When Erin and I first got married, the only thing we ever really argued about or caused frustration in our house was money. We both were spenders and had a difficult time adjusting to this new lifestyle where we had to consider each other before haphazardly spending our paychecks on frivolous things. It was a tough habit to break. When I lived in Colorado for almost two years, I made pretty good money. I wasn't wealthy by any means, but I was used to having cash to burn. And I certainly burned it. I was addicted to fast food. On a side note, that translated to me pushing 240 lbs when I moved back to California, and I can't believe I ever weighed that much. I'm glad to have lost a lot of that weight. I bought new clothes all the time. I would drop $50-100 per week at Best Buy on stuff I really didn't need (I mean who needs Legend of Zelda: The Complete Animated Series?). The point is that I had grown accustomed to not worrying about money, and that changed when I had to consider sharing my life with another person and providing for our future children.
That frustration with money only multiplied every April. We seemed to owe the IRS a huge sum every year. It didn't matter how we planned our withholdings. We constantly seemed strapped for cash, yet we always found a way to owe more. It cause more arguments since we obviously weren't able to figure out how to do our exemptions at work. I did the math to no avail, we always owed.
This was a change for me. I never owed on taxes. I always erred on the side of overpaying during previous years, but available cash was never a problem for me when I was on my own. What did I care about too much being held out of my check? Now we needed to have more money throughout the year to pay for things that I had either taken for granted or never cared about in the first place. My wife was actually trying to make me be a responsible adult. How dare she? It caused bitterness, but ultimately we grew from it. We've argued less about money even though I know my wife still wishes I made more. We have become better spenders and savers. All in all we are leading a happier monetary existence.
When we found out we were having twins, my wife was shocked and scared at first. She could only think of the negatives immediately afterward. It meant a more difficult pregnancy. It meant complications that don't happen with singletons. It also meant double everything. Car seats and diapers and clothes and food and AHHHH and MAKE IT STOP and WHY CAN'T I STOP WORRYING!?! What was the first positive thing she came up with? Two tax deductions. We had just finished paying off what to us was a substantial amount of money to the IRS, so it was on the front of her mind. At least she found solace in something.
As time went on, she started to appreciate more and more the whole having twins thing. There is a lot to be joyful of when you have two kids. I can't speak for my wife, but I know that I stopped thinking about the two deduction thing immediately after she jokingly (or maybe not) brought up the point. There were plenty of other things to to worry and think about that moved to the front burner. But I remembered that conversation this week as we finally finished up our taxes. Sure enough we had our double deductions included, and I'm sure it helped in actually getting a return this year.
It was exciting to see an amount without a minus sign in front of it for the first time in a few years. That excitement lasted right up until my wife reminded me that we had the girls' hospital bills to pay. So that's why they count as deductions...