long distance http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/622/all en-US How to Manage a Family Member's Finances Long Distance http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-a-family-members-finances-long-distance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-manage-a-family-members-finances-long-distance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/social_worker_is_visiting_a_senior_woman_1.jpg" alt="Social worker is visiting a senior woman" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I lived in Chicago, an elderly relative who lived nearby named me as her financial power of attorney. By the time she needed my help, I had moved to California. But I didn't have to pass the responsibility on to her second choice. I was able to help my loved one from across the country with only a few obstacles.</p> <p>With online banking, a change of address form, e-sign software, a telephone, and the occasional help of a local notary or banker, you should be able to do everything needed from a distance to keep an ill or elderly person's financial life rolling. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-youll-encounter-when-taking-over-a-loved-ones-finances?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Things You'll Encounter When Taking Over a Loved One's Finances</a>)</p> <p>Here are some of the things that helped.</p> <h2>Advanced preparation</h2> <p>In my case, the relative had named me both financial power of attorney in case she became incapacitated, and as successor trustee for her revocable living trust. (A revocable living trust is an estate planning tool that people can set up to make this transfer of responsibility seamless both in incapacity or after death.) These two provisions were extremely helpful, when the time came, in allowing me to access and manage her accounts.</p> <p>Another thing you could encourage a relative to do to get their financial life in order would be to gather any stock certificates they own and transfer them to a brokerage firm, preferably one that offers online access. And if they have records of the date they purchased investments, they should show you where they keep those records or send you copies. If you have to sell the investments on their behalf, you will need this information to establish the cost basis.</p> <h2>An ally that lives close to the relative</h2> <p>Although I lived far away, my parents lived in the same town as our relative. Because of this, they were the ones who physically went through our relative's papers, with her permission, when she needed to move into an assisted living home. My parents provided me with all her paperwork so I could find out what accounts she had and what bills were coming in. Their status as locals also helped them gather recommendations for an estate sale company to dispose of possessions she'd no longer need and a real estate agent to sell her home.</p> <h2>An open relationship with the relative before they become incapacitated</h2> <p>At first, I wasn't acting on behalf of my relative in an official capacity, but just helping her out. For instance, when a CD matured, I would arrange for her banker to call her at her assisted living home to get her verbal permission to roll it over or buy a different CD. I helped her set up online accounts for her banks, and then together we used the bill pay function to get her phone bill and rent set up on autopay so she wouldn't have to write checks anymore. This period allowed me to ask her questions and make sure I knew about all her investment accounts, her assets, and how she liked to manage them.</p> <h2>If you have to take over, an in-person visit helps get things started</h2> <p>When she did become incapacitated, I was able to visit the town where she lived and go to her local banks in person to show the bankers her trust naming me as successor trustee, the power of attorney, and my own identification. The banks then put my name on her accounts, so from that point on, I could call them with questions or move her money as needed without her permission. Also, an attorney informed me that as her trustee, I could reimburse myself for my travel expenses from her account when I had to do business on her behalf.</p> <p>One great thing about visiting in person at this stage is that the local bankers gave me their cards, and henceforth if I ever had a problem, I could call them directly instead of going through the phone tree. They remembered me, and some of them even remembered my relative, which I think improved the service I got.</p> <p>Talking to hometown bankers in person also helped me understand the process better. When I needed to get my name on her brokerage accounts without local offices, I had a better idea of how to make it happen. When you can't go to the financial institution in person, you may have to go to a local bank to get a stamp called a medallion on an application to change the account ownership. This is like visiting a notary, in that the medallion holder is indicating that they checked your identification and you are who you say you are. However, a notary can't give you a medallion stamp &mdash; it has to come from a medallion holder. Call any local bank to see if they have one who can help you.</p> <h2>Stay in communication with caregivers</h2> <p>It's easy to put bills on autopay, but it's also important to verify that purchases you make on your relative's behalf are really reaching them and are needed. For example, I set up a standing order on Amazon for supplies my relative needed at assisted living. But sometimes when conditions changed, no one would tell me, and I'd end up wasting money on a product she hadn't used in months. In retrospect, I would have kept in closer communication with staff at her assisted living facility to keep abreast of her product needs.</p> <h2>Work with real estate agents and other professionals who use online documents</h2> <p>It's certainly possible to sell property from across the country by signing paper documents and faxing them, but it's a lot easier if the agent you work with simply sends you a link that you can e-sign on your computer.</p> <h2>Keep an eye on statements, especially if your relative still has a checkbook</h2> <p>For awhile after I took over her finances, my loved one still wrote the occasional check, usually to her church. Although I asked her to let me know when she wrote one, she always forgot. Knowing this, I made sure to keep a buffer of cash in her checking account to prevent overdrafts. If your loved one's check writing habits change suddenly, or you're worried they could be taken advantage of, it's probably time to get the checkbook out of their hands. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-elderly-loved-ones-from-financial-scams?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Protect Elderly Loved Ones From Financial Scams</a>)</p> <h2>Check your relative's credit report regularly</h2> <p>This is something you should do when you first start handling a loved one's finances, and periodically after that, especially if you live far away and wouldn't know if someone shady has been calling or visiting your relative. If you have been named power of attorney, you can request the credit report by writing to a credit bureau and including a copy of the power of attorney.</p> <h2>Take care when sharing account information among family members</h2> <p>In a lot of families, more than one person might share the responsibility for handling a loved one's finances. In my case, my parents received her mail and deposited checks at her local banks until I set up all her accounts as direct deposit.</p> <p>Because of this shared responsibility, we sometimes had to share account numbers or her Social Security number with one another. We made sure not to transmit this information in an insecure way, such as email, but instead would call one another to read an account number over the phone.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-manage-a-family-members-finances-long-distance&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Manage%2520a%2520Family%2520Member%2527s%2520Finances%2520Long%2520Distance.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Manage%20a%20Family%20Member's%20Finances%20Long%20Distance"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Manage%20a%20Family%20Member%27s%20Finances%20Long%20Distance.jpg" alt="How to Manage a Family Member's Finances Long Distance" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-a-family-members-finances-long-distance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-planning-for-a-loved-ones-long-term-care">A Simple Guide to Planning For a Loved One&#039;s Long-Term Care</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-ease-your-parents-into-assisted-living">6 Ways to Ease Your Parents Into Assisted Living</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-questions-to-ask-when-choosing-an-assisted-living-facility">12 Questions to Ask When Choosing an Assisted Living Facility</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-elderly-loved-ones-from-financial-scams">How to Protect Elderly Loved Ones From Financial Scams</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ow-do-you-deal-with-family-members-who-are-bad-at-managing-money">How Do You Deal With Family Members Who Are Bad At Managing Money?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family assisted living caregivers credit reports elderly long distance money management nursing homes out of town power of attorney relatives revocable living trust Wed, 08 Nov 2017 08:30:18 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2048696 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Mobile Phone Upgrades That Aren't Worth the Money http://www.wisebread.com/4-mobile-phone-upgrades-that-arent-worth-the-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-mobile-phone-upgrades-that-arent-worth-the-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girl_phone_000039037532.jpg" alt="Girl realizing she has mobile phone plan she doesn&#039;t need" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The old adage says &quot;If you buy what you don't need, you'll need what you can't buy.&quot;</p> <p>When you have a mobile phone, you're already shelling out some serious coin every month. The average U.S. <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/6-reasons-your-phone-bill-keeps-rising/">monthly phone bill</a> ranges from $120 to $148. So, there's no need to pay for additional features you don't really need.</p> <p>Consider avoiding these four costly plan upgrades.</p> <h2>1. International Long Distance</h2> <p>Unless it's an absolute emergency, it just doesn't make sense to make international calls using your mobile phone's plan. For example, as an AT&amp;T subscriber, I would pay $2.19 per minute if I were to call to a landline in Ecuador, or $2.37 per minute if I were to call a wireless number.</p> <p>While paying $5 per line to upgrade to <a href="https://www.att.com/shop/wireless/international/long-distance.html?tab=1">AT&amp;T World Connect</a> lowers my calling rates to Ecuador ($0.35 per minute to landlines and $0.53 per minute to wireless), it is still not worthwhile. Without paying any additional fees, I can call any landline or mobile in Ecuador for $0.15 per minute, by signing up for a Skype subscription. I'd decrease my calling cost to landlines in Ecuador to as little as $0.075 per minute.</p> <p>You could also leverage smartphone apps, such as <a href="http://line.me/en/">Line</a>, <a href="http://www.tango.me">Tango</a>, or <a href="http://www.viber.com/en/">Viber</a>, that allow you to make international calls for free. Or, buy an international calling card with good rates for the country that you're trying to call. The point is that there are much more affordable options than upgrading for an international long distance feature.</p> <h2>2. Frequent Equipment Upgrades</h2> <p>T-Mobile Jump, AT&amp;T Next, and Verizon Edge offer variations of the same idea: Instead of committing to a single phone model for two years, you can upgrade to the latest model as soon as you want. No matter your phone carrier, if you have a frequent upgrade plan, you pay a monthly fee based on the full price of your selected phone (cost of service is separate).</p> <p>From a purely financial perspective, frequent equipment upgrade plans often aren't worth the money. For example, you could <a href="http://lifehacker.com/are-early-upgrade-plans-worth-it-1369868915#">save close to $650</a> by sticking to a two-year plan with AT&amp;T, instead of going with a frequent upgrade plan for two years. Similar savings scenarios happen with Verizon ($600) and T-Mobile ($340). (Note: Sprint retired its <a href="http://support.sprint.com/support/article/Learn_more_about_Sprint_One_Up/35e890a8-cbab-4cc4-99a7-91b0bc533e35?INTNAV=LP:Support:01102014:oneup&amp;ECID=vanity:oneup">One Up upgrade plan</a> on January 9, 2014). The premium that you pay for the &quot;convenience&quot; of having the latest model is too high and something that you don't really need.</p> <h2>3. International Data Plan</h2> <p>I get it, I really do.</p> <p>Just like many Millennial travelers, I believe that a trip isn't a trip without posting a few vacation pics for my friends to view. About 69% of Millennial travelers use some form of <a href="https://www.yahoo.com/travel/millennials-travel-survey-113198011097.html">social media during vacations</a>.</p> <p>Most service providers provide international data plans starting at 100MB. For example, <a href="http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/international/roaming.html">AT&amp;T's 120MB data plan</a> is $30, and <a href="http://www.verizonwireless.com/landingpages/global-roaming/">Verizon's 100MB data plan</a> is $25. The problem is that a 100MB allowance doesn't go very far. Consider how much data some common activities consume.</p> <ul> <li>Emailing a single high-resolution photo is 2MB to 5MB.</li> <li>Doing a 10-minute video call is about 24MB.</li> <li>Visiting 50 web pages equals about 10MB.</li> <li>Completing 30 social media posts with photos is roughly 10MB.</li> <li>Downloading 10 songs is 40MB.</li> </ul> <p>You could burn through 100MB of data in a single day. And that's assuming that you're keeping track of all of your data use. If you unintentionally left on the auto-push feature of your smartphone for all apps, you could easily burn through most of the data in just a couple of hours.</p> <p>Instead of buying an international data plan, take the following steps when traveling abroad (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-minimize-cell-phone-charges-when-you-travel-abroad?ref=seealso">How to Minimize Cell Phone Charges When Traveling Abroad</a>):</p> <ul> <li>Use the Wi-Fi from your hotel or from other reliable sources;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Plan ahead with smartphone map apps, such as <a href="http://www.ulmon.com">Ulmon Maps</a> and <a href="http://osmand.net">OsmAnd</a>, which can work without an Internet connection;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Keep your phone in airplane mode as much as possible to prevent data use;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Prevent automatic upload of media.</li> </ul> <h2>4. Tethering</h2> <p>Sharing your data connection with all your other devices sounds like an awesome deal. However, the reality is that mobile tethering has several drawbacks:</p> <ul> <li>Most cellular carriers will require you to pay an additional fee or upgrade to a minimum MB plan to be able to tether through your device.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>There is no cellular carrier that will let you tether any device with an unlimited plan. You have to downgrade to a paid data plan, and figure out which one makes financial sense.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You have a data cap when tethering, often ranging from 2GB to 5GB. Depending on your data use, you may incur overages and their corresponding expensive fees.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Tethering is major drain to any mobile's battery life.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Many users report that their Internet connection freezes when the phone receives a text or call.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You're always trading off something when you're tethering. Tether via Wi-Fi, and your phone's battery drains quickly. Tether via USB, and only your computer can connect to the Internet. Tether via Bluetooth, and your connection gets very slow.</li> </ul> <p>This is why that tethering fee is something that you don't really need. Imagine if your home Internet provider would try to charge you for plugging an additional device to your home connection. You would probably tell your Internet company that they're crazy. If you really need a hotspot on the go for work purposes, you're better off investing in a mobile hotspot. That way you won't have to compromise for subpar service.</p> <p><em>What are some mobile plan upgrades that aren't worth the money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-mobile-phone-upgrades-that-arent-worth-the-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-unlimited-data-still-a-thing">Is Unlimited Data Still a Thing?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-that-monitor-your-credit-for-you">7 Apps That Monitor Your Credit for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-apps-that-actually-pay-you-to-shop">7 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-apps-will-help-you-finally-organize-your-money">These 5 Apps Will Help You Finally Organize Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained">8 Alternatives to Cable TV That Will Keep You Entertained</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Technology data plans long distance mobile smartphones tethering upgrades Fri, 17 Apr 2015 15:00:07 +0000 Damian Davila 1388408 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways to Save on a Long-Distance Move http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-on-a-long-distance-move <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-save-on-a-long-distance-move" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_with_moving_truck.jpg" alt="Woman with a moving truck" title="Woman with a moving truck" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Our family launched this summer by packing up our three kids and two cats and relocating from Chicago to the San Francisco Bay Area. Every step of the way, we strove to guard our limited financial and temporal resources without overtaxing our stamina. We saved money on our move, but we could have saved more. Here are the lessons we learned. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-save-on-a-move?wbref=readmore">9 Ways to Save on a Move</a>)</p> <h3>1. Consider Hiring a Driver Directly</h3> <p>Did you know that moving companies typically subcontract long-distance jobs to drivers, who in turn hire their own moving crew? You can save a chunk of the usual moving cost if you can directly hire a driver who has his (or her)&nbsp;own truck. You won't have the customer service agent from the moving company office, and your driver may not offer to insure your belongings like the moving company would, but you should save money.</p> <p>How to find a qualified driver? Check Yelp and Craigslist, and ask around. We hired our driver through a big company, but now that we have his contact information and since we liked working with him, if we or friends ever have to make a long-distance move again, we could just call him directly.</p> <h3>2. Drive Yourself</h3> <p>With three kids and two cats to transport &mdash; plus all their stuff &mdash; we couldn't pull off driving a huge moving truck across the country. But lots of people do it. Choose a company that rents trucks for one-way trips, such as <a href="http://www.pensketruckrental.com/">Penske</a>, and make sure you take into consideration the time lost from your regular job while working as a temporary truck driver. If you have to use four vacation days, how much are those worth to you? Or if you are moving to take a new job and self-moving delays your start date, take that into account too.</p> <p>If you go this route, check out Meg's post, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-know-when-renting-a-moving-truck">What to Know When Renting a Moving Truck</a>.</p> <h3>3. Get Free Moving Boxes</h3> <p>People always say you should collect cardboard boxes from stores, but personally I prefer to use boxes designed for moving. And they can usually be acquired for free. We got our boxes at no extra charge by stopping by the office of the moving company we were using &mdash; new boxes cost money, but used boxes were free to customers. You can also pick up free moving boxes from people who have just moved. Just post on your local Freecycle group or Craigslist.</p> <h3>4. Get Rid of Stuff</h3> <p>Between our movers' first estimate and our final weigh-in, we cut a whopping $1,000 off the price of our move. How did we do this? By driving six carloads of stuff to the thrift store and Freecycling and selling a bunch of other items.</p> <p>We could have saved time and even more money if we had arranged for the thrift store to pick our things up from our house. Our biggest blunder in this area was our couch. Because it was a decent couch and I held out hope of selling it at the last minute on Craigslist, I failed to arrange a thrift store pickup. We ended up putting the couch in the alley, and then scrap metal collectors tore it apart and our town's large-object pickup trash service failed to pick it up, so we ended up having to pay a junk collector to haul it away. Sad. But we still came out ahead in the end.</p> <p>Also see my post on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-rid-of-stuff-frugally">getting rid of junk frugally</a>.</p> <h3>5. But Don't Get Rid of Too Much Stuff</h3> <p>You really need to know how much, per pound, your movers are charging you. A good mover can help you estimate how much any given item would cost to move. For instance, we thought of getting rid of our chest freezer because of its size, but the mover helped us figure out that it would cost more to buy a new one than it would to move it.</p> <p>I probably made the right decision by abandoning bottles of laundry detergent and window cleaner back in Illinois, but now that I am in California and haven't found any good deals to stock up on that stuff, I kind of wonder if I shouldn't have brought my stash.</p> <h3>6. If You Need Help Packing, Hire Amateurs</h3> <p>We were lucky enough to get help packing from friends and relatives. But in retrospect, I would have hired more help because by moving day we were not finished. Things were chaotic, and because I was still packing instead of supervising the move, lots of stuff got put on the truck that was supposed to be left behind. (Like my bag of clothes to wear on the road trip and a kid's bike I had already sold on Craigslist. Oops! I had to email the buyer with a quick apology.)</p> <p>I should have tapped local teenagers or our babysitter, all of whom charge more modest hourly rates than professional movers. It doesn't take a pro to box non-breakable things, like clothing.</p> <h3>7. Don't Make It More Work Than It Has to Be</h3> <p>Time = money, especially if you have to hire help. Ask your movers if you can move dressers with the clothes in them. Pack the clothes from your closet still on the hangers. You'll thank yourself when you reach your destination and can quickly rehang all those clothes in your new closet. Label your moving boxes <em>on the side</em>. When the movers stack them up in your new house, you won't know what the heck is in them if you label the tops only.</p> <p>For more tips on planning the packing, see <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pack-up-your-house-tips-for-saving-money-and-sanity-on-a-move">Pack Up Your House: Tips for Saving Money (and Sanity) on a Move</a>.</p> <h3>8. Ask: Is It Really Worth It to Move Your Car?</h3> <p>If you are not driving yourself to your destination, you can ship your car across the country for around $1,000, according to <a href="http://www.shipanycar.com/how-much-does-it-cost-to-ship-a-car.php">ShipAnyCar.com</a>. But should you? That depends on how long you foresee keeping said vehicle once you arrive.</p> <p>Because our family had pretty much outgrown our 13-year-old car, we opted to sell it before moving.</p> <p>You can also pay someone else to drive your car to your destination, or look for someone who is willing to drive it for free, but I would be leery of that. For one thing, you'll need to add up the cost of the wear and tear to your car and the gas. You'll have to make sure that your insurance or the driver's insurance will cover the car. It seems to me if you don't want to drive it to transport your family, shipping it would be a better deal.</p> <h3>9. Pick the Right Way to Move Yourself</h3> <p>If we had only considered the cost to get from point A to point B, we probably would have flown our family from Chicago to California. Airfare would have been about $1,700 for five people and two cats.</p> <p>However, we decided that we wanted to grab this opportunity for a grand family road trip vacation. After all, it was going to take some time for our stuff to get to our new home &mdash; we had the movers come just before a holiday weekend, and it was more than a week before they dropped it at our new house. We rented a minivan for a month &mdash; $1,400 &mdash; which gave us the advantage of having a vehicle for shopping trips to furnish our new home in the first few weeks. (We didn't end up buying a new car right away.) Our gas, hotel stays, and campsites were reimbursed by the company relocation package. And along the way, we took in the Laura Ingalls childhood home site in Walnut Grove, Minnesota; the Ingalls Homestead in De Smet, South Dakota; Badlands National Park; and Yellowstone National Park.</p> <p>The agony of moving day faded from our memories day by day, as we heard the kids ooh and ah over a mud volcano at Yellowstone and watched them ride a pony across the Western prairie just like Laura Ingalls did.</p> <p>Did driving cost less than flying? Nope. Was it worth it? In this case, definitely!</p> <h3>10. If You Are Moving for Work, Find Out Which Parts of Your Move Are Tax Deductible</h3> <p><a href="http://www.holmanmoving.com/moving-guide/how-to-manage-your-lump-sum-employee-relocation-package.aspx">Homan Moving Systems</a> has some quick tips about this, but you really need to consult an accountant. Whether or not you are being reimbursed for relocation expenses, you are going to want to keep your receipts from all your moving bills, transportation, hotel stays, and meals, because some moving expenses are tax deductible. But not all moving expenses are treated equally under tax law. For instance, we learned that our corporate relocation funds could be put toward the closing costs of the new home we bought &mdash; but if we used it for this purpose, it would be taxable. So we made sure to claim every expense from the trip before taking a disbursement for closing costs.</p> <p>This is not tax advice, because I'm no expert. Talk to an accountant or consult the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc455.html">moving expenses section of IRS.gov</a>.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F10-ways-to-save-on-a-long-distance-move&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%2520Ways%2520to%2520Save%2520on%2520a%2520Long-Distance%2520Move.jpg&amp;description=10%20Ways%20to%20Save%20on%20a%20Long-Distance%20Move"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/10%20Ways%20to%20Save%20on%20a%20Long-Distance%20Move.jpg" alt="10 Ways to Save on a Long-Distance Move" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-on-a-long-distance-move">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mcmansion-to-mccottage-why-smaller-houses-are-smarter">McMansion to McCottage: Why Smaller Houses Are Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-paint-colors-that-can-boost-your-homes-value">4 Paint Colors That Can Boost Your Home&#039;s Value</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-granny-pod-may-be-the-smartest-way-to-care-for-an-elderly-parent">A Granny Pod May Be the Smartest Way to Care for an Elderly Parent</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-are-the-7-features-home-buyers-want-most">These Are the 7 Features Home Buyers Want Most</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cut-your-electric-bill-with-solar-panels">Cut Your Electric Bill With Solar Panels</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Real Estate and Housing budget moving get rid of clutter long distance Fri, 06 Jul 2012 10:36:09 +0000 Carrie Kirby 938564 at http://www.wisebread.com Ring. Ring. Ka-ching! Lying About Your Telephone Tax http://www.wisebread.com/ring-ring-ka-ching-lying-about-your-telephone-tax <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/phone.jpg" alt=" " width="240" height="184" /></p> <p>I haven&#39;t had a landline in years. I&#39;m dead serious. Years. </p> <p>So, I was bummed to hear that this year, the &quot;sorry you were cheated initially when we taxed you too much&quot; refund that we get back is for <a href="http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=161506,00.html">long distance telephone service</a>. </p> <p>Apparently, Americans who paid for long distance calling plans were cheated or something. By Ma Bell? Or the Baby Bells? Uncle Sam in conjunction with the Bell Family? It doesn&#39;t matter now. What matters is that, when you file your taxes this year, you can get back between $30 and $60, depending on the number of exemptions you claim.</p> <p>Whoop-tee-doo. Thanks, Uncle Sam. I&#39;ve been using only my pay-as-you-go cell phone for years, carefully tracking my usage, and this is how you repay my mobile monetary frugality?</p> <p>Now, it&#39;s true that some <a href="http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=169091,00.html">cell phone plans do qualify for the tax refund</a> (thanks, <a href="http://www.cleverdude.com/articles/finances/cell-phones-qualify-for-telephone-excise-phone-tax-refund/">Clever Dude</a>). It just so happens that mine does not. I never paid this tax, and thus, I don&#39;t qualify.</p> <p>However, a friend of mine who works for H&amp;R Block told me that anyone can pretty much claim this refund. Because the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=164310,00.html">IRS isn&#39;t going to audit it</a>. Which is awesome, <strong><em>because I already filed my taxes</em></strong>, and I didn&#39;t claim it, because I was sure that somehow, THE IRS WOULD KNOW.</p> <p>It turns out that they don&#39;t really care. So, go ahead, claim it, even if you are an off-the-grid type who doesn&#39;t even HAVE a phone. Just don&#39;t get too greedy, or they might decide not to pay everyone their $60.</p> <p>Some of you may ask if I am advocating that people cheat on their taxes. And yes, I guess I am. Just a little. Most people qualify for this refund, but those who don&#39;t might as well go ahead and try to get it, too.</p> <p>I&#39;m putting the &quot;bread&quot; in Wise Bread. Not necessarily the &quot;wise&quot;, though.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/troy-hadley">Troy Hadley</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ring-ring-ka-ching-lying-about-your-telephone-tax">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-billion-tax-refund-for-long-distance-phone">$10 billion tax refund for long distance phone</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-your-chances-of-getting-audited-by-the-irs-your-guess-is-probably-wrong">What are your chances of getting audited by the IRS? Your guess is probably wrong</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxes-on-irregular-income">Taxes on irregular income</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-amazing-outrageous-and-just-plain-weird-tax-deductions">20 amazing, outrageous and just plain weird tax deductions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/last-minute-tax-filing-extended-post-office-hours-and-more">Last Minute Tax-Filing? Extended Post Office Hours and More</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes audit IRS long distance phone tax refund taxes Thu, 29 Mar 2007 00:07:19 +0000 Troy Hadley 411 at http://www.wisebread.com $10 billion tax refund for long distance phone http://www.wisebread.com/10-billion-tax-refund-for-long-distance-phone <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-billion-tax-refund-for-long-distance-phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000039578366_Double.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><strong>Note: This tax refund was available for long distance service paid for between 2003-2006.</strong></p> <p>If you paid for long distance phone service in the last three years, you are eligible for a refund of the U.S. federal taxes paid on that service. The government estimates that up to $10 billion will be <a href="http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=161506,00.html">refunded to consumers</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>Recent court decisions have declared that the taxes should not have applied to long distance service as it is billed today. Refunds are offered for taxes paid on long distance service between February 28, 2003 and August 1, 2006.</p> <p>The refund is only for long distance service, but if your phone bill bundles local and long distance (and/or other services), you are eligible. This refund is available for landline, wireless/cellular, and even VoIP/Internet calling plans!</p> <p>To make the refund calculation easier, the IRS has created a tiered standard payout system based on historical data:</p> <ul> <li>One exemption &mdash; $30</li> <li>Two exemptions &mdash; $40</li> <li>Three exemptions &mdash; $50</li> <li>Four exemptions or more &mdash; $60</li> </ul> <p>To claim the standard refund, you fill out one additional line on your Form 1040, 1040A, 1040NR or 1040EZ. If you don't need to file a return, you can still claim just the standard refund using the 1040EZ-T form.</p> <p>However, if you want to determine <em>exactly</em> what you are owed and get paid interest on those monies, fill out and attach Form 8913 to your tax return. (And you better have those old phone bills to back up your claim.)</p> <p>The IRS recommends using the standard refund amount rather than gathering all those old phone bills:</p> <blockquote><p>The standard amount is based on actual telephone usage data, and the amount applicable to a family or other household reflects taxes paid on long-distance or bundled service by similarly sized families or households. Using this amount may be the easiest way for taxpayers to get their refund and avoid gathering 41 months of old phone records.</p> </blockquote> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/greg-go">Greg Go</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-billion-tax-refund-for-long-distance-phone">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ring-ring-ka-ching-lying-about-your-telephone-tax">Ring. Ring. Ka-ching! Lying About Your Telephone Tax</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxes-on-irregular-income">Taxes on irregular income</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-your-chances-of-getting-audited-by-the-irs-your-guess-is-probably-wrong">What are your chances of getting audited by the IRS? Your guess is probably wrong</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-amazing-outrageous-and-just-plain-weird-tax-deductions">20 amazing, outrageous and just plain weird tax deductions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/last-minute-tax-filing-extended-post-office-hours-and-more">Last Minute Tax-Filing? Extended Post Office Hours and More</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes cell phone IRS long distance phone refund taxes telephone VoIP Fri, 26 Jan 2007 03:18:04 +0000 Greg Go 221 at http://www.wisebread.com