Two Months ’til Tax Day

Last year, I did two really responsible things during tax season: I did my taxes all by myself* and I spent my refund wisely. (*Well, I got TurboTax and it did most of the hard work for me!)

I used my refund to pay off my car one year early. It’s been a pretty liberating experience from the get-go… moreso than expected! Before I did this, I was spending $410 every month on my car, and I am possibly the farthest from a car junkie as one can get! I knew that once the car Captain Jack was paid off, not only was he mine but I could also concentrate more on saving up for The Big Move.

Not too long from now, the boyfriend and I will be moving. I have many things to think about with this change, mostly about my job and our money.

First, I’ll be quitting my job and entering the market once again. I’m falling out of love with what I used to think I wanted to do with my life, so I’m basically having an identity crisis at the moment. To make matters even more confusing, my current skillset and what I majored in is pretty in-demand, but not so much in urban areas. This wouldn’t be much of a concern if we didn’t have our eyes and hearts set on moving back to the northeastern part of the US, back to where we were both born and raised, back to where we met. We love the idea of living in a city and are both really pumped at the thought of going back to an urban life; however, the cost of living there is at least double what it is where we are now.

Just a brief look around Monster.com and Craigslist, mechanical engineers are not in demand in NYC and are not as in demand as I’d hoped in Boston (our #2 and #1 choices, respectively). Plus, I’m not sure if I even want to do this anymore, so I don’t want to waste my energy on fighting for the one and only engineering job in the entire city just to be unhappy with my choice.

Then comes the big decision: start over and go back to school, or start from the bottom up in something I enjoy?

I recently read an article about how to leave the 9-to-5 world and how to focus on your skills that you actually enjoy. One of the steps was to make a list of the things you’re good at, the things you enjoy the most, and the things you can do that can actually make money.

I’m good at…

  • Knitting
  • Photoshop – Designing and making posters/flyers/ads
  • Giving tours
  • Interacting with kids

I enjoy…

  • Knitting
  • Cooking/Baking
  • Trying new things, especially food, sports/athletics, and venues/restaurants/establishments
  • Designing advertisements and logos in Photoshop
  • Traveling
  • Taking care of and helping animals
  • Doing crafty DIY projects

I can make money from…

  • Giving tours
  • Freelance design of logos/graphics/advertisements
  • Selling crafts
  • Cooking/baking

I would love to do the “I can make money from…” list, but unless the boyfriend ends up with a 6-figure-salary job, I don’t see how we could live off of my “dream jobs”. Even in the wonderful NYC, I doubt doing all of those four things could bring in more than $30k per year. That’s not even enough for just rent on a $2500/month apartment there! I know I’m not in it alone and I know I’ve been the sole breadwinner for the past year and a half, but Kentucky is a lot different than New York and I know the boy will not have it as comparatively easy as I have now.

So, what does this have to do with taxes? Well, I hope to get another refund like I always do. (It seems to be getting smaller and smaller every year though!) I have a few options on how to spend it: do nothing and just deposit it in my bank account, put it towards my student loans, or spend it on something that can give me experience in my “I can make money from…” list. Cooking classes. A graphic design course or two. Adobe Creative Suite 5 (which I’ve tried downloading for free and getting a fake keycode to authenticate it, but nothing has worked for me).

I have a lot of figuring out to do.

Sigh.

I like having a positive blog, so I’m going to conclude this rant with some happy things! *grin*

I love my boyfriend and how neither of us like the idea of Valentine’s Day. I love that he loves me every day, not just on February 14th.

I love that no matter where we go, I’ll be happy. I love organizing a new space, making it my own and showing my personality.

I love that my drive to work gets a little bit lighter every day; it reminds me that spring is just around the corner!

Most of all, I love that I have a guy who is willing to hear out all of my crap and ranting, and who will back me up when I need it.

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