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Early Morning Roundup: Old Maps

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It may be kind of a cliché of sorts, but I like old maps. Hand-designed cartography may not be considered art by anyone who knows anything about art (and I do), but there is something about the lines and the underlying vision of the world before satellite imagery that I find attractive. On my living room wall, I have a reproduction of a map of Asia by Thomas Jefferys, similar to this one.

Earlier this week, I mentioned that now is a good time to use Flexible Spending Accounts before you lose them. Jim from Blueprint for Financial Prosperity has the same idea and is sharing ideas for spending down the money. I wouldn’t suggest buying things you don’t need or things that you wouldn’t otherwise buy with other money. The best option is to stock up on products that you know you’ll use like cold medicine, aspirin, and contact lens solution (if that applies).

Free Money Finance asks Did You (or Will You) Buy Yourself a Gift This Christmas? That’s an interesting question. I think there is temptation to use the holidays as an excuse to splurge a little bit on yourself, but there’s no real harm unless this spending is above your means or if you’re sacrificing something else for your own benefit. A few weeks ago, I purchased myself a GPS navigation system. I’ve wanted one for many years and have been holding off for a while. I guess I would consider that a holiday gift for myself.

Finally, on Moolanomy, Patrick from Cash Money Life writes a guest article about Six Streams of Income. He’s talking about alternative income — money generated from anything other than your day job, including dividends, side businesses, seasonal jobs, rental properties, part-time jobs, and royalties/patents. During the holiday season, having some extra income can’t hurt if you believe in a culture of buying gifts.

Published or updated December 19, 2007.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

Hi Flexo, thank you for featuring Patrick’s and my blog in your post. Re FSA, I am all out this year, but I will definitely need help next year since I bumped it up considerably.

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avatar 2 Anonymous

Flexo – Have they changed the rules on OTC stuff? I thought things like cold medicines could only be deducted if they are needed immediately.

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avatar 3 Luke Landes

CFO: Interesting, I’ll have to check on that. Not that I advocate lying, but how do you prove whether the medicine is needed immediately? Here’s the best or most appropriate information I could find, from Benefit Resource, Inc.:

Can I purchase large quantities of OTC items?

Reasonable quantities of OTC items are reimbursable if purchased for either existing or imminent medical conditions. If large quantities are necessary for the treatment of an existing condition, the medical practitioner must indicate on the Certification of Medical Necessity form that the quantity being purchased is necessary for the treatment of the diagnosed medical condition.

It seems to me that if you stick to “reasonable quantities” rather than “large quantities,” at least when it comes to cold medicine at the end of the year, you could easily argue that that colds and influenza are imminent.

Note that OTC expenses cannot be *deducted* (when you itemize your deductions on your tax return), but they can be *reimbursed* via the flexible spending account.

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avatar 4 Anonymous

I like your argument, Flexo – I think it’s totally legit. I’ve already had the flu twice this season, so I totally buy the “imminent” argument. Thanks!

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