Are you grouchy at tax time?
When I was a kid, my grandfather commandeered the dining room table from mid-February on, scowling and sifting through drifts of receipts to prepare for his annual accountant visit. Same with my own parents. I could never understand what the big deal was with all the drudgery. Weren’t they paying somebody to do this?
Now, of course, I know. Even if somebody else prepares your taxes, there’s a ton of work beforehand. And at the end, you’re still handing over a sizeable chunk of change to Uncle Sam and (most likely) your particular state. Big sigh.
But this year, I’m turning things around. Yup, I’ll still be paying taxes. But I’m taking a moment to count a few of my tax-related blessings:
- My three favorite deductions. They’re 14, 11 and 8, growing strong and eating us out of house and home. Thank goodness we can claim them.
- Our jobs. I feel fortunate that my husband and I have income to pay taxes on when so many don’t. I am also comforted knowing we can–and have–gotten by on less when necessary.
- Our house. I’m grateful that we’re settled in our “forever” home—and that we can deduct the mortgage interest along the way.
- Public education. Our family benefits enormously from the public school system. From early childhood intervention to specialized academic and music programs, our children enjoy incredible opportunities that are forever enriching their lives.
- Libraries. Public libraries are treasures, and yet one more reason to thank Ben Franklin, who coined the idea. Even in the digital age, libraries remain essential resources for information and media; community gathering places; and even, as was the case the recent hurricane, virtual offices and shelters.
- My refund. I’m embarrassed to admit that I over-withhold. Tax experts, including our accountant, lecture that it’s financial foolery do this…that I’m giving the government an interest free loan. But other tax pros agree with my strategy. This forced savings gives us a little cushion in the budget to take a family vacation or maybe even invest in some energy-efficient home improvements (that we can deduct next year!)
I’ll try to keep all of the above in mind as I buckle down to prep my taxes this weekend. But in case my attitude tanks, I’ve got a comfy chair, a library book (thanks, Mr. Franklin!) and a yummy snack waiting to recharge me. I’ll make a pot of tea and refuel with these tasty Blueberry and Pomegranate Power bars. Made with budget-friendly popcorn (just pennies a serving!) and packed with chocolate and fruity deliciousness, these bars are certain to power me through my blizzard of paperwork. They may not get me a bigger refund, but they’ll put a smile back on my face. And at tax time, that’s more than enough.
We’d love to hear from you…what’s the most outrageous or exciting thing you’ve ever done with a tax refund?
Blueberry & Pomegranate Power Bars
Yield: 12 bars
• 8 cups popped popcorn
• 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
• 1 cup dried blueberries
• 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
• 1/2 cup whole natural almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
• 2/3 cup honey
• 2/3 cup light brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
• 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
1. Line 13×9-inch pan with foil; spray with cooking spray.
2. Combine popcorn, oats, blueberries, pomegranate seeds and almonds in large bowl.
3. Combine honey, brown sugar and butter in small saucepan; cook over low heat to boiling; boil 2 minutes. Pour over popcorn mixture and mix thoroughly.
4. Using damp hands, press mixture firmly into prepared pan. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. Cut into 12 bars.
5. Dip bottoms of bars into melted chocolate. Place on wax paper lined pan; refrigerate until ready to serve. Store in tight covered container in refrigerator.