I realize it isn't the wise thing to do, but we have always aimed at having a good-sized income tax refund. Yes, we're letting the government use our money, and we're not getting paid any interest on it. Whatever.
Actually, these days there's no need for us to have a large refund. Thank God we aren't living paycheck to paycheck like we used to.
I guess we want that big refund for old times sake.
We had no health insurance at all, for much of our married life. Cliff worked for a small, family-owned butcher shop; there was one stretch when the boss told Cliff, "I'll supply your insurance out of my own pocket; it's cheaper that way than paying for insurance for your family."
He ended up paying for our son's month-long hospital stay when he broke his leg and had to be in traction; as far as I remember, that was it.
We were amazingly healthy, and it was a good thing.
For three years, we had great insurance, while Cliff worked for R.B. Rice.
Our kids were both gone from home when R.B. Rice moved to Tennessee, with Cliff and me in our forties. We went totally without insurance during the years after he lost that job. Scary.
We've always maintained good credit; it's been a priority of ours to pay our bills. There were years I don't even know how we did it.
During those lean years, the one thing that often bailed us out was that income tax refund. After a winter of buying propane, after real estate and personal property taxes coming due, that check was like manna from heaven.
We'd watch the mailbox eagerly, and what a joyful day it was when that wonderful check arrived. It usually came on a Saturday for some reason, and we'd hop in the car and go buy Cliff three or four pairs of Levis: enough to last him until tax time the next year. We'd call our propane company and have the tank filled, and actually pay when it was delivered. We might even take the kids to McDonald's as a treat; we didn't ever eat out, because there was never extra money to do that.
Now it's just me and Cliff, and for now, we're making ends meet pretty well. But it's the memory of how welcome that refund used to be that keeps us going for a large refund every year. Even if we're not, at present, going through hard times.