Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tax Return Fun

The only fun I ever associated with doing my tax return was seeing how much money I would get back. In high school, after I filed, the money would go into my bank account and right into savings for college or help pay for car insurance. Then, when in college, it went towards tuition and books. Right after college ended I got married and our tax return went towards paying off my school loans (notice tax returns=money for college), our car loan and saving for a house. As you can see each year the money was gratefully received and used in a productive way. I'm sure along the years I used a small portion to buy a new movie or book that I had wanted, or perhaps splurged on something like 2 movies.

This year was no different, after buying a house and having a baby I was sure that our money would go towards the mortgage, into savings (as the two things listed above can be quite costly) and into the college fund we started after Christopher was born. This didn't bother me though seeing as I had never looked at it as a big payday before and this is what would be best for our family.

I almost fell over when we originally talked about where the money would be best used and Tim said that we were fine on our mortgage and in savings and that we should both make a list of where we wanted this money to go.  Needless to say I wasted no time in day dreaming about what I could spend this money on and almost every idea I had was for Christopher (play kitchen, outdoor toys, etc.)... oh how times change when you are a mother! I find it so easy to spend money on him, but almost impossible to spend anything on myself.

One requirement that I had was to make sure that everyone got something that they would enjoy. I didn't want to be selfish and get myself, or Christopher, something bigger and have Tim sacrifice. So when making my list I made sure to include things that we would all enjoy. After Tim and I made our initial lists, and the money was in our bank account, we sat down and compared lists. We reasoned through everything and decided what could wait, wasn't needed, etc. To be honest I thought this might be a bit of a tug of war, but we agreed on everything and came up with a final list.

This is where my FUN comes in :) I have always LOVED to take pictures and can get quite aggravated when my little point and shoot doesn't keep up. Since having Christopher, who is my primary subject in shooting these days, I had been eying up DSLR cameras but knew there was no way I could justify spending that kind of money.  This was the perfect opportunity and we both agreed it would be great to have while our kids are growing up. After doing research (about two years worth) and talking with several professional photographers I decided on the Canon Rebel t2i.

Isn't it beautiful? 
We got the camera, with an 18-55mm lens kit, a camera bag and a 50 mm/1.8 lens for portrait/close-ups. I was glad we had the little bit of extra money to get another lens and already have a wish list of items that I would eventually like to add on (speedlite, extra battery possibly and a 55-250mm lens for when the kids start playing sports). Of course we'll be keeping our point and shoot as well so we aren't always lugging this around and it really has done a great job for me, for the most part. Hopefully now I won't have to be running around turning on every light in the house just to get a good picture :)

Speaking of pictures, no I haven't taken any with this bad boy yet. We just got it in the mail today and the most I've done is charge the battery and organize everything in the bag. I want to take some time to read through the manual (please nap well tomorrow, Christopher) before I play around with it, but trust me I'm itching to give it a go!

Christopher has already tested out what we got him and the stick vacuum we bought to help us for quick pick ups in the kitchen...
We had this trampoline on his Christmas list just didn't make the cut. Our little bouncer/dancer has already put in a lot of time on this!
Helping Mommy test out the stick vacuum. I was so tired of lugging out our amazing, but HEAVY, vacuum for every little mess so we got this for quick pick ups which are needed a lot with a toddler and three cats!

Tim and I are also getting ourselves bikes which have been on our "wish-lists" since we got married. The first anniversary we were going to buy them I found out I was pregnant (Dr. advised not to start since I hadn't been biking before pregnancy and since I'm a klutz, I followed that advice!). Then our second anniversary Christopher was too little to ride on a bike so we held off again. This summer is perfect though! One of Tim's co-workers gave us a bike trailer (Garbo's, you rock!!!) and Christopher loves to go for walks/be outside so I'm sure he will love it!

Of course we still saved a bunch (have to send the kid's to college somehow) but it really was refreshing to spend money on ourselves and not feel bad about it or for once not being extremely responsible and sticking it all into savings.  Hoping you all enjoy/enjoyed your tax return money!

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