January 23, 2012

A Case Of The Mondays

Well, the week got off to a great start.

Got my first paycheck of the year and lost almost twice what I expected to taxes. I now pay more money in taxes per month than I do for my rent, including the increase that takes place in April. Which is fucking nuts. The US tax code is wildly confusing- I've never gotten a tax return more than $400, and that was once when the $300 make work pay thing was in effect a couple of years ago, and last year I owed taxes despite working and having taxes taken out. Paying a quarter of my income in taxes seems like so much to me. I made more money than this in the past and got to see more of my paycheck then... where does it all go and how to other people get hundreds on their returns?

Add to that people were absolute bitches on the phone at work, going so far as to yell at me and hang up when I mentioned our minimum (FYI: you're going to pay good money for a remodel, you can't go calling around and say you want the cheapest thing possible and get mad when businesses tell you they like making money) and my headache from Saturday night that never truly went away, I had to remind myself a few times that I got to wake up with wonderfully warm arms around me and that my car wasn't damaged from the car fire parked right behind it (terrifying few seconds while I checked it out, though).

One thing I took away from my parents' marriage was to worry about money, even if there's no need. I've never not been worried about money. My life is in perpetual save mode: for the next 3 months I'll be saving for taxes (I'll just barely make it), and until July I'll also be saving for car insurance, which I most certainly will not make at this rate. I had planned on joining a gym this week to train for the non refundable half marathon I already signed up for but now that's an unnecessary expense I might not be able to justify, especially when I should be spending that same money on new running shoes.

Makes me wonder how a person working full time for a decent wage and relatively low rent and living expenses can feel like she's just making it. I've been just making it since... well, I've always been that way, from college to now, and my current rent is only $100 more than it was when it was its lowest. The only addition is a car payment (which is low enough to be affordable) and full coverage insurance (which is a bitch); other than that my lifestyle hasn't changed too much. I still eat rice and potatoes a lot, going out to eat means parting with $5, and my wardrobe hasn't changed since right before I got laid off 3 years ago. Granted, there's no way I would have been able to afford a new car or this level of insurance at any point in the last 3 years, but I'm working so much more now. Doesn't that make a difference?

The thing that scares me is I'll talk to a professional about my tax situation and be told that's just the way it is, whether or not I'm able to understand it. And if that's just the way it is and a quarter of my paycheck goes to taxes, I still won't get a return. And if this is all the case, why am I not doing something fun for work? Why do I sit inside and look at a computer 2 feet from my face for 8+ hours a day, 5 days a week? I was making more money per hour when I was happiest, when I had more energy, when I didn't hate Mondays. I thought I was getting ahead but now it feels like the more I try to move the more I stay exactly where I always was.

And I couldn't see the rain today. Being stuck inside in a fluorescent room with a computer sucks on beautiful days, but it also sucks on the rainy ones. I love the rain and don't get to see it enough here... I'd like to at least watch it out the window. Hope this season is another wet one so that eventually it'll rain all weekend and I'll get to see it.

No comments:

Post a Comment