So last night I decided that I had all of the necessary tax papers to finish our federal and state returns, so I did. For the last several years I have been using one of those computer tax programs (not the one Tim Geithner used) that calculates everything and will send the whole thing electronically to the IRS with the click of a button. The usefulness of computers and the Internet continues to amaze and impress me. In just 1 hour our taxes were complete and sent off. Now I just wait for the refund. Yes, we're getting a refund thanks to my 2 cute children and the fact that we own our home. Apparently children of parents in our tax bracket are worth a pretty penny come tax time.
Also with the interest rates at all time lows, we decided that it would be a good time to refinance our mortgage. When we bought this house 2 1/2 years ago we locked in at a rate of 6.5% for a 30 year mortgage. We paid about half of the money down up front, so our monthly payments were quite reasonable. Our new rate is 4.875% for a 15 year. The payments will be about $60 more per month but we figured out that by doing this, we will shave 15 years off of our mortgage and roughly 86 GRAND in interest! Our closing costs ended up being about $1400 but that is a small price to pay in the long run, and really that money goes not only to the bank, but also to appraisers, title companies, etc. right in our community. The appraiser or as my kids call him "the pricer" was here yesterday to look at our house and submit a price to our lender based on current housing prices for the area. He told me that the banks are really starting to get picky about what houses they take on, and that finding comparable properties that have sold within the last 90 days is very difficult esp. in winter. It's about time these banks start taking precautions before handing over big piles of money to irresponsible borrowers. If only the federal government would pick up on this novel idea.
While I know that a big government stimulus is needed, I had no idea what that actual proposed bill was about until one of my favorite bloggers, Skyewriter outlined it here and dissected the first 55 pages of a hefty 736 pages total. Read what she wrote, or even better read the whole bill for yourself if you have the time or the energy. It pays to know what our lawmakers our doing with OUR money. Thanks Skye for making us all more aware and involved.