There are many benefits to having kids, but few of them are financial. In fact, kids tend to cost quite a bit. I read one article that says raising a child from birth to age 18 costs an average of $200,000 (this figure doesn't include college). Of course, these same "average" Americans spend an average of $10,000 just in the first year of the new baby's life... Yikes. I think we might spend that much over the first 5 years of Ethan's life! But we've been blessed with lots of hand-me-downs, nearly-free childcare, and a habit of shopping secondhand stores.
But when tax time rolls around, having a kid can be a big help financially. We now qualify for a bigger deduction, as well as a credit. Which translates into a big refund!
I know Dave Ramsey would say that it's not a good idea to let the government use your money for free, and that we should lower the amount taken out of our checks each month. But how I see it is as a savings account I don't have to think about. And this year, in our quest to finish our projects and ready the Prairie Box for sale, it's especially nice to have some extra cash.
The first order of business is going to be to have the upstairs floors sanded. I don't mind doing the shellacking, but I just don't have the inclination at this point to spend 2 days sanding the floors. Plus, the sanders you rent just don't suck up the dust very well, If I hire it out, someone else is responsible for the clean up!
Since we'll be moving out to my mom's or into the basement for a few days, I'll also shellac the stairs at the same time. Obviously this project won't happen until we can open the windows... Probably early May.
Soon, very soon, I'll be sending the rest of the woodwork to the stripper. Another case of more money than time (never thought I'd say that!). We only have maybe 15 more pieces. I can stain and shellac them in the garage as soon as it's over 45 degrees. It might even be worth firing up the kerosene heater for a few hours, just so I can get it done. We'll also be finding/creating tasteful bifold doors for the 2 "new" closets, plus wood trim to match or complement the rest of the woodwork. I need to start hitting up the ReStore.
Once we have the floors refinished and the woodwork back on, we'll paint our bedroom and put up crown molding.
And then... The bathroom. :)