Life’s Certainties

  1. Death
  2. Taxes
Income taxes are due on April 15.

One of life’s certainties.

This past week I had my taxes done.  Retirement has thrown my tax habits into chaos.  I tried doing them myself, but got lost when asked for the Fair Market Value (FMV) of my pension.  Is there an FMV for a pension?  I understand the FMV of my retirement investments, but a pension?  What’s the value of that?  All things considered (including a printer that’s on the fritz), I gave up and made an appointment to have someone more professional do them.

Sadly, my favorite accountant is gone.  Last year she didn’t work because she’d had a mild stroke.  (She wanted to, but her colleagues said no.)  Since my dad worked several years after recovering from a massive stroke, I was hoping she’d be back this year.  But she did the smart thing, retiring and moving out of the area.

Income and withholding information from my working years has not translated well into retirement.  I’d thought my W-4 information transferred from  employment to retirement, but I was only half right.  When my 1099-R arrived last year, it showed no state withholding.  I paid for it big time.  But this year even my federal withholding wasn’t enough.  So now I owe double big time.

The good news is the shock propelled me to change both federal and state withholding.  The bad news is I still need to pay this year’s taxes.  The further bad news is my meager income will now be even more meager than it has been.

What’s a girl on an austere budget to do?   Reinstate the television shopping embargo.  Instead of four weeks though, let’s make it an entire month this time.  Oh heck, this calls for drastic measures—let’s make it two months.

Wish me luck!
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Sunday Seven Shopping

NaBloPoMo's theme for June 2013 is "Roots."It’s the last day of NaBloPoMo June 2013.  I made it!  ~⚛throws confetti⚛~  It’s also Sunday, and that means another Sunday Seven.

After my successful 4 week shopping embargo, I realized I hadn’t bought myself anything for my birthday.  So I lifted the embargo.  (Wouldn’t you, too, for a birthday?)  Here’s what I bought electronically.

Seven Birthday Gifts
(from me to me)

I’ve posted pictures on Pinterest and Springpad.  (I’m not sure if it was less work than posting them here, or more.)

  1. A pair of slide sandals from Zappos.  I live in slide-on shoes—sandals in the summer, clogs in the winter.
  2. A New Yorker artwork beach towel from QVC., as homage to a beach towel I received for my birthday years ago.  It was a sailboat with red sails at sunset.  I loved it!  It’s worn and threadbare, but I don’t have the heart to throw it out.  This new towel has lots of sentimental value, too, because my favorite uncle gave me a subscription to the New Yorker magazine from many years.
  3. A “painter stripe” tunic t-shirt from QVC.  Because you can never have too many t-shirts (in retirement).  Plus, it matches a turquoise pair of shorts I have.
  4. Two pairs of Bermuda shorts from QVC, one in dark denim, and one white.  But they’re too big, even though I ordered a size smaller than usual.  So they’re going back.  😦  (I’m sure I’ll find something to replace them.  😉 )
  5. A Randy Jackson timepiece (watch) from HSN.  He has some beautiful watches, and I’ve been wanting one with a white watch strap for a couple years.  And it was on sale.
  6. Those moonstone & amethyst Nicky Butler earrings I longed for at the beginning of my embargo.  They were still in my HSN “cart” when I ordered the watch.  It was meant to be:  moonstone is my birthstone, and amethyst is my mother’s.
  7. A summer weight cotton blanket and throw from HSN.  (Check the second picture for colors.)  The throw is for when I nap on the sofa (my acrylic “fluffy” being way too warm), and the blanket will be cooler than the quilt currently on the bed.

The Self-Imposed Shopping Embargo

One week down…

So, how am I doing with my 4-week shopping embargo?  Perhpas I should have clarified the shopping ban applies to electronic retail only; i.e., shopping channel and internet shopping.  Therefore, if the UPS man* or mailman* doesn’t deliver it, it’s fair game.  Because, if I’m willing to go out and buy it myself, it’s something I’ve thought about—and therefore not a spontaneous purchase.

* Asterisk explained:

I realize “UPS man” and “mailman” are not politically correct, but in my case, both delivery people are male.  So “man” is acceptable here.

Now that that’s been clarified, how are things going?  Well, I have been tempted, but have also been able to resist.

The new style of portable air conditioners can be rooled from room to room.

Air conditioning, now available with wheels

Temptation #1 was a portable air-conditioner, in the form of HSN’s “Today’s Special” on Memorial Day.  I’ve actually been looking at these “rolling” a/c’s  because our condo complex’s a/c cannnot be turned on until May, and we nearly always have a heat wave in April.  In fact, I have the pictured rolling a/c in my QVC “wish list.”  The HSN model appeared to be a reliable brand with a discount shipping cost.  I was able to resist because the a/c has been turned on, and my unit has been serviced.  So everything’s good to go for the coming months.

These earrings combine moonstone (my birhtstone) with amethyst (my mother's birthstone).

Oh Nicky, how you tempt me!

Temptation #2 came from my favorite jewelry designer, Nicky Butler on HSN.  He had yesterday’s “Today’s Special,”  which rarely happens because his jewelry is hand-made.  I was able to resist the “TS” ring, but he had a couple pairs of earrings I really liked on sale.   Fortunately, I’ve watched shopping TV long enough to realize there will always be something I like on sale.  Heck, maybe the items will be discounted even more in the future.  (However,  I did file away these earrings, just in case they’re still around when my shopping embargo is lifted.)

Temptation #3:  a pair of Birkenstock sandals.  I love slip-in sandals with great arch support.  My current Birks are wearing out, but I think I can hold off until next summer.  Hopefully.

… three to go.

[Photos from HSN and QVC]

The Power of Seven

Seven is my lucky number.  Or maybe it’s just a lucky number in general.  Whichever, it has personal significance for me.  Plus, it has nice alliteration when combined with “Sunday.”  I therefore present the return of …

The Sunday Seven

I started Sunday Seven nearly three years ago in an effort to blog more regularly.  Yeah, that didn’t happen.  But since time is no longer a problem and I’m Starting Fresh All Over Again, it’s time for a reboot.

I wrote about my shop-oholic tendencies recently, so let’s restart with…

Seven Things Not Bought (and Money Saved)
  1. Those cute jeweled sandals at HSN:  They were on sale for $70, now they’re $80.  And blue is no longer available.
  2. Pearl & aquamarine necklace at Jewelry Television (JTV):  “Special Offer” at $88.  I’m not sure what’s “special” about the offer.
  3. Keshi pearl necklace, also at JTV:  Another “Special Offer” at $80.  In my defense, pearls are my birthstone.
  4. Vipre anti-virus software at HSN (licenses for 5 computers for the life of the computers):  $50, which is  the best price I’ve ever seen.
  5. Two MyPillow pillows from QVC:  $89 yesterday, $98 today.  Reading negative reviews saved me.
  6. Deni ice cream maker from QVC:  $30.  My pocketbook and waistline are grateful it sold out.
  7. Swim suit from Lands End:  $36 for tankini top (regularly $59), $30  for bottoms (regularly $49).  Great savings, but  by the time my shopping embargo is lifted, the suits will likely be sold out.

Grand total savings:  $474 – $492, not including shipping costs, which would take the total over $500.  Woohoo!