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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

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I too feel that there are too many distractions...some I've chosen, others are forced onto us by society. Either way, you're correct, TurboTax is awesome!!!

- Jon
- Daddy Detective
- www.daddydetective.com

Definitely computers are a huge waste of time. However, they are also a huge time-saver, so it kind of cancels itself out.

Here are ways the computer saves me time:

I get all my news through email and websites, so no more newspaper or TV news.

We do 90% of our Christmas and birthday shopping through places like Amazon. Huge time-saver. No more wandering through book or toy stores looking for that "perfect gift." Mind you, I enjoy wandering through bookstores, but don't have the time to do that these days. We also spend a lot less time at the post office by having Amazon ship directly to our family and friends.

Sorting and organizing things like photos and music. Everything is available to me at the touch of a mouse button. I would get so frustrated in the past by not being able to find a CD that was boxed away, or a photo where I couldn't remember which photo album it was in.

The real time wasters are computer games, which I have little patience for (except maybe Scrabble). I consider time spent reading parenting blogs to be educational (most of the time) and thus not a waste.

Oh, I'm soooo developing carpal tunnel from the amount of time I spend blogging lately (not just writing my own blog, but reading other people's). Must. Get. Up. From. Computer.

FSAs are most definitely a scam, the first step in the current Republican plan to end health insurance.

There was a great article in the New Yorker a few months ago on republican economists arguments that health insurance is a real problem because we who are insured don't really bear the costs of health care so we use it recklessly.

With FSAs we are spending our own money, and their goal is to end health insurance (or at the start at least tax deductions for corporations offering it), force us all into FSAs, and maybe have catastrophic health insurance.

FSAs and the whole approach is of course ridiculous, because usually the largest health costs are unexpected things that there's no way you can plan ahead for (my son breaking his fingers for example).

As for computers, you know if we didn't have computers we'd find some other way to waste our time away...

Found the link to the New Yorker article, it's really good:

THE MORAL-HAZARD MYTH
The bad idea behind our failed health-care system.
by MALCOLM GLADWELL
Issue of 2005-08-29
Posted 2005-08-22

let's try again:
http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/050829fa_fact

okay, last part of url got cut off:

articles/050829fa_fact

Here's the link:

New Yorker article

Just a comment on the Blue Cross thing. Calling them shouldn't be too bad. The majority of their Customer Service is based out here in Minnesota. I actually have a few relatives who work in their customer service department!

Actually the Main Customer Service building is in a place called Wyoming Minnesota. An area pretty far up north in the "Ya, You Betcha" territory, so I guess you kinda are calling India.

My vote for modern time-wasters:
1. TV
2. Ads of ANY type. This includes packages with bright graphics saying they're 'New & Improved' etc.
3. Junk snail mail.
4. Junk email.
5. Junk phone mail.
6. Commuting.
7. "Lifestyle" Media [magazine, shows, etc.] that make you think it's no big deal to create the 'perfect' lifestyle.
8. Noise on demand. Yes that includes iPods/Radio/TV/Cellphones... Sometimes the best thing in the world is quiet.

Jon and Phil: Don't get me wrong. I love computers. They are time-savers as long as nothing goes wrong.

Ever lose an entire hard drive? I lost weeks of work while the computer maker retrieved the data off my disk and we waited for its return.

I don't play computer games either. Just not enough time in the day.

Landismom: I found that swimming and back massages used to help me with hand problems. Of course, I never have time to swim anymore because I'm always on the computer.

Chip: I think we're talking about two different usages of flexible spending accounts. Mine is just to cover out-of-pocket costs such as co-pays.

The type you're talking about is for catastrophic health-care coverage. I agree with you the latter types are scary: they discourage people from going in for preventative care. They're also being used by wealthier Americans as a huge tax loophole to hide assets.

Tiggermn: I should explain that I am with Blue Cross of Illinois, even though I live in California. The last time I called the call center it was in Springfield, Illinois, but I was being sarcastic that it will probably be in India by the next time I call.

Nadine: Ooo, I should have mentioned spam. How could I have skipped that one?

Of course, I've done many posts about commuting. Blech.

brett, no they are exactly the same thing. The FSA's that we have now do cover things not covered by insurance, but they are a first step.

And they are a scam because how can you possibly know what you're going to spend on health care a year ahead of time? Also, they are only for people who work for corporations or other entities that offer them.

Anyway, the FSA concept is Bush's solution to health care costs, and the bottom line is, take your current FSA and imagine having to pay for all your health care from FSAs, and not having insurance available. That's the GOP vision of the future.

Ah well, I guess we're doomed in this country. I keep telling my wife we should move to New Zealand.

I used to use TurboTax but a friend sent me a link to a free download of TaxCut. I was able to import my TurboTax data from previous years and was off to the races -- also seems that my refund was higher than when I used TurboTax. Here's the link she sent me:

http://tinyurl.com/cy837

Melissa, I've heard good things about TaxCut, too.

>>>>Bills – I still do these the old-fashioned way, because as much as I love technology, it’s not safe.<<<< AMEN!! and thank you for putting this in print. Some folks think I'm crazy to still be paying bills "the old fashioned way."

You're not crazy at all for using paper. Just be sure you shred stuff before you throw it in the garbage.

Duh!

Blue Cross is such a prominant fixture in Minnesota, that I keep forgetting they have other markets!

But think of it this way, at least your lucky getting Illinois. Do you know how card it can be to try and translate Northern Minnesotan Accents? I live here and I still have a hard time!

Yup. I grew up in Chicago.

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