Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Back that tax up

Just got my tax rebate (always late, but worth the wait), and was thrilled when I saw the number in my bank account! In total, it's about $2,800, which is a pittance compared to how much I actually gave the government, but I'm glad I at least got something back. Thanks to Love, that number was much higher than what I would've gotten if I had filed as a single instead of joint -- I guess it really does pay to take out humongous loans for higher ed!

But the $2,800 question is: How will I spend this enviable portion of moolah?

Let's start by a good teeth cleaning. Not for me, but for my poodle, Lola Belle Watkins (affectionately dubbed "Lolar Bear" by Love), who's penchant for pancakes and pasta has left a nice patina of plaque on her little fangs. Even though a margarita on the beaches of Cancun would be a nice respite from the daily drone that is my life Monday through Friday, the prescient image of Lola's teeth falling out of her head at the ripe old age of 13 just doesn't strike me as appealing. So, I figure I'll take $400 of my rebate and put it toward her dental needs, effectively ridding myself and her (at least for awhile) of the poodle breath that permeates from her tiny gullet.

That leaves me with $2,400, she says, rubbing her hands together nefariously as a sinister glint takes shape in her eyes. I have two options: Buy that $1,500 leopard Dolce and Gabbana bag I saw on clearance at Nordstroms (hey! it was on clearance) and use the remaining $1,000ish on the pinnacle of any possible purchase I could ever make in my life (ok, besides that giant mansion I want) -- a perfectly tailored Burberry trenchcoat. Fabulous purchases, indeed.

But you know what? What would I have to look forward to and save for if I buy something I've set as a distant goal to reward myself with in the future? What would I use as a pat on the back for "making it," if not with a Burberry trenchcoat? And really, how silly would I look driving my 2000 orange Hyundai Accent with my Burberry trenchcoat on, drowning my financial woes in chalupas at Taco Bell? Almost sillier than Hillary Clinton thinking she still has a shot at the Democratic nomination.

My point is that when life hands you lemons, make your goddamn lemonade (i.e., leverage that baby!). There's no such thing as free lemonade unless you make it all by yourself. If "Mama" really does "want a new Buick," the best thing said "Mama" can do is make her cash work for her. In my case, I'll leave a touch in my bank account (quite possibly to use for summer plane tickets for Lova, Lola and I to fly back to California with), and the rest I'm putting in the stock market.

Voila! No fabulous trenchcoat, but an addition to the downpayment of my future McMansion and a Southern belle of a poodle with no hint of halitosis!

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