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Our Income Shell Game to Avoid Tax Drama

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Disclosure:  This is a personal story from my point of view.  Don’t mistake this for advice.  Ask a professional for tax advice.  I’m not a professional. In short, don’t be an asshole and blame me for anything.  😉 We DIDN’T Owe the IRS $67,000 If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that we went through a 2 year saga from 2014-2016 with the IRS to prove we DIDN’T owe them nearly $70,000.  To summarize – after some tears, shit tons of frustration, some sleepless nights, and a classically AWFUL experience with a tax lawyer, the IRS agreed with us.  Yep, cost the IRS some paper and stamps for automated scary letters.  Cost us unnecessary stress and $5600 of expenses between the money-hungry lawyer (somehow magically was able to use ALL but $112 of our $5000 retainer to literally file two sets of papers and take 2-3 phone calls) and our new, actually helpful, CPA. Our New System After that total bullshit, we started paying that CPA to file our taxes every year (CPA-filed taxes get picked on less).  We also pulled the trigger to set up both of our main businesses officially (Budgeting in the Fun Stuff and … Read more

10 Budget-Friendly Moving Tips

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Today’s post is from writer and commenter here on BFS, Kate (Mrs. COD).  Thanks to slaying her debt demons, she’s now able to stay at home raising her two rambunctious little boys. Kate blogs about lifelong habit changes and “finangelism” at Changing Our Default, which she started early in 2016. Hi, BFS readers! Since my family and I recently moved from Illinois to Kentucky for my husband to pursue his university teaching career, I’ve got several great tips for moving on a budget. Here’s what we learned during the moving process about keeping the budget in line! Research Before even deciding to move anywhere, do some research! Check out the new town or area online or in person. Learn about its faults as well as its attractive features. For example, if your prospective job there will pay more, but the location also brings a hefty cost-of-living increase, you might want to think twice about it. For us, the housing prices in our new city were MUCH more reasonable than where we previously lived. Ask About Relocation Funding If doing on-location job interviews, be sure to ask about travel or relocation funding. Some employers reimburse travel expenses (hotel, gas, flight, etc.), … Read more

I’m Having a Good Week!

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This has been an amazing week here in Crystal-land! 😉 Here, let me list the ways in which life is being awesome since I feel like I haven’t truly been able to share great news for a while without it being tinted with super crap. I’m Losing Weight! My weight loss and strength training is chugging along really well. I’m down 10-11 pounds since mid-June.  I started at 177-178 pounds and was at 167 by last weekend. I joined a few more Dietbets, and am even hosting a $10 one, so I’ll be motivated to continue losing weight even during our upcoming cruise. I won about $60 total from the 4 last month, so my “meh” feelings got pushed aside by the holy-hell-this-is-working feelings. Cruise Time Again! About a week ago, we booked another 7 day cruise that leaves at the end of the month. I booked us for another Chef’s Table experience onboard too. I’ll be taking the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible and eating lots of small meals instead of pure binging. That combined with some swimming and walking-the-track time should equal fewer pounds packed on during that week. But gorging on food or not, we … Read more

I’m Hosting a $10 Dietbet – Starts August 1!

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UPDATE July 31:  JUMP ONTO THIS WEIGHT LOSS TRAIN NOW TO GRAB A PIECE OF THE FUN!!!  You can join in late though it gives you less time to lose the 4%… I know, I know.  I won a whopping $12 on my first Dietbet and wasn’t extremely impressed.  But, my annoyance with the small payout actually motivated me to refuse to lose my other 3 Dietbets.  That meant I stayed on track last weekend even though truly wanted to take a break from calorie-counting, and I won $46 on the 3 Kickstarters.  Soooo…I guess I am indeed money-motivated. I also have been mentioning my Dietbets to a few friends, and they wanted in on the action too. My neighbor friend and strength-training buddy, Debbie, wanted to try it out with a $10 bet.  I didn’t see any of those starting soon, so I decided to host one myself. You don’t receive any kickbacks for hosting small games, but that just means we all have to win so Dietbet gets nothing too.  😉  We can motivate each other to stick to our respective diet and workout plans.  And $10 is cheaper than a month of many other weight loss programs. … Read more

Sell BFS for $20,000? And No More Amazon Links Here…

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It’s been an interesting month. I was offered $20,000 last week to sell BFS, which has me looking into exactly what this site is worth. I also got kicked out of the Amazon Affiliate program. Selling BFS? Don’t freak out on me just yet. I was offered $20,000 and am seeing if this site would be worth closer to $50,000 or not. At $50,000, I’d sell and have a little breathing room while I try to grow Crystal’s Cozy Care faster. But for $20,000, I’m sticking around. So, stay tuned here for the same Crystal download as always! And no matter what, you can always find me over at crystalscozycare.com, dogslifeforme.com, or crystalclearthoughts.com (though that is NOT where I am now, lol…those sites are all either static or dormant unless I ever give up BFS). Not Feeling the Love from Amazon I’m not sure why Amazon tossed me out of their affiliate program since they supposedly sent an email I can’t find, but there won’t be any more Amazon links here. Am I striking against Amazon or giving up my Prime account any time soon? No. But it is a little slap to the face. This might end up being … Read more

I Won My First Dietbet!!!

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I made 4 bets totaling $125+ on Dietbet.com.  Those bets generally were me saying that I could lose 4% of my overall weight within a month.  The first bet ended this past Monday, July 17.  My First Bet I started at 175.4 and needed to hit 168.4 in about 3 weeks since I entered this $35 campaign a week after its official start time.  My plan of attack was to track my food intake using My Fitness Pal (a free app) and change very little else.  I already strength train with a neighbor friend, Debbie, twice a week.  My cardio is usually infrequent and with friends like William and Dee. About 6 days into this first bet, I felt pretty dumb.  7 pounds in 3 weeks is 2.34 pounds per week.  I usually lose 1-2 pounds a week during a diet.  Plus my weight fluctuates 1-3 pounds every day.  So I would need to truly have no cheat days and hope to get lucky during the 48 hour final weigh-in period at the end if I was super close to the 4% mark. I was super close. Final Results The final weigh-in needed to be submitted sometime between Monday early … Read more

Thinking about Getting Knocked Up Again

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This has been a crappy year for our procreation plans.  I got pregnant in late November 2016, had a blighted ovum miscarriage in mid-January 2017, got pregnant again in mid-March 2017, and had an ectopic pregnancy miscarriage in late April 2017.  That one took nearly a month for my system to physically reset, and I was told to wait at least two menstrual cycles before trying again.  I was also warned that I would now have an increased chance for ectopic pregnancies with any future attempts.  Wanting to Try Again Despite the scare factor the tubal pregnancy slapped me with, my husband and I are seriously contemplating whether we should start trying again in the next month or so (after my second cycle).  I’ve slammed through all of my stages of grief (sad, angry, depressed, contemplative, snarky, and acceptance).  I also used the time to find a new OB-GYN since the staff of my last doctor treated me like a faceless number.  We meet my new doctor this Thursday and I’ll make sure we are good to go again physically.  If so, we then need to figure out if we want to try again soon or wait a few more … Read more