Emile Noël Artisan Oils

Disclosure: I received a free bottle of Emile Noël Artisan Oils sesame oil to review.  All opinions are my own and are not influenced by scoring free stuff.



Ooh, you see that beautiful bottle of sesame oil right there?  If you’re anything like me, you took one look at that bottle and yelled COME TO MOMMA through the saliva that suddenly filled your mouth.  I mean, it’s everything anyone could ever want in a quality oil.  Organic.  Fair trade.  Cold pressed.  Unrefined.  Sweet mother.

Somehow, some way, the gods shone their favor down upon me and I got an e-mail Olivia with Emile Noël asking me if I would be interested in testing one of their products.  I could not reply fast enough with a resounding YES.

I use various oils for just about everything on a daily basis.  I use olive oil when I cook, and also to clean my face in the evenings a lá the oil cleansing method.  It really works, by the way.  You should try it.  I also use grapeseed oil and coconut oil for cooking, and peppermint oil for baking.  In one of my constant adventurous attempts at being crafty and/or crunchy, I decided I would make organic vegan lotion bars for the teachers at the boys’ school for Teacher Appreciation Day.  One of the main ingredients I used was delicious, wonderful coconut oil.  I also used sweet almond oil, lemongrass oil, and lavender oil for scent/aromatherapy purposes.  SO CRUNCHY, RIGHT?!

About a year ago I started oil pulling (swishing oil around in your mouth; it’s a thing, look it up), so I have been using my cold pressed virgin coconut oil for that.  I know a lot of people have dismissed oil pulling as hokum, and maybe it’s all psychological, but I swear I sleep better when I am oil pulling regularly, my sinuses are clearer, and any sort of unpleasant morning breath is neutralized, and that alone makes it worth doing to me.  Being an inquisitive type, I decided to spit the oil out into an empty plastic bottle so I could inspect it after my first oil pulling session.  It was simultaneously horrifying and fascinating.  After the oil and saliva separated back out, there were all these little particles floating around in there.  That was the horrifying part, because I am a zealot about oral hygiene.  I brush and floss at least twice a day, am at the dentist every six months like clockwork, and stay far away from sugared gum and hard candy and whatnot.  So if I, a person with a very clean mouth, had all that going on after my teef cleaning regimen, then WHAT is happening in the mouths of people who are more blasé about their oral care?!

But I digress.

When I was doing my initial research into oil pulling, I kept seeing sesame oil being referenced for its healthy properties.  I am a huge fan of sesame seeds, always have been.  As the late great Mitch Hedberg would say, they make your burger buns look spectacular.  I have never left a sesame seed behind.  I eat every single rogue seed off my plate whenever I have a dish with sesame seeds.  They have such a nice light nutty taste, and I find their tiny bit of crunch very pleasing.  So needless to say, I was excited to try this organic sesame oil not only for cooking, but for oil pulling and other health uses.

Emile Noël’s sesame oil is absolutely delicious.  It is great for sautéing and stir frying, and I have also used it as a drizzle over bread and vegetables and chicken.  I love the flavor so much I could put it on almost anything.  And it is high in antioxidants and good fats and has been shown to lower blood pressure when consumed regularly.  All good things in my book.

I have also found myself using drops of this oil for moisturizing extremely dry or rough areas of my skin (think elbows, knees, and heels).  It would be a great massage oil.  Sesame oil also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, so I’ve started keeping a small travel bottle with me for cuts and booboos (both mine and my kids’).  I’ve read that it is good to use on eczema and psoriasis.  I’ve also been using it for oil pulling with good results.  It stays a little thicker than coconut oil, so I guess in my mind it grabs more bacteria and particles with every swish.  Plus I get more of that delicious nutty flavor every night!  I’ve decided that I’m going to start taking a spoonful of this sesame oil every day just for the health benefits and continue to use it externally.  From everything I’ve read, sesame oil is the king of oils and I’m really glad that I was introduced to this product.

Emile Noël Artisan Oils are available in select Whole Foods stores in the U.S.  In addition to sesame oil, they have so many other products that I want to try.  I’ve got my eye on the pumpkin oil and hazelnut oil.  If they are half as good as the sesame oil, then I will be buying them in bulk when I pick up some more sesame oil.

Guys, I don’t do a lot of reviews.  I only agree to test things that I will actually use in my daily life and I always promise to give it to you straight.  So when I say that Emile Noël is the real deal, it’s what I sincerely think.  This stuff is great.  Rachel Approved.

Like what you see? Subscribe to my RSS feed. And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and like The House of Burks on Facebook for the latest updates!

Dear Woman on Social Media With A Hot Bikini Body…


You know who you are.  And I know I am not the first one to say HOW DARE YOU, MADAM.  You, with the audacity to possess breasts.  You, with the gall to have a perky little round butt.  You, with the chutzpah to have flat washboard abs.  How dare you not have the common decency to hide your body away from the public eye?!

The noive.

I mean, there are women out there with husbands who have eyes.  EYES, DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!  They might SEE you at some undetermined point in time!  And you, shameless hussy that you are, have the nerve to walk around on the same planet as other humans with nothing covering your body and protecting vulnerable husbands from the shameful thing that it is.

Oh what, you thought going to the beach or pool was supposed to be fun and relaxing?  How can I relax when I KNOW you’re going to be flaunting your boobs, butt, and flat perfect stomach around for all the world to see?  You should be totally uncomfortable in a hot, restrictive one-piece swimsuit, or a billowy tankini with a skirt, for MY comfort.  If you aren’t shaking your assets around in a skimpy bikini, then I can rest assured that my husband will remain faithful and have eyes only for me.

But listen, hottie.  Some women are married to guys who are dicks.  They relish every opportunity to leer at women in bikinis.  Heck, they leer at women in one-piece swimsuits.  Or sundresses.  Or shorts that don’t pass the fingertip test.  Or just any clothes in general.  You know whose fault that is?  YOURS.  Because you have the boobs and they know it.  They know what you’re working with under that 10-year old ratty t-shirt from your university.  You, with the legs brazenly sticking out of those cutoff sweatpants that you wear to do yardwork.  Why couldn’t you have put on some freaking pants before leaving the inside of your house?  But not tight pants, that wouldn’t do at all.  If you wear tight pants, a man might see the slight curve of your butt cheek and be forced to stare and think lewd thoughts about you.  Remember, any attention that you get from another person is YOUR FAULT, so you should dress in such a way that no man would ever find you attractive.

But if you’re going to vacation on Whore Island in your bikinis and halter tops, I’d really appreciate it if you would not document said vacation on Instagram and Facebook.  You see, I am married to a man, and because he has no control over his basest instincts, I am afraid that he will be overcome with primal lust at the very sight of your cleavage, and he will seek you out for procreation.  It’s also mandatory that he not only be on Instagram and Facebook, but that he follow you and view each and every one of your photos.  So I’m going to need YOU to step up and protect this man, who you have never met and likely will never meet, from himself.  You’re responsible for his thought life, after all.  This might mean you have to deal with not being in ANY photos from your vacation.  Feel free to post photos of the rest of your family at the beach (especially your former swim team captain husband, hubba hubba), but NEVER YOU IN A BIKINI.  People might start to doubt that you actually go on vacation with your family, but that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make to guard my husband’s honor.  It’s your duty to him AND TO ME to never ever let him see that you have a better body than me because you went to the gym while I went to Krispy Kreme, mmmkay?  Because you’re making me insecure.

Oh yeah, that’s your fault too.  How I feel about my body is irrevocably tied to your body and how much of it you show off.  How can you deal with that kind of pressure, knowing that you are responsible for making men lust after you AND making women feel bad about themselves?  You’re really just not a good person, are you?  Don’t you know I’ve had two babies and there’s no way that you can understand how it feels to have your body wrecked by carrying and bearing children, never to recover again?

What’s that?  You just had your third last year?



I hope you enjoyed that little bit of satire.  I feel the need to point out that it was, in fact, satire because unfortunately I’ve seen so many posts in various places on the world wide intertubes saying these things.  Oh sure, the words are more flowery and we’re supposed to believe that the authors are coming from a place of concern and not of insecurity and judgment, but all I can see is women dripping with envy and jealousy while insisting that other women uphold their standards of modesty and virtue.

Newsflash:  It’s not all about you, pumpkin.

So you’re unhappy with your body.  You’re insecure.  I get it.  I do.  I’ve been there.  I AM there some days.  But you know what?  That’s not Gisele’s fault.  Beyonce didn’t come to my house and personally ridicule my body.  Kerri Jennings and Misti May-Treanor didn’t seek me out at the beach and laugh at me for not looking like them.  I am in charge of how I feel about myself.  Some days I could strut the catwalk with the best of them.  Some days I want to break every mirror in the house.  That is 100% on ME.

So tell me something.  That woman who had the nerve to wear a bikini in your presence, or post a photo of herself in said bikini on social media.  Would you feel any differently about yourself if she were in a one-piece?  She’d still have that rockin’ body and you wouldn’t.  And everyone would know it.  Is it still her fault that you’re unhappy?  Put her in a cover-up.  What about now?  Everyone still knows she’s fit.  How about a maxidress?  Look at how it hugs those curves.  Nope, that won’t work either.  Matter of fact, you’ve seen this woman look dead sexy in a loose-fitting cardigan and baggy boyfriend jeans.  So what can this woman possibly do to make you feel better about yourself?  Just not be thin in the same location as you on any given day?  Every woman thinner than you should just stay home whenever you decide to go to the pool or beach so your precious feelings don’t get hurt?  Well, what about billboards?  Magazine advertisements?  TV commercials?  Basically any form of visual entertainment and advertising medium is going to expose you to women with bodies far better than yours.  When are you launching your vendetta against industries that objectify women as a business model?

Or are you saving your ire concern for people who will actually see your cutting glances or read your words?

That woman who has struggled with her weight her entire life and finally found a diet and exercise plan that works for her.  She lost 75 pounds last year, and she should be able to show off the results of her hard work.

The mom who reclaimed her body after years of childbearing and putting the needs of her family above her own.

The young sheltered woman who is finally figuring out that her body is an amazing and beautiful thing after a lifetime of hiding and protecting herself from imaginary evils underneath layers of clothes because “daddy said all boys think I’m good for is sex”.

The curvy middle-aged lady with a few extra pounds, who people might think has no business wearing a bikini, and who finally had enough of letting other people tell her what she can and cannot wear and sports her bikini with a confidence most women would kill for.

Who are you to rain on their parade and blame them for your insecurities when they’ve overcome a boatload of their own?

Moreover, why do you think so poorly of your own husband?  You know your wedding vows didn’t mention anything about “until death do us part, as long as she keeps that rockin’ little body.”  Also, there were hotter women in existence when he met you.  There were hotter women in existence when he married you.  Guess what?  He still chose you.  So maybe try to look past his “maleness” and realize that he is the only one in control of his thoughts and feelings.  A woman in a bikini will not make him forsake his vows to you.  Conversely, some women are more visual creatures.  I am the first person to admit that I don’t mind seeing a nicely sculpted man walking down the beach, but I can’t even imagine blaming him for thinking dirty thoughts about him.  If my mind wanders somewhere it shouldn’t, that’s entirely on me.

And hey, if your husband is the type of man who gets all lathered up over a random woman in a bikini on Instagram, howsabout talking to him about how that makes you feel instead of placing all the blame on the woman for leading him astray.  Because social media isn’t mandatory.  He doesn’t have to check Instagram or Facebook if he doesn’t want to.  Nobody is prying his eyes open Clockwork Orange-style and forcing him to look at pictures of scantily clad women.  That’s his choice.  He chooses who to follow.  He can curate his social media experience to suit his preferences and your insecurities, if you insist upon it.

But let’s not feed into the culture of blaming women for men’s lack of control.  Women all over the world are blamed for their own rapes every day.  They MUST have been flirting with the guy (by merely walking down the street), or dressed inappropriately (in a baggy t-shirt and jogging pants on an afternoon run), or somehow given some indication that his sexual advances were welcome (by avoiding him, telling him to back off, or screaming NO).  So in addition to being held responsible for sexual assaults perpetrated against us, women are now completely in charge of policing a man’s potential for lustful thoughts?  Thoughts that happen INSIDE HIS HEAD??  Please tell me in what world that makes any sense.

I’ve been with my husband for nearly 11 years.  If he’s ever looked at another woman on the beach or at the pool, I have been blissfully unaware.  As far as I’ve ever seen, he has only had eyes for me.  And even if he does take a look from time to time, what of it?  He still leaves with me.  And I couldn’t even tell you the last time he logged onto Facebook or Instagram, so it’s obviously not compulsory.  He loves me and makes me feel beautiful every single day, and I never have to worry about him comparing me to another woman.  Because he’s not a dick.  Men are much more than a hunk of flesh being led around by the penis.  It’s time we start treating them as such, and that means admitting that they are ultimately responsible for their own thoughts and actions.

Ladies, instead of blaming other women for causing our marriages to crumble, let’s take it upon ourselves to seal up any cracks in the foundation before they deteriorate. Let’s deal with our own insecurities instead of letting other women take the blame for them.  How about we just live and let live and stop focusing so much on other people and how they make us feel, and work on being happy with ourselves.

Anyone can have a bikini body.  All you have to do is buy a bikini and put it on your body.  You should try it.  You might find that both you and your husband like what you see, and then women can hate on you for being too hot.  Isn’t that the highest form of flattery?

Like what you see? Subscribe to my RSS feed. And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and like The House of Burks on Facebook for the latest updates!

Atlanta Drivers That Piss Me Off The Most (With Bad Paint Drawings!)

If you follow me on either of my Twitter accounts, you are often subjected to my rants about my daily commute into Midtown Atlanta.  I’ve been making this horrid commute for the past eight years.  You’d think I would have become accustomed to it and perhaps grown a bit more patient with my fellow travelers.

It still sucks just as much as it did when we first moved here in 2006.  Every day, every mile after soul-crushing mile.  But I continue to drive 23 miles into Atlanta 5 days a week because I’m about that paper.

I can bear with most traffic situations.  If traffic is just heavy, or there is a wreck, I suffer through it because what else can you do?  There are certain traffic situations, however, that will send me right into a rage blackout in 0.2 seconds.  Let’s go over them in the order in which they typically occur on my daily commute, shall we?


Wait Your TurnThis situation happens where I turn onto the ramp to I-85 every morning.  As you can see from this amazingly accurate and detailed illustration, the people turning left onto the access ramp have the green arrow.  What you can’t see is that at the end of that ramp, there is a light to control the flow of traffic and avoid a merging fustercluck of epic proportions.  You’ve seen them, I’m sure.  Left lane gets a light, right lane gets a light.  Should work fairly well, right?  The flow of cars should be fairly steady, and there should be enough time to clear the intersection when the light turns yellow.

The problem occurs when the people coming from the opposite direction attempt to merge with the cars that have the left arrow.  Even though they have a yield sign, and even though they will get their own green light in a matter of moments, most of them will force their way into the lane of left turners who are trying to clear the intersection so as not to impede traffic going the opposite direction.  The offending driver is marked by JERK above, and the overly passive driver who lets them in is marked by DUMMY.  The left turners who thought they had time to clear the intersection but now find themselves stranded in the middle of the road with nowhere to go are marked by RAGE.  The driver who becomes aware that they are now going to miss the light because of JERK is marked by ANNOYED.

An easy solution to this problem would be for every JERK to wait his freaking turn.  The left turn arrow lasts for maybe one minute.  You will get a green light all to yourself in mere moments.  You’ll also be able to turn right onto the ramp when the drivers getting OFF the interstate get their left turn arrow.  So ask yourself, is the 30 seconds you may save worth all of the subliminal death wishes you will receive as a result of forcing yourself into traffic?  I THINK NOT.


Just Coming InEveryone who has had a driver’s license for any length of time has experienced this scenario.  You’re riding along the interstate, slowly if it’s the morning commute on 85, and suddenly this person who has had over a quarter mile of lane to himself to merge into traffic decides that he has to get over and he has to get over NOW.  Because somehow the exit snuck up on him, even though he likely makes this drive every single day.  The lane in question is not a tapered merging lane, which, in my opinion, functions best when cars merge in a zipper fashion (i.e., the cars in the left lane leave enough space between them for the cars in the right lane to merge seamlessly).  This lane spans the distance between exits, and there’s no leeway at the end unless you use the emergency lane (which is frowned upon by law enforcement).  The offending driver is, of course, denoted by A-HOLE above.  The added bonus to being this type of A-HOLE is that you also sometimes block the people behind you who are trying to exit the interstate.  Two-fer!

Yes, sometimes A-HOLE has had to drive all the way to the end because drivers already on the interstate have not left enough room for him to enter the interstate and he finds himself in a desperate situation at the end of the lane.  Sometimes.  Most of the time, however, I watch A-HOLE speed down the lane, passing all of the cars already on I-85 with ample room to insert himself into traffic, and then at the last second he flicks on his blinker and expects the entire world to stop for him.  Even worse, there is the A-HOLE who is already on I-85 that jumps into the on-ramp lane because it is free of cars, rides the lane to the end, and then wants to jump back onto the interstate.  Who the heck do you think you are?!  Are you so special, so important, that you are too good to wait in traffic with the rest of the unwashed masses?  NO.  You’re just an entitled A-HOLE.  Subliminal death wishes to you as well.


Last Minute MergeThe flip side of the last second merger is the last second exiter.  The situation where this pisses me off the most doesn’t even happen on the interstate.  There is a road called the Buford Spring Connector that offers a bypass of sorts to drivers who are heading to the Buckhead area.  I use the Buford Spring Connector about 90% of the time because it takes me to Midtown without having to deal with the Downtown Connector.  Instead of going right to Buckhead, I go left to Midtown.  Anyway, there is a one-lane ramp off of 85 that joins with another lane at the start of the Buford Spring Connector.  The people coming from 85 have their own lane, and the people coming from 400/Buckhead have their own lane.

Near the end of the Buford Spring Connector is an exit to get back onto I-85, so that people who live in the area can get onto the interstate without having to backtrack.  That’s where the problem occurs.  In theory, the lefthand lane of the Buford Spring Connector SHOULD NOT STOP unless there is traffic backed up from Buckhead and Midtown.  This never happens.  What causes both lanes to slow to a crawl are drivers who wait until the last possible second to exit the Buford Spring Connector to get on 85 (A-HOLE in the illustration above).  They will ride in the left lane until the right lane starts to split off to 85, and then they will flick on their turn signal and STOP THE ENTIRE WORLD so that they can jump in line to get onto 85.  This, of course, fills the people behind them with RAGE.

Yes, A-HOLE, I know you’re much too important to wait in line.  Except YOU’RE NOT.  You sit your butt in your car in the right lane with everybody else and stop jacking up my flow in the left lane.  You aren’t special, and you do not have the divine right to cut everyone in line.  Your type of A-HOLE deserves any and all ill will directed at you.


Blocking IntersectionProbably the a-holiest A-HOLE on the planet is the one who intentionally blocks the intersection.  This usually happens to me when there is an event happening in lower Midtown or Downtown, and everyone decides that it would be the BEST idea to try to bypass the Downtown Connector by getting off 85 and going down Peachtree Street!  During evening rush hour!  When people are leaving their offices and trying to get home!  Such a great idea, and it ALWAYS works out well for people who try it.

False statement.  Not only do you usually sit in traffic longer than if you had just stuck with 85, you end up pissing off everyone who uses Peachtree Street on a daily basis because you don’t follow the basic rules of etiquette.  Rules like not blocking the intersection when you see that the cars in front of you are going NOWHERE.  Why would you do that?  Why would you intentionally thwart good, honest, hardworking people such as myself in their attempts to get home to their children or pick them up from school?  Have you no heart?  No soul?  No, you don’t.  You’re just some self-serving, entitled A-HOLE who gets off on screwing left turners in traffic.

Newsflash:  we don’t get a left turn arrow at 17th Street (side note:  Mayor Reed, can you please get on that?).  We are completely at the mercy of oncoming traffic.  Next time you find yourself in a heavy traffic situation, how about earning some karma points and leaving the intersection clear so that people can turn left?  And if you choose not to do that, may the fleas of a thousand camels feast on your private parts.

Whew.  I feel better now.  Sometimes it helps just to get it out.  I have come to terms with the fact that this is just how my life will be.  I’ve been dealing with it for 8 years, and I’ll deal with it as long as I work in Atlanta.  But on the plus side, at least it gives me something to complain about.

Like what you see? Subscribe to my RSS feed. And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and like The House of Burks on Facebook for the latest updates!

I’m coming back.

Man, when life gets going around here, it really gets going. I have never been this busy in all my life and I’m still trying to figure out how to stay on top of everything.

The boys are getting to the age where activities and birthday parties and play dates are starting to take over our weekends. Pair that with a job change {of sorts} for me and the husband’s work schedule, which requires him to work most Saturdays, and you get a very hectic existence.

Hopefully we will get it all figured out soon. In the meantime, some things had to get put on the back burner. But I hope to get this blog cranking again. I enjoy writing and communicating with people in similar situations. Maybe y’all have some tips for me on how to get more organized and keep better track of this insanity called life.

So here’s to the new year {halfway through February…}!

Like what you see? Subscribe to my RSS feed. And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and like The House of Burks on Facebook for the latest updates!

Get Involved In Your Family’s Finances

I am not a personal finance blogger.  I don’t have any special personal finance acumen.  I can’t give you any secret tips to get and stay out of debt aside from what has worked for us, which is simply don’t buy something if you can’t pay for it right away and develop a hatred of owing money.  That’s about all that keeps us out of debt, my absolute hatred of being in the hole.  We live within our means and prefer to spend large chunks of our money on travel and home improvement {and gadgets, let’s be honest} instead of new clothing all the time and car payments and other short-term forms of entertainment.  We don’t go out a lot, and when we do go out it’s because I’ve found some sort of Groupon or discount.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve gone shopping for myself.  In my mind, every $25 I spend on a new top is $25 I don’t get to spend on vacation or $25 I don’t get to put into an interest-bearing account or retirement fund.  I have a weird mind, I’ll admit.

Now, I do have a credit card that we keep in circulation just to accumulate Disney rewards points to spend on vacation, putting one or two big purchases a month on and paying off every month.  Sometimes I let the balance carry if we’ve had unforeseen expenses and I don’t want to take money out of savings to pay it off, but as long as the balance isn’t over $1,000 I’m happy.  But aside from that card and our mortgage, we have no debt.  Our cars are paid for, we have no student loans thanks to scholarships, generous parents, and being able to cash flow Zac’s last year or so of school {thanks to having no other debt}, and everything is paid up every month.  We each pay certain bills {all out of our joint account, but we have just parceled out the bills so one person isn’t responsible for all of them} and Zac handles filing our taxes every year.

That last bit seems to be where I’ve painted myself into a corner.  I’ve never filed my own taxes.  I always gave my W2s to my mom because she was the family accountant and did everybody’s taxes at once.  Then I got married a year after graduating from college and started filing taxes jointly with my husband, so I just handed over my W2s to him and he took care of everything else.  Fortunately our taxes have never been very complicated so we have always used the taxes in a box system from TurboTax or H&R Block without any issues.  Until now.

Earlier this year we got a notice from the IRS saying that our income tax returns from 2010 were never filed and we owed many thousands of dollars in taxes for that year.  Which to my knowledge was incorrect, and later confirmed by my husband to be incorrect.  He mailed them a copy of our filed returns from 2010 and we thought that would be the end of it.  Several weeks later, we got another notice saying that our 2010 returns were never filed.  So we sent in another copy of our returns from 2010 via UPS so that we would know they were received.  We heard nothing for a couple of months.  Then about two weeks ago, we got a notice from the IRS saying that we owed a little over $2,600 for the 2010 tax year.  No detailed explanation, no “this is why you owe this money”, just the amount and the deadline to pay it or set up a payment plan.  Well, I’m not going to pay it until I know exactly why they think it is owed, and why we’ve gotten refunds in subsequent years when they claim our returns for 2010 were never even filed.  So Zac made contact with the IRS, which reset the clock and gave us an additional 30 days to have a CPA go over our returns and try to figure out what is going on.

If it turns out that we legitimately owe the money I have no problem paying it.  But I need it clearly explained to me.  It may be something like some information was entered incorrectly, so an exemption was granted that should have been or vice versa.  But I don’t know, because I’ve never filed my own taxes.  So I can’t even carry on an intelligent conversation about the issue with anyone from the IRS or the CPA that will be helping us.  On this issue, I’m completely dependent on my husband.  And while I love and trust my husband implicitly, I need to be more involved and more knowledgeable about this issue in case something ever happens to him, or just to be able to carry on a conversation and know what the heck is going on.  I could be told anything and have no idea how to verify it.  And I do not like being at the mercy of other people when it comes to holding onto my money.

When I think about how funny I am with my money, it is actually a little mystifying to me that I’ve just blithely gone on for nine years without getting involved in our taxes.  I have spending alerts, savings goals, budgets set up; I keep track of tithes and charitable donations.  I check my Mint.com account a few times a week and my retirement account after every pay period.  I like to know what is happening with my money at all times, even though it isn’t a huge amount of money.  So I think it’s time to pull my head out of the sand regarding our tax returns, if for no other reason than to have an idea of what is going on when something like this happens.  I need to be able to talk to a CPA or IRS agent and figure out what is happening, and right now I can’t do that.  It not only puts me at a disadvantage, but it puts the entire burden of figuring out this situation on my husband when he may or may not have time to do so.

I know there are people out there who are not involved in their family’s finances at all.  Stay-at-home moms who just rely on their spouse’s pay stubs to know what they can spend, or have a monthly spending allowance on the credit card.  Husbands who just hand over their entire check to their wives so they can handle all the bills and shopping {like my dad}.  And if that works for your family, great.  It’s worked for my parents for 34 years.  But what if something were to happen to my mom?  My dad doesn’t know what bills need to be paid on what date.  I’m sure she has a store card or two that he doesn’t even know about, and even though she pays off everything every month, what if she charged something on a store card and then something happened?  He wouldn’t even know to pay that bill.  It would be completely overwhelming to him to have to suddenly head up his household’s finances.  What about a stay-at-home mom whose husband leaves or is in an accident?  What if one spouse or the other has a secret credit card that they’ve run up, and it becomes too much to handle even the minimum payment?  What if a job loss happens, as it did to us last year?  What if your obligations cannot sustain a sudden drop in income?

Yes, this stuff does happen.  Quite frequently, actually.  This is why both spouses/partners need to be involved in every aspect of their household’s finances.  This is why Zac and I regularly have State of the Household meetings and talk about our family goals and budgets and make sure that we are both on the same page.  We go over our accounts regularly, we check our credit regularly, we tweak our 401k contributions when necessary.  And this is why I now regret not taking an active interest in filing our tax returns every year.  Since I’m extremely invested in our household’s finances, it makes no sense to not be involved in preparing our taxes.

That changes this year, and you can take that to the bank.

Like what you see? Subscribe to my RSS feed. And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and like The House of Burks on Facebook for the latest updates!

Copy Protected by Tech Tips's CopyProtect Wordpress Blogs.