MOVING TO A SMALL TOWN
What are the advantages and the trade-offs?
AROUND THE OFFICE
Welcome our latest edition – Baby Sarge
It is important to properly record your charitable contributions.
IS FAST FOOD CHEAPER THAN EATING IN?
Convenient, yes. Cost effective? Maybe not.
RECIPE OF THE MONTH
Hearty Sausage Stuffed Pumpkins
About one in eight Americans relocate during a typical year. Some move to small towns. Like every relocation, moving to (or back to) a small town has its plusses and minuses.
Yes, many small cities are contending with a sense of stagnation – but in response, there is a sense of togetherness and initiative. Small towns include people from all walks of life in a way that suburbs often do not; suburban neighborhoods tend to gather people of the same income level and age group. There is a protectiveness in place in a small town; in times of challenges or celebrations, phone calls, texts, and visits are made between neighbors. Walk or drive across town, and you may meet people genuinely pleased to see you.
On the other hand, the privacy and sense of anonymity that big-city dwellers expect may vanish. In a metropolis, you may encounter unlikable eccentrics for a minute or two, and then adroitly escape their presence; in a small town, you may see that irritating person every day. If you are not settled down in your career or life, your creative or professional ambition may not be fulfilled in a small community. Factors like these and many other must be weighed before a move.1
We’d like to welcome our newest member of the Voyage team: Mason. He was born on December 6th to Sherwin and Megan Sargeant and is of course the cutest little thing that we can’t wait to spoil. Welcome to the world, baby Sarge!
The standard income tax deduction for an individual taxpayer is currently $6,350; for joint filers, it becomes $12,700. If your medical expenses, property taxes, home mortgage interest deduction, and charitable gifts exceed those levels, it may end up being better, financially, to present and claim itemized deductions on Schedule A.
Charitable gifts must be itemized to be deducted. The I.R.S. standard for documentation of itemized deductions has changed. In the old days, you just needed a receipt from the charity or non-profit involved to certify a donation of more than $250 in cash or material items. Now, you need either a cancelled check or a receipt to affirm and legitimize all deductions you claim on Schedule A for charitable donations. You may be wondering if you can claim a deduction for donating to a crowdfunding campaign. The short answer is yes, if the crowdfunding campaign was administered by a qualified charitable organization in the eyes of the I.R.S. If that is not the case, then claiming a deduction may be inappropriate.2,3
This material is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute investment advice. The information contained herein is based on current tax laws, which may change in the future. The information provided in these materials does not constitute any legal, tax or accounting advice. Please consult with a qualified professional for this type of advice.
More than 75% of Americans eat fast food at least once a week; a study in the November issue of the journal Economics and Human Biology presents research confirming this. So, we all do it, perhaps partly because we see it as cost effective. But often, we can eat at home for less, particularly if we buy staple foods in bulk and have them organized so we can plan and make easy meals. A quesadilla can be made from leftover cheese, chicken, or beef in a non-stick skillet, effectively, for pennies. Eggs, toast, and microwave sausage can give you a hearty breakfast for a tenth of what you might pay for it and in ten minutes of time. Skillet dishes and scrambles are easy. Instant Pot fanatics have a perfect opportunity to cook lo mein or pasta.
You can also be cagey and supplement takeout food with food you have at home. Get a typically enormous antipasto to go, and toss the ingredients at home with salad you have, maybe adding chicken, beef, or hard-boiled eggs. Get plain white rice from a takeout place and add your own ingredients. Supplement takeout chicken with your own bread and salad. The cost-saving possibilities are numerous.4
3 pumpkins (small, approx. 2 pounds, each)
1/2 lb. Italian sausages (chopped)
4 cups cooked rice (long grain)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (divided)
2 onions (medium, chopped)
2 eggs (beaten lightly, large)
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1 green pepper (medium, chopped)
1/4 cup parsley (minced, fresh)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. thyme (dried)
Slice the top off of each tomato, scoop out the pulp, and set aside. Grab a pinch of sea salt and sprinkle inside each tomato ‘shell,’ allow to drain upside down.
Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Stir/blend in flour, and continue to blend and cook – stirring until bubbly. Turn off heat, stir milk into mixture, and then place back onto low heat. Cook, stirring, until mixture is thickened and smooth.
Stir celery, onions, cooked chicken, and 1/4 cup of the cheddar cheese into flour/milk/butter mixture. Season with sea salt and black pepper as desired.
Fill each tomato shell with the mixture, arrange filled shells on pie plate or shallow baking dish, and then sprinkle with remaining portion of shredded cheese.
Bake stuffed tomatoes at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes (or until top is baked and golden). Garnish with parsley, if desired.
Enjoy with sour cream or on their own!
WHO SAID IT
Vincent Van Gogh