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by vveat
Sun May 24, 2015 5:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Quality medicines
Replies: 8
Views: 746

Re: Quality medicines

The pharmacy chains in the US usually buy from a few mega wholesalers - Cardinal health, McKesson, etc, and they work with all manufacturers, so your medication could be sourced from anywhere. Even if you insist on locating a specific drug from a specific company, you usually have no way of knowing ...
by vveat
Fri May 22, 2015 7:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Teaching maths to a 4 year old
Replies: 30
Views: 2092

Re: Teaching maths to a 4 year old

My 4 year old was fascinated by the Bugs and Buttons app. I got the free one first and that kept him interested for quite a while. All kind of counting and adding exercises, pretty intuitive
by vveat
Wed May 20, 2015 4:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Lending a car to a niece for a few months - how to arrange insurance
Replies: 10
Views: 943

Re: Lending a car to a niece for a few months - how to arrange insurance

They suggested he sells the car to his niece for a dollar. :confused
by vveat
Wed May 20, 2015 3:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Lending a car to a niece for a few months - how to arrange insurance
Replies: 10
Views: 943

Lending a car to a niece for a few months - how to arrange insurance

A friend in NJ has a niece who is just graduating in IL and she has found a job there at least through December (she may need to go abroad after that). She needs a car and my friend has an old car, which he doesn't need since he just upgraded to a new one. He wants to give her the old car to use thr...
by vveat
Sun May 17, 2015 8:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should we purchase home without permits?
Replies: 70
Views: 4196

Re: Should we purchase home without permits?

Some years ago we bought a house with an illegal addition built without a foundation (walls raised up from an old patio). This was still the boom years, a bidding war situation, and us fairly confident in our handyman abilities. We did get a discount from the seller, something like $4k. All ended up...
by vveat
Sun May 03, 2015 11:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying ML350 - how old a car to get?
Replies: 6
Views: 637

Buying ML350 - how old a car to get?

We are looking for a new car with high towing capacity - over 7000 lb - and my husband has decided on ML350. I am not messing up with his choice, but our dilemma is how old a car to buy. His previous and current cars have been bought when 5+ years old (he has driven a Toyota, a Nissan, a Saab, but n...
by vveat
Sun Apr 26, 2015 7:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Experience with transporting oversized art piece?
Replies: 7
Views: 546

Re: Experience with transporting oversized art piece?

The sculptures are not exactly expensive - I think originally $300 or so each. It's not a recent purchase, they have been in the family for a while, I want to bring them over to US for sentimental reasons. If shipping separately I was thinking FedEx or UPS. Aren't they reliable for this? How does on...
by vveat
Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Experience with transporting oversized art piece?
Replies: 7
Views: 546

Experience with transporting oversized art piece?

I'll need to transport sometime this summer 2 wooden sculptures from Europe to US. The problem is that both are long - 62 and 65 inches respectively. I initially thought that I should be able to get them in as cabin luggage, but the rules as described by the airlines are not exactly clear and seem t...
by vveat
Sun Apr 12, 2015 8:08 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Flood insurance premium compared to homeowners?
Replies: 1
Views: 277

Flood insurance premium compared to homeowners?

I wrote recently that we are planning to pay off our mortgage this year, and actually will try to do it immediately to avoid renewing our flood insurance in May. The plan is already in motion, we paid off the mortgage last week (yay!) and just got in the mail the renewal offer for the flood insuranc...
by vveat
Mon Mar 23, 2015 5:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do we need irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT)?
Replies: 27
Views: 1916

Re: Do we need irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT)?

Do you already have a living trust in place? If yes, setting an ILIT through the same estate lawyer may be minimal cost. I don't remember exactly anymore, but I think we paid less than $3,000 for the original living trust (which was a mountain of paperwork) and $500 or less extra for the ILIT. The h...
by vveat
Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone ever use a closet design company?
Replies: 22
Views: 1655

Re: Anyone ever use a closet design company?

One more vote for Easy Closets. It's more hands on since you do the design work and installation, but it's worth it both in cost and ability to do things exactly as you want them. We did our pantry several years ago and are still very happy with it. 2 situations since then. First we had one side det...
by vveat
Mon Feb 23, 2015 4:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Who's going to Disney this summer?
Replies: 84
Views: 5522

Re: Who's going to Disney this summer?

We are planning our first Disney family vacation, or rather a Florida vacation, since we'll do 2 days at Disney and 3 days at the beach in St.Pete's. The kids are 4 and 6, so we still call the shots, including spending one of the 2 days in Epcot, which at least has some more grown-ups appeal. The ti...
by vveat
Sun Feb 22, 2015 4:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Car Accident Question
Replies: 27
Views: 1602

Re: Car Accident Question

If there was a police report made, then give that info to the insurance company. The police department will most probably request a fee for obtaining a copy of the report (I have personal experience with this). Instead of paying the fee to get the report wait 4-5 days and you'll start hearing from ...
by vveat
Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Free checking account for irrevocable trust
Replies: 3
Views: 348

Free checking account for irrevocable trust

We have a checking account in the name of an irrevocable (life insurance) trust. Since this account exists for one purpose only - to make payments to life insurance twice a year - the account has very low balance and rarely a movement. So far we kept it at PNC, but we just discovered that since July...
by vveat
Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Amazon Prime - good deal or calculated conditioning
Replies: 50
Views: 3095

Re: Amazon Prime - good deal or calculated conditioning

But is it a change in spending patterns due to Prime, or is it a self-selected group of people who choose Prime because they already spend more. Could be a combination of both, but I would find more convincing research that compares before and after - how much spending increased after one signs up f...
by vveat
Sun Jan 25, 2015 8:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Success stories of NOT buying more/too much house
Replies: 65
Views: 6358

Re: Success stories of NOT buying more/too much house

We've been 10 years in our house, originally we bought it as a moderate size fixer upper to fix and move on in a couple of years. But we surprised ourselves and stayed put (not from lack of means, by choice). How we do it: - By thinking of how much effort and thought went into renovating and customi...
by vveat
Sat Jan 17, 2015 8:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: garbage disposals - are these still used?
Replies: 52
Views: 3854

Re: garbage disposals - are these still used?

When we bought our house it didn't have one, my husband got a unit from Home Depot and installed it. We use it regularly, but would never think of dumping food down in it - for us it's just extra help to make sure drains don't get clogged with food pieces. I hate drainers, it's so much more convenie...
by vveat
Mon Jan 05, 2015 9:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bilingual households
Replies: 39
Views: 5357

Re: Bilingual households

We came to the US 15 years ago - my native language is A, my husband's is B, at home between the adults we speak A. Our kids understand A well enough, but barely speak it. I really wanted them to learn B, as it's a more widespread language, but it would require my husband "artificially" ta...
by vveat
Sun Dec 28, 2014 8:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bonus how much do you spend vs save?
Replies: 50
Views: 5225

Re: Bonus how much do you spend vs save?

I only started getting sizable bonuses (50-70k after taxes) last couple of years, and we haven't figured out a strategy yet. Our savings are already pretty high, so we could afford to splurge, but regretfully we can't come up with a big splurge idea either :oops: This year we'll throw it all at the ...
by vveat
Wed Dec 24, 2014 6:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: POLL: What are your monthly food expenses?
Replies: 67
Views: 5091

Re: POLL: What are your monthly food expenses?

I frankly don't see what the head of household age has to do with this. What's the hypothesis - that younger people spend more or less? Region or state would have been more relevant. This said, the comments were reassuring. We spend $1233 monthly, groceries (incl. pet stuff and toiletries), eating o...
by vveat
Wed Dec 24, 2014 4:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you travel with friends?
Replies: 53
Views: 5600

Re: Do you travel with friends?

On most of our trips pre-kids, we went alone. We travel fast and cover a lot of ground, most other people will find it tiring. Only once I remember matching schedules with friends for a few days, we were exploring Turkey, and they were interested only in Istanbul, we spent a couple of days together ...
by vveat
Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Sell funds vs. borrow from 401k - for short term need
Replies: 3
Views: 361

Sell funds vs. borrow from 401k - for short term need

We are planning to pay off our mortgage early - mostly for the pleasure of having no debt, since the rate is low at 2.75%. We max out 401 and IRAs, so not sacrificing retirement for this. One extra benefit is that we plan to cancel our flood insurance as soon as we are not obliged to maintain it by ...
by vveat
Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Your Favorite Cookbook?
Replies: 68
Views: 6145

Re: Your Favorite Cookbook?

I have a ton of cookbooks, but the most frequently consulted ones are from American Test Kitchen - "Best Recipe", "Cooking school", "Cook's country". In a similar style I like "All About Roasting" and "All About Braising" by Molly Stevens, as well as...
by vveat
Tue Dec 09, 2014 7:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Holiday Tipping
Replies: 13
Views: 1562

Re: Holiday Tipping

We tip the UPS driver, as we do a fair amount of online shopping. He gets $20. The postal workers keep changing, so we are never sure whether to tip. Probably will give $10 to whoever shows up that day. Our babysitter doubles as a cleaning lady. We give $150 (which is a third of her monthly income f...
by vveat
Mon Dec 01, 2014 6:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Documentaries to recommend?
Replies: 138
Views: 16941

Re: Documentaries to recommend?

I was checking out recently ballet-related documentaries, specifically ones that focus on the effort and practice it takes. I liked 2 in particular "The dancer" - follows a student from the Royal Swedish Ballet School, really shows you almost physically the effort it takes, but also the be...
by vveat
Sat Nov 29, 2014 11:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?
Replies: 59
Views: 4664

Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

For us it was about getting at least some foothold and stability in a new country. We moved to the US a month after getting married - a couple of years of MBA (incurring a 6-figure debt) and the first couple of years on the job didn't feel right to start a family since we had no safety net and I was...
by vveat
Fri Nov 21, 2014 8:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Personal Tips for a New Father to Be
Replies: 31
Views: 3910

Re: Personal Tips for a New Father to Be

Since your wife works for your company, after the baby comes you may need to actually put in more hours to compensate for her absence And travelling with a baby (or a toddler) is (1) usually a hassle; (2) not that beneficial for the child, if you want to expose them to culture and experience you'll ...
by vveat
Thu Nov 13, 2014 4:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon store card - change of terms?
Replies: 7
Views: 1636

Re: Amazon store card - change of terms?

@ Riceman. Thanks a lot, it seems the terms must have changed, as it definitely doesn't read that way anymore, only the financing seems to have remained. I'll cancel then @ Aptenodytes. I have a pretty straightforward credit card setup with the Chase 3% Amazon default for Amazon purchases, Amex Blue...
by vveat
Tue Nov 11, 2014 9:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon store card - change of terms?
Replies: 7
Views: 1636

Amazon store card - change of terms?

A few days ago I signed up on impulse for the Amazon store card - they offered $40 upon signing up - I did and they delivered. I read the terms and actually I am not planning on using it at all, since it seems to only offer financing, and no cash back. I'll probably close it soon, because it now mov...
by vveat
Sat Nov 08, 2014 9:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is this career suicide? Jumping ship early
Replies: 13
Views: 3485

Re: Is this career suicide? Jumping ship early

Personally, I see more cons in this situation - With a kid under a year old, going from good work-life balance to a worse one for same pay is not a great move. Your wife may trade having you at home to having to rely on babysitting from the (now close) family. - Being the boss of a friend may potent...
by vveat
Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Rental Return Frustration in Spain
Replies: 17
Views: 1724

Re: Car Rental Return Frustration in Spain

Same thing here earlier this year when returning a car to the Madrid airport, we drove twice around the airport and no signs for rental car return. Finally my husband stopped, I ran inside a terminal and asked on information - turned out it's "hidden" within the parking lot of terminal 1. ...
by vveat
Tue Oct 07, 2014 5:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Financial preparation for a Disaster Event
Replies: 25
Views: 3070

Re: Financial perparation for a Disaster Event

The sample inventory list is good, but on age put the actual year, not "3 years old" - unless you plan to update this annually and redo all rows:-)
by vveat
Wed Sep 24, 2014 4:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What did you always wish for but never got?
Replies: 87
Views: 6331

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
Sat Sep 13, 2014 1:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommend good fantasy (alternative history) book?
Replies: 13
Views: 1035

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
Wed Aug 20, 2014 5:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Hw many credit cards to own?
Replies: 123
Views: 77693

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
Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Girls gymnastics: what to expect
Replies: 28
Views: 2729

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 1:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Girls gymnastics: what to expect
Replies: 28
Views: 2729

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
Sat Aug 09, 2014 12:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you address your inlaws and being addressed?
Replies: 84
Views: 5368

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
Sun Jul 27, 2014 8:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Possibility of getting sued - what steps to take
Replies: 25
Views: 4126

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
Sat Jul 26, 2014 9:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Possibility of getting sued - what steps to take
Replies: 25
Views: 4126

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
Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: High end purses
Replies: 119
Views: 14152

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
Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Driving from outside Philly to Florida, with 3 children...
Replies: 22
Views: 1908

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
Fri Jul 04, 2014 11:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Amazon.com Rewards Visa card from Chase
Replies: 35
Views: 106463

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
Thu Jul 03, 2014 3:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: NJ Homeowners Insurance: Any advice?
Replies: 9
Views: 869

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
Wed Jun 25, 2014 8:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pool Maintenance Cost
Replies: 14
Views: 1355

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
Sun Jun 22, 2014 2:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: American Automobile Assn (AAA)
Replies: 51
Views: 3724

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
Fri May 23, 2014 3:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Unsafe driving" vs 2 points speeding ticket
Replies: 7
Views: 1057

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 3:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Unsafe driving" vs 2 points speeding ticket
Replies: 7
Views: 1057

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 9:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Real Estate Advice
Replies: 26
Views: 2828

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
Thu May 22, 2014 7:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Unsafe driving" vs 2 points speeding ticket
Replies: 7
Views: 1057

"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...

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