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Re: Pets and extended travel

My parents graciously agreed to take care of our two small dogs while we went to Peru for 2 weeks in May. While we were gone, my dad came down with a case of severe pneumonia and had to be taken to the hospital in a major city 2 hours away. I ended up spending a few hours of our vacation on the phon...
by mlipps
Fri Oct 31, 2014 9:09 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pets and extended travel
Replies: 13
Views: 1081

Re: Brother-in-law w/ CC Debt

He now has some funds (due to inheritance), that he could pay off this debt. He was planning to pay off the debt by negotiating a discounted payoff. However, since it has been so long, the collection agency is having trouble identifying his debt. He should really aim for a pay for delete. If the CA...
by mlipps
Thu Oct 30, 2014 8:31 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Brother-in-law w/ CC Debt
Replies: 38
Views: 3533

Re: Oatmeal suggestions

Here's a delicacy: When the oatmeal has thickened enough, crack an egg on top. When it's done you have a beautiful poached egg laced with rolled oats to season as you like, and to eat along with your oatmeal. I seldom eat eggs with the yolk anymore. So alternately I've been doing something similar ...
by mlipps
Thu Oct 30, 2014 8:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Oatmeal suggestions
Replies: 129
Views: 6893

Re: Oatmeal suggestions

We get our oatmeal in 50 pound bags. But you also have to be really committed to oatmeal! :D We used to buy it in bulk but couldn't keep the moths out. You got a method? Not the OP of this comment, but I bought these great food grade buckets for my bulk bread flour: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/s...
by mlipps
Thu Oct 30, 2014 8:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Oatmeal suggestions
Replies: 129
Views: 6893

Re: Oatmeal suggestions

Surprised no one has mentioned baked oatmeal yet! I love the recipes from Budget Bytes. I make mine in a loaf pan and it eat it with a small serving of plain yogurt on top. You can have it cold or warm. My favorite is peach blueberry! Pumpkin is also really nice this time of year! http://www.budgetb...
by mlipps
Thu Oct 30, 2014 8:25 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Oatmeal suggestions
Replies: 129
Views: 6893

Re: Trade in a 2012 Cruze w/ 58k miles for an 05 Z71 Tahoe 1

Is the Cruze underpowered for dealing with the hills? Because realistically if you aren't driving as much, front wheel drive is probably fine for most of the snow conditions that you would actually HAVE to travel in by yourself. I had no problems getting around in a Camry during the Snowmageddon (4...
by mlipps
Wed Oct 29, 2014 3:45 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trade in a 2012 Cruze w/ 58k miles for an 05 Z71 Tahoe 182k
Replies: 16
Views: 802

Re: Will I get taxed if family sends my bank $50K from abroa

Gift tax is paid by the giver, not the recipient. From a tax standpoint, I think she's fine.
by mlipps
Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Will I get taxed if family sends my bank $50K from abroad?
Replies: 10
Views: 1089

Re: Choosing an AGI for ACA health insurance

An AGI of $0 will either leave you without a subsidy (in states that did not expand Medicaid) or Medicaid eligible. I would recommend that you contribute enough to max out the subsidy, but not enough to put you below the poverty line.
by mlipps
Thu Oct 23, 2014 7:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Choosing an AGI for ACA health insurance
Replies: 5
Views: 859

Re: IRS Announces new 401(k) contribution max for 2015 ($18,

Is it ok to be excited that it will be a nice round number for contributions each month? The Type A is strong in me...
by mlipps
Thu Oct 23, 2014 6:10 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: IRS Announces new 401(k) contribution max for 2015 ($18,000)
Replies: 50
Views: 7195

Re: [Best Option for Early Termination] of Apartment Lease

I once had a lease with an early termination clause of only one month's rent if my employer compelled me to move out of state. That's all I'm saying...
by mlipps
Thu Oct 23, 2014 2:30 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Best Option for Early Termination] of Apartment Lease
Replies: 21
Views: 1345

Re: Give me a road map!

Do you have to keep writing to keep the money coming? If so, maybe you need life insurance. If not, what's the point? Your family will keep getting the royalties for your books if something happens to you and it sounds like your husband earns more than enough on his own. That aside, you need to see ...
by mlipps
Thu Oct 23, 2014 2:23 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Give me a road map!
Replies: 21
Views: 2242

Re: Which HDHP Plan to choose?

I would go with Option 2. The premium difference is about $1000/yr, but the employer makes up $800 of it by contributing to the HSA. So, for $200/yr, you are reducing your out of pocket max and deductible by over $2000. I view that as a reasonable insurance premium in case of unexpected medical exp...
by mlipps
Thu Oct 16, 2014 1:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which HDHP Plan to choose?
Replies: 7
Views: 440

Re: Smartphone plans and MMS

Thanks, Browser and Quickfoot - the specifics about how SMS and MMS work on a smartphone are critical details I was confused about. You might look at Republic Wireless if you're buying a new phone anyway. Their $10/month plan will definitely allow you to send free MMS while on WiFi or cell w/o payi...
by mlipps
Tue Oct 14, 2014 12:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Smartphone plans and MMS
Replies: 11
Views: 846

Re: Antique jewelry?

My engagement ring is an antique replica from Leigh Jay Nacht. They also sell estate jewelry, and many of their replicas have antique stones. Look them up on yelp, they have hundreds of happy customers which made us comfortable ordering the ring online sight unseen.
by mlipps
Tue Oct 14, 2014 1:40 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Antique jewelry?
Replies: 10
Views: 813

Re: Smartphone plans and MMS

You might look at Republic Wireless if you're buying a new phone anyway. Their $10/month plan will definitely allow you to send free MMS while on WiFi or cell w/o paying for data. Otherwise, yes, Google Hangouts works on WiFi only to send images; my husband does this from his office which has no cel...
by mlipps
Mon Oct 13, 2014 8:08 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Smartphone plans and MMS
Replies: 11
Views: 846

Re: Android Apps for Toddlers

If you have time, you can get the Amazon app store, which then gives you the ability to test drive apps for up to 24 hours before buying.
by mlipps
Wed Oct 01, 2014 6:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Android Apps for Toddlers
Replies: 17
Views: 981

Re: Those under 35 with a child 5 or under: Costs of child?

Someday there will be a thread like this and no one will accuse those who choose to put their kids in daycare of not raising their own children. That will be a measure of progress in my opinion. There are other ways to express that sentiment without casting judgments on others choices.
by mlipps
Sun Sep 28, 2014 11:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Those under 35 with a child 5 or under: Costs of child?
Replies: 58
Views: 4442

Re: Cast Iron Skillet Cooking

Personally I have yet to make cornbread from scratch that can hold a candle to the Trader Joe's mix. It gets crispy and almost caramelized on top. Absolutely amazing.
by mlipps
Sun Sep 28, 2014 12:29 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cast Iron Skillet Cooking
Replies: 107
Views: 9562

Re: Is it bad to put 23k a yr in retirement if I only make 4

"Am I the only one who believes retirement accounts are for retirement, not for ordinary expenses? My point is, liquidity is essential for day to day living. Retirement accounts are amongst the last line of defense withdrawals, or should be anyway. ......" No, you are not the only one. Co...
by mlipps
Fri Sep 26, 2014 1:54 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is it bad to put 23k a yr in retirement if I only make 42k?
Replies: 29
Views: 3633

Re: headphones for running

I have these bluetooth headphones:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008MN ... UTF8&psc=1

I really like not having a cord that's connected to my phone & for me at least they stay in place reasonably well.
by mlipps
Fri Sep 26, 2014 12:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: headphones for running
Replies: 40
Views: 1679

Re: What did you always wish for but never got?

I've always wanted to truly learn to ride horses. I spent my childhood reading every book in the Saddle Club series. At this point in my life, riding lessons are still too expensive, but I'm hoping in a couple more years we'll be able to afford it. Obviously I will never be an Olympic show jumper, ...
by mlipps
Fri Sep 26, 2014 11:49 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What did you always wish for but never got?
Replies: 87
Views: 5319

Re: Trying to understand Uber and similar "ride sharing" ser

In many cases the stringent taxi regulations only apply for cabs that can be hailed from the street. This is the case in New York City, for example. NYC does not require million dollar taxi medallions to run a for hire car service that is called by phone instead of being hailed from the street, tho...
by mlipps
Thu Sep 25, 2014 7:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trying to understand Uber and similar "ride sharing" service
Replies: 54
Views: 3739

Re: Trying to understand Uber and similar "ride sharing" ser

I've heard that a medallion in Chicago costs 300k+ and even more in NYC. That's kind of sick. This is off topic (sorry!) but too good not to share. I was doing VITA taxes this season & had a client tell me he had itemized the prior year. He had very small income this year, so I probed a little ...
by mlipps
Thu Sep 25, 2014 7:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trying to understand Uber and similar "ride sharing" service
Replies: 54
Views: 3739

Re: Trying to understand Uber and similar "ride sharing" ser

I have read mixed reviews on insurance coverage. Unclear whether drivers insurance will cover you. Don't know how that has shaken out, if it has. My good friend's sister was assaulted by an Uber driver earlier this year and found this out the hard way. They were also very hard to get a hold of afte...
by mlipps
Thu Sep 25, 2014 5:08 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trying to understand Uber and similar "ride sharing" service
Replies: 54
Views: 3739

Re: What did you always wish for but never got?

I've always wanted to truly learn to ride horses. I spent my childhood reading every book in the Saddle Club series. At this point in my life, riding lessons are still too expensive, but I'm hoping in a couple more years we'll be able to afford it. Obviously I will never be an Olympic show jumper, b...
by mlipps
Wed Sep 24, 2014 11:24 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What did you always wish for but never got?
Replies: 87
Views: 5319

Re: We have a grocery problem... [Household budget]

Do you have a food 4 less near you? I shop at ours and save so much money on veggies and meat there. What I did was sit down once and make a meal plan and grocery list for a month. This took a few hours. Now, every week I make a new list for 4 weeks from now. The way this helps is I can go to Aldi o...
by mlipps
Sat Sep 20, 2014 11:01 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: We have a grocery problem... [Household budget]
Replies: 158
Views: 10924

Re: Tax Question about Tuition Expenses

Yes, you can amend your 2013 tax return. Likely the best credit for you to claim is the Lifetime Learning Credit, unless your income is above the limit, in which case you can claim the tuition & fees deduction. Both are for required tuition & fees only, not books. ETA: Since you're amending ...
by mlipps
Thu Sep 18, 2014 8:56 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Question about Tuition Expenses
Replies: 8
Views: 553

Re: Any success stories of ppl who never made >$50,000?

My parents never made anywhere near $50,000 per year, probably not even $25,000 per year, between them. And they retired in 1976. They saved, invested wisely, paid off their home, didn't believe in keeping up with the Joneses, whoever they are, were frugal and kept their cars until they died. They ...
by mlipps
Tue Sep 16, 2014 10:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any success stories of ppl who never made >$50,000?
Replies: 149
Views: 10220

Re: Macbook Air; how much RAM?

Not to pile on here, but this thread brings up a really big issue I'm having. I bought a MacBook Air six months ago, and already its 4 GB brings up the wheel of death every time I try to use a Microsoft Word doc with Chrome and another doc open. It was my first Apple, and it's really disappointing ...
by mlipps
Tue Sep 16, 2014 10:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Macbook Air; how much RAM?
Replies: 59
Views: 3277

Re: Any success stories of ppl who never made >$50,000?

My parents have never made more than $45k and I can't think of too many mistakes they've made financially, except buying a business for $20k that didn't work. On the other hand, they built their home & took out a loan of only $17k to do so, so I think those cancel each other out. They only have ...
by mlipps
Tue Sep 16, 2014 5:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any success stories of ppl who never made >$50,000?
Replies: 149
Views: 10220

Re: Macbook Air; how much RAM?

If browsing the web & editing documents is all you're doing on it, a Macbook Air of any variety is a huge waste of money. My Lenovo ultrabook is essentially the same size/weight, has 8GB of ram, larger solid state drive, better processor and cost less than $700 last year. You'd be crazy to spend...
by mlipps
Tue Sep 16, 2014 11:53 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Macbook Air; how much RAM?
Replies: 59
Views: 3277

Re: College Counselors

There is a book you might find helpful: The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College by Jacques Steinberg. The so called premier college is actually Wesleyan University in CT. If your child wants to apply to Wesleyan, be careful. Some of the departments have unstated policies...
by mlipps
Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: College Counselors
Replies: 44
Views: 2664

Re: Republic Wireless

Can someone confirm if Republic Wireless charges taxes based on your area code or your billing address? eg. say I use a California area code but live in New Jersey; will I be charged CA taxes or NJ taxes? Would greatly appreciate if someone living in NJ and using Republic Wireless can tell how much...
by mlipps
Mon Sep 01, 2014 5:25 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Republic Wireless
Replies: 51
Views: 12730

Re: Paper or plastic?

The city I live in banned plastic bags a while back. Actually for me it has not been a problem. I just have a couple of reusable bags in my car for use when I shop. The store sell a paper bag for ten cents if you need a bag. Now the state is considering banning plastic. From listening to the discus...
by mlipps
Mon Sep 01, 2014 10:25 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Paper or plastic?
Replies: 63
Views: 2995

Re: Paper or plastic?

Honest question. For those of you who don't ever get plastic bags at the grocery store, what do you use to line your trash cans? I have a small one in the kitchen for non recyclables and another in the bathroom. I'll admit that eventually we end up with more grocery bags than trash, so we could use ...
by mlipps
Sun Aug 31, 2014 10:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Paper or plastic?
Replies: 63
Views: 2995

Re: Pay off student debt with family inheritance "loan"?

Bob's not my name wrote:You still can't deduct $10,000 of student loan interest annually.


True. Only $2,500 and only if you meet the necessary MAGI cutoff.
by mlipps
Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:33 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Pay off student debt with family inheritance "loan"?
Replies: 23
Views: 1541

Re: Pay off student debt with family inheritance "loan"?

What percentage of your relative's retirement funds does this represent? If it were five percent that'd be one thing, but if it were 80% I'd say definitely not. For the record, as long as the loan is recorded legally & your relative claims the interest, you can also still deduct it. You can dedu...
by mlipps
Sun Aug 31, 2014 8:15 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Pay off student debt with family inheritance "loan"?
Replies: 23
Views: 1541

Re: No car for 10 years - should I scratch the itch?

Maybe check out relay rides to see if you can find a wrangler for rent there. They're fun cars to own but they're surprisingly small inside and not even a little bit comfortable. Also, Jeeps are about the most unreliable brand of car in America so personally I wouldn't buy one, even new. The first t...
by mlipps
Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:28 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: No car for 10 years - should I scratch the itch?
Replies: 28
Views: 2193

Re: What about non-U.S. colleges?

I would not recommend the traditional semester/year abroad as an academic experience. It is too little time, expensive and is less rigorous for the most part, and often they come home and find that they will need another year to graduate in their major. There are better and cheaper ways to visit an...
by mlipps
Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What about non-U.S. colleges?
Replies: 28
Views: 2147

Re: What about non-U.S. colleges?

I work in a study abroad office. Our students who go to a UK college often come back with mediocre grades because their system is so much different than the American one: no homework, participation, or midterm, just one final written exam which includes not just the lecture but pages and pages and p...
by mlipps
Wed Aug 27, 2014 9:01 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What about non-U.S. colleges?
Replies: 28
Views: 2147

Re: Android smartphone with physical keyboard

Does that phone have Swype or something similar installed? If not, you should get it & try that plus the stylus. I imagine it's much much quicker than typing out each letter. Swype is certainly faster when I'm using my finger on the touchscreen.
by mlipps
Sun Aug 24, 2014 9:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Android smartphone with physical keyboard
Replies: 44
Views: 2820

Re: Zegna Suits

How much was your fiancee's dress? Did she get the dress of her dreams, or compromise to save money? What's good for the goose....

You can afford it of course. Only you can say how much a suit is worth to you, or how much $3,500 in your bank account is worth.
by mlipps
Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Zegna Suits
Replies: 197
Views: 9873

Re: Subaru Blues

You will likely NOT find many used Subarus for sale. If you do, they will cost you a lot because they do not depreciate in value. The actual facts are that the ALG residual value of the 2014 Subaru Forester is almost exactly the same as that for the Honda CRV and Toyota RAV4, for example. They depr...
by mlipps
Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Subaru Blues
Replies: 87
Views: 8227

Re: Big iPhone Data Bills/Google Maps

Do you use Facebook? They recently made a change where videos automatically play, even on cellular, which uses tons of data. Here's an article: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/dec/24/beware-facebooks-new-video-in-news-feed-could-be-a-mobile-data-headache You are da man! Thank you so much...
by mlipps
Sat Aug 23, 2014 12:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Big iPhone Data Bills/Google Maps
Replies: 16
Views: 1457

Re: What documents should you never throw away?

If you have a passport and a driver's license, I'm not convinced you even need your birth certificate. Mine has no sentimental value, we only got it when I was 16 so I could get my drivers license. After you have a passport you pretty much never need your birth certificate again, but if you do its n...
by mlipps
Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What documents should you never throw away?
Replies: 17
Views: 1696

Re: Rain Jacket Recommendations

I'm pretty sure that rain jackets are one of those "pick two of three qualities" items, with the qualities being affordable, waterproof, and breathable.
by mlipps
Fri Aug 22, 2014 1:01 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rain Jacket Recommendations
Replies: 29
Views: 1919

Re: Big iPhone Data Bills/Google Maps

Do you use Facebook? They recently made a change where videos automatically play, even on cellular, which uses tons of data. Here's an article:

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2 ... a-headache
by mlipps
Fri Aug 22, 2014 10:12 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Big iPhone Data Bills/Google Maps
Replies: 16
Views: 1457

Re: Cost, duration of grad school?

So, it seems that it's correct to assume that MOST multi-year hard and soft (i.e. social) sciences in good programs at top schools are likely to be tuition free + stipend, whereas the more professional oriented degrees (MD, law, MBA) and some of the shorter 1 year type masters will require tuition ...
by mlipps
Thu Aug 21, 2014 10:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cost, duration of grad school?
Replies: 29
Views: 1540

Re: Subaru Blues

The plural of anecdote is not data. The data from Consumer Reports and the like report that Subaru are reliable year after year after year. They also maintain value better than (nearly?) any brand, making them expensive compared to other comparable used cars. I assume you meant "inexpensive&qu...
by mlipps
Thu Aug 21, 2014 5:45 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Subaru Blues
Replies: 87
Views: 8227
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