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Frugal Retiring News, Issue 74, May 2015
May 26, 2015

One more off the bucket list... The Norwegian fjords were as beautiful as advertised.

I would like to thank the people that I met on Alaskan cruises that pointed out that the fjords were every bit as beautiful as Alaska.

They are spectacular but not everyone can get there and if you can't the Alaskan inside passage is a very close second to Norway

This particular town of Geiranger Norway is absolutely gorgeous.

As usual we took a bus tour on our own and avoided the expensive shore excursions... Which go to the same places... Sold by the cruise line itself.

Before this shot we went to a spot that was 4000 feet above sea level, and had 20 foot snow drifts with snow falling... I can't remember the last time I actually walked in snow but it has to be close to 40 years.

Frugal Living Tip number One

Whenever traveling overseas make sure you notify the credit card company and your bank that holds your ATM that you will be out of the country.

Today's security measures built-in to credit card software may cause your credit card to become invalid if you don't let them know beforehand that you will be traveling to certain countries.

Also make sure that you use a credit card that does not charge a foreign transaction fee for any purchases while in foreign countries. It is usually 3% on top of what you are paying, and many cards offer no foreign transaction fees... So check and make sure before you leave.

Also avoid changing your money for foreign currency at banks out of the country or money exchanges. You will always pay more than using an ATM.

It can be intimidating using a foreign ATM but you will save money in the long run.

Not that would've made any difference to us on this trip.... The only thing we purchased was one T-shirt in Dublin Ireland.

You do not have to declare on your customs form the Guinness that you consume while abroad.

Frugal living tip number two

We also used our Global Entry card at the Los Angeles airport when clearing immigration.

It is well worth the $50 that we spent and saved us at least 30 minutes going through customs.

It also is recognized at major US airports and allows you to go through the TSA pre-check line where you don't have to remove your computer or take off your shoes.

So if you do any traveling at all domestic or international I would suggest that you take a look at it.

Here is the link for the global entry card.

Frugal living tip number three

TurboTax has done it again for me and I can't recommend their product highly enough.

Briefly I had a situation that involved a limited partnership I invested in 1983... I have had to fill out extra forms for the last 30+ years... While I was working I didn't use TurboTax and paid an accountant over thousand dollars a year to do my taxes which were then complicated.

Now that my life is much more uncomplicated I use TurboTax and have so for at least the last 15 years.

The reason I am so happy is that this limited partnership finally sold in 2014 and it was very complicated to enter the proper information on TurboTax.

I filled it out myself and was horrified at the tax consequences.

Part of your TurboTax membership is being able to talk to tax professionals for free... I had a particular problem that the first line of customer assistance was unable to help me and they put me in contact with a real live CPA.

In 30 minutes the CPA showed me how to fill out TurboTax for this particular investment... Not to bore you with the details but it saved me several thousand dollars from the way I was doing it.

So if you are not using TurboTax you may be costing yourselves a lot of money... Enough said I highly recommend the product and hope that you use it.

Frugal living tip number four

If you have not started purchasing online using companies like eBay and Amazon I would recommend that you do so.

Primarily because of their return policy, it is almost as good as shopping at Costco where you can bring back literally anything (there is a time limit on electronic returns) with very little hassle.

I read that the markup on items sold and Amazon is much lower than the same item that you can purchase in a brick and mortar store.

It just makes sense instead of paying high rent in a shopping mall they do most of their processing at huge distribution facilities where their facility costs are much lower than a retail store.

Just a suggestion, if you choose not to purchase things online at least use Amazon as a reference for what they will charge for an item that you are interested in buying... I'm seeing the signs in stores that advertise if you can find a better price online bring it in and they will match it... So it's a win-win for the consumer.

Frugal living tip number five

As summer vacation is just around the corner here are some of my most popular pages for how to save on vacation.

frugal travel tips .

More travel tips.

Air travel tips.

have a checklist before you leave.

Travel safety tips.

In closing

If you enjoy this site I would appreciate you passing along this link to your mail list.

Having said that as I approach having over 3000 subscribers to this newsletter it is becoming increasingly difficult to answer all of your emails... I will try.

Some the things that I cannot help you with are like recommending a local realtor for Panama, etc.... How much money should I have before I retire?... That is the purpose of the site folks the information is there, on site... Remember a lot of the questions I do not respond to are because the information can be obtained the same way I would get it and that's using Google.

Hope you understand if you do not get a reply to your email.

Until next time, stay healthy and stay frugal and love the ones close to you.

God bless you all,

Gary and Julie

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