Tag Archives: finances

Save the Panda

25 Sep

It started the day I ran out of eyeliner.

Not the first time. The first time I scrounged together five dollars that I didn’t really have to spend and I went to Rite Aid on my lunch break and I bought eyeliner and applied it with my iPhone in between the set of doors that pretend to let you in and the set of doors that actually do.

This happened the second time. When I seriously couldn’t afford any more because the only five dollars I could have gathered was laundry money and without the ability to purchase more underwear when others need laundering, I had to face the music: I needed clean underwear more than I needed eyeliner.

For some reason I convinced myself a long time ago that my eyes were best viewed when outlined with a thick black crayon. It might be because when I was 16 there was a girl who worked the register beside me at Kmart who showed me that in the world of eye makeup, too much can never be enough. It could also be that I’m hyperaware that my right eye is smaller than my left and I think that somehow I’m fooling everyone by distracting them with panda eyes. Probably, though, I’m a creature of habit since I’m used to seeing myself like this:

 panda

It’s kind of jarring to look in the mirror and instead see this:

 naked panda

And then I realized: this is beginning of a slow and steady decline into poverty-induced unattractiveness.

This has been going on for quite some time. The eyeliner was really the last thing to go. A few weeks ago I ran out of new contacts and found myself without funds to replace them. That means I’m back in geek glasses. That’s right: geek glasses. The glasses I left on my desk at recess because I would have rather been half-blind for kickball than have to wear them in front of people.

Let’s be honest: I was terrible at kickball regardless.

Anyway, as those of you following for any extended period of time know, I’ve descended the stairs from full-time corporate America to part-time nonprofit land and have had to adjust accordingly.

This has led me on all sorts of adventures. Last week, for example, my fridge was completely naked of offerings. It also happened to be the 60th birthday of a dear friend who thought that if 100 people RSVP on Facebook for a party, they should buy 100 hot dogs and 100 hamburgers. That worked out really well for me because they’re supremely generous and lovely and now my freezer and fridge are full of everything I could possibly need to celebrate Labor Day every single day from now until Christmas.

And I have.

Please note that this means I’m on a diet comprised almost entirely of hot dogs and hamburgers. While without contacts. And eyeliner. And other various first-world comforts.  I have a hole in the crotch of one of my pairs of jeans that I’ve become very strategic about keeping hidden while I walk or sit so that I can still pass them off as one of my two pairs of jeans.

I’m going downhill, guys. Way downhill.

There are some things that naturally work out to balance these inconveniences I suppose. Like the fact that I’m walking to work now because I can’t afford to reload my bus card so I’ll stay fit. Or that my hair is down to my butt because paying for someone to cut my hair seems like an absurd waste of fistfuls of cash. Perhaps these required inconveniences that will keep me fit and long-haired will help balance out the required inconveniences that keep be dangerously close to no clean laundry and no shaving.

The good news is that this Sunday I conquer the beast that’s been chasing me since January: the 10K. Longtime readers will recall that 2011 was the year I wrote a post every day for my 365, 2012 was the year I missed having a 365, and 2013 is the year of a fitness 365 culminating in a 10K at the end of September. We’ve arrived. On Sunday, it’s do or die. If it’s the latter, I’ve already appointed a ghost writer to finish up the blog. If it’s the former, I can ride out fitness through the rest of 2013 and look long and hard down the barrel of 2014’s 365.

From the look of my fridge and eyes, I’m leaning toward a financial one. I could make it a campaign. Something like Save $10,000 in a Year or I Have to Donate an Egg.

Or maybe just Save the Panda. 

naked panda

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How to File Your Own Taxes: A Semi-Adult’s Guide

13 Apr

Last night I completed my second round of filing taxes by submitting the circumstances of Dave’s life – every financial detail I could remember of had record of – to the federal government, which I’m still not convinced is Constitutional.

Folks, this girl is done with her taxes.  Awww yeah.

In this moment of glory, I’m feeling particularly wise.   Humble sage that I am, I’ve decided to pass on a few tips to you to help aid you in tax filing success.  Because let’s face it: you will get more frustrated from standing in line for 2 hours and then sitting for 2 more while someone else does them than you will get if you just stay home and do them yourself.  So just stay home this year and behold the power of the magical Interwebz.

That’s right: straddle up, Sally.  It’s time to do your own taxes – the semi-adult way.  Here are a few tips to help you while you’re in the tax jungle:

♣          Put on Pajamas: Everything’s better when you’re in pajamas.  Nestle up with a super awesome, preferably childish pair of pajamas.  Pull on a onesie and button up your butt flap.  If you can find a ridiculous pattern, please do.  I prefer Mr. Bubble.

♣          Watch an Epic Movie: Taxes take perseverance.  Harden your fortitude by watching a super epic movie first.  Some suggestions are Braveheart, 300, The Last of the Mohicans, or pretty much anything that heavily features war drums.   After watching William Wallace get publicly gutted, those W-2’s with earned income in two different states won’t be nearly as intimidating.

♣          Reward Yourself: No matter how old you get, you will never be above doing something for a cookie.   So help yourself to whatever guilty pleasure you have.  Vices of all kinds are recommended; curl up with your favorite mixed drink or three, or put your w-2’s in one pile and a big, fat, chocolate cake in another.   How could taxes get any better than alcohol and cake?

♣           Track Your Progress: Since you probably have a lot of paperwork floating around, you should find a process for distinguishing the forms you’ve entered from the ones you haven’t.  Personally, I prefer to do so with gold star stickers.

♣          Ignore Fancy Government Terms: Listen – “W-2” is just a fancy sounding term for a receipt from your checks last year.  You don’t have to call it a W-2 if it makes you feel better.  That’s just a totally uninventive term the government picked.  If I could have picked, I would have gone with “gruggle”.  …Or “moopie”.  You can call it anything you want.  The government wants to call it a W-2.

♣          If You Feel Overwhelmed, Relax: If you’re using a tax program featuring live chat or community boards, take a moment to scan them every once in a while.  There’s nothing more self-assuring than screening the most recently asked questions and seeing “WHAT IF I HAD 2 JOB??!?!??!” – posted by HotMama_0814 @ 6:34pm. Reading over those intense grammatical nuggets will remind you that there is a whole slew of average Joes and Janes online trying to figure out this mathematical government puzzle.

So go.  Because remember: right now, somewhere, someone dumber than you is filing their own taxes.

Ah, adulthood.

 

P90X Update: 13/90 Days Complete.  Alas, I failed to work out last night after my amazing feats of tax strength.  So today I have to trade my rest day in to play catchup.  Super lame.

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