Every Penny Counts: Our 2011 Tax Return!

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Like two kids on Christmas morning, my husband and I tore open the envelope from our accountant a couple days ago.  We were so excited to see that we would be getting almost $8000 back from our federal and state tax returns!  Before signing off on the tax return, I looked over a few things.  I knew that we might qualify for the energy efficiency credit, so I looked to see if our accountant included that. 

After seeing that we didn’t get it, I called our accountant just to make sure we didn’t qualify.  After talking to a couple of people from his office, I was able to talk to him directly and get some answers.  We discussed our home improvement project and all that it entailed.  I explained that my husband had applied insulation to the outer wall of the foundation in the process of waterproofing.  While we were on the phone, he went through the guidelines for the energy efficiency credit.  It turned out that we did qualify, but we only qualified for 10% of the product value, which was only $300.  So, I was a bit disappointed that we would only be getting another $30 back.  I almost told him to just forget it and file our return, since it would mean him having to send out another copy for our approval.  After hearing the hesitation in my voice, he proceeded to insist that we include the credit.  He said, “Thirty bucks is thirty bucks, right?”

It amazes me how I sometimes lose sight of the value of every penny.  I can go to the grocery store one day and make sure I use every coupon I have on every sale item possible, and the very next day I’ll go out and get a $5 chicken bacon ranch wrap at my favorite food spot.  I’m in a constant battle with myself, trying to beat out the habit of spending money and raise up the ability to save money. 

This reminds me of a Bible verse that describes the human condition perfectly.

Romans 7:15

American Standard Version (ASV)
 15 For that which I do I know not: for not what I would, that do I practice; but what I hate, that I do.

The thing that I hate to do is spend money we do not have.  Yet, we do it almost every day.  A part of me wants to satisfy my sin nature by buying things that make me feel better in the moment.  My struggle is mainly with convenience items.  I like to buy things that will make my life a little easier.  I suppose you could say that I’m lazy and don’t like to cook.  I know that challenging myself in the area of cooking and cleaning, just keeping house in general, will make me a better wife, mother, and servant of the Lord.  It’s a daily struggle, and I’m working on it. 

Making every penny count is something that is more of an inspiring quote than a practical reality.  You can’t go through life without waisting a little bit of money.  But, I know I can go through my day being more conscious of my financial decisions. 

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