10 Reasons Why I Married My High School Sweetheart (and why it’s not for everyone)

 
Everyone always asks me, “How have you and Jordan been together so long?” Or “You didn’t want to date anyone else, aren’t you both sick of each other?” Or my favorite: “Why’d you get married so early? Are you pregnant?”I married early in life– at 22, he’s 21. We’ve been together for 6 years– we made it through 4 years of long distance. People say that they cannot believe it– for me, it’s easy. 

   
 Here are 10 reasons why I married my High School Sweetheart:
1. We grew up together through High School, and through College.

We went to prom together, I sat and watched him at football practice and went to IHOP after the games. We went to homecoming together and watched each other graduate high school, and he watched me graduate college. He has always been my rock and my soft place to land. We learned about life together– and how manage adult life. We always cheered each other on and comforted each other through the tough times.
2. We know how to fight with each other.

He knows that it drives me crazy when he drags in an old argument into one that we are already having. I know he hates it when I say he “always” does something– when he’s only done it once. We don’t drag in old trash to the conversation. We work our way through arguments, and pick our battles wisely. Looking back, some arguments have been about such minor things in our lives– it’s not worth wasting breath over.
3. We have pet peeves covered.

Don’t get me wrong– we still can annoy each other sometimes. Years of driving each other crazy has led to knowing what to avoid. It’s all personal, you just learn what bugs them most. 
4. Laughter is the best medicine.

Even during the most serious of conversations, we aren’t afraid to goof off and have a good laugh. It takes the stress out of the situation. No electricity bill or paycheck is SO serious that you can’t have a laugh. You have to know that it will always work out.
5. Positivity is prized.

You shouldn’t ever say something that’s just flat-out negative to one another. We keep each other thinking positively. I roll over in the mornings, and 99% of the time I’ll tell him that I don’t want to go to work. He will always say that it’ll be a great day. Keep each other positive and your relationship will be positive.
6. Contact is key.

We always stay in touch. From late night phone calls and Skype sessions in college, to a short text during the day to say “I love you. :)” It makes a difference to know they’re thinking about you, or that you are thinking about them.
7. We don’t forget dates.

He’s always taken me out on dates– as soon as we have a free Friday, it’s always dinner and a movie, or ice cream and looking at the stars. If we’re busy on the weekend, takeout and a movie on a week night. On Sunday’s we always will take drives around the countryside and just go for a ride in his truck. Big or little, a date is always something that you can make time for.
8. Time-honored Traditions

We have always kept a few things going in our relationship– that are special to only our relationship. We say “happy Sunday” every Sunday. After work and dinner, we always settle down and watch tv before bed together. This doesn’t have to happen every day– but things like that keep things special.
9. He’s my best friend.

We’ve known each other a long time, and aren’t afraid to just be completely goofy and ridiculous together. We both accept each other’s quirks and can poke fun at each other for them. We have hobbies together and enjoy just chilling together.
10. Yeah, we are young and married, so what!?

We are so young– and a lot of people don’t understand why we would do this so early in life. All I can say is, we wanted to be husband and wife so badly. We’ve waited so long to be where we are, and are so looking forward to our life together. It’s something we’ve always wanted– we don’t feel trapped– we feel accomplished. 

This isn’t for everyone– but just a testimony of why I married my high school love. Best. Decision. Ever.
Xoxo,

Sarah

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It’s Tax Refund Time!

  
It’s everyone’s favorite time of year: Taxes and most importantly, TAX REFUNDS!

For those of you that have already filed, I found a neat infographic showing the direct deposit schedule. Good job to the early birds!

 
Here are some helpful hints for when you’re filing to get the biggest refund that you can get:

#10 Increase Withholding: this is super easy to do and may be painful throughout the year, but is so worth it during refund time! On line 5 of your W-4, mark a zero. This will have the government take out the maximum amount of taxes from your paycheck. You’ll get a greater refund because of this!

#9 Deduct Your Donations: Deductions for charitable donations can offer substantial tax savings, thereby making a large and profitable difference in your refund. All types of donations are eligible as tax deductions to help lower your tax bill.

There are some restrictions, though. One is that the donations must be made to a nonprofit that can prove 501(c)(3) tax status. Most legitimate charities state clearly on their Web sites or in their literature that they’re 501(c)(3) nonprofits, so it’s usually simple to verify.

#8 Deduct Your Professional Expenses: Some jobs require employees to have or use equipment that the employees purchase out of their own pockets. If the company doesn’t reimburse for those expenses, some may be deducted on income taxes to help maximize a tax refund.

#7 Review Your Filing Status: status, such as single, head of household, married filing separately or jointly, and others, can greatly influence the amount of money you receive in your refund. Filing status may change if you divorce or lose a spouse to death, for example, and this may make you eligible for a larger refund.

#6 Don’t Forget Your Family: Taking care of kids (and these days, aging parents) can rack up huge expenses. Did you know many of those expenses are deductible? Fortunately, you can deduct dependent care, or the costs associated with taking care of your dependent children and parents.

#5 Increase Your IRA Contributions: One of the most highly recommended ways to increase your tax refund is to increase your contributions to your retirement fund. Contributing to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) not only facilitates saving for retirement, but placing money into the IRA lowers the total taxable income because it comes off the top. The more you contribute to the IRA, the less of your income is subject to taxes. Generally, the lower your taxable income, the less you’ll owe in taxes, and the less you owe in taxes, the greater the refund.

#4 Make Your Home Even MORE Beneficial: When interest rates are low, many homeowners look at refinancing their homes. Those who refinance at a lower interest rate benefit from lower mortgage payments as well as a lower amount paid over the life of the mortgage. But did you know refinancing could also bump up your tax return?

#3 Pay Attention To Current Tax Laws: Changes in tax laws can bring tax deductions, if you know where to look. A recent law includes new homebuyer credits that basically put thousands of dollars in some home purchasers’ pockets. If you remodel your home and incorporate energy-saving improvements, you can receive credit for this eco-friendly act. You may also gain financial favor from the IRS if you purchase certain hybrid vehicles.

#2 Start Your Own Business: If you’ve ever thought about starting a business in the hours around your regular job, or you’re a stay-at-home-parent with a great idea, starting a home-based business can make a lot of fiscal sense. The equipment you use for your business, and portions of the facilities and utilities, may be deductible. And you’ll (hopefully) be making money, too!

#1 Invest In Tax Planning: Tax planning is one of the best ways to take advantage of all these deductions and get the maximum tax refund possible. Tax planning often starts at the very beginning of the year and takes into account how much money you’ll earn and how different expenses (or extra income) affect the total tax amount that you’ll owe. Planning also helps you evaluate different ways of using your money to buy needed, deductible items or make other tax-reducing investments. A tax-planning professional (or you, if you’re your own best accountant) can play with the numbers in computer software to evaluate what changes you can make to lower the tax bill, therefore upping the refund.

So, here’s to sitting down with a glass of wine, getting these taxes figured out, and (hopefully) getting the best refund that you can!

Xoxo,

Sarah

Sources: money.howstuffworks.com