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Frugal Retiring News, Issue 68, December 2014
December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas Everyone

Full Circle

This is Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas US Virgin Islands.

This is the picture of the yachts in that harbor.

So what you say... Well it was taken from a cruise ship that we were on earlier this month... And represents Julie and I coming full circle from when we decided... Okay I decided and drug her along... To live on our own sailboat in the Caribbean.

The story... Thanksgiving day the cruise lines were offering some great deals on last-minute cruises. We grabbed one leaving Miami Dec 6. $499 per person for a balcony.

Our anniversary is really in January but we had some conflicts and we/I decided to celebrate earlier in December.

This was the first time since 1990 that we have visited St. Thomas on a cruise ship... Where the adventure, and one of the best times of our lives so far began.

20th Anniversary

It does not seem possible but it was 20 years ago this month that I threw off the lines of our sailboat Shadowtime and headed south for the islands.

For you newcomers, you can read all about it at On our retire to a sailboat page.

20 years of retirement have been the greatest of our 40 years,(in January 2015), of our marriage.

Sailboat living may not be for you but surely you can find some low-cost lifestyle that will enable you to enjoy early retirement at an age where you can do the things that you want to do.

Pick the lifestyle that's for you

Frugal living tip number one

I had some last-minute end of the year tax planning to do and was playing around with some what if scenarios on TurboTax.

The details aren't important but I want to point out how outstanding the TurboTax customer service really is.

The last limited partnership that I owned was sold in 2014 and as such I had an opportunity to move some money from one of our IRAs with limited tax implications.

At no charge, it is part of the $79 that I spent for TurboTax, I spent over three hours on the phone with a real live CPA to go over some of the more complex parts of my return for next year.

So if you still pay someone else or even use a service like H&R Block you should consider TurboTax for doing your 2014 taxes... It sure has worked out well for me and it can work out for you as well...I have used it since 2000.

It is a fill in the blank software that guides you step by step on how to do your taxes.

They crunch all the numbers, and will e-file your return. Some versions will do state returns as well and e-file them for an extra charge.

If there are any mistakes they will tell you by not letting you e-file.

Frugal living tip number two

Last Sunday's paper reprinted from USA Today some year-end tips for retirees... There was certainly no earthshaking surprises or suggestions in the article for anyone that follows This website.

Especially areas like The introductory page for financial planning.

Including How to choose the right financial planner

The best retirement advice I can give you.

The best thing you can get out of the article itself is that year-end is a good time to sit down and do things like reviewing your will or making meaningful resolutions toward becoming retired in 2015.

Frugal Living tip number three

We just returned from the grocery store, and my frugal wife has done it again... We spent $50, saved $70... By buying some great looking steaks from the tiny managers special section, buying six bottles of wine at considerable savings, and using the 10% off coupon we received from Safeway from getting our free flu shots a few months ago.

This is a great resource to review anytime you want to save money.

Another great resource

And yes once again, the checkout lady was amazed that we had saved more than we had spent.

Frugal living tip number four

While we were on our cruise I noticed a frantic couple that had misplaced their passports.

Now folks that can ruin your whole day.

Here is a simple tip... take some Xerox copies of your passports... With enough resolution to reproduce your passport photo and place these inside your luggage.

Do take the care to hide them in your suitcase.

If you can show a picture of your passports many times they (the authorities) will be accepted in lieu of of the real thing... And you've at least got some numbers that an official can refer to at places where passports are required.

In closing

Merry Christmas to all and remember the reason for the season.

God bless all of you and your families

Gary and Julie

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