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

Denim jeans. I grew up behind the iron curtain - and for some reasons normal jeans were hard to come by unless you had dollars and most people didn't. Only ugly dark blue pants as a poor substitute. I remember watching a high school classmate who had not only Levi's but also denim boots and I covete...
by vveat
Wed Sep 24, 2014 5:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What did you always wish for but never got?
Replies: 87
Views: 5052

Recommend good fantasy (alternative history) book?

I got inspired by the recent thread about modern sci fi. I prefer fantasy but even that thread gave me good ideas, I bought and am already halfway through Name of the Wind. I am hoping that a more targeted thread would yield even better recommendations. Now, fantasy is such a mix-up of genres and I ...
by vveat
Sat Sep 13, 2014 2:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommend good fantasy (alternative history) book?
Replies: 4
Views: 302

Re: Hw many credit cards to own?

I try to balance between rewards and simplicity. Could do better on simplicity though. I have 6 cards, use 3 actively: - Chase Amazon is set as default on Amazon purchases, @3% cash back, not used anywhere else - Amex Blue Preferred for Costco, gas @3% and supermarkets @6% - Barclays Priceline for e...
by vveat
Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Hw many credit cards to own?
Replies: 121
Views: 29298

Re: Girls gymnastics: what to expect

Thank you all for the very informative answers, especially welldone and suchong for the very useful details - thanks to your comments I was able to get a bit more detail online on the levels and programs. The expectations at the elite competitive level do sound overwhelming - I have obviously undere...
by vveat
Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Girls gymnastics: what to expect
Replies: 28
Views: 2417

Girls gymnastics: what to expect

Does anyone have experience with how gymnastics works for kids, what to expect when signing up for a team? As a context: We are not particularly interested in sports, both coming from cultures where few kids were doing organized sports. However, we do see that in the US practicing some kind of sport...
by vveat
Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Girls gymnastics: what to expect
Replies: 28
Views: 2417

Re: How do you address your inlaws and being addressed?

I am very happily married, since in 15 years of marriage I have seen my in-laws 6 times for about a week each time (my husband and I are from different countries and we moved to the US immediately after getting married). The phone calls each of us handles with his parents, so contact is minimal. So ...
by vveat
Sat Aug 09, 2014 1:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you address your inlaws and being addressed?
Replies: 84
Views: 4766

Re: Possibility of getting sued - what steps to take

Thank you for the reassuring replies and advice! We'll just review our boat insurance details to see what provisions it makes, maybe speak to somebody at the club who knows the guy, and then wait and see what happens. The injury wasn't serious, just a deep calf cut, so unlikely to be high cost indee...
by vveat
Sun Jul 27, 2014 9:45 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Possibility of getting sued - what steps to take
Replies: 25
Views: 3938

Possibility of getting sued - what steps to take

My husband was getting today our boat on water, a bit late in the season. He was at the yacht club yard, working with a couple of friends on getting the mast in place, when a person whom he knows from the club approached them. They exchanged a couple of words and then the man decided to see from up ...
by vveat
Sat Jul 26, 2014 10:25 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Possibility of getting sued - what steps to take
Replies: 25
Views: 3938

Re: High end purses

Until a couple of years ago I had never bought a purse for more than $50-60. It wasn't a matter of affordability, I am a highly paid professional, it's just that I don't care much about designer clothing or accessories, I don't "get" the branding and rarely notice what others wear. Our dre...
by vveat
Sun Jul 13, 2014 3:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: High end purses
Replies: 119
Views: 12958

Re: Driving from outside Philly to Florida, with 3 children.

Savannah, Charleston and Colonial Williamsburg
We did the trip once without kids (from NJ), but these are the places where we would stop with them as well once they are older (ours are 3 and 6, but yours are the right age I think)
by vveat
Wed Jul 09, 2014 2:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Driving from outside Philly to Florida, with 3 children...
Replies: 22
Views: 1831

Re: Amazon.com Rewards Visa card from Chase

I know it is a little off topic but I found the best way to get amazon discounts is to use the Amex blue cash preferred and buy gift cards at safeway. Not only do I get 6% back on it, but I get 4x safeway rewards points. For a $100 gift card, this amounts to effectively spending $94 then getting an...
by vveat
Fri Jul 04, 2014 12:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Amazon.com Rewards Visa card from Chase
Replies: 35
Views: 26590

Re: NJ Homeowners Insurance: Any advice?

Another comparison option would be to check the NJ Banking and Insurance department price comparison by county. They have 3 types of policies, HO-3, 4, 6, you need to figure out which fits best and then look at the ranges. Here is the example for one county, just google the department and your count...
by vveat
Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: NJ Homeowners Insurance: Any advice?
Replies: 9
Views: 728

Re: Pool Maintenance Cost

The couple doing the blog "Planting our pennies" lives in Florida and has a pool. They did a pretty detailed analysis of costs some time ago, came to $137 a month for the basics. You can read the details in this positing

http://www.plantingourpennies.com/actua ... ol-part-3/
by vveat
Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:36 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pool Maintenance Cost
Replies: 14
Views: 1252

Re: American Automobile Assn (AAA)

We are right now in Spain and got the IDP from AAA without being members. It costs $15, but we also got the photos done there, so ended up $27. The whole thing took 10-15 min. The state advisory says cops check for IDP, and while we haven'y had a run in with them yet, this is a small inconvenience a...
by vveat
Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: American Automobile Assn (AAA)
Replies: 51
Views: 3559

Re: "Unsafe driving" vs 2 points speeding ticket

Normally where there's danger you should slow down, and obviously you were racing (The driver of the car that let you in was doing so to avoid a maniac, right?) When I said above I was waiting for a left turn, I meant exactly that - I was stopped by the stop sign and waiting for my turn to go left....
by vveat
Fri May 23, 2014 4:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Unsafe driving" vs 2 points speeding ticket
Replies: 7
Views: 915

Re: "Unsafe driving" vs 2 points speeding ticket

smackboy1 wrote:You probably live in New Jersey?


Indeed New Jersey. Is it so different here? Thanks for the good points!
by vveat
Fri May 23, 2014 4:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Unsafe driving" vs 2 points speeding ticket
Replies: 7
Views: 915

Re: Real Estate Advice

On the FMF blog in 2012 there was a series of 13 posts about the economics of investing in real estate (Real Estate 101) - very practical advice from an investor. You might want to peruse it for perspective. Here is the link to the first post, there are links to each subsequent one on the bottom htt...
by vveat
Fri May 23, 2014 10:28 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Real Estate Advice
Replies: 26
Views: 2707

"Unsafe driving" vs 2 points speeding ticket

I had recently a speeding ticket, went to court and now I am wondering whether I picked the right deal. Context: * I’ve had 2 tickets before this one – a speeding one 12 years ago and a “reckless driving” 5 years ago (misinterpreted the sign of the crossroads cop in the next town over). Each was 2 p...
by vveat
Thu May 22, 2014 8:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Unsafe driving" vs 2 points speeding ticket
Replies: 7
Views: 915

Re: Recommended Parenting Books

I second wholeheartedly "NurtureShock". I am also a huge fan of Annette Lareau's "Unequal Childhoods" - not a parenting book per se, but a very insightful research in kids upbringing across class and race, it was an eye opener for me (I only wish she had included immigrants in he...
by vveat
Mon May 19, 2014 8:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommended Parenting Books
Replies: 30
Views: 2299

Re: Day camps, summer camps, summer school

Our preschools close for the summer so we have done summer camps from when the kids were 3 years old (most camps are for potty trained kids, many even start from 4 years of age). We usually pick several weeks in a full day camp and sometimes add 1-2 weeks of another camp to try out a certain activit...
by vveat
Thu Apr 10, 2014 8:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Day camps, summer camps, summer school
Replies: 8
Views: 668

Re: Brown bagging in a more formal office

We often have clients around and office is business casual. I personally use the Ms Bento, saves me the need to use the fridge or to microwave and comes with its own bag. But I see plenty of brown bags in our fridge too. http://www.amazon.com/Zojirushi-Ms-Bento-Stainless-Lunch-Aqua/dp/B00120085E/ref...
by vveat
Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:10 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Brown bagging in a more formal office
Replies: 43
Views: 4573

Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

We have the same issue with a corner of the backyard falls in the flood zone. This is one of my biggest pet peeves - the mortgage companies insists on us having flood coverage for the same value as the home insurance, and not a penny less (regardless of the fact that our mortgage principal is way sm...
by vveat
Sun Mar 30, 2014 9:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ
Replies: 25
Views: 4216

Re: Will this affect your Tipping? [Suggested Tip Amounts]

I would probably tip because of the reminder, taking it as indication that tip is expected. I am often confused what is a tipping and non tipping situation (since I am originally from Europe) - for example I tipped gas station assistants for a while before realizing others don't. My pet peeve is hav...
by vveat
Fri Mar 28, 2014 3:10 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Will this affect your Tipping? [Suggested Tip Amounts]
Replies: 123
Views: 9020

Re: House too small; what to do?

What about making use of existing space more efficiently the way apartment dwellers in these places are instinctively used to? Like making use of bunk beds or foldable beds, decluttering and getting rid of clunky furniture? I bet with 7 people the amount of "stuff" lying around that isn't...
by vveat
Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: House too small; what to do?
Replies: 38
Views: 3526

Re: Closets etc for new home

We used EasyClosets with DYI installation. It was for a pantry which is in a transition space (not heated, outside walls, actually perfect temperature for a pantry). Installation was easy, they addressed questions quickly and customized some specs and resent a missing part with no argument. But in a...
by vveat
Thu Feb 13, 2014 1:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Closets etc for new home
Replies: 17
Views: 1817

Re: Party Decoration - how to minimize spending

Get ordinary single color balloons, have them helium inflated, and then draw simple pictures on them along the party theme. Last 2 times we did butterflies and frogs respectively, simple to draw and kids loved the novelty. If you are good with drawing, you can extend this to other items - cups, post...
by vveat
Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Party Decoration - how to minimize spending
Replies: 6
Views: 364

Re: How much to get your taxes done?

I pay $575 to a CPA, have been with him for 4 years ever since IRS collected interest on a DIY error. Taxes take me 1.5 hours a year with him. Last year I decided to check his results against TurboTax, spent at least 1 hour more and estimated refund was less - the main reason being I probably did so...
by vveat
Sun Feb 02, 2014 9:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much to get your taxes done?
Replies: 31
Views: 3102

Good financial decision with unexpected consequences?

I had this week 2 examples how a financial decision that was good on its own, resulted in unexpected financial consequences later on. A couple of years ago I opened an Amex Blue Preferred card with 6% on groceries. One strategy discussed on PF blogs at the time was using the card to buy gift cards f...
by vveat
Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good financial decision with unexpected consequences?
Replies: 3
Views: 894

Re: Name change effects

Change it everywhere. My husband has been dragging it off for a few years, not even a formal name change just one letter spelled differently (think "th" vs t" because of a passport change) and now we decided to have this fixed and it has just proliferated meanwhile. SS and banks are e...
by vveat
Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Name change effects
Replies: 7
Views: 613

Re: Bogleheads favorite Personal Finance/Investing Blog?

In addition to above-mentioned I still like Free Money Finance, although it's not as good as a year ago, the author started a new job and relies much more on readers posts.
www.freemoneyfinance.com/
by vveat
Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bogleheads favorite Personal Finance/Investing Blog?
Replies: 25
Views: 4611

Re: percolator vs drip

When hurricane Sandy left us without power for 2 weeks we were very happy that we are French press people, no electricity required to get a cup of coffee. What spoiled the picture was we had to grind the coffee first without our burr grinder - mortar and pestle really don't do the job :oops:
by vveat
Tue Jan 21, 2014 2:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: percolator vs drip
Replies: 109
Views: 5823

Re: Poll: Experience with personal lending

I've lent money to friends and would do it again - but if there is a chance the money won't be returned I would rather frame it as gift upfront to avoid potential awkwardness. A very good friend borrowed about $4,000 when we were both in grad school and up to our necks in debt, eventually I told him...
by vveat
Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:03 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Poll: Experience with personal lending
Replies: 52
Views: 2702

Re: Salary to Home Value/Mortgage Ratio?

Salary to house value now is 1:1, when we bought was 1:2. Housing is expensive in NJ, but we bought within our means and are happy
Mortgage payments, insurance and taxes are 7% of gross income but we do pay extra principal.
Mortgage is 60% of salary, hope to be 0% in 2 years :sharebeer
by vveat
Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Salary to Home Value/Mortgage Ratio?
Replies: 27
Views: 2250

Re: What does your spending pie chart look like?

How do you attach a chart here? I tried copy and paste from Mint, didn't work.

Home - 32% (mortgage, taxes, utilities, furnishings)
Kids - 25% (last year had preschool tuition for 2, activities, camps, etc)
Food - 11%
Gifts/charity - 5%
Healthcare - 4%
rest - 20%
by vveat
Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What does your spending pie chart look like?
Replies: 15
Views: 1100

Re: Seeking Advice/Direction: Kids Allowence, Paying for Cho

I didn't get an allowance and didn't get paid for chores either - my parents occasionally gave me pocket money and sometimes for birthdays, but overall they provided for everything and I was not expected to need much beyond (this was in a different country). I turned out just fine, with I think a he...
by vveat
Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Seeking Advice/Direction: Kids Allowence, Paying for Chores
Replies: 29
Views: 1044

Re: Oldest friend

I've changed my life twice (location, profession, etc) and the friends from the previous phase largely didn't survive the change. Both times I've kept in touch for a few years but it was more and more difficult to find conversation topics beyond catching up, we just were leading too different lives....
by vveat
Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Oldest friend
Replies: 17
Views: 1097

Re: High Income Earner & College Attended

I attended college in a different country - pretty much all colleges were public at the time, and mostly free. The poll should have this as an option to be comprehensive.

Would be better if poll is about full education level, grad school is the reason I am making well above 100K
by vveat
Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: High Income Earner & College Attended
Replies: 58
Views: 4297

Re: Trouble trusting US healthcare

I was raised in Europe, healthcare was mostly free, and nobody tried to sell you anything ... or offer you options in case you wanted to do more than the basics. I've seen the bad side of this - scant attention to patients, misdiagnosis, etc. In terms of dental work everything was bare bones - no an...
by vveat
Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:07 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trouble trusting US healthcare
Replies: 70
Views: 3398

Re: home inventory app/method (for insurance)

I did this last January for the first time. First I listed everything in Excel - the item name/description, in which room it is, and also anything I could track down or estimate on year of purchase and cost. For a few I added links to these items from internet sources for price reference. I already ...
by vveat
Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:09 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: home inventory app/method (for insurance)
Replies: 7
Views: 456

Re: What did you do with unwanted baby gear?

Do you have a babysitter? Ours works with a few different families and also does some daycare at a church and always finds somebody who wants our stuff. There were very few things she hasn't been able to find a place.
by vveat
Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What did you do with unwanted baby gear?
Replies: 22
Views: 1293

Re: How much a baby costs?

Aside from the above-mentioned useful ideas for getting secondhand stuff - garage sales, Craigslist, church, etc, you and your wife could also mention around at work that you don't mind used clothes. Some people would be hesitant to offer unless you are close, but would happily help if they know you...
by vveat
Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much a baby costs?
Replies: 86
Views: 4980

Re: How much do you spend on books a year?

I spent $484 in 2013 and $664 in 2012 - both times exceeding my book budget of $30 a month. I do use the library a lot since I read on average 4-5 books a week, say 250 a year, and I have only bought ~50 last year. The library is especially helpful for kids books as well. I have a couple of Kindle d...
by vveat
Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you spend on books a year?
Replies: 47
Views: 2070

Re: Favorite Christmas Gift

My husband got us a nice heated mattress pad, since I am always cold and our old electric blanket works when it feels like it. The very next day after the package arrived I was down with strep throat, spent the whole day in bed shivering and feeling like being hit by a train, but the pad warmth made...
by vveat
Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Favorite Christmas Gift
Replies: 43
Views: 2238

Re: Europe with young kids - 6 and almost 3, bad idea ?

Ours are 5 and 3, we travel to Europe regularly to visit grandparents, but all they remember so far are the playgrounds and similar entertainment for children. So a trip for sightseeing would be a complete waste. So far we have gone the route of "leave them with grandparents, take a week-long a...
by vveat
Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Europe with young kids - 6 and almost 3, bad idea ?
Replies: 34
Views: 2254

Re: New Year's Eve

We are having friends over with their kids. The girls will have sleepover fun, we'll catch up, have dinner, possibly watch the ball drop, drink more and then retire to bed. Where I grew up (behind the Iron curtain) New Year's Eve was the big thing, with tree and presents and a lot of festivities, si...
by vveat
Fri Dec 20, 2013 6:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Year's Eve
Replies: 67
Views: 3332

Re: Tipping a taxi driver on a snow day?

1) How much snow was on the ground? Less than 1", 2-3"? Was it still snowing? Was visibility reduced? 2) If he got in an accident or got stuck in the snow and needed a tow, he would have been responsible, so I can understand his concern. 3) Where did you wait for your ride? In the taxi? H...
by vveat
Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:31 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping a taxi driver on a snow day?
Replies: 36
Views: 3245

Tipping a taxi driver on a snow day?

I had a situation yesterday that left a bad taste in my mouth. I took a taxi from the airport to my NJ town yesterday. It was snowing, light at the airport, medium in my area. He started grumbling about the snow already on the highway when we were approaching my exit and said how "if he had kno...
by vveat
Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping a taxi driver on a snow day?
Replies: 36
Views: 3245

Re: Checklist for the Arrival of a Baby

Will or living trust - look into both, not sure what is best for your circumstances Term life insurance - you can use online calculator, I've heard 10x income as a rule of thumb Open a 529 for her, no need to start funding until you are ready, but we got some monetary gifts, esp from family, and dir...
by vveat
Sat Dec 14, 2013 6:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Checklist for the Arrival of a Baby
Replies: 22
Views: 1845

Re: Gift Suggestions - for a 9 year old girl

Her list will be best, can you offer to "fax it to Santa" for her? Mine is still a bit young, but I've been thinking I would do a mother-daughter night-on-the-town kind of thing - either show/movies and dinner, or a spa or just manicure/pedicure - at that age should work well, and it's exp...
by vveat
Sat Dec 14, 2013 6:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Gift Suggestions - for a 9 year old girl
Replies: 25
Views: 1568

Re: Better to be at home with older or younger kids?

We haven't had teenagers yet, but spending time with our 5 year old is much more fun and seems more beneficial than the time spent with our 2 year old. I love my little one, but frankly don't have enough patience for the games he likes. With the older one we can talk about things, read together, do ...
by vveat
Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Better to be at home with older or younger kids?
Replies: 51
Views: 3218
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