Search found 213 matches

by vveat
Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: gratuitous homeownership items
Replies: 211
Views: 15364

Re: gratuitous homeownership items

We've redone the whole house, so practically nothing is gratuitous. It would be easier to point out nice surprises - things we barely noticed or didn't care about that have been surprisingly useful. I could think of only 2 items: Heated towel rack in the master bathroom that we used only in the firs...
by vveat
Tue Mar 07, 2017 12:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you spend on "stuff" for kids?
Replies: 53
Views: 3501

Re: How much do you spend on "stuff" for kids?

You didn't address my earlier question. You mentioned that "funding their b-day parties" was their only gift from you. What did their parties consist of and how much did you spend on them? Am I under cross examination? Truth: I don't remember the dollar amounts. Our 4-year old's party was...
by vveat
Tue Mar 07, 2017 12:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you spend on "stuff" for kids?
Replies: 53
Views: 3501

Re: How much do you spend on "stuff" for kids?

I completely understand and like the fact that your kids read a lot. But I am really curios why you do not use libraries most of the time? Could it be that you don not have good libraries where you live? Original OP here. I was (am) so fascinated by the birthday gifts discussion that I forgot to re...
by vveat
Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Describe your Reasonable Dream Home
Replies: 51
Views: 3068

Re: Describe your Reasonable Dream Home

We are pretty happy with what we have currently: - 2,300 sqft ranch, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths - big room for large gatherings and small living room for TV watching - cozy library room - open floor, but we can send the kids and their friends to the finished basement and close the door if the noise bothers...
by vveat
Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?
Replies: 60
Views: 3224

Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Have you done any tracking of the regular spending, or any retirement projections - to serve as a basis for the discussion? I am having difficulty getting to the right conversation if there is no common starting point but different opinions on what is much and what is little. Why don't you put some ...
by vveat
Sat Mar 04, 2017 11:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you spend on "stuff" for kids?
Replies: 53
Views: 3501

Re: How much do you spend on "stuff" for kids?

Thanks for the opinions so far. It really surprised me that people were surprised that we don't buy them birthday presents. I guess it may seem odd, but given that they get so many at one time (I even hold them off from opening most, so they open them throughout the year) I find it difficult to come...
by vveat
Sat Mar 04, 2017 11:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you spend on "stuff" for kids?
Replies: 53
Views: 3501

Re: How much do you spend on "stuff" for kids?

excluding clothing (for the 8 year old, the younger one is 99% on hand-me-downs:-) I would seriously rethink this. Children especially girls, need their own identity. This really forms in the pre-teen years (8 -12). Hand-me-downs can be a great breeding ground of hidden resentment and you won't dis...
by vveat
Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you spend on "stuff" for kids?
Replies: 53
Views: 3501

How much do you spend on "stuff" for kids?

I am looking for a bit of a benchmark what is normal to spend on "stuff" for your kids at elementary school age. I have a 6 and 8 year old, and comparing them to my closest friends with similar age kids we buy much less. But my mom who is visiting from abroad for a couple of months a year ...
by vveat
Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do Boglehead DIY or Pay a Professional?
Replies: 95
Views: 6854

Re: Do Boglehead DIY or Pay a Professional?

Frankly for us, if we are able to do it well, and if we don't absolutely hate the activity, we always DYI. That's how we were brought up, and having money hasn't changed the mentality. Not saying it's reasonable, just not easy to overcome. Also my husband is stay-at-home and is very handy, so no exc...
by vveat
Sat Feb 25, 2017 9:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Caribbean vacation with 3 kids
Replies: 27
Views: 1987

Re: Caribbean vacation with 3 kids

Dominican Republic is a cheaper destination - we've been twice - once to La Romana, last year to Punta Cana, and had very good experience as vacations with kids go. Last year an all inclusive for a week with 2 kids cost us $5k (we booked through Costco Travel). They had a kids club with activities a...
by vveat
Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Utility Bills - How do ours compare?
Replies: 44
Views: 3412

Re: Utility Bills - How do ours compare?

Location: NJ House size: 1,600 sq ft (main) + 800 sq ft basement Occupants: 4 (5 in some months) Average monthly based on full year: Electric: $135 (high: $190, low: $70) Gas: $50 (high: $100, low: $10). Note - we have a wood stove that we use daily in winter months, it effectively heats half of the...
by vveat
Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Kids in Apartment Sharing Bedroom - Workable?
Replies: 55
Views: 3446

Re: Kids in Apartment Sharing Bedroom - Workable?

We have 3 boys. The two oldest shared a room when the oldest was 4 and the middle was just a baby. When three came along, he moved in with middle and oldest got his own room. Youngest two are now 11 and 8 and have always shared a room, despite the fact we have a 5 bedroom house. I'm curious why you...
by vveat
Tue Jan 31, 2017 1:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where do you buy coffee beans?
Replies: 96
Views: 5634

Re: Where do you buy coffee beans?

Starbucks has "blonde" coffees - Veranda and Willow. They do not taste burned at all, I am very sensitive to this and have always gone for medium or light roasts, this is a great choice for us. https://www.starbucks.com/coffee/blonde By the way, on my rare visits to Aldi (out of the way fo...
by vveat
Fri Jan 27, 2017 10:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Experience with Payoneer?
Replies: 2
Views: 330

Re: Experience with Payoneer?

Thank you! The payment came through in 2 days, I was impressed and pleasantly surprised.
by vveat
Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:15 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Experience with Payoneer?
Replies: 2
Views: 330

Experience with Payoneer?

I got a small compensation payment from United through AirHelp, for a significantly delayed flight. AirHelp offer 3 ways to send me the payment - a bank transfer or check would cost $30, while bank transfer via Payoneer would be free. It's the first time I had heard of Payoneer. Since I will have to...
by vveat
Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you typically spend in a restaurant?
Replies: 171
Views: 9996

Re: How much do you typically spend in a restaurant?

Such a wealth of answers, thank you all. I am already reassured that we are not over the top - it seems quite a few of the respondents spend about the same as us when going out in similar COL areas. You are probably right about the drinks being the culprit. Since I don't drink myself I never look at...
by vveat
Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you typically spend in a restaurant?
Replies: 171
Views: 9996

How much do you typically spend in a restaurant?

I was recently looking through our restaurant spend data from Mint over the recent few years and something surprised me. A year and a half ago my husband and I decided to go out to eat more often (basically introduced a date night:-). We are real homebodies, heavily into home cooking, preserving, br...
by vveat
Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime shipping to post office for pickup?
Replies: 18
Views: 1448

Re: Amazon Prime shipping to post office for pickup?

I would not have picked it up. I would have contacted Amazon and told them to deliver it to the door or refund the purchase. If I want to drive to get a microwave, I can more easily stop at Walmart and get one. Yes, but dealing with a refund + making a trip to Walmart adds up to more time and hassl...
by vveat
Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime shipping to post office for pickup?
Replies: 18
Views: 1448

Amazon Prime shipping to post office for pickup?

We had a strange occurrence with Amazon Prime. * I had just ordered a microwave (since my first move on January 1st in the morning was to break the door of the old one :oops: ). It was scheduled for delivery on Wednesday. On Wednesday evening it showed "delivered" but we couldn't find a pa...
by vveat
Sat Nov 19, 2016 10:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Liver
Replies: 43
Views: 5066

Re: Liver

One of my favorite soups is leberknödelsuppe - liver dumpling soup. It may be a bit more trouble than what you are looking for, but is delicious. It takes at most an hour to make a big batch of ground liver meatballs (mixed with some ground veal, since the kids don't appreciate pure liver taste :oop...
by vveat
Sun Oct 23, 2016 1:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Putting in a Word About Tea - brands, types, etc.
Replies: 72
Views: 6175

Re: Putting in a Word About Tea - brands, types, etc.

I am getting pretty addicted to matcha powder tea - I drink it as a latte to reduce the bitter taste. I've almost gone off coffee since I hit upon it. It's a little bit more work because you need to foam it first, but really worth it. If you want to give it a try I have uses a few brands so far and ...
by vveat
Mon Sep 05, 2016 4:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommendations for a good political drama?
Replies: 16
Views: 1229

Recommendations for a good political drama?

I am looking for something that really has politics as a focus - not sidelining too much into personal stories, parody, terrorism/violence, etc - and not sacrificing realism for pure drama. The ones I have liked best so far: * West Wing is my personal favorite - I've watched it 4-5 times end-to-end ...
by vveat
Thu Aug 11, 2016 3:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Direction on a couple of early retirement questions
Replies: 5
Views: 674

Direction on a couple of early retirement questions

I have started thinking of options for early retirement - somewhere between 50 and 55, so I have still a good 10 year horizon for planning. I am looking at some resources (the wiki, the Bogleheads guide to retirement planning, Firecalc, etc), and at this point just exploring the possibility A few qu...
by vveat
Sun Jul 17, 2016 6:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Raising a reader
Replies: 53
Views: 3830

Re: Raising a reader

I think both my kids are "readers". Older one is 8, reads a chapter book a day, at 5th grade level or so, owns more than 200 books and is active library user. She likes movies, but will often opt out if she is in the midst of an interesting book. The younger one at 5 learned to read recent...
by vveat
Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How best to take little kids sightseeing?
Replies: 37
Views: 2720

Re: How best to take little kids sightseeing?

Thanks, in Vienna the Lipizzaners are on vacation right now, that was my first thought too. I am hoping they will stand a short walk through the Hofburg Imperial Apartments and then we'll try the Prater. Good points, I probably had too high expectations. They like natural history museums, aquariums ...
by vveat
Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How best to take little kids sightseeing?
Replies: 37
Views: 2720

How best to take little kids sightseeing?

We are in the midst of a trip in Europe and it's not going as easy as expected. The kids are 5 and 8, we are doing a family visit in Europe and I decided that we can get them started with a couple of days in Amsterdam and in Vienna on the way back and forth. We specifically picked what we thought we...
by vveat
Sat Jun 04, 2016 8:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What TYPE of books do you like to read?
Replies: 48
Views: 2764

Re: What TYPE of books do you like to read?

Non-fiction Social science - recently going through different angles on the influence of class and education in America Cooking - not cookbooks but more techniques, travel-related, memoirs Fiction Fantasy History Recently I have been skimming with pleasure some of my daughter's books - she is 8 but ...
by vveat
Sun May 22, 2016 6:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice w/ 62YO Mom Moving In - Rent? Resentment? Plans? (Update, Pg 3)
Replies: 123
Views: 13738

Re: Advice w/ 62YO Mom Moving In - Rent? Resentment? Plans?

I would say if there is a way to "test drive" this with her visiting for a few months, it would be a good way to check what works and what doesn't. That's what we did over the winter, and it didn't work too well regretfully. I am from a culture where you take care of your elderly parents a...
by vveat
Sat May 21, 2016 4:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Women business clothes - what brands make the right impression?
Replies: 64
Views: 7043

Re: Women business clothes - what brands make the right impression?

Making a quick update as promised. I have to say again the advice was excellent - it didn't just answer the specific questions I had posed but went well beyond to things I hadn't considered properly, for example - Good fit matters much more than a brand - There are style elements beyond clothes - ma...
by vveat
Fri Apr 29, 2016 6:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Women business clothes - what brands make the right impression?
Replies: 64
Views: 7043

Re: Women business clothes - what brands make the right impression?

I am deeply grateful that never in my life have I devoted as much time, energy, and money as most people posting on this thread have to clothes and makeup, nor has anyone suggested that I should. I would say, one one hundredth of the effort. Why is it that people who don't keep up with the Jones by...
by vveat
Thu Apr 28, 2016 11:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Women business clothes - what brands make the right impression?
Replies: 64
Views: 7043

Re: Women business clothes - what brands make the right impression?

What an overwhelming wave of responses - thank you all for the kind advice!!! So many things I hadn't even thought of. I am already taking a couple of steps and over the weekend need to reread everything carefully and pick more nuggets. - I have booked an appointment at Nordstrom, which should help ...
by vveat
Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kellogg vs. Darden
Replies: 17
Views: 1875

Re: Kellogg vs. Darden

Those are both "top 20" B-schools. As long as she graduates in the top 20% of her class, she will absolutely, positively, have the "world by the tail!" Good luck and many good wishes to her! :sharebeer MBA programs are not like law school. Most recruiters do not care about your ...
by vveat
Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Women business clothes - what brands make the right impression?
Replies: 64
Views: 7043

Women business clothes - what brands make the right impression?

I am dreading the type of response I may get to such a question, but I really would like to get the Bogleheads perspective. The original problem is that I don’t know and don’t care much about brands of clothing, shoes, accessories, etc. I don’t enjoy shopping and I don’t really notice what other peo...
by vveat
Mon Mar 07, 2016 7:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is an interior designer worth it?
Replies: 33
Views: 3967

Re: Is an interior designer worth it?

I have used an online designer already 4 times - from full room design to specific small question about paint color. She has a menu of services. Prices are very reasonable and you can follow up with (many) questions, I typically do. http://www.interiordesignserviceonline.com/ I have been invariably ...
by vveat
Sun Feb 07, 2016 8:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Personal property inventory
Replies: 12
Views: 1697

Re: Personal property inventory

so they likely won't care about your book database or how many DVDs you have. They have formulas for such items. What kind of formulas? If they don't care about the count, do they just assume than an average household has X books or X DVDs, even if you have a count? Thanks for reminding me of the t...
by vveat
Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Personal property inventory
Replies: 12
Views: 1697

Personal property inventory

I was just updating our personal property inventory – I try to go through it once a year or so, keep it current for insurance purposes. We keep a fairly detailed list in Excel with descriptions of items, and when possible the model and purchase cost. The good thing is we usually buy from Amazon and ...
by vveat
Wed Feb 03, 2016 2:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: United vs Lufthansa on taxes and fees
Replies: 7
Views: 982

United vs Lufthansa on taxes and fees

I have been using Lufthansa Miles and More for years, have Sen status and am happy with service and flight availability. One issue with flying on miles has always been the high taxes and fees - for example a one way business flight to Europe with one transfer in Vienna recently came with $460 fee, i...
by vveat
Sun Jan 03, 2016 7:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you keep your young kids busy/occupied?
Replies: 37
Views: 3564

Re: How do you keep your young kids busy/occupied?

Leaving them alone in a playroom (or their bedroom) for a while and expecting them to entertain themselves for a bit is entirely reasonable at that age. I would encourage that not only because it gives the parents some breathing space, but because it makes them more creative and independent. I have ...
by vveat
Sun Dec 27, 2015 8:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Funding delays to a newly opened Vanguard account
Replies: 2
Views: 547

Funding delays to a newly opened Vanguard account

I am usually doing a backdoor Roth once a year, not necessarily the same month, so sometimes I end up with as much as year and a half between transfers. The traditional IRA stays empty in between transactions, so twice in past years I've had it closed by Vanguard and had to reopen it. (I'll fix this...
by vveat
Wed Oct 07, 2015 1:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Using gift card for Amazon.de?
Replies: 2
Views: 401

Using gift card for Amazon.de?

Do you know whether one can convert a gift card for amazon.de to a gift card for amazon.com? I just got one today, but am not sure how to use it. I tried putting in the code in the US site, but it didn't accept it. If I buy from the German site something physical, paying for shipping from Germany do...
by vveat
Sun Sep 13, 2015 7:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What bed did you get your toddler and how long did you use it?
Replies: 31
Views: 3904

Re: What bed did you get your toddler and how long did you use it?

My kids slept in toddler-size beds, using their crib mattresses, from 1.5 year old until this year (so one used it for 5.5 years, the other only 3 years). Now we built them custom loft beds using IKEA's small bed mattresses (27.5 x 63"). I don't think we'll upgrade them to twin beds for a few m...
by vveat
Sun Aug 30, 2015 5:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Proof that this summer was hotter than last summer
Replies: 11
Views: 1336

Re: Proof that this summer was hotter than last summer

I've tracked electricity and gas usage for the last 5 years, and it's been a decrease so far, annual consumption ~15% down in 2013 and in 2014 again, and this year I think we are headed for 5-10% drop. For summer specifically May-June this year together was 1482 kWh, last year 1502 You said a line g...
by vveat
Wed Aug 26, 2015 9:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Siblings sharing a room until what age?
Replies: 15
Views: 2354

Siblings sharing a room until what age?

Do any of you have kids of different gender that have shared a room until teen age or more? At what point you separated them and why? We have a boy and a girl, who are 5 and 7 now and we have them sharing a room by choice since the younger one turned 2. It may be a cultural thing, how we were brough...
by vveat
Mon Aug 24, 2015 4:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ways to reduce basement humidity
Replies: 20
Views: 2378

Re: Ways to reduce basement humidity

Thank you everybody for the ideas. The University of Minnesota link was great, very comprehensive read. It seems dehumidifier is the first option to try. We bought today a new Frigidaire, because we are not sure the old machine is doing the job optimally, and we'll keep it running. I think the soil ...
by vveat
Sun Aug 23, 2015 12:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ways to reduce basement humidity
Replies: 20
Views: 2378

Ways to reduce basement humidity

We are looking into measures to reduce the level of humidity in our basement. It's a furnished (carpeted) one, and used mostly for storage (a lot of closets and built ins) and as kids playroom, only occasionally as an office or place for extra guests to sleep. We have a dehumidifier, but we run it o...
by vveat
Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Maximizing space in a small house
Replies: 39
Views: 5741

Re: Maximizing space in a small house

I am fan of Sarah Susanka's books - the "Not So Big House" approach. She has nice clever solutions for optimizing space. http://www.amazon.com/Not-So-Big-House-Blueprint/dp/1600851509/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1439477282&sr=1-1&keywords=sarah+susanka http://www.amazon....
by vveat
Tue Jul 21, 2015 2:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: El Paso into Juarez - Day trip w/ family - Safe and practical?
Replies: 33
Views: 4536

Re: El Paso into Juarez - Day trip w/ family - Safe and practical?

I was working there for a couple of months 10 years ago on a project. The kidnappings were just on the rise, so I drove back each evening to sleep in El Paso. I ate out a few times with a Mexican colleague, but nothing much to see or do from touristic perspective. A pretty run down town, mostly dirt...
by vveat
Wed Jul 15, 2015 7:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping in a buffet
Replies: 26
Views: 3554

Tipping in a buffet

Today's thread on tipping didn't mention buffets and I am curious, since we just went for lunch to a small Indian buffet, for the first time in maybe 10 years. Self-serve obviously, but there were waiters who refilled water glasses and one brought some condiments over. The bill was just $20 for 2 pe...
by vveat
Mon Jul 13, 2015 3:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: House Layout: Where to put Dining Table?
Replies: 23
Views: 2550

Re: House Layout: Where to put Dining Table?

Id hire a professional designer and pay them an hourly rate to help you plan layout, as you are debating purpose of multiple spaces. Well worth the fee to have a trained set of eyes. This! I had a similar dilemma a couple of year ago, and I used an online designer service. First I asked advice on h...
by vveat
Wed Jul 08, 2015 4:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: kitchenaid vs. bosch dishwasher
Replies: 71
Views: 16595

Re: kitchenaid vs. bosch dishwasher

We had a Bosch installed 1 week ago - so far everything works perfectly: - we use the "sanitizing" at the end of the cycle and everything comes out perfectly dry - the third rack for silverware really creates a lot of extra space - the three sets of tines point in different directions and ...

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