Search found 520 matches

by Carson
Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Easiest way for minor child to file taxes
Replies: 16
Views: 853

Re: Easiest way for minor child to file taxes

This is the site for you to do the return 'by hand' while still submitting electronically to the IRS. It's kind of fun and is actually free and has all manner of complex forms (I have not found a form they don't have, yet...) It also does basic add/subtract. https://freefilefillableforms.com/ Only t...
by Carson
Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Easiest way for minor child to file taxes
Replies: 16
Views: 853

Re: Easiest way for minor child to file taxes

I used to use HR Block online free file, and they kept me as a customer for several years because they made it easy to import last year's data as my return grew. I now use freefilefillable forms because I enjoy the challenge of filing myself. :beer Here are some free file software companies endorsed...
by Carson
Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Donations to your enrolled public school
Replies: 106
Views: 5830

Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

We also live in Chicago, and my kids aren't in school yet, but we paid great attention to schools when buying our house. Even though CPS is a huge school system, the neighborhood elementary school system makes the variances in schools hyper-local. A house in one of those schools would come close to...
by Carson
Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Donations to your enrolled public school
Replies: 106
Views: 5830

Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Thanks for the responses so far. DH and I agreed to put in $100 to each school's spring fundraiser; while we agreed it felt stingy, we weren't sure of the amount that would be better. So just trying to get a gauge. Unfortunately the schools tax revenue and state funding doesn't cover everything that...
by Carson
Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Donations to your enrolled public school
Replies: 106
Views: 5830

Donations to your enrolled public school

Would anyone mind sharing how much they donate to the public school their kids are enrolled in? Not in form of property taxes or mandatory supplies fees, but just as donations to the annual fund or if they have general fundraising? We have been pretty lucky all along and never had to pay much for da...
by Carson
Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Question for older bicyclist, coming back from injury
Replies: 42
Views: 2402

Re: Question for older bicyclist, coming back from injury

You've gotten a lot of great advice. I took up road cycling about 12 years ago and have had two accidents. It was really intimidating getting back on and riding through it. Echoing what a lot of others have said, whatever caused your accident you will likely remember for quite awhile and probably av...
by Carson
Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Illinois 1040 Schedule SA
Replies: 1
Views: 287

Re: Illinois 1040 Schedule SA

Have you tried just forgoing turbo tax and filing directly on the official state of IL tax site? I have used it every year and found it very easy to use. Maybe they have the adjusted forms for the tax rate change in there.

https://mytax.illinois.gov
by Carson
Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Alternative
Replies: 59
Views: 6022

Re: Amazon Alternative

First of all, my own personal solution to almost any shopping question is that I don’t need it. But if I actually do need it, lately, I find myself ordering electronics at Best Buy or sometimes Staples and having items delivered to a nearby store for pick up. I prefer this to home delivery and havi...
by Carson
Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Books/articles on life 100-120 years ago?
Replies: 19
Views: 1330

Re: Books/articles on life 100-120 years ago?

These were fascinating. https://qz.com/518388/yale-just-released-170000-government-photos-of-the-great-depression/ https://www.amazon.com/Square-Meal-Culinary-History-Depression/dp/0062216414 Regarding central Illinois: https://www.amazon.com/Farm-Girl-Karen-Jones-Gowen/dp/0979607000 PBS Manor house...
by Carson
Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I decline Grand Prize trip because of taxes on winnings?
Replies: 107
Views: 13207

Re: Should I decline Grand Prize trip because of taxes on winnings?

What a nice follow-up. So glad you were able to enjoy yourself and enrich your life further. At the end of the day, that's why we all do this stuff... :beer
by Carson
Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fund 2017 Roth IRA or pay off truck?
Replies: 30
Views: 1706

Re: Fund 2017 Roth IRA or pay off truck?

When is the earliest your DH could retire and receive benefits?
by Carson
Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Capital one & HR Block - Free taxes
Replies: 4
Views: 2605

Capital one & HR Block - Free taxes

Logging into my Capital One Credit Card account, I see they are offering free HR Block online tax prep as long as HR block can turn that data back into Capital One to use for analytics. I used HR Block online for many years until last year when their fees had increased pretty significantly. So I use...
by Carson
Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Preparing for a lay off - what steps to take now
Replies: 37
Views: 3724

Re: Preparing for a lay off - what steps to take now

This list http://www.hpalumni.org/asap is compiled by former HP employees but it's a great general reminders list for those who work at large companies. Best of luck to you. Thank you, that was very helpful. I am in a megacorp where things are feeling tense. I feel much more proactive after reading...
by Carson
Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:58 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cash e-fund + multiple sinking funds - How far do you go?
Replies: 12
Views: 1144

Re: Cash e-fund + multiple sinking funds - How far do you go?

I go about as far as you as well and I also wonder how prudent it is... DH and I are quite conservative, even if to a fault. I keep our actual job-loss emergency fund as well as some long-term 'saving for future spending' items in a Capital One savings account. As much micromanaging and mental accou...
by Carson
Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Confusion about prepaying property taxes
Replies: 139
Views: 14337

Re: Confusion about prepaying property taxes

Or what about County Treasurers giving tax advice? http://wgnradio.com/2017/12/27/dane-neal-cook-county-has-a-downloadable-bill-for-prepaid-property-taxes/ Cook County at least made it easy to go online and get a prepayment bill. I did that today, went to Chase on my way home and paid the first ins...
by Carson
Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please Post Tax Bill Questions Here [was Tax Bill Omnibus Thread]
Replies: 886
Views: 54165

IRS Property Tax Clarification

Today, I listened to our Cook County Treasurer explain that they released the '2018 First Installment' bills early (by 2 months). The usual 'First Installment' invoice is always an estimate, based on half of the previous years' assessed amount, so that is customary how that is billed. When I logged ...
by Carson
Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you see a meaningful change in your income with new Tax Bill?
Replies: 266
Views: 22379

Re: Do you see a meaningful change in your income with new Tax Bill?

All the puts and takes show my net tax/credits are $2,400 better than under the previous rates. We have a pretty simple 'accumulation phase' MFJ situation with 2 kiddos and benefit from the higher child credit as well as it not getting phased out at our income level. I'm sure I will do something lik...
by Carson
Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Year end review with less nerdy spouse
Replies: 72
Views: 8493

Re: Year end review with less nerdy spouse

The financial analyst in me wants to prepare a year end summmary, yet my #1 stakeholder does not require nor want any manner of financial reporting. :happy So we mainly manage this in an agile fashion, talking about needs/wants from the phase of just kicking around an idea, setting it as a goal, and...
by Carson
Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 4WD necessary/recommended on Big Island, HI
Replies: 39
Views: 3048

Re: 4WD necessary/recommended on Big Island, HI

DH is an experienced Wrangler driver. We rented a 2-door wrangler when we spent a week on the big island. We primarily rented it so we could go to Mauna Kea - 4WD wasn't needed because of the road conditions on the way up, it's because you would just burn brakes on a regular vehicle on the way down....
by Carson
Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Filing Illinois Income Taxes Online
Replies: 11
Views: 1073

Re: Filing Illinois Income Taxes Online

We have a pretty straightforward, tax return. Filing online through the state is so incredibly easy - honestly the most painful part is entering the W2 details. Does anyone know how the new tax rate that went in effect 7/1 will work in practice? Are they just going to do an average/blended rate? Or ...
by Carson
Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Christmas gifts for lots of kids (experiences or stock)?
Replies: 36
Views: 3041

Re: Christmas gifts for lots of kids (experiences or stock)?

My well-meaning dad just gave my boys named envelopes with the promise that it was something exciting, and it was a check to be deposited in their UTMA accounts. I am not knocking his generosity, and my oldest (8yo) took the lesson that money is set aside for saving, not spending, but... :) it was a...
by Carson
Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: FSA Worth the Hassle?
Replies: 11
Views: 1514

Re: FSA Worth the Hassle?

I just want to clarify that you are talking about Daycare Flexible spending, specifically. I'm not sure if this is a rule across the board, but unlike Healthcare FSA, you can't get the money right away at the beginning of the year, you can only get what you have put in. And then each period that mor...
by Carson
Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trash dumped on curb (need advice)
Replies: 60
Views: 6958

Re: Trash dumped on curb (need advice)

We have this issue with a multi-family building nearby and I cannot figure out why.

Every time the garbage is there longer than a week, I put in a service request with our city sanitation department. It's disgusting the amount of stuff they leave out and harbors vermin.
by Carson
Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where/when to get good deals on athletic shoes
Replies: 24
Views: 1704

Re: Where/when to get good deals on athletic shoes

I generally the kids' from 6pm.com. However, I am ridiculously picky when it comes to my athletic shoes. It has to be a good price/deal, as well as a perfect fit. This last time around, I bought a couple pairs from Dick's tent sale, tried them around the house and took back what didn't work. IIRC, I...
by Carson
Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: On the video games path - how to set it up with younger kids
Replies: 36
Views: 2383

Re: On the video games path - how to set it up with younger kids

We have a 7.75 yo. Last year we allowed him 30 (okay, 45) mins on Saturday nights, IF he had a solid week of school - completing his work, taking showers :shock: , and at least putting in the recommended amount of studying for his spelling. It's not an option on weeknights - there's just too much go...
by Carson
Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Budgets: how do you track irregular income and expenses
Replies: 35
Views: 2977

Re: Budgets: how do you track irregular income and expenses

I escrow to myself for a batch of irregular expenditures: prop tax, water bill, car repair, etc... it's probably 7 items? Each month I transfer a fixed amount over. Then when those bills come in, I pay from that account. I like to keep cash flow for our 'needs' pretty smooth and predictable, because...
by Carson
Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: $700 to install a dishwasher seem by a plumber?!
Replies: 65
Views: 5214

Re: $700 to install a dishwasher seem by a plumber?!

You're Chicagoland so go to Abt in person or online and order your dishwasher, they'll do white glove delivery and install. Make sure to haggle with them on price, helps if you're buying more stuff. I am going to second ABT. They are a first-class company, based here in Chicago. Buy your DW from th...
by Carson
Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I even bother with buying a school picture?
Replies: 39
Views: 3405

Re: Should I even bother with buying a school picture?

Nope. I have taken my kids to a department store studio each year for headshot style photos. I like that I can review before purchase, it takes 15 mins and costs $4 per sheet that I want. I can get exactly the sheets I need for family. ETA, my oldest was super cute up till about 4 years but it is ve...
by Carson
Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Comforter: Down Filling with Cotton Covering
Replies: 12
Views: 1676

Re: Comforter: Down Filling with Cotton Covering

You may have better luck searching for organic cotton down comforter. Here is one from the company store:

http://www.thecompanystore.com/bedding- ... ml#start=1
by Carson
Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are Cotton Blankets Good For Winter?
Replies: 21
Views: 2056

Re: Are Cotton Blankets Good For Winter?

The super soft fleece is called cuddle fleece or minky fabric, I have never seen it made into pajamas that has the texture it on the inside. A seamstress could probably make a pj set pretty easily. One thing to note if you find the fabric is it will say that it is not suitable for children's sleepwe...
by Carson
Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Project - Front door, porch and walkway
Replies: 11
Views: 1440

Re: Home Project - Front door, porch and walkway

You can likely get an exterior door and its sidelite (that's the half window thingy) as one unit to install, depending on the dimensions. The storm door (outermost door with screen/glass) is separate. We have some 90-year old doors, and we installed spring bronze weatherstripping on the sides and a ...
by Carson
Mon Aug 28, 2017 2:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My experience with buying from Hertz
Replies: 15
Views: 3514

Re: My experience with buying from Hertz

First off, glad that you had an overall good experience. But second, I have a question - what was the fix for this? I just discovered (thanks to my son :annoyed ) that my seat has been un-clipped. I haven't even had time to look for a solution yet so just thought I'd ask. - Someone has sewn the plas...
by Carson
Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Leather couch, dog scratches -- help?
Replies: 20
Views: 2206

Re: Leather couch, dog scratches -- help?

You describe the leather as 'flaking' off which to me implies it is not solid leather but laminated/bonded? In that case there is nothing you can do to repair it, short of preventing more wear - either keep the dog off the couch or try a surefit furniture protector specifically designed for pets. We...
by Carson
Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Dealing (psychologically) with variable income
Replies: 15
Views: 1409

Re: Dealing (psychologically) with variable income

Have you thought of having a 'spendings' account where you put a bit each month to be able to draw from? If you average out your monthly expenses and then compare that to an estimated cash flow each month, you would be able to see the gap that you would want to put in this account. Our income is fix...
by Carson
Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Teenager taking out loans to establish good credit
Replies: 24
Views: 1881

Re: Teenager taking out loans to establish good credit

The joke part being, apparently that in some cases the teenager charges stuff to the card, but Mom&Dad pay the entire monthly bill, right? In DH's case the joke part is that his 'oldest account' on his credit report was opened before he was born. It was a huge debacle to get that removed from his c...
by Carson
Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Allowed expenses for charity?
Replies: 5
Views: 443

Re: Allowed expenses for charity?

I helped my brother with this because he was doing a lot of travelling to do church builds. The IRS Publications are actually pretty clear and helpful.

EDIT, just cross posted with above, giving the same IRS guide. Can you go through each of those points and see how it applies to your situation?
by Carson
Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Teeth Whitening
Replies: 21
Views: 3457

Re: Teeth Whitening

I use trays. My dentist made them for me for around $100, came with 4 tubes of gel, and I get about 6 nights of application out of a tube. I ripped through the first three in about 5 or 6 weeks, then waited about 6 months. I'm on day 5 of my 4th tube today, will finish it this weekend, and probably...
by Carson
Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Road vehicle, 4 adults, one car seat, must it be a minivan?
Replies: 43
Views: 3045

Re: Road vehicle, 4 adults, one car seat, must it be a minivan?

+5 or more for looking at other car seats before you look at vehicles. You can take your car to BuyBuyBaby or Babies R'Us and see how the seat fits in your car. There are valid safety reasons for your grandchild to be rearfacing as long as possible, so it makes sense to look with that in mind. We lo...
by Carson
Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:08 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How does fixed pension affect your target net worth?
Replies: 8
Views: 1388

Re: How does fixed pension affect your target net worth?

[color=#000000 I didn't use any rules of thumb or multiples in our retirement financial planning - as retirement approached I estimated a reasonable monthly budget based on our expenses and then netted out anticipated SS and pension(cola'd) to arrive at a monthly asset draw - I put this all on a sp...
by Carson
Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What are your health insurance stats?
Replies: 89
Views: 6923

Re: What are your health insurance stats?

OP, our plan stats are remarkably similar. However, one caveat - ours is a grandfathered plan that does not cover preventative or routine wellness care. Premium: $241/month for family of four Deductible: $250 per individual/$750 family maximum Co-insurance after deductible: 10% paid by me / 90% paid...
by Carson
Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: First six months savings review
Replies: 8
Views: 1235

Re: First six months savings review

If it's mine I will really get depressed. Well, not necessarily. I think savings % is very personal and depends on a variety of factors and in this case we have no idea how the OP got to that savings rate, what he considers 'savings' and what his expenses are. To make this actionable, maybe the OP ...
by Carson
Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Won an ATV in a raffle...now what?
Replies: 39
Views: 4404

Re: Won an ATV in a raffle...now what?

Any chance you are in IL? DH is aboard member our local little league (registered 501c3), and they are shopping for a new ATV. I'm sure they'd gladly accept your charitable contribution. :beer
by Carson
Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage and Low-Income
Replies: 26
Views: 3229

Re: Mortgage and Low-Income

* Does a $180k mortgage sound too high? Is there a mortgage-calculator-of-choice on this forum? When I got a promotion and DH got a job, we were looking at getting a new house. The best mortgage calculator was making a list of our monthly savings needs , actual expenses, and new house expenses, and...
by Carson
Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: EZPass not read, rental car, high fee
Replies: 37
Views: 5222

Re: EZPass not read, rental car, high fee

As long as the line isn't brutal we go through the manual toll line if it is an option. That way we know we are in the clear.
by Carson
Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tupperware Set / Systems
Replies: 13
Views: 1320

Re: Tupperware Set / Systems

I think the containers my wife picked out are called Rubbermaid Premier. They're hard plastic with rubber-edged lids. +1 for these as well. I only use 4 different sizes of these ones and banish everything off size or off brand to a 'give away' drawer. I clean this out after thanksgiving when I have...
by Carson
Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Power percentage: A more effective metric of financial performance than savings rate?
Replies: 47
Views: 4400

Re: Power percentage: A more effective metric of financial performance than savings rate?

Although paying down debt is a very healthy financial activity, having the debt in the first place generally isn't! Any financial health score should tend to penalize those with high debt and reward those with little debt. I strongly agree with this point. Also, I have seen from peers that the firs...
by Carson
Tue May 30, 2017 10:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?
Replies: 36
Views: 4796

Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Were they not wearing seatbelts at all or were they not in car seats or booster seats? I can understand not knowing that an 8 year old must be in a booster seat, but its hard to see not knowing that seatbelts are required? I assume this is the case as well, and hopefully the OP can come back to cla...
by Carson
Mon May 29, 2017 11:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: House Shopping: Some Doors Open/Close Poorly, Foundation Problem?
Replies: 22
Views: 2451

Re: House Shopping: Some Doors Open/Close Poorly, Foundation Problem?

Just because some doors are tight you're assuming a foundation issue and others are suggesting a quick pass? Seems to me to be jumping to conclusions prematurely. Maybe because I live in a 100 year old house and am in a historic neighborhood, but most of the homes have some floors that are slightly...
by Carson
Thu May 11, 2017 10:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: LVP flooring installation DIY - your experience?
Replies: 10
Views: 1206

Re: LVP flooring installation DIY - your experience?

If it were a glue down method, I would have said you need to include in your DIY cost the adhesive and renting a floor roller. But considering it is click and lock, it should be pretty easy, especially if you've already installed laminate. DH installed LVT wood look planks in our basement and I love...