we don't really need a second vehicle.

My favorite tool is Search Tempest, a site that runs your search through all the craigslist sites across the nation: an invaluable feature when you look for weird vehicles like I do. Wagons with a stick shift, or an imported Japanese Hiace camper, ideally with 4WD, diesel, and sure, while we're at it, why not throw in a manual, too. 

When I'm not searching for unicorn cars (Why do Americans love automatics? I'll never understand.) I find myself settling for something more reasonable and popular, like a Toyota Prius V, the large, station wagon model. True to form, even this has been discontinued. It seems that whatever cars we like are bound to be unpopular.