Tax Refund Time of the Year
Glenn Reynolds has an excellent post about spending his tax refund. He is also posting how his readers intend to spend theirs. It makes for a fairly interesting peek inside the average American household, though I want to point out some things.
First, he indicates that he is lucky to live in a place where housing costs are low. Yes indeed. Living in McLean, VA I have watched the value of our house double in the last five years, but along with what has been a spectacular increase in my net worth on paper, I can barely afford to provide for my family day in and day out. On my salary anywhere else in the nation (well, not in New York or LA or SF or Chicago or Boston) we would be living high on the hog. Here in DC, we just get by and can just barely afford the luxury of my wife raising out children. The high salaries and high housing prices have effected all other aspects of the local economy resulting in tremendous increases in prices for all goods. Heck, even a big mac costs close to $5 at the local Mickey Ds. Its one of the reasons the wife and I have been looking into moving somewhere south and rural (escaping from the metrosexual liberals is the other reason). That said, even with my salary, having a stay at home mom and children quickly brings the per capita income for our modest family into the range reader Jeff Redman talks about (well, I am slightly higher, but not by much). Yet, contrary to Redmans assertion, we are going to receive a healthy refund this year (helped, admittedly, in part by expenses related to my job change and other professional expenses).
Second, I am heartened that along with mass consumer spending, most of the commentators seem intent on saving the money as well (I always consider paying down high interest loans (like credit cards) a form of saving, as long as the individual doesn't turn around and build the debt back up. Paying off student loans also counts).
That leads me to my third comment. April 15 is not only tax day, it is also Buy A Gun (BAG) Day (I like to add, to Piss Off Chuck Schumer, but that's just me). Since my son's birthday falls only a few days before (and he's only 2 so he won't mind the wait) I think his gift will come from this catalogue, and be a few days late.