I was pleasantly surprised to find that our tax refund had been deposited into our joint checking account the other day. Although we’d forgotten to include the Making Work Pay (Schedule M) credit paperwork, the IRS was kind enough to fix our omission. Now, we don’t have to send an amended return. It was worth the extra weeks of waiting.
What are our plans for the windfall? We’re going to finish paying off our credit card debt. I was aiming to finish off the last $2500 by the end of April, and now, we will achieve that goal. I sent in a $1250 payment immediately, and when the next statement arrives in a week or two, I’ll send in the other $1250 — and we’ll wipe our hands of that credit card debt for good.
The rest of the refund will sit safely in our savings account until we decide what to spend it on. We do want to do a few things around the house, of course! Perhaps we will finally get the new kitchen counters we want — our current Formica countertop has seen better days, among the cracks and the out-of-date yellow-on-white pattern. In fact, I’d love to get granite, which doesn’t cost that much more than Formica, sadly. Probably talking around $1,100, plus the backsplash that I can do myself. Sure, it’s not necessary, but it will increase the value of our home. Of course, I’d like a new kitchen floor to go along with that, but I can also handle that project myself.
The living room is another area that needs improvement. It’s the first room you see when you walk into the house, and right now, it looks like 20-year-olds live here: there’s crappy TV stand that’s not meant for the size TV we have, the one lonely couch, and the chenille recliner, which is the only thing I’ve ever seen our younger cat destroy (the older one can’t be bothered with anything but napping, eating and pooping). Oh, and I should probably mention that our coffee table is currently being held together with duct tape, since one of the legs decided to make a run for it.
Our ideal living room purchase is a small sectional sofa, a nice TV console and hutch, and a proper coffee table that’s not decorated with silver duct tape.
These things aren’t cheap — We’re talking about $2,500 worth of furniture. While we could use our tax-refund savings to dress up our living room, I’ve seen commercials for Raymour & Flanigan touting no interest on purchases until 2014 — that’s almost four years! Some folks will argue that the interest is “built into the price,” and they may be right. But unless I can find what we want for cheaper, it seems like it might be the best way to go. Or, I use a credit card and we pay it off within three months using the money that we had previously earmarked for our credit card debt.
We’re very responsible with our debt — anything more than a few thousand dollars is cause for major panic — so I think either of these options are viable. And who doesn’t like new furniture?