|The Poor Farm's Phone Booth|
My father's old shop stool holds up my aunt Bernies 1960's phone
As promised, I'm going to share our Poor Farm finances as I did last year about this time. Those posts start HERE if you weren't a blog follower then, or just want a refresher. I mentioned then and I'll mention it again now, homesteaders, small farmers, and those just trying to live on a budget can benefit each other by sharing some of this financial info. Specifics like health insurance for those who work at home, getting by with decade(s) old vehicles and building your own outdoor buildings with recycled materials or new materials bought with cash only, are struggles we can soften through information sharing.
We Americans are quite weird that way though. We have no problem bragging about how much we make, how many things we own, how expensive our vehicles are, how many vacations we can afford, but we are shy about sharing how to survive on LESS. How often do you hear a person say with pride, "I get by on a low five figure income"? Frugality is frowned upon rather than applauded or at least accepted.
I find this sad as we were once a nation that prided itself, especially during depression times, on getting by with very little through self sacrifice ( a dirty phrase during these "entitlement" times) and sharing of resources. During the war effort of the 1940's, rationing and recycling was the norm. Often this past year, when I've spoken to others about our goal to survive on less and less income, paying less and less taxes, I get quizzical looks at best and out right sneering at worst.
Enough rambling. Let's talk Poor Farm Income
Last year, based on projected expenses, we estimated we needed an annual income of $23, 640. Our actual income for the year (Keith's county custodian salary plus my small nursing pension) came in at $20, 701, obviously short of our projected needs. But never fear, we made up the difference with some beef and pork sales and Facebook sales of pig feeders, seed spreaders and a few other things we no longer needed.
Interesting to note: this is our lowest combined income in the last 25 years. Keep in mind, our children are raised and we are not financially responsible for any elderly family members.
Consequently, because of our low income, our completed tax return (thank you Turbo Tax) will result in a 100% refund of all federal income taxes paid but only 12% of or state taxes are being refunded. Oh Illinois how you vex us! Therefore one of our goals, not to pay income taxes, was nearly accomplished.
Well technically we did pay them via payroll deductions but we're getting them back. Now that we have one year behind us of low income, Keith was able to submit a new W-4 form claiming he is exempt from paying income taxes. So that money is ours to use right away rather than the US government sitting on it for a year without paying us any interest. Confusing isn't it? No one said having less was easy. :)
In my next post I'll share some of our expense areas, specifically those where we did not meet budget, and how we plan to improve in 2018.