Non Tax Deductible
We wives wearied of cow talk at the range tour we attended, so we scooted to the side and indulged in female conversation. One of our little group had been an interior designer in a big city in a state where it rains. I missed the story of how she got swept off her feet by a West River cowboy and transported to a dusty little zip code along the 100th Meridian, but it must be a good one.
She described how some of her clients gave her a $40,000 budget to work with. It’s not unusual for people in this area to spend $40,000 for the entire structure much less an interior design job. Moving to rural South Dakota had to have been a mega culture shock.
The rest of us marveled at the idea that there exists a land where 1) people make that kind of money and 2) they actually spend it on a coordinated “look” for their house.
One of the gals said, “My husband says the house doesn’t make money.” The rest of us thought she was quoting our man. We nodded our heads as one, the understanding rural sisterhood of frustration.
One of the first lessons a rural wife needs to learn and receives instruction on multiple times through the course of her years on the farmstead is the financial futility of making a house homey. In the city, you invest money in your house and yard. Financially, it’s the wise thing to do. In the country, you spend money on the house and yard. Very little of it is tax deductible and therefore in the farmer/rancher’s eyes, not necessary. After all, any kind of shelter is a relief from the heat/cold/wind (take your pick) that he spent his day in. The accountant and banker aid, abet and reinforce this idea on a regular basis. We country folk regularly invest more in a single piece of equipment or a couple of vehicles than in the roof over our heads. The house just isn’t worth it, unless, of course, it burns down or blows away.
The fact that household improvements are not tax deductible spawns amazing amounts of creativity and capability. We rural women learn to sew, upholster, strip old wood, paint, wallpaper, varnish and use power tools in our innate drive to make pleasant sanctuaries for our families. We know it’s not how much money is spent on the house, it’s the time together that makes a home valuable.