Budgeting, wills and taxes…

Its been nagging at me.  I think about it every day with a sense of dread. 

On the massive Excel spreadsheet, I created for our 5 to 10-year worldwide journey, there is a worksheet page entitled “To Do in Scottsdale.”  It contains all the paperwork tasks we’ve had to complete before leaving the country on January 3, 2013. 

“To Do” lists never intimidated me, no matter how lengthy. I’ve always taken great comfort it chipping away at task after task ensuring each one completed in its entirety before going on to the next. 

Yes, I know.  I’m rather obsessive. We live with that.  It doesn’t intrude in the enjoyment of our lives, we don’t fight about it and it doesn’t prevent us from a rich and full life. 

Perhaps, in a certain way, it adds to our lives by eliminating thoughts of all the “things” we have to do.  One by one, I chip away at them, freeing our thoughts to more fulfilling moments.  No one ever heard me say, “Oh, I can’t come to the party ’cause I have to fill out forms.”  Never.

So, on that “To Do in Scottsdale” sheet we’ve knocked off everything (many of which I posted here and there) except for the following:
1.  Prepare and get new wills notarized (our bank here will notarize at no cost)
2.  Prepare and get new Living Wills and health care directives notarized.
3.  Prepare our taxes up to date, amending the last two weeks of this month at the end of the month forwarding everything to our accountant by snail mail. 

Oh, tax prep, I despise this task!  Always have, always will. Yesterday, I began the process and today, it will be completed except for additions as mentioned above. 

We couldn’t imagine living in Belize, steps from the ocean and ever feeling like going through that bag of receipts, let alone hauling them along with us. In future years, we’ll have used our handy Doxie portable scanner, saving all tax-related items.  Much easier to do as we go then dread it all along.

A few people have asked, “Will you still file tax returns and pay taxes in the US?”  The answer is “yes,” always. We will always remain US citizens, as do many ex-pats living outside the US. 

Having saved every receipt for absolutely every dime we have spent since leaving Minnesota on October 31, 2012, it was also time to enter our “actual” costs into that budgeting expense record.  Upon completing the tax portion which I will finalize today, I started totaling the other expenses, such as food and entertainment.

Our total cost for the three-day drive to Scottsdale $780.  We had budgeted $1065 but arrived one day early.  Fortunately, the property manager didn’t charge us for arriving a day early but had he, we still would have been within the budget.

Preparing the taxes and totaling the receipts (all of which we’ve saved) finally enable us to see how we’re doing on our budget.  As I mentioned, going forward, we’ll log (scan) and toss each receipt as the expense occurs to avoid hauling around a growing bag of receipts.

Here’s where we are so far for the variable expenses for food and entertainment with only 18 days left in 2012.

Groceries for Scottsdale
Budget:  $ 1700.00     Actual: $ 696.00

Dining Out & Entertainment for Scottsdale 
Budget:  $  300.00      Actual: $501.00

Total Budget for Groceries and Entertainment for two months: $ 2000.00
Actual (so far):                                                                   $ 1197.00
Balance available until we leave for Henderson next week:     $   803.00

Groceries for upcoming 8 days in Henderson over the holidays
Budget: $ 600.00

Dining Out & Entertainment for upcoming 8 days in Henderson over holidays:
Budget: $ 450.00

We’ve been in Scottsdale 40 days as of today, arriving on November 3rd for an average cost of $30 per day.  With 6 more days until we leave for Henderson, we’ll plan to spend another $180 for a total of $1377, leaving us an overage of $623.00.  Thus, our total available for Henderson is $1673.

Preferably, it won’t be necessary to use this overage, putting us ahead of our budget right out of the chute.  We’ll see how it goes, posting our “actual” costs later.  Of course, there are other costs we are reviewing and will be posting as we go along.

Today, I will finish the tax prep after my trip to the health club, leaving the file ready to receive the remainder of this month.  Tomorrow, we will re-do our wills bringing them up-to-date and re-do our living wills, getting them notarized at the end of the day.

Also, VisaHQ, our visa, and passport processing company, sent us an email that our second passports will be in our mail within one week.  Yeah!  We did all the paperwork correctly! 

By this weekend, we can relax knowing that the worst of our paperwork is done, a huge relief.

Isn’t this part fun?

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