Search found 154 matches

by thomase
Sun Oct 20, 2019 3:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: SAT/ACT prep courses worth the money?
Replies: 47
Views: 3312

Re: SAT/ACT prep courses worth the money?

I went through this twice recently myself with my two kids. Neither took prep courses, but we did get them SAT/ACT prep books. Both scored near perfect scores on SAT/ACT. From discussing about their school friends and my co-workers, the prep courses make a difference if the student scores low or mid...
by thomase
Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should i disclose my liability insurance policy limits?
Replies: 20
Views: 2832

Re: Should i disclose my liability insurance policy limits?

I would say no to disclosing your limits, there's no advantage for you to do so. I had a similar situation to you, my insurance was Geico. They would not advise me on whether to disclose or not. But when questioned they did say it is not a legal obligation to disclose, so I said no.
by thomase
Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My Cost of Progressive Lenses/glasses - did I pay too much?
Replies: 69
Views: 4985

Re: My Cost of Progressive Lenses/glasses - did I pay too much?

I recently hit the age where reading was getting difficult and needed to my first pair of progressives. I got them from Zenni for around $80 (was >$100 but had 20% Memorial day discount), and I'm very happy with the quality. Being my first pair of progressives, it took me a couple days to get use to...
by thomase
Thu Apr 18, 2019 1:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: College admission inputs - Purdue vs local SJSU vs others
Replies: 58
Views: 3856

Re: College admission inputs - Purdue vs local SJSU vs others

SJSU is fine, I've worked in tech for decades, he won't have a problem getting a job. Admittedly I have a UC bias since I'm a UCD alumni and a UCLA parent, I would SIR to SJSU, and forgo the deposit if he were to get into UCSD or UCSC. Either UC's would be 30-32K per year all in.
by thomase
Fri Feb 08, 2019 7:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Auto Battery Prices
Replies: 40
Views: 3974

Re: Auto Battery Prices

I use to have the Walmart EverStart Maxx in all my vehicles. They all would last 8-10 years. The local Walmart shut down, I started buying batteries at Costco, 4 in fact in the last year (3 vehicles + 1 RV deep cycle). The Costco batteries work great, and a little less (all batteries were around $80...
by thomase
Wed Feb 06, 2019 3:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any major differences between the cordless water flosser and the ones that sits on counter?
Replies: 7
Views: 635

Re: Any major differences between the cordless water flosser and the ones that sits on counter?

I have both, the cordless one is much lower pressure, and the water reservoir is too small. Also as with many rechargeable devices the battery kind of died out after a while and won't hold a charge. I would stick with the plug in counter one.
by thomase
Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Southern California Vacation Questions
Replies: 39
Views: 2323

Re: Southern California Vacation Questions

Howdy, I've visited UCLA multiple times the past couple years due to my kid being a student there. Definitely skip Hollywood walk of fame/Grauman's Chinese theater. Recommend going to California science center and see the space shuttle there. While there, might as well walk across to street and visi...
by thomase
Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can you suggest where to live if work at UCLA
Replies: 40
Views: 3644

Re: Can you suggest where to live if work at UCLA

I've stayed at airbnb places between Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevard, just south of campus past Westwood village. There's lots of rental places there and it's not too far to walk onto campus. Probably more units and cheaper than Westwood village.
by thomase
Mon Oct 29, 2018 6:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tire rotation - low mileage car
Replies: 36
Views: 2098

Re: Tire rotation - low mileage car

I rotate once per year so the front and rear tires all wear evenly and wear out at the same time, I like to buy all 4 new tires when it's time for replacement. I just do it myself on the driveway, takes less than 15 minutes.
by thomase
Mon Oct 29, 2018 3:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much does a car need to be driven?
Replies: 43
Views: 3817

Re: How much does a car need to be driven?

Your short drives every other week isn't enough to charge up the battery. There are small loads on the battery that can drain the battery over time, i.e. keeping the memory of various electronic gadgets and security devices. Whenever I'm not driving my car for a week or more, I put a battery tender ...
by thomase
Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Grand Canyon (LV) - is $80 ticket price for Sky Walk worth it
Replies: 14
Views: 1472

Re: Grand Canyon (LV) - is $80 ticket price for Sky Walk worth it

Sounds like this may be your first time at the Grand Canyon, you should go to the south rim as it has the most facilities, plenty of trails, and great views. My only other suggestion is to check the weather before you go, it can get surprisingly cold in the winter. I went camping at the south rim in...
by thomase
Tue Oct 09, 2018 5:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: comparing cell phones Moto X, Samsung Galaxy J3 and Moto G6
Replies: 15
Views: 1183

Re: comparing cell phones Moto X, Samsung Galaxy J3 and Moto G6

I went from a Moto X gen2 (2014) to Moto G5+, and the G5+ out performs the 2014 flagship phone with the apps I most commonly use (youtube, reading the news, navigation, etc... no games though). I wouldn't hesitate to get the G6 if I needed a phone now. My local Costco had them in the warehouse, the ...
by thomase
Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Testing used cell phone purchase for CDMA & GSM
Replies: 9
Views: 682

Re: Testing used cell phone purchase for CDMA & GSM

I can echo what mmmodem, although Verizon is a CDMA network, all Verizon marked phones will be GSM unlocked as well. In case you're looking for a place to purchase, I've bought many used phones off Swappa, and so far all have been as advertised with respect to function and condition. You can also se...
by thomase
Fri Sep 28, 2018 6:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco vision / first time at Costco
Replies: 21
Views: 2490

Re: Costco vision

In the past I've gotten a couple of eye exams and glasses at Costco. I don't believe the optometrist works for Costco, they are just renting a space from Costco to do the exams and write prescriptions. Costco runs the frame/lenses/fitting fulfillment. I thought the optometrist there was mediocre, an...
by thomase
Sat Aug 11, 2018 4:17 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: CA resident 529
Replies: 17
Views: 2580

Re: CA resident 529

Abk911 wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:40 pm
so... if i want vanguard, i just cant do CA? or now do they have any CA plan?
That's correct, if you want the Vanguard 529 it won't be California. Also the California Scholarshare program does not have Vanguard fund choices, unlike some other state plans.
by thomase
Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:53 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: CA resident 529
Replies: 17
Views: 2580

Re: CA resident 529

I'm a long time California resident and have accounts with California Scholarshare program aka state sponsored 529 plan. It doesn't matter which state plan you choose, California does not offer a tax deduction for 529 contribution. You just choose the plan that has the choices you want or is conveni...
by thomase
Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can I afford private high school?
Replies: 20
Views: 1783

Re: Can I afford private high school?

Can your child attend Lowell high school? I grew up in SF and attended, it's a great school. $40K sounds like a lot for high school, that exceeds what I'm paying for my kid at UCLA.
by thomase
Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone Tried Costco Travel Packages?
Replies: 43
Views: 6872

Re: Anyone Tried Costco Travel Packages?

We just got back from a one week Maui trip through Costco travel, which included airfare, car rental, hotel/resort. I did a little research and could not piece it together separately for less. I could only get it less by getting a cheaper airbnb place to stay at. And that's not even counting the 2% ...
by thomase
Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:26 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: California 529 plan
Replies: 7
Views: 1887

Re: California 529 plan

It's worth it in my mind because you don't pay any state or federal tax on the gains, which were quite substantial in my case since I started the California 529 plan pretty much when my kids were born. The forgiveness/financial aid qualification does not enter into the equation for us since I would ...
by thomase
Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: UTMA transfer
Replies: 11
Views: 1046

Re: UTMA transfer

You have to remember that the money in the UTMA account belongs to the child, not to you. So if you are transferring any of that to you, then you are taking your child's money, and it would be a "gift" (I wouldn't go as far as saying it's theft). I sort of had to do something similar, I had establis...
by thomase
Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 1993 Honda Accord Axle boot: premature failure need a remedy.
Replies: 28
Views: 5057

Re: 1993 Honda Accord Axel boot: premature failure need a remedy.

A few years ago, on my '97 Accord, both axle CV boots split open within a year of each other, likely due to aging of the boot. I replaced both axles myself with new Cardone axles I bought off ebay for $70 a piece. I've also read that you could periodically spray the boots with 303 Aerospace protecta...
by thomase
Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: GEICO Windshield Repair and Waive of Deductible
Replies: 27
Views: 21117

Re: GEICO Windshield Repair and Waive of Deductible

I have Geico insurance and had to repair a small chip a number of years ago, and there was no charge for this. After I called Geico, they scheduled a windshield repair person to come to my house to do the fix. The repairman drilled out the ends of the crack to prevent it from spreading and injected ...
by thomase
Fri Jan 15, 2016 4:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hand me down I-Phone..what can I do with it??
Replies: 31
Views: 3148

Re: Hand me down I-Phone..what can I do with it??

Tracfone has a "bring your own phone" BYOP program for both 3G and 4G phones. You don't say what iPhone you have, but I've had both iPhone 4s & 6 on Tracfone. So you could use the iPhone instead of your current one.
by thomase
Wed Oct 28, 2015 2:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Steel vs Fiberglass [entry door] - which is stronger?
Replies: 35
Views: 6676

Re: Steel vs Fiberglass [entry door] - which is stronger?

I appreciate everyone's comments and suggestions and learned something interesting along the way about ships? Hmmm? Thank you everyone! If you're ever in northern California, check out Seacliff state beach. There's a concrete ship at the end of the pier, I've been there several times. There's a sma...
by thomase
Mon May 25, 2015 7:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do-it-yourself handy person: How did you learn?
Replies: 41
Views: 7107

Re: Do-it-yourself handy person: How did you learn?

For things like landscaping, irrigation systems, deck building, concrete, mainly books from the library. For car repairs, I learned a lot from reading online forums for the specific model of car. Also youtube is really useful for specific repairs, that's how I learned to diagnose and fix things like...
by thomase
Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Car Tires from Discount Tire
Replies: 23
Views: 9891

Re: New Car Tires from Discount Tire

I never purchase those replacement warranties/insurance. Been driving for over 30 years, and sure I've gotten flats but they've all been patchable, which Discount tire will do for free. If I ever get an unrepairable flat, then I'll just pay out of pocket.
by thomase
Sat Mar 21, 2015 2:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Whats a good Pistol to buy?
Replies: 112
Views: 16648

Re: Whats a good Pistol to buy?

You'll have to decide revolver or semi-auto. For the two cartridges you listed, a 38spl is going to be a revolver, and 40SW is a semi-auto. But as I recommend to anyone who asks, if you could only have one handgun, I say get a 4-inch 357mag, like a Smith & Wesson 686 or a Ruger GP100, either of whic...
by thomase
Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco Vacation Packages
Replies: 30
Views: 13459

Re: Costco Vacation Packages

I used Costco several years ago to book a specific condo + car rental package on the big island of Hawaii. They were several hundred dollars less than I found anywhere else.
by thomase
Fri Jan 09, 2015 12:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Emergency Road Service..........
Replies: 36
Views: 5167

Re: Emergency Road Service..........

I had AAA probably for over 20 years but my wife only used them once for a lockout in all that time. I cancelled it a few years ago since I really never used it. I wish there was some universal number you could call when towing was needed, don't have a problem paying for that service but without som...
by thomase
Wed Dec 24, 2014 4:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Santa Cruz 1 day, Monterey 2 days with young kids
Replies: 15
Views: 1920

Re: Santa Cruz 1 day, Monterey 2 days with young kids

When my kids were that age, they enjoyed going to Santa Cruz beach boardwalk, plenty of kiddie rides for them. Natural Bridges state beach is also nice with some tide pool areas if you want to see anemones, hermit crabs, etc... That state park also has a monarch butterfly resting area where thousand...
by thomase
Tue Nov 04, 2014 2:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is this $20 pre paid phone from Amazon a good deal?
Replies: 13
Views: 1806

Re: Is this $20 pre paid phone from Amazon a good deal?

There's no catch. It's just that particular phone is a very low end smart phone but if you're only using it for emergency calls it doesn't matter. I have 4 phones on Tracfone, 2 Tracfone branded Samsung Galaxy Centuras, and two iPhone 4s, and they all work fine. All smartphones on Tracfone will be o...
by thomase
Fri Oct 24, 2014 2:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Electronic lock experiences
Replies: 15
Views: 3042

Re: Electronic lock experiences

I have a different model Schlage BE365 V CAM 505 Camelot Keypad Deadbolt that is on the original 9v battery. I must have installed it 5-6 years ago so the battery life is great, it gets used several times a day. Mine is different in that the lock does not electrically retract the dead bolt, it just ...
by thomase
Sun Oct 12, 2014 3:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best solution for clouded auto headlight lens?
Replies: 31
Views: 8180

Re: Best solution for clouded auto headlight lens?

I use regular auto paint polishing compound and/or cleaning wax once a year. Apply it with a 6" palm polisher, only takes about 10 minutes to do both headlights.
by thomase
Sat Oct 04, 2014 3:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Repair Van or buy new Van/SUV?
Replies: 20
Views: 2412

Re: Repair Van or buy new Van/SUV?

Axle replacement is not a big deal, I would get the van repaired rather than buying a new vehicle just because of that. My '97 Accord driver side CV split earlier this year and I replaced it myself with a new axle that cost < $60. Unfortunately this week I saw the passenger side axle has the same sp...
by thomase
Wed Jul 30, 2014 3:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How does car trade-in work?
Replies: 71
Views: 7017

Re: How does car trade-in work?

Don't know how well they work but there is such a thing as a retrofit seat heater kit.
by thomase
Sat Mar 22, 2014 2:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rule of thumb for replacing a used car?
Replies: 27
Views: 2897

Re: Rule of thumb for replacing a used car?

I think you should spend the $800 for repairs and keep driving it. Even if it lasts one more year that would be worth it, and it sounds like it should last longer since it's shown a reliable history. I have the same generation Accord, but 1997 model year, and would be very disappointed if it doesn't...
by thomase
Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cancel Verizon cellular ($100/mo) for PagePlus resllers?
Replies: 60
Views: 6165

Re: Cancel Verizon cellular ($100/mo) for PagePlus resllers?

In this case, there is no catch, the Page Plus plans are well documented on their web site. I know tons of people that start off with a $100+ contract phone on AT&T or Verizon, and even though they've fulfilled the 2 year term, they are complacent and continue paying that high monthly price. I have ...
by thomase
Sat Feb 22, 2014 4:08 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Reporter doing story on Alternative Minimum Tax
Replies: 21
Views: 2183

Re: Reporter doing story on Alternative Minimum Tax

I realized I totally spaced and forgot to list my home property taxes on my return last year (turbotax). Then when I went and entered the info in turbotax, I was surprised when I watched all the numbers change but the bottom line was the same. My base tax dropped by $1100 but the AMT increased by t...
by thomase
Sat Feb 22, 2014 3:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Inexpensive cell phone- Verizon
Replies: 45
Views: 5143

Re: Inexpensive cell phone- Verizon

Nonnie, I have both page plus (for an iphone 4s) and tracfone (for 1 feature aka dumb phone AT&T network, 2 smart phones Verizon network). Based on your limited usage tracfone would be the better deal. Tracfone uses both AT&T and Verizon network. However you can indirectly choose which network you g...
by thomase
Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: VZW Customers Check Out New Plans
Replies: 24
Views: 3575

Re: VZW Customers Check Out New Plans

Page Plus is still a lot cheaper. I got a used iphone 4s from ebay and activated it the page plus $29.95 plan for one of my kids. Actually the plan is <$28 because there are websites you can get the refill pin even cheaper. Only disadvantage is if you require 4G, as they only allow 3G.
by thomase
Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gopher Madness
Replies: 71
Views: 5366

Re: Gopher Madness

I've had very good luck with Cinch brand gopher traps. You have to keep an eye on fresh holes, once you see one you immediately open it up with a trowel and insert the trap. The gopher will naturally want to block the opening again and will get caught. I've always caught the gopher in less than 24 h...
by thomase
Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you filter your water?
Replies: 77
Views: 6105

Re: How do you filter your water?

No filter here, all tap water tastes fine to me. I've drank some pretty green water while backpacking, and having to use iodine or chlorine dioxide purification tablets makes any municipal tap taste good.
by thomase
Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Channel Islands
Replies: 11
Views: 1555

Re: Channel Islands

I camped at Santa Cruz island last year. There are departures out of Oxnard and Ventura, I left out of Ventura. I highly recommend camping there overnight, there are enough trails and things to do for several days. Even though it's advertised as a "backpack" in campground, it's not the true backpack...
by thomase
Tue Dec 03, 2013 4:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Google Chromecast
Replies: 32
Views: 5064

Re: Google Chomecast

I just got one today from Amazon for $30, a black Friday special. So far I've casted Netflix and youtube from my android phone, as well as chrome browser on my computer, pretty amazing. Unfortunately it doesn't look like I can cast from my kindle fire, it looks like Amazon is going to come out with ...
by thomase
Thu Nov 28, 2013 4:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Eyeglass Lenses @ Costco
Replies: 36
Views: 23349

Re: Eyeglass Lenses @ Costco

I use to have Vision Service Plan insurance through work. At the time I believe the premium was $120 per year, and then with all the add-ons and costlier frames at the optometrist I was going to, I was paying out $300+ for a pair of glasses. The last few years, I've been doing the Costco eye exam (v...
by thomase
Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: prepaid Android phone
Replies: 9
Views: 2020

Re: prepaid Android phone

FinanceGeek wrote:Which wireless carrier do the Tracphone Android devices use?
The smart Tracfones use Verizon
by thomase
Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: prepaid Android phone
Replies: 9
Views: 2020

Re: prepaid Android phone

Jeff, thanks for the feedback. As with you I have a bunch of minutes, like over 1000, on the old dumb phone, it would be nice to get those minutes onto a new smartphone. Mainly will be using it for work email and directions etc. when traveling, so not expecting to have deal of data usage.
by thomase
Tue Oct 22, 2013 6:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: prepaid Android phone
Replies: 9
Views: 2020

prepaid Android phone

It looks like Tracfone has recently started offering two Android smartphones, a ZTE Valet and a Samsung Galaxy Centura, as part of its prepaid options. For those familiar with Tracfone, it works as before by purchasing time and units, except that it looks like minutes, texts, and data are counted se...
by thomase
Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car trade/fix opinion...
Replies: 27
Views: 2683

Re: Car trade/fix opinion...

Without debating whether the alternator and battery both need to be replaced, $1800 still sounds awful high to change those out plus replace the drive belts. I googled some remanufactured alternators for the 2001 7-series going for $250. I've replaced a couple batteries with the excellent Walmart Ma...
by thomase
Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The Uncruise to Alaska
Replies: 7
Views: 1864

Re: The Uncruise to Alaska

I've been to Alaska twice, once flying in and camping for two weeks, and once driving and camping for a month. I looked into traveling the marine highway system but was put off by the high prices and what you get. I agree a regular cruise would be a better value.