In December, our family was blessed with a wonderful surprise…The Oregon Tax Kicker check. For those of you who don’t live in Oregon, there’s a law that says if the money the state takes in from taxes is a certain percentage higher than the state budget, the money gets kicked back to the taxpayers. Personally, I think they should just cut our taxes, but that’s a whole different subject.
Anyway, back to the story. In December our tax kicker check arrived, and it was much larger than we anticipated. $641 to be almost exact! My first thought was “pay down the credit card!” Friends told me to make sure we saved a little for something fun. In all my excitement, I forgot to ask my husband what he thought.
It turns out my husband had big plans for that check, too. Our Honda CR-V was in need of a new timing belt. I thought maybe we could put it off, but apparently the timing belt is one of those car parts that destroys the whole car if you let it go too long. So I agreed that we should get it replaced. We had the timing belt replaced in another car several years ago, and I recalled it being about $300, so I figured we’d have half the check left to pay down debt.
Unfortunately, I was wrong. Apparently, though the timing belt itself is not expensive, you have to take apart the whole engine on a CR-V to get the timing belt in. Total cost of the job? $608. So much for that Citibank bill going away any sooner.
In the end, it’s OK. The work needed to be done on the car, and we didn’t have to take the money out of our emergency fund. And I recognize that we’ve come a long way in the last several years.
I’m proud that my first thought was to pay down debt, and that my husband’s first thought was to pay for a necessary car repair. Just a couple of years ago we would have been thinking “Let’s go to Disneyland! $641 is a good start, and we can charge the rest!”
Yes, we’ve grown up a lot. And I’m glad.
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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
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