The Game Changer: My 2011 Tax Return

Since moving, and going from putting $1,700 each month on debt to paying nearly $1,000 per month in rent, I have felt like a pretty crappy personal finance blogger. My current debt updates have been stagnant, as I’ve been trying to adjust to my new financial situation, and I’ve missed publishing exciting posts about reaching new increments, like paying off $10,000 of debt in 6 months.

In the back of mind, I knew what some of my financial goals were for this year, but I couldn’t set deadlines until I knew one thing: how much my tax return was going to be.¬†On Monday afternoon, Mom let me know that my T4 had arrived in their mailbox. Being the organized (and anxious) person that I am, I was ready for this moment weeks ago. All of my other numbers were entered into my UFile account and the only thing missing was my T4 information.

When I got to the house, I ripped open the envelope, logged onto UFile, plugged in the numbers, triple-checked them and hit Results. I was so nervous that I literally closed my eyes. Is it going to be $2,000 like last year? No, maybe more like $1,700. Yea, $1,700 sounds about right. After a few seconds of panicking, I opened my eyes and read this:

tax refund

Did that make your jaw drop? Mine is still on the floor at my parents’ house. $2,756. That’s almost an entire month’s salary for me. And, when it gets deposited into my bank account (2-3 weeks from now), it’s going to make many of my goals that much more achievable.

After replenishing my Emergency Fund with the $475 I had to borrow from it last month, I’m putting the rest of this year’s return on my credit card debt. I’m prepared for commenters to tell me that I should be putting 100% of it back into savings or investments but, for where I’m at financially, that’s just not my best option. And to be blunt, I’d be a damn fool if I didn’t put it where I needed it most.

By the end of March, I will only have ~$2,000 in credit card debt. Suddenly, my goal of paying it all off by August 31st doesn’t seem so crazy…

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