Search found 142 matches

by WaffleCone
Mon Jan 04, 2021 2:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Earned Income Tax refund due to Covid Work from Home (Pennsylvania specific)
Replies: 0
Views: 166

Earned Income Tax refund due to Covid Work from Home (Pennsylvania specific)

This is a PA specific question relating to Act 32 not the Philadelphia wage tax. My employer is in a 1% tax jurisdiction for EIT and has forced me to fully work from home due to Covid. My home township has a 0% tax. Should my withholding be adjusted as if I were a teleworker (0% withholding based on...
by WaffleCone
Sat Dec 19, 2020 4:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Smallish inheritance to grandkids vs. kids - pros, cons?
Replies: 21
Views: 2250

Re: Smallish inheritance to grandkids vs. kids - pros, cons?

Thanks for the input so far. My parents get confused very easily and I know a lot of these considerations are going to zip over their head. If it's too complicated it won't get done. For simplicity, how's something like this. For 401k and stock account: list 6 grandkids as secondary beneficiaries (m...
by WaffleCone
Fri Dec 18, 2020 3:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Smallish inheritance to grandkids vs. kids - pros, cons?
Replies: 21
Views: 2250

Smallish inheritance to grandkids vs. kids - pros, cons?

My parents are in their mid-80's and want to write up a will. I recommended they go to a lawyer but they want to understand some basic options before going. I help them with their finances but don't know much in this area. Specifics: Total estate size: About $300k, primarily a paid-off house and $10...
by WaffleCone
Sat Nov 07, 2020 1:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kids ATV / Big-boy PowerWheels for Christmas gift?
Replies: 3
Views: 452

Re: Kids ATV / Big-boy PowerWheels for Christmas gift?

This is going to come across as pretty harsh, and its meant to be. Are you nuts? In what world do you think it is safe to risk your kids lives in motorized vehicle like that when one false move and they are paralyzed or have permanent TBI. Believe it or not I'm a very safety minded parent. Are you ...
by WaffleCone
Sat Nov 07, 2020 1:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kids ATV / Big-boy PowerWheels for Christmas gift?
Replies: 3
Views: 452

Kids ATV / Big-boy PowerWheels for Christmas gift?

We have 4 kids between the ages of 6 and 12. They have bikes and scooters but I think they'd like a big-boy version of a Fisher-Price PowerWheels. The one we have now is worn out and too small for the older boys. We have about an acre and they've spent countless hours riding it. What is the next ste...
by WaffleCone
Thu Oct 22, 2020 9:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New kid on the way, should we get a new minivan? or else?
Replies: 58
Views: 2973

Re: New kid on the way, should we get a new minivan? or else?

+1 for the minivan. It's just easier. I had 3 Diono Radian's across the back of my Saab so it can be done, but it's so much easier with the minivan. You have the space, you don't have to squeeze, you can carry stuff AND your family. It becomes the default vehicle when going as family. Lots of new sa...
by WaffleCone
Wed Oct 14, 2020 9:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance Mega Thread
Replies: 11212
Views: 854744

Re: Refinance Mega Thread

Anyone else having trouble closing with Watermark? I'm at almost 11 weeks since I initiated the loan (no cost, 2.25%, 15 years) and am way past the lock period. I've always gotten them any document they requested in less than 24 hours, and usually within a couple of hours. The loan is in the "...
by WaffleCone
Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Defective asphalt driveway, best course of action?
Replies: 8
Views: 719

Defective asphalt driveway, best course of action?

I paid $12,000+ for a new asphalt driveway in March. From the outset it was soft, easy to make holes, and lots of pebbles flaking off the top. The contractor said to give it some time ("it's normal") and he would re-do it if necessary. However now he is backpedaling. He's still saying it's...
by WaffleCone
Fri Aug 14, 2020 2:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance Mega Thread
Replies: 11212
Views: 854744

Watermark closing times?

Loan Depot 30 year fixed, 330K includes paying off HELOC and cash out. No appraisal. 59% LTV. 2.875% (current rate is 3.75%) $3950 closing costs not including prepaids. (A+B+C=$4750 less $800 in discount points). Some of that $3950 includes a "non-negotiable" $1595 in origination. Decided...
by WaffleCone
Mon Jul 27, 2020 7:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance Mega Thread
Replies: 11212
Views: 854744

Re: Refinance Mega Thread

Loan Depot 30 year fixed, 330K includes paying off HELOC and cash out. No appraisal. 59% LTV. 2.875% (current rate is 3.75%) $3950 closing costs not including prepaids. (A+B+C=$4750 less $800 in discount points). Some of that $3950 includes a "non-negotiable" $1595 in origination. I can se...
by WaffleCone
Wed Jul 08, 2020 1:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: $20,000 solar investment in PA worth it?
Replies: 27
Views: 2106

Re: $20,000 solar investment in PA worth it?

How old is your furnace/AC unit? Switching to a heat pump with electric or gas backup is a pretty smart move in SE PA, especially if you have solar. We have hot water baseboard and radiant heat, not forced hot air. I don't think there are any good options for electric boilers to convert that over. ...
by WaffleCone
Wed Jul 08, 2020 10:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: $20,000 solar investment in PA worth it?
Replies: 27
Views: 2106

Re: $20,000 solar investment in PA worth it?

Looking again at numbers: A $19k investment at 5% return would make about $8,000 taxable over 15 years. If 25% federal/state taxes, net $6000 over 15 years. Assume this $19k solar panels won't return anything for the first 12 years (a LONG time) but after that it's offsetting $2000/year ($1680 tax f...
by WaffleCone
Wed Jul 08, 2020 9:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: $20,000 solar investment in PA worth it?
Replies: 27
Views: 2106

Re: $20,000 solar investment in PA worth it?

OP, since you are in PECO land, as I am, I've run similar numbers and don't consider it worth it at this time. From the environmental side of things, community or utility-scale solar is where the large gains are, not every house having difficult to maintain and inefficient panels. From the money si...
by WaffleCone
Tue Jul 07, 2020 6:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: $20,000 solar investment in PA worth it?
Replies: 27
Views: 2106

$20,000 solar investment in PA worth it?

The numbers: Pay $1,680/year for electricity. $0.129/kWh , 13,000 kWh annually. A 12.92kW solar system @ $1.99/watt = ~ $19,000 net cost after tax credit . PA solar recs are $20 / mwh. Estimate 1 per month, $240/year earned from SRECs. PECO utility is net-metering. System will generate all of my ele...
by WaffleCone
Sat May 09, 2020 2:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rocks or Mulch?
Replies: 37
Views: 2205

Re: Rocks or Mulch?

Thanks for providing the picture, explains a lot. First off, landscape fabric is a terrible idea on a slope this steep. If you put mulch on top of it, it will quickly find its way down to the bottom by existing bushes. Plus, the wind will blow it around since it cannot stick to the ground due to be...
by WaffleCone
Fri May 08, 2020 10:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: K-8 Online Learning - Use an online charter school next year?
Replies: 9
Views: 520

K-8 Online Learning - Use an online charter school next year?

We have 4 kids in private (parochial) school who are doing online classes due to CV19. We were very happy with the school but not so much with online learning. The teachers are doing their best but the amount of learning and effectiveness of instruction has really dropped off. The public school dist...
by WaffleCone
Fri May 08, 2020 10:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommendations for relatively cheap cell phones
Replies: 34
Views: 1860

Re: Recommendations for relatively cheap cell phones

We picked up a Moto z3 Play package for $160, including a case, an extra battery mod (mostly useless because the case doesn't fit around it), and free 3 months of Mint service (optional). It was intended to be a temporary phone as we waited for better prices on the higher-end Samsungs but it was so ...
by WaffleCone
Thu Apr 23, 2020 3:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which new kid's bike to buy online?
Replies: 42
Views: 2065

Re: Which new kid's bike to buy online?

Thanks. Lots of good info here to digest. The issues with the big-box bikes are beyond "bad assembly". One bike uses primarily plastic pedals which have split or broken completely. Another has handlebars that won't stay tight no matter how much the head-nut is tightened. The handle brakes ...
by WaffleCone
Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which new kid's bike to buy online?
Replies: 42
Views: 2065

Which new kid's bike to buy online?

My two oldest boys, ages 9 and 10, are in dire need of new bikes. In the past we bought $100-150 bikes from Walmart and Target, or found one in good condition on CL. They have all been junk and ready for the trash after a season. Things like pedals breaking, brake cables pulling out, handlebars that...
by WaffleCone
Thu Mar 05, 2020 2:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Received bill from sub-contractor after paying general contractor in full
Replies: 17
Views: 4045

Re: Received bill from sub-contractor after paying general contractor in full

Reviving an old issue as it turns out not to be resolved. Long story short... HVAC guy is due $1000. I talked with GC and it seems legit, and we each agreed to pay half. It was really the HVAC guy's error in that he split the bill in some arbitrary way between GC and myself, and never sent my portio...
by WaffleCone
Fri Jan 31, 2020 1:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA overlap due to FSA carryover
Replies: 11
Views: 857

Re: HSA overlap due to FSA carryover

[quote="Spirit Rider" post_id=4987967 . The last-month rule will allow me to keep my full 2020 contribution. If I go non-HDHP, then I'll have to request back excess contributions and pay the tax (but no penalty) on my 2020 return. Does that sound right? No and this is very important. In t...
by WaffleCone
Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA overlap due to FSA carryover
Replies: 11
Views: 857

Re: HSA overlap due to FSA carryover

HSA eligibility is pro-rated monthly, but only affects your yearly contribution limit. There is nothing preventing you or your employer from making contributions before 4/1. However, if your total employee + employer contributions are > your pro-rated contribution. You are automatically deemed to h...
by WaffleCone
Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA overlap due to FSA carryover
Replies: 11
Views: 857

HSA overlap due to FSA carryover

I have $300 remaining in my FSA from a 2019 carryover. However, I began contributing to an HSA on Jan 1 and my employer already contributed $1000. Based on what I've read I'm "disqualified" from an HSA until April 1, the first month after my FSA carryover ends. Even if I spend it down earl...
by WaffleCone
Mon Nov 18, 2019 6:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quick analysis: PPO vs HDHP health care
Replies: 3
Views: 409

Re: Quick analysis: PPO vs HDHP health care

Are there any other wrinkles where one plan has better coverage in an area like ER visits? You describe the PPO has having a $250 deductible. Isn't it $500 for your family, not $250 which is for an individual? If not, then you are right, the HDHP option seems better. You should keep in mind that, e...
by WaffleCone
Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quick analysis: PPO vs HDHP health care
Replies: 3
Views: 409

Quick analysis: PPO vs HDHP health care

Family of 6. 4 kids ages 10 and under. Everyone in good health with a few monthly generics. Next year my wife will be getting outpatient surgery with a few specialist follow-ups. Our PPO cost is going up $1000 next year and looking at HDHP for the first time. There is some debate among colleagues wh...
by WaffleCone
Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Received bill from sub-contractor after paying general contractor in full
Replies: 17
Views: 4045

Re: Received bill from sub-contractor after paying general contractor in full

I don't have a written contract with sub. Any change orders with the GC were verbally agreed on despite the signed contract saying they needed to be in writing. This hasn't been an issue with this GC in the past. The original contract plus the extras (hvac and otherwise) were all paid, but the amoun...
by WaffleCone
Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Received bill from sub-contractor after paying general contractor in full
Replies: 17
Views: 4045

Received bill from sub-contractor after paying general contractor in full

I can't believe I'm in this predicament! Getting a signed letter absolving me of future claims was on my list but I was so happy to finish the project I just wrote the final check. I didn't want to hold up payment with a "formality". It was late on a Friday when the GC completed the punch ...
by WaffleCone
Fri Oct 11, 2019 12:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cold feet - Radiant subfloor heating question
Replies: 26
Views: 2714

Re: Cold feet - Radiant subfloor heating question

I don't think radiant would be practical in your case. If you already had a boiler and were adding to an existing zone it might be worth talking about. With forced hot air you have all the hydronic boiler mechanicals that need to be installed-- mixing valves, zoning, pumps, etc. and that's before an...
by WaffleCone
Mon Sep 30, 2019 3:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sound"proofing" basement -- what about hvac ducts?
Replies: 9
Views: 1399

Re: Sound"proofing" basement -- what about hvac ducts?

Similar flooring situation in my house. We did a layer of soundboard with 5/8" drywall and fiberglass in the ceiling. It's good for the amount spent. You can't hear normal walking or talking or TV but if the kids are running/jumping upstairs it still comes through. As as we added softer sound a...
by WaffleCone
Tue Sep 24, 2019 4:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Stump Grinder - Ridiculous Side Hustle??
Replies: 51
Views: 8262

Re: Stump Grinder - Ridiculous Side Hustle??

There are a few stump removers around my area. They charge roughly $100/stump with a discount if they're small or you get more than a few done. Generally the guy drives around doing estimates and then shows up to run the equipment with a laborer to level and load the grindings. In the end I don't th...
by WaffleCone
Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Buying 1/2 pint milk in bulk for school lunches?]
Replies: 68
Views: 6047

Re: Buying 1/2 pint drinks in bulk for lunches?

I found some on Amazon after four seconds of searching. https://www.amazon.com/Horizon-Organic-8-Ounce-Aseptic-Cartons/dp/B000LKVB52 I don't want to get into a milk debate. This is ultra-pasteurized milk that doesn't need refrigeration and has a slightly different taste and texture than traditional...
by WaffleCone
Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Buying 1/2 pint milk in bulk for school lunches?]
Replies: 68
Views: 6047

[Buying 1/2 pint milk in bulk for school lunches?]

Why do retailers not sell 1/2 pint milks in quantity? All the other junk drinks are available but no milk. We just got hit with the first week of school lunch expenses: $55 for 2 elementary aged kids. Normally they pack but the first week is crazy and we hadn't set up restrictions on their accounts ...
by WaffleCone
Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Neighbor's FIOS cable running over my yard
Replies: 52
Views: 10811

Re: Neighbor's FIOS cable running over my yard

I'm pretty sure there's no easement there but it's not worth getting a lawyer involved. I'll start by calling VZ again and let them know I am not satisfied with their "repair". I think it's since dropped and is even lower now than before. 50 minutes on hold just to talk to a rep, and then ...
by WaffleCone
Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Neighbor's FIOS cable running over my yard
Replies: 52
Views: 10811

Neighbor's FIOS cable running over my yard

Our neighbor's FIOS wire from the pole to their house runs over my yard. Due to the landscape it runs lower than I'd like, 10ft or possibly lower. It was in the way trying to get a truck into the back yard. Verizon says: it is where it is. It can't be raised or moved. I don't understand why they can...
by WaffleCone
Thu May 09, 2019 4:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacement Window shopping advice
Replies: 20
Views: 2145

Re: Replacement Window shopping advice

I would rather have cheap windows that have been properly installed than expensive windows not installed correctly. -- square to frame, level, properly caulked, spray foam/insulation at sill and trim area. Many drafts occur not from the window or even the install, but that gap at the frame to the f...
by WaffleCone
Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Basement water issues
Replies: 37
Views: 3694

Re: Basement water issues

I'm by no means an expert in this area but have wrestled with water problems on several houses. First I'll say that it's unfortunate your basement was recently finished by a flipper. It'll be difficult to investigate anything thoroughly and I suspect other shortcuts or mistakes were made. Not as ste...
by WaffleCone
Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can we afford this house ?
Replies: 20
Views: 2222

Re: Can we afford this house ?

Nothing wrong with a 30-year mortgage. I have young kids and understand the desire to get a nice family home now and pay it off over the long haul. It's not evil American consumerism. You just need to make sure you get something you CAN afford. I agree with all the others that $2700/month is WAY TOO...
by WaffleCone
Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ingenious Way To Find Reasonably Priced Painter
Replies: 57
Views: 7890

Re: Ingenious Way To Find Reasonably Priced Painter

Go to your local Sherwin Williams store and ask about paint contractors that buy their paint there.You can gleam some good intel there like if the painter is a drunk - like half of them are.Also you can find out the price of the contractor paint.I believe they get about 10% discount. +1. Normally I...
by WaffleCone
Sat Mar 02, 2019 8:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sellers beware on eBay.
Replies: 92
Views: 9579

Re: Sellers beware on eBay.

This was all covered in the ebay user agreement. You read that thing cover to cover, right? :D https://www.ebay.com/help/policies/member-behaviour-policies/user-agreement?id=4259 11. Holds To protect eBay from risk of liability for your actions as a seller, eBay has at times recommended, and may co...
by WaffleCone
Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ground level windows: Laminated or Tempered Glass?
Replies: 2
Views: 468

Ground level windows: Laminated or Tempered Glass?

We are selecting some lower level bedroom windows and aren't sure if we should upgrade to laminated glass. Tempered glass is required at a minimum, as it's stronger than plate glass and breaks in small pieces. Laminated is even stronger, you might have to hit it with a bat several times to get throu...
by WaffleCone
Thu Dec 27, 2018 11:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Life Insurance - Is this too much?
Replies: 22
Views: 1979

Re: Life Insurance - Is this too much?

The work policy is not apples-to-apples with my personal policy. My company subsidizes part of the $700k but the cost goes up with age. It's also not guaranteed, as some people discovered last year when the company switched providers and they could not re-qualify. For the people who say my cost is h...
by WaffleCone
Thu Dec 27, 2018 10:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Life Insurance - Is this too much?
Replies: 22
Views: 1979

Re: Life Insurance - Is this too much?

Looking at term4sale, our prices are better than if we got 25 year policies to replace the ones we have now. This makes sense. Switching to 20 year policies is about $400/yr less for both. A+ rated companies. Is this a good check or should I be getting estimates? Having LI until I'm 70 is probably o...
by WaffleCone
Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Life Insurance - Is this too much?
Replies: 22
Views: 1979

Life Insurance - Is this too much?

5 years into a 30 year term life policy. My age 44, wife age 41, both good health. I am an engineer and she is a SAHM. We have 4 kids ages 4-10. My policy - $1500/yr - $1M coverage Her policy - $525/yr - $500K On top of that we have coverage from my employer. Total cost is $450/year for coverage of ...
by WaffleCone
Sun Dec 23, 2018 10:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Heating Advice
Replies: 72
Views: 6568

Re: Home Heating Advice

Home will be located in northeast Ohio. Google tells me the following: electric $/kWh = 5.36¢/kWh (local pricing) I'm pretty sure that's not your full rate, it's more likely double that. OH has electric choice and .0536 looks like your generation charge. You have to add transmission and distributio...
by WaffleCone
Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Favorite Purchase of 2018?
Replies: 265
Views: 24421

Re: Favorite Purchase of 2018?

'18 Chevy Volt, though leased not purchased. (Yes I know they're going to stop making them.) It just might be the best commuter car ever: quiet, drives well, super cheap to operate, good for the environment. Gas savings and incentives cover the majority of the cost of my three-year lease. +1. Upgra...
by WaffleCone
Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Saving on Home Improvement Repairs
Replies: 29
Views: 1984

Re: Saving on Home Improvement Repairs

For example, I need to install some gutter drainage around the house. Do something low risk first. If you're not used to working on ladders, don't let gutters or roofing be your first project. Personally, I'd avoid them altogether. Gutters aren't cheap but they go in quickly. Pros can keep them sea...
by WaffleCone
Wed Dec 19, 2018 12:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kid schooling - not learning much academically. Looking for suggestions.
Replies: 112
Views: 6977

Re: Kid schooling - not learning much academically. Looking for suggestions.

I have 4 kids in Catholic elementary school. The teacher may only measure them for counting 1-10 but they're probably singing songs where they count to 100, by 10's, 2's, etc. Like others have said, PK and K are more of a structured social space preparing them with the basics of how to be successful...
by WaffleCone
Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Quebec City Winter Carnival with Kids? Or something else?
Replies: 7
Views: 651

Quebec City Winter Carnival with Kids? Or something else?

We're thinking of taking a road trip from PA to QC for the Winter Carnival, stopping overnight in upstate NY each way to break up the drive. Four kids, ages 4-10, would be on their first trip out of the country, first time hearing a language other than English spoken as primary, and get to experienc...
by WaffleCone
Sat Nov 03, 2018 7:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which Prius or something else?
Replies: 25
Views: 2057

Re: Which Prius or something else?

So after a lot of waffling it looks like I am going to buy a new car. I was in a similar situation and ended up with a Chevy Volt. I see a lot of them at the office charging and test drove one one a whim. The quiet drive and smooth acceleration blew me away. I had mine for a month and got 1800 mile...
by WaffleCone
Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?
Replies: 78
Views: 9122

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

The current warranty is 1-yr. What is reasonable for an extended warranty and discount if we go this route? I don't think you're entitled to either. You contracted for a kitchen to be installed in a professional manner free of leaks and defects for 1 year for $X. Caulk is a perfectly acceptable sea...