Search found 360 matches

by rayout
Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it still worth buying a house in a state with insane property taxes
Replies: 96
Views: 10050

Re: Is it still worth buying a house in a state with insane property taxes

High property taxes reduce home values and makes purchasing income properties more affordable. Makes cash flow properties more attractive. If you can swing the down payment and management issues for a duplex or 4 plex, I think that is the best route and the one I went down.
by rayout
Thu Dec 15, 2016 3:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Your fava 70% dark chocolate brand?
Replies: 40
Views: 3574

Re: Your fava 70% dark chocolate brand?

Walgreens house brand "Delish" Midnight Dark 70% is great. Higher cocoa butter usage for a creamier mouth feel and it tastes sweeter since it doesn't use as much cocoa solids which are more astringent.
by rayout
Wed Nov 02, 2016 12:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Car totalled - what next
Replies: 30
Views: 3922

Re: Car totalled - what next

Sorry you are getting low balled My 2005 Prius with 210k miles just got totalled when a driver hit it while it was parked. I just received my check for $5900 which included taxes which was quite a bit more than KBB for the car so I did not fight it. The at fault drivers insurer was Progressive. Not ...
by rayout
Wed Oct 26, 2016 1:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chocolate Recommendations
Replies: 64
Views: 5063

Re: Chocolate Recommendations

Delish 70% midnight dark

It is a walgreens house brand. Higher cocoa butter content than most for a smooth mouth feel.
by rayout
Wed Feb 17, 2016 4:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Applied for 100 jobs, no callbacks. What's up?
Replies: 103
Views: 11198

Re: Applied for 100 jobs, no callbacks. What's up?

The best route is to go through a recruiter. They get paid to find a good fit. That is how I found my latest position as a civil engineer. PM me your contact info and I can get you connected with a few that have reached out to me.

Make sure your linkedin page is public and up to date.
by rayout
Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you pay for exercise?
Replies: 222
Views: 19185

Re: Do you pay for exercise?

I prepaid $110 for a one year membership starting last August, mostly to try out power lifting before I bought a dedicated at home set. I went 2 to 3 times a week but the snow, cold and New Year Resolutionists have dampened my enthusiasm so I am mostly doing bodyweight training at home. I'll definit...
by rayout
Sat Dec 19, 2015 8:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Discounted REI gift card?
Replies: 9
Views: 1726

Re: Discounted REI gift card?

Here's a tracking website for discounted REI gift cards: http://www.giftcardwiki.com/giftcards/REI

Looks like the peak discount is around 11%.
by rayout
Wed Nov 04, 2015 11:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Whisky Recommendations
Replies: 109
Views: 13176

Re: Whisky Recommendations

It's been a while but I recall a pretty good flask of Old Grand-Dad purchased as a gag gift for a St Patty's day breakfast from my corner liquor store :P
by rayout
Sun Nov 01, 2015 3:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Oil change - Auto shop or DIY
Replies: 125
Views: 10895

Re: Oil change - Auto shop or DIY

I buy my own synthetic oil and oem filters and have a local shop do the change. $10 to $15 for labor. $5 for the filter and $15 or so for the oil (buy when it is on sale). I don't see much of a savings to diy.
by rayout
Sat Jul 04, 2015 9:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Eating Out
Replies: 57
Views: 8494

Re: Eating Out

Comes and goes in waves for me. I have some nice affordable authentic ethnic restaurants in my area so I have been partaking every other day. For the most part however I do better eating what I make at home - both financially and nutritionally. It does end up being one of my upper spending categorie...
by rayout
Sat Jun 27, 2015 9:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is your home owner insurance going up 27% this year?
Replies: 35
Views: 4750

Re: Is your home owner insurance going up 27% this year?

Shop around. I am paying $500 less now than when I first bought my house in 2011.
by rayout
Sat Jun 27, 2015 9:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need to dispose tube TV in Pennsylvania. Township won't pick up.
Replies: 37
Views: 7767

Re: Need to dispose tube TV in Pennsylvania. Township won't pick up.

Best Buy will take any tube TV/monitor 32" or less. They charge a disposal fee but it is rebated in the form of a gift card. You can rent a U-Haul truck for $20 plus mileage. EDIT: Nevermind, console TVs are excluded as others have noted however you may be able to call them to schedule a pick u...
by rayout
Thu May 21, 2015 10:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much would home insurance on a 650k house in Chicago cost?
Replies: 7
Views: 1020

Re: How much would home insurance on a 650k house in Chicago cost?

Get some quotes from insurers.

I am in the north suburbs and pay $1K/year on a home with reconstruction value of ~$500K.
by rayout
Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:44 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Rental property returns
Replies: 39
Views: 6687

Re: Rental property returns

My pro forma is 12-15% after accounting for everything you noted and excluding appreciation if managed by a property management company (apartments). I am looking for 15%+ if I manage it myself (duplexes). However I do not look at the single family market, I am looking purely for cash flow to maximi...
by rayout
Tue Mar 24, 2015 12:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fish from Costco?
Replies: 59
Views: 30306

Re: Fish from Costco?

Don't more oily and thus "fishier" fish have the most Omega-3 content? Most mild fish are going to be on the lower end of the Omega-3 content spectrum. Although I can understand not everyone enjoys pickeled herring/mackrel as much as I do :)
by rayout
Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Damage concrete sidewalk and driveway
Replies: 9
Views: 1903

Re: Damage concrete sidewalk and driveway

Civil engineer here. I get an error 404 when accessing drop box. Will need to review videos or photos to review the damage and give any suggestions.
by rayout
Sun Mar 15, 2015 9:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you still use currency or have you gone all-plastic?
Replies: 47
Views: 5887

Re: Do you still use currency or have you gone all-plastic?

I carry $40 of cash with me and a back up $20 in the car. 90% of the time I pay with a card, there are a few small businesses that I go to that do not accept plastic for anything more than $X so I pay cash there.
by rayout
Sun Mar 08, 2015 8:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home workouts and motivation
Replies: 60
Views: 5451

Re: Home workouts and motivation

I just have a basic routine of pull-ups (5 reps of 5, different grips positions), hangs, 50 squats, 50 push ups mixed with planks and other floor exercises that I try to do each day. Now that it is nice outside I will be adding some cardio work and long walks to build endurance for a mud run coming ...
by rayout
Sun Mar 08, 2015 3:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mango prepaid card - 4.8% (effective) APY
Replies: 556
Views: 314125

Re: MangoMoney account: 6% APY for Emergency Funds

I use it. Very easy to automate, I "direct deposit" $50 from my check account each month to qualify for the 6% rate.
by rayout
Sun Mar 08, 2015 11:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: High Cost of Fruits and Vegetables
Replies: 126
Views: 10603

Re: High Cost of Fruits and Vegetables

If your goal is to maximize nutrient intake, consider adding organ meats and home made broth, both of which have extremely high nutrient densities.
by rayout
Sat Mar 07, 2015 12:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: stress management tips?
Replies: 19
Views: 2627

Re: stress management tips?

1. Find what matters to you. Make time for it, schedule work around it, love it, enjoy it. 2. Get healthy. I do a quick bodyweight based workout each day, 50 push ups, 50 squats, 25 pull ups. Eat a clean diet. 3. Take some time to appreciate what you have and refocus on what your goals are. 4. Set r...
by rayout
Thu Mar 05, 2015 11:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you decide when to buy car?
Replies: 50
Views: 5654

Re: How do you decide when to buy car?

260K is pretty good. I bought my first car (1994 Civic) with 150K miles and it made it to 200K before I sold it with some nagging brake issues. I picked up a 2005 Prius with 155K miles to replace it. Put about 30K miles on it so far. Going to shoot for 250K before I change vehicles. I am not sure if...
by rayout
Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 1098-T Discrepancies?
Replies: 6
Views: 533

Re: 1098-T Discrepancies?

Did you mark the box that states the child can be claimed as a dependent on another form? This may have something to do with it. TaxAct indicated the issues was that the total qualified education expenses was 0 since the grants/scholarships exceeded the qualified education expenses. My thought is t...
by rayout
Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 1098-T Discrepancies?
Replies: 6
Views: 533

Re: 1098-T Discrepancies?

When you write "this year" I take that to mean 2015, so none of that is used for last year's tax return. There are many different kinds of education credits, so see Pub 970. If tuition is $20K per year and he paid only $10K in tuition last year and got $11K in tuition credits, then he did...
by rayout
Sun Mar 01, 2015 6:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 1098-T Discrepancies?
Replies: 6
Views: 533

1098-T Discrepancies?

I am assisting a family member with their income taxes for the first time this year. Tuition for each of his children is ~$20K per year. I understand he has paid ~$10K for each of his two children for college this year. Only ~10K was reported as qualified education expenses in the 1098 T. The 1098 T...
by rayout
Sun Mar 01, 2015 12:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Honda fit vs VW GTI
Replies: 54
Views: 11087

Re: Honda fit vs VW GTI

Have you taken a look at a Prius C? Seems like it might be a good fit. Last years or used models seems to be slightly discounted now as sellers are facing reduced demand due to the lower gas prices. I cannot complain about the reliability of my 2005 Prius. I bought with around 150K miles a couple ye...
by rayout
Sun Mar 01, 2015 12:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Favorite chocolate candy
Replies: 51
Views: 6072

Re: Favorite chocolate candy

Walgreens' house brand makes a very good dark chocolate bar. "Delish" Midnight Dark - 70% cacao. ~$2/3.5 oz bar.
by rayout
Sun Mar 01, 2015 10:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replace or repair dishwasher
Replies: 28
Views: 2849

Re: Replace or repair dishwasher

Before you go through any effort to replace the machine, first try adding borax to your load to help with the hard water. It's pretty cheap at my local Menards. My dishwasher cleans fine, but I do add it to my laundry: http://www.20muleteamlaundry.com/how-to ... detergent/
by rayout
Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone have one of those standing desks?
Replies: 45
Views: 5921

Re: Anyone have one of those standing desks?

I went with this: http://iamnotaprogrammer.com/Ikea-Stand ... llars.html

Same benefits as SwampDonkey noted. Love it.
by rayout
Sat Feb 21, 2015 8:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What % of your gross income do you spend on mortgage/rent?
Replies: 155
Views: 16983

Re: What % of your gross income do you spend on mortgage/ren

I guess you could say a little under 20% of gross but in reality my property is cash flow positive and the rental income more than covers the mortgage.
by rayout
Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What video games are you currently playing?
Replies: 220
Views: 22047

Re: What video games are you currently playing?

Shadowrun: Project Dragonfall is a tactical RPG with a gameplay system similar to the old isometric fallout games. Excellent storytelling and character development. I recommend it for those of you that enjoyed that game or Xcom.
by rayout
Sat Feb 07, 2015 8:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much was your Tax Refund (or amount DUE)
Replies: 110
Views: 11568

Re: How much was your Tax Refund (or amount DUE)

I will owe about $1K each to the feds and IL.
by rayout
Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA Bank or Health Savings Administrators?
Replies: 38
Views: 13228

Re: HSA Bank or Health Savings Administrators?

https://www.savedaily.com/partners/acu/ ... sp?Type=30

Alliant's HSA includes Vanguard funds...not sure what other fees are associated with it though. I bank at Alliant but my HSA is at HSAbank. I was not aware that Alliant offered investments as part of their HSA until I read this thread and dug deeper into what was offered.
by rayout
Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Finding a good realtor
Replies: 12
Views: 1167

Re: Finding a good realtor

Never found any value in a realtor. When I bought my home, I used a real estate lawyer who acted as my agent and refunded half his commission to me. I scheduled showings through the list agent. I was extremely happy with the experience. My "agent/lawyer" had no conflict of interest as he r...
by rayout
Fri Jan 23, 2015 8:30 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When/how to invest monthly savings into taxable?
Replies: 32
Views: 3809

Re: When/how to invest monthly savings into taxable?

I auto-transfer once a month. I set it up/adjust amounts at the beginning of each year.
by rayout
Thu Jan 15, 2015 12:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxact ultimate version $6 - DEAL OVER
Replies: 46
Views: 4289

Re: Taxact ultimate version $6

Many thanks!
by rayout
Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:07 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Don't Peek [at Your Portfolio Balance]
Replies: 33
Views: 4591

Re: Don't Peek [at Your Portfolio Balance]

I automated my investments so I don't have to bother checking. I check periodically still but really only take action at the start of the year once my IRA contribution hits.
by rayout
Fri Nov 14, 2014 1:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Your favorite classic toys for kids
Replies: 89
Views: 9363

Re: Your favorite classic toys for kids

Some fun board games. Not necessarily classics now but I think they will be:

Fun for all ages: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/40990/word-street

Transitions into a drinking game when the kids are in college (featured in the WSJ today): http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/327/loopin-louie

Another fun one - blow ships around a board with a turkey baster to collect gold: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2389 ... arze-pirat
by rayout
Thu Oct 16, 2014 8:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vegas Vacation!
Replies: 50
Views: 7283

Re: Vegas Vacation!

Worth checking out the pinball hall of fame: http://www.pinballmuseum.org/

All earnings are donated!
by rayout
Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cast Iron Skillet Cooking
Replies: 127
Views: 30645

Re: Cast Iron Skillet Cooking

http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/ ... cast-iron/

Interesting take on the matter. She also notes that lard used in the old days was from pastured pork and had higher quantities of ALA omega 3 fatty acids so lard from pastured pigs might be another option if you can get access to it and want to season your pan through cooking.
by rayout
Mon Sep 29, 2014 3:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How can I stop feeling depressed about my finances?
Replies: 130
Views: 19350

Re: How can I stop feeling depressed about my finances?

I felt the same way 6 years ago after I graduated making 50% less than my two good friends that went into IT while I instead worked for a small engineering firm. I focused on being the best employee I could be and worked as hard as possible to be better than my peers. I am now transitioning into a n...
by rayout
Sun Sep 21, 2014 10:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where to find historical race data for specific zip code?
Replies: 14
Views: 1870

Re: Where to find historical race data for specific zip code

Try city-data.com

Just checked and it had 2000 and 2009 race data for my town.
by rayout
Sat Sep 20, 2014 7:43 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help! Are we making a huge [career] mistake?
Replies: 46
Views: 8187

Re: Help! Are we making a huge mistake?

I recently made a similar decision on whether to leave my current firm for another and while the monetary compensation is orders of magnitude lower than your situation, I went with the new firm which offered the most personal and career growth.
by rayout
Fri Sep 19, 2014 6:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: We have a grocery problem... [Household budget]
Replies: 158
Views: 15957

Re: We have a grocery problem...

I also live in the Chicago suburbs and recently came to the conclusion that our grocery bills are WAY too high. We primarily shop at Marianos, which I guess would be considered kinda middle of the road in terms of price. As I started to analyze things, I realized that I need to shop a little bit sm...
by rayout
Fri Sep 19, 2014 6:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When did you feel "Out of the Woods"?
Replies: 42
Views: 6952

Re: When did you feel "Out of the Woods"?

Bought and moved into a duplex a couple of years ago that has sufficient cashflow that I could pretty much survive frugally (i.e. no eating out) and make the mortgage assuming I had full occupancy (two roommates + 1 tenant). Pretty comfortable after that but that has not stopped me from trying to ac...
by rayout
Mon Sep 15, 2014 12:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Am I in over my head?
Replies: 51
Views: 6113

Re: Am I in over my head?

My problem is there is nothing I really enjoy that could translate into a career. Most of my time is spent reading and playing on the computer but things like programming don't interest me. I'd like to answer this question better but I just can't find the right words for it. If you have enough of a...
by rayout
Thu Sep 11, 2014 9:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Electronic rent payments
Replies: 15
Views: 2062

Re: Electronic rent payments

Chase quick pay is what I use. Can be annoying to set up for those who do not bank with Chase. I have two roommates, one prefers to use Chase Quick Pay (he banks with a local credit union), the other prefers to pay by check.
by rayout
Fri Sep 05, 2014 5:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Issues with home inspector?
Replies: 24
Views: 1865

Re: Issues with home inspector?

I used an inspector that charged $100 more than typical. He was recommended by a real estate lawyer and was worth every penny. I probably spent close to $2,000 on various inspections of rental properties with him before I made purchase. He was extremely well versed on the construction methods of hom...
by rayout
Mon Aug 25, 2014 6:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgages and financial freedom
Replies: 111
Views: 9886

Re: Mortgages and financial freedom

My current residence is a duplex. I rent out the other side. I plan on paying off my mortgage at 3.625% as slowly as possible :)