Sunday, January 17, 2010

Crunching the numbers

Tax season is upon us! We are one of those stupid people who let the government hold more than they should. So for us tax season is a good thing. We look forward to getting our stuff filed asap and getting our money back. This year we figure we will get back just enough to cover our credit card debt. I imagine we will have our money in hand no later than April 1. We almost always get our returns in mid March.

So here are the goals we have set.

We stand at just 600 in our savings. Between now and April I imagine we will have no trouble getting this number to $1000. That means that on April 1 we should have our credit card debt gone and $1000 in emergency savings.

Our goal between April 1 and the end of June will be to save up $2000 for our vacation. We go on a family reunion trip each year to Gatlinburg TN. We usually visit the aquarium, play golf, visit a few shops, and visit a few kiddie car rides. This year we have decided to skip all that and spend one day in Dollywood. We stay in the some hotel as our whole family. We have a really nice family suite already booked and one night even paid for. This suite has 2 full bathrooms, a king size bed and two queens, two balconies and a full kitchen. It runs around $300 a night. So we will be spending around 600 just for the rooms (it is a three night stay. We will spend a couple hundred on gas and just money for food down and back. I am not quite sure how much dollywood will cost, but I am guessing around $250-$300 for 6 of us. The rest of the budget is cushion money. Our kids have allowances all year long and they are required to bring their own money for their little souvenirs. So I think $2000 will cover it.

You might wonder about that only down and back? Well, I have a cool family deal here. My grandparents have 7 children. Those children have spouses and children...and most of those children now have children. Needless to say, we practically take over the hotel we stay in for that weekend. There are between 60-70 of us at this reunion. As a gift to all of us booking this particular hotel they give us this giant kitchen and dining room area for the weekend. It is sort of a conference room with a kitchen. So my mom and all her sisters make out a menu and hit the grocery store the first night we arrive. We usually buy about $400 worth of groceries and split it among the families. Our portion is usually around $30! For 6 people, 3 dinners, 2 breakfasts, and 3 lunches...that is a steal! We have huge dinners cooked every night and we all eat in the conference room. Breakfast and lunch items are available as well...but it is a come in and fix yourself kind of thing. So our dinners are together, but we go run around Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge areas at our own discretion.

Well, back to the numbers. In order to have the 2000 saved we now know we will need to set aside close to $350 a month. We do plan to have a yard sale in May and that will help. But I do think that barring no major catastrophes..this is doable for us.

After our vacation, we will set aside a little more money for some school supplies and a Christmas fund.

I am truly hoping to not charge a dime between now and next spring. Then our van should be paid off and we will have a real shot at paying off my student loan. Oh happy day that will be!

Well, those are the numbers for us. Many may think we should not even be going on vacation. But this was booked by my mother for us as a early Christmas gift. Last year we were there and she surprised us for paying for this years room for a night. We have been doing our reunions every year for about 10 years and we have done them in Gatlinburg for the past 4. It just seems to fit everyone perfectly. The older people enjoy the shopping, Dixie stampede, comedy barn and sight seeing. The younger kids enjoy the rides, miniature golf, whitewater rafting, etc. So it fits everyone for an enjoyable vacation.

The one thing we are determined to not to charge this vacation. So the goals are set! Wish me luck!


  1. NO Charing! :) You can do it, stay strong!

    Good for you - as long as it is cash, I say go for whatever you can do ;)

  2. If you change your withholdings now, that will help a lot with your vacation goal :)

  3. Hmmm....I wish I could talk my husband into that. But I think he is concerned about the possible changes since the Obama administration intends to let the Bush tax credits expire. I am not sure that will affect us or not, but we have a feeling this might be our last year for such a tax refund.

  4. but that is a good suggestion! :)