Search found 487 matches

by Carson
Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Leather couch, dog scratches -- help?
Replies: 20
Views: 1667

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: 1045

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: 1376

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 h...
by Carson
Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Allowed expenses for charity?
Replies: 5
Views: 321

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: 22
Views: 2887

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: 2438

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: 1145

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

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 spreadsheet and p...
by Carson
Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What are your health insurance stats?
Replies: 89
Views: 5300

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: 992

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: 3384

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: 2639

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: 18
Views: 2349

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: 918

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: 3596

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: 4070

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: 2003

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: 957

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...
by Carson
Thu May 11, 2017 8:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can you suggest a mortgage lender who does not resell
Replies: 67
Views: 5197

Re: Can you suggest a mortgage lender who does not resell

I would recommend doing your own escrow. That has been a pain point for me when I borrowed money. Yes x1000. It was such a hassle. I am a responsible person and very capable of managing my cashflow, and much rather do this myself. Especially in this house we had a ton of issues with the property ta...
by Carson
Mon May 08, 2017 12:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying New Car With Trade In Options
Replies: 15
Views: 1027

Re: Buying New Car With Trade In Options

You are trading in or buying a TDI?
by Carson
Wed May 03, 2017 10:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: best way to get a handle on expenses?
Replies: 16
Views: 1326

Re: best way to get a handle on expenses?

I pay everything via credit card, and at the end of the month download the transactions to excel. I categorize each expense by pre-determined budget categories. It takes about a half-hour per month. This is my method as well, except I do it once a week, and it's about 15 minutes. The things I can't...
by Carson
Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Dedicating your bonus to something
Replies: 30
Views: 3193

Re: Dedicating your bonus to something

We don't consider our bonuses in our regular annual budget. DH's is fairly small; mine swings wildly based on company performance. It was always fairly 'immaterial' to me, except last year when it was significantly higher than I would have expected. We run a pretty tight ship and meet our savings/re...
by Carson
Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help me decide what to do with my cars
Replies: 34
Views: 1921

Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

I understand the backseat thing. Now it's recommended for kids to rearface longer, and that can make longer drives more difficult because of the attention they need. I do have a suggestion - have you looked at getting narrower carseats? We have a radian (now diono) in the back and I love it. It supp...
by Carson
Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Budgeting vs Tracking Expenses?
Replies: 42
Views: 3862

Re: Budgeting vs Tracking Expenses?

Why do you need to allocate $175 to car repairs? Will you spend the money otherwise? Do you not have enough in your savings account to cover the car repairs? I do the same as the original poster, but in Excel. I do it mainly to smooth the cash flow and not give a false impression of where we have a...
by Carson
Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Switching Jobs for less...Has anyone done this....
Replies: 46
Views: 4008

Re: Switching Jobs for less...Has anyone done this....

I switched to part-time at 50% 'work' and 50% pay. I was working as a financial analyst at the time and the job was very demanding, I had 1 small child and we were working on the second. So I proposed it to my manager with the intention of quitting altogether if PT didn't work out. I ended up fundin...
by Carson
Thu Apr 06, 2017 11:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is anyone using Apple CarPlay? My preferred car company isn't...
Replies: 33
Views: 2697

Re: Is anyone using Apple CarPlay? My preferred car company isn't...

We have a 2016v2 Mazda 3 in he grand touring trim and have been really happy with the integration of our iPhones into the car environment. Mazda was where we needed to be both with price point, performance and economy when we were looking. Maybe I am missing the exact advantage of CarPlay but music ...
by Carson
Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How many financial secrets?
Replies: 58
Views: 6041

Re: How many financial secrets?

No secrets, we're definitely a team and on the same page, philosophically, about finances and our goals. That said, my spouse is definitely not interested in the day to day management of said finances. He leaves bill paying entirely to me and I also make smallish investment decisions without his di...
by Carson
Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Career advice in IT
Replies: 99
Views: 7781

Re: Career advice in IT

I have worked at Megacorp business support functions for IT for awhile. Finance, supplier management, now project management. For me, I found Supplier management enjoyable, and there was a lot of analysis, a lot of high-profile deals and deadlines. But it was not a great role with a family. For you,...
by Carson
Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Low-earners- What is your profession?
Replies: 262
Views: 26365

Re: Low-earners- What is your profession?

DH is in public service, is very well paid for his town compared BLS medians. But overall income is low compared to BH medians I work for a Megacorp in a program mgmt role, part-time. He is planning to retire at 50. At that point, he will have a pension equal to 50% of his salary. To afford this, we...
by Carson
Thu Mar 30, 2017 1:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is Ally Bank's Overdraft Transfer Service unlimited?
Replies: 4
Views: 451

Re: Is Ally Bank's Overdraft Transfer Service unlimited?

I would dig a little further. There may be a limited number of withdraws you can do each month without penalty.
by Carson
Tue Mar 28, 2017 3:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Daughter maxed out credit cards, needs help from me
Replies: 92
Views: 5631

Re: Daughter maxed out credit cards, needs help from me

The good thing is it is not *that* bad, but I know it's all relative. We helped out my SIL (DH's sister) in a similar manner. It was a little different because she was not our daughter, but we started small, and paid off her highest loan, then she paid us back. Once that one went well, we did a larg...
by Carson
Mon Mar 27, 2017 1:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Charitable items
Replies: 13
Views: 996

Re: Charitable items

I just reviewed the rules myself. Our dog passed away last year and I donated a bunch of supplies to a local rescue that is a registered NFP in the IRS databse.. I'm planning on deducting their FMV of goods in used condition and I have a receipt from the rescue stating as such.
by Carson
Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How did you do your income taxes?
Replies: 96
Views: 5442

Re: How did you do your income taxes?

Through the year, I keep a running tally in our budget file, based on details in our paychecks. That gives me a general idea. When I got the actual docs, I loaded my stuff into HR Block Online , as I have for the past several years, somehow the price they were offering me was $50-ish? With that unwe...
by Carson
Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Looking for a snazzy car
Replies: 79
Views: 5248

Re: Looking for a snazzy car

I would take a look at the Mazda 3 5-door Touring. I think it is the most beautiful car in or near its price range and supposedly is very fun to drive. I can say that I test drove all the small crossovers last year and the Mazda CX5 was more fun to drive than the Honda or Toyota offerings. m This i...
by Carson
Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pension closing analysis
Replies: 5
Views: 608

Re: Pension closing analysis

Thanks all. I mainly wanted to check the assumptions for accuracy. I'm not super worried about remarriage/spousal income scenarios (DH is set without me ) I do understand the loss of purchasing power.I understand the approach to keep it simple, and while I suppose it is a slippery slope, we have a p...
by Carson
Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pension closing analysis
Replies: 5
Views: 608

Pension closing analysis

Megacorp is shutting down their pension of which I am a young vested member (35 yo). This is a very small amount (would argue it is negligible) of my retirement plan, and I am not concerned about survivor benefits as my loss in preparing their dinner would be much greater However, I feel compelled t...
by Carson
Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Walkie-Talkie for 8-9 year old kids
Replies: 13
Views: 1009

Re: Walkie-Talkie for 8-9 year old kids

We have Motorola talkabouts for our kids (age 7 and 4) and they work well. There was a bit of a learning curve in that you have to push to talk, wait a second, then speak. It also took some fiddling to get them on the correct channel (we are in a house in a major city, so there's lots of 'misc' in t...
by Carson
Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Flooring for Basement
Replies: 36
Views: 2842

Re: Flooring for Basement

I don't see the same exact one on their site, but I know it was "Congoleum Endurance Plank"; our strips were 4" instead of 6". We used a wet-set glue down method (DH DIYed the install with some professional tools on loan) m Here it is installed: http://i112.photobucket.com/albums...
by Carson
Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Flooring for Basement
Replies: 36
Views: 2842

Re: Flooring for Basement

We have 'Luxury Vinyl Tile' in the basement of house because water infiltration is a periodic problem, and whatever raised subfloor supposed to go under wouldn't articulate over to our floor drains. I also would rather actually 'see' if and when we get water as opposed to trusting letting it go unde...
by Carson
Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How Much in Your Emergency Fund And Is It Used?
Replies: 188
Views: 19681

Re: How Much in Your Emergency Fund And Is It Used?

The purpose of our actual emergency fund for us is really in case of job loss. We keep 10 months core living expenses in ours. We have used it once and it was basically to float money to buy a car before we sold our previous one. At that time the car was a need, and I was not willing to finance the ...
by Carson
Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage Affordability Question - Windfall
Replies: 8
Views: 987

Re: Mortgage Affordability Question - Windfall

It might actually be better to look at the windfall on some kind of time horizon of ownership (eg, monthly for 20 years) and common line items that would change with house size. Don't forget to include monthly operational expenses: property tax, utilities, maintenance, etc... I think that eats a lot...
by Carson
Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Fire TV Stick with KODI - Anyone try this?
Replies: 17
Views: 2821

Re: Amazon Fire TV Stick with KODI - Anyone try this?

Yes, I know people who use it to watch 'any movie they'd ever want to watch'. I just don't understand how this isn't the 2016 equivalent of Napster.
by Carson
Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(
Replies: 55
Views: 4750

Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

I was fed up with the cost of HR Block online this year and am going it alone with the FreeFillableForms site. I mainly kept mine in Excel throughout the year anyway, so I have an idea if I am right or not. I'm just fumbling around with the dependent credit at this point, subtracting out what I paid...
by Carson
Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Going to Tahiti and we're budget travelers
Replies: 41
Views: 3958

Re: Going to Tahiti and we're budget travelers

Take a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter! I know this is kind of a joke, but it is really all I have to contribute to the thread. DH took me on a surprise trip to Ireland, and I was not prepared for the cost of food in the least, and it was kind of a bummer. When we went to Hawaii, I was def...
by Carson
Fri Mar 03, 2017 2:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fincancial checklist for becoming a landlord in the future
Replies: 35
Views: 2664

Re: Fincancial checklist for becoming a landlord in the future

Glad you have appropriate expectations with childcare and income. Between my mom's care and both of us working flex schedules, we've only hired a sitter for work purposes a 2-month period in the 7 years we've had kids. It's been amazing and I'm grateful at the bonds that have formed. But that goes b...
by Carson
Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fincancial checklist for becoming a landlord in the future
Replies: 35
Views: 2664

Re: Fincancial checklist for becoming a landlord in the future

I don't have much in terms of the landlord thing, but please consider the cost of childcare and what that means for your collective net salary. If you have free childcare, that's great, but otherwise, one of you will need to work less/alternate schedules or you will need to pay someone for care. The...
by Carson
Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Student loan debt - vanquished!
Replies: 19
Views: 1901

Re: Student loan debt - vanquished!

Congratulations. Keep up the great work!
by Carson
Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does anyone know if this is mold? Would this mean replacing all air ducts?
Replies: 22
Views: 2757

Re: Does anyone know if this is mold? Would this mean replacing all air ducts?

That definitely looks like mold. I would normally just wipe it down with a hearty bleach solution, but seeing that it is in your air recirculation system, it kind of weirds me out. I would maybe try calling your HVAC tech and see if they can refer you to someone who might properly clean them.
by Carson
Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Variety Packs at Grocery Stores
Replies: 2
Views: 506

Re: Variety Packs at Grocery Stores

I'm mainly talking about the larger boxes that you'd get from Costco/Sams Club that would have 2 flavors as opposed to just a single flavor. For instance, my kids love Nutrigrain bars but only like the Apple Cinnamon and not the Strawberry, so that means I don't buy the big box there. We should sta...
by Carson
Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Kids in Apartment Sharing Bedroom - Workable?
Replies: 55
Views: 4028

Re: Kids in Apartment Sharing Bedroom - Workable?

Has anyone had success with young to pre-school aged kids sharing bedrooms? Yep, it's been totally fine so far. We have boys age 7 and 4 and they share a bedroom in our 2-br house and it's pretty much an indefinite thing at this point, unless they want to learn framing and drywall skills and make t...
by Carson
Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel Tips: Grand Canyon and South or Central America
Replies: 9
Views: 816

Re: Travel Tips: Grand Canyon and South or Central America

I would highly recommend Peru for a South American trip. Cuzco is a great city and Machu Picchu is amazing. If you like to hike, you can do a 2 or 4 day hike to Machu Picchu. You can also spend time in the jungle if that interests you. Peruvian culture and cuisine are markedly different than most o...