Above: Sticking to New Year’s resolutions doesn’t have to break the bank. After all, you’ll need that money for taxes. Image by TeroVesalainen from Pixabay,

February is a month where a couple of things come into play.

First of all, gym commercials. The resolution by now is a month old and already you’re behind. Aren’t we all?

Of course. I should have lost 20 pounds by now—pass the grits please. Like I was saying…

For only 10 bucks a month, you can have a wonderful gym membership, complete with all the fancy equipment that you’ll never use and beautiful people showing off all that plastic surgery.

Why pay 500 bucks a year to walk on the treadmill? We have roads, paths and other venues where you can happily frolic at your own pace. Walk two miles a day, don’t eat like a pig and you’ll drop weight.

Do you need some dude who is already in shape screaming at you on video when he can’t even see you? When it gets cold, too cold to walk or even frolic, many communities have community centers that offer a small track or gym equipment for a fraction of the cost.

Do you still have a mall nearby? If so, park and walk the mall—without buying. Lastly, don’t put a short timeline on yourself. Months, not weeks. Slow and sure.

Okay, here’s your resolution: don’t put too much stock in resolutions. Why put that January 1 pressure on yourself when, after all, you can start your do-over anytime during the year?

Like most men my age, I could lose a few pounds, and for those of you still wearing size 32 pants, know that I speak for many when I say we hate you.

Let the goals be realistic, with effective motivational values.

Mine? My uniform isn’t kind after a five-pound gain. Carrying 20 pounds of gun-belt stuff and a vest is best managed by good cardio and lean foods.

Don’t fret, make Saturday night your night and eat one meal of whatever you want. (I said one meal!) Sunday, you’re back on the wagon.

The second thing: tax ads. Yep, the annual dangling of the carrot of an almost-promise that you’ll receive the most money—all the money the IRS cannot figure out how to take from you. Those ads want you focused on what you’ll do with all that money in your refund check. It’s going to be so great.

Wait, what if you owe? Having sailed that sinking ship, I can tell you it’s depressing—mostly because you’re going to wait until the last minute to file. That’s why we have Happy Hour! Remember, light beer!

Taxes calculator
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

And what goes hand-in-hand with tax time? You guessed it. Tax fraudsters. The call from the IRS collection guy who will see to it you are imprisoned for years—unless you make the convenient drive to the local store and purchase a few pre-paid debit cards. Simply read those numbers to the nice IRS man who will thank you and move on to the next sucker.

How many times do we need to go over this?

Okay, once more: Remember—IRS will not send the police to your home to arrest you for money owed. The IRS loves interest and penalties. They’ll thank you for being late because they’ll set you up on payments! Interest and penalties are a handful to swallow but no one is going to jail!

The IRS will not call you on the phone to threaten you. They will send a form letter to inform you that they know that you owe. That’s their motto: “We Know You Owe!” If you have no other resources to pay all of what you owe, contact the IRS by going online or calling, and set up payments. Don’t respond to unsolicited e-mails from the IRS—or anyone else for that matter—having to do with wanting YOUR MONEY!

Phishing e-mails will increase over the spring and well into the summer. DELETE. If you are confused about your options, or new to the tax system, contact a tax consultant, someone who does this for a living. He or she will give you good advice. Remember, use common sense. And, while you’re at it, hit that salad bar. Good luck!

Steve Rose is a retired police captain and a contributing writer to Atlanta Senior Life.