Search found 597 matches

by dsmil
Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can solar be worth it??
Replies: 50
Views: 3901

Re: Can solar be worth it??

I'm considering solar panels and I do like that energysage website, but they are assuming 5.4% increases in electricity costs in Maryland. My proposed savings of $26k over 20 years, would go down to $16k, simply by assuming a 2.5% increase rate instead. I feel like this is more realistic considering...
by dsmil
Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 401k Loan Rate vs Investing
Replies: 23
Views: 661

Re: 401k Loan Rate vs Investing

The 5.5% doesn't matter much because you are just moving money from one account to another. I see the cost as the lost opportunity for gains (or losses) from your 401k by taking out the funds. I think the best thing to do is to borrow from your bond funds as much as possible. That may mean first buy...
by dsmil
Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How many hours do you work and what do you outsource
Replies: 88
Views: 7416

Re: How many hours do you work and what do you outsource

I work in accounting and I'm gone from 6:45-4:45 everyday. My wife is a stay at home mom, so that definitely makes things less hectic. We don't outsource anything, but we'll definitely look towards doing that if our money situation improves. First would be a cleaning service and next would be some h...
by dsmil
Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What frugal thing did you do today?
Replies: 651
Views: 65739

Re: What frugal thing did you do today?

I just got a Prius last month and am now being a crazy MPG person, by constantly looking at my MPG meter and not using the heat during my morning commute.
by dsmil
Thu Feb 07, 2019 9:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much do you keep in checking?
Replies: 135
Views: 10321

Re: How much do you keep in checking?

Enough to cover credit card balances. I basically don't include my checking account or credit card balances in my emergency fund because it's a wash.
by dsmil
Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Maryland 529 College Investment Plans
Replies: 28
Views: 3352

Re: Maryland 529 College Investment Plans

If you open an account in 2017 or later, you also might qualify (based on income) for a contribution by the state of $250 or $500 per account. We received $500 by the state into an account last year by simply contributing $25. If you do get a contribution from the state, you will not be able to dedu...
by dsmil
Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Did I do a terrible purchase on a used car?
Replies: 38
Views: 3931

Re: Did I do a terrible purchase on a used car?

I think it's a pretty fair price. I just bought a 2015 with 50k miles for $14k, and it was $1-2k less than most of the comps at local dealers.
by dsmil
Sat Jan 26, 2019 7:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you ever feel overpaid?
Replies: 72
Views: 4398

Re: Do you ever feel overpaid?

In public accounting at a large firm, I utilized more accounting knowledge and was challenged, but I was just an easily replaced number at the firm. In my current accounting position at a small real estate management company, I am paid significantly more and need only low level accounting knowledge....
by dsmil
Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cell Phone Plans - Question Re Best Plan for Combining Husband & Wife
Replies: 65
Views: 2657

Re: Cell Phone Plans - Question Re Best Plan for Combining Husband & Wife

+1 for Xfinity Mobile if you have have Xfinity internet. $12 per GB (and partial GB) plus a few dollars in fees...that's it. You'd be looking at around $55 per month.
by dsmil
Tue Jan 22, 2019 10:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: purchasing a home and wondering if we have a good deal
Replies: 15
Views: 1568

Re: purchasing a home and wondering if we have a good deal

It seems reasonable to me. I entered it into Aimloan.com and the only difference was that Aimloan's fee was $400 less.
by dsmil
Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: bathroom vent condensation moisture
Replies: 23
Views: 2235

Re: bathroom vent condensation moisture

Is it happening when it's raining outside and no one is using the bathroom? Maybe it's a leaky vent pipe.
by dsmil
Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone with experience with Carmax?
Replies: 74
Views: 23999

Re: Anyone with experience with Carmax?

We recently bought a vehicle with Carmax. The appeal of the no haggle pricing is lost a bit because in our recent experience, everyone is now posting their best price online and is not really willing to haggle. They need to put their best price out there so people are walking in the door. The appeal...
by dsmil
Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: John Bogle has died at age 89
Replies: 856
Views: 49418

Re: John Bogle is dead at 89

A visionary and unselfish to the core. RIP Jack
by dsmil
Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Funniest movies of all time? Name five of your favorites...
Replies: 220
Views: 31326

Re: Funniest movies of all time? Name five of your favorites...

Office Space
Superbad
The 40 Year Old Virgin
Meet the Parents
by dsmil
Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Leasing a car
Replies: 27
Views: 2781

Re: Leasing a car

The numbers just don't make sense for a lease, but if you can afford it and want the newest car, that's understandable. I just purchased a 2015 Prius for $14k that someone had leased for 3 years, and I could likely sell it for $8k after using it for 3 years (net cost $6k). A lease for new Prius woul...
by dsmil
Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: $70k Salary, how much Car can I afford? Recommendations?
Replies: 22
Views: 2735

Re: $70k Salary, how much Car can I afford? Recommendations?

If you drive a lot, you should also see what kind of gas savings you'd get from a Prius or other hybrid. I'm saving $100 per month in gas with a Prius, and that's even with low gas prices. It could make things more affordable for you.
by dsmil
Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does a PMI in lieu of 20% down ever make sense?
Replies: 48
Views: 2917

Re: Does a PMI in lieu of 20% down ever make sense?

It's fine if you don't have 20%. Low interest rates and PMI is still a fine deal. In a perfect world, we'd all have 20% to put down, but as long as your finances are in good shape and the housing payment makes sense in your budget, I wouldn't worry about it too much. I would avoid the FHA loan and d...
by dsmil
Wed Jan 02, 2019 9:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Movie Have You Recently Watched?
Replies: 4173
Views: 1112956

Re: What Movie Have You Recently Watched?

Roma (Netflix) - Yes, it was a picturesque and well-made film, but I didn't find the story very captivating. I think it's one of those films that the critics will enjoy more than the average audience. I had to watch it considering the hype, but I wouldn't really recommend it. Private Life (Netflix) ...
by dsmil
Wed Jan 02, 2019 9:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: new thinking under 2018 tax law?
Replies: 29
Views: 5228

Re: new thinking under 2018 tax law?

Our marginal rate goes up because we'll still itemize but will lose the personal exemptions. Therefore, I'm going to lean more on deductible contributions than I have in the past. Although our marginal rate goes up, our effective rate goes down due to the increase in the child tax credit.
by dsmil
Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any advice for buying a used car?
Replies: 79
Views: 3637

Re: Any advice for buying a used car?

I went shopping for a Toyota Highlander yesterday. The Toyota licensed dealers basically had their best prices posted online and wouldn't budge. They had primarily new or 1-3 year old used cars available, but nothing more than that. The prices on those were much higher than expected so it seemed poi...
by dsmil
Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you get a year end bonus?
Replies: 78
Views: 5330

Re: Do you get a year end bonus?

Yes, everyone at my company gets a bonus, whether you're the president or a maintenance worker. Mine has gone up $1k every year and is about 6% of my salary.
by dsmil
Fri Nov 30, 2018 12:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 Tax Law - Investment Strategy Changes
Replies: 1
Views: 323

2018 Tax Law - Investment Strategy Changes

Is anyone making any investment strategy changes due to a change in your tax situation as a result of the new tax law? Our taxable income and marginal tax bracket (15% to 22% federal) are going up as a result (although taxes owed will go down), because we lose the $16k of exemptions. I think that I ...
by dsmil
Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Restaurant Budget
Replies: 113
Views: 6783

Re: Restaurant Budget

$700 could be spent on drinks and expensive meals, and only replace 5 meals worth of grocery spending. $700 could conversely be spent on cheap lunches for you and your wife everyday, and cheap dinners on weekends, replacing 50 meals of grocery spending. I don't think that the amount of eating out sp...
by dsmil
Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.
Replies: 66
Views: 4037

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Our utility bill (gas/electric) averages $150 per month for a 1850 sq ft home (plus unfinished bsmt with one vent) in Maryland. We have gas furnace and water heater, and electric a/c and stove. We also constantly run a radon fan and a dehumidifier in the summer. Attic insulation is not good (R-12, s...
by dsmil
Tue Nov 27, 2018 3:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do value the cost of commuting?
Replies: 54
Views: 3542

Re: How do value the cost of commuting?

Don't do it. Enjoy your time with the family. There is a lot more to a job than a salary.
by dsmil
Mon Nov 26, 2018 1:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Robot Vacuum Cleaner?
Replies: 62
Views: 5045

Re: Robot Vacuum Cleaner?

I've been researching this today because my wife would like one. I've been looking at the eufy 30 for $200 on Ama zon as Wirecutter suggests (https://www.amazon.com/eufy-Upgraded-Super-Thin-Self-Charging-Medium-Pile/dp/B07D78Y5TN). We vacuum the house every 1-2 weeks with a nice Dyson vacuum and ha...
by dsmil
Mon Nov 26, 2018 11:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Robot Vacuum Cleaner?
Replies: 62
Views: 5045

Re: Robot Vacuum Cleaner?

I've been researching this today because my wife would like one. I've been looking at the eufy 30 for $200 on Amazon as Wirecutter suggests (https://www.amazon.com/eufy-Upgraded-Super-Thin-Self-Charging-Medium-Pile/dp/B07D78Y5TN). We vacuum the house every 1-2 weeks with a nice Dyson vacuum and have...
by dsmil
Wed Nov 21, 2018 9:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Xfinity Mobile
Replies: 25
Views: 1451

Re: Xfinity Mobile

Regarding the pricing, it's true that you don't tell them how many GB's you need. Of course if you use a ton of GB then the unlimited plan may be the way to go, rather than the $12 per month per GB. It looks like unlimited is $45 per line. The billing for us has been strange, because they never bill...
by dsmil
Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Gutter Guard?
Replies: 15
Views: 1233

Re: Best Gutter Guard?

Have you tried any DIY gutter cleaning methods? I purchased a huge extension pole and a gutter cleaning tool which grabs the leaves, and it has been a huge help. $90 could significantly help the situation... https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005IY6IE0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1 htt...
by dsmil
Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kevin O'Leary: owning a car is a terrible idea
Replies: 43
Views: 3411

Re: Kevin O'Leary: owning a car is a terrible idea

They are a terrible idea for his reasons. However he neglects the fact that in most cases an automobile is a net contributor to your income: that is, you often can't get to a job and make money without incurring transportation costs. You could live in the city and walk, however it is more likely yo...
by dsmil
Thu Oct 25, 2018 2:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Insignia TV Has Black Screen
Replies: 32
Views: 1681

Re: Insignia TV Has Black Screen

Have you tried using a different HDMI input?
by dsmil
Tue Oct 23, 2018 10:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: PSA: Don't buy a big house
Replies: 248
Views: 26238

Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Low ceilings have been great for our utility costs. I figured that our costs would go up after moving from a townhouse to a single family, but they've gone down, and I think that the low ceilings are a contributing factor. With an underground basement and 7.5 ft ceilings throughout, it really keeps ...
by dsmil
Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car servicing
Replies: 48
Views: 3593

Re: Car servicing

I like going to local mechanics, like a shop at a gas station. I've been using a couple of local mechanics for the past 5 years, and they've been very reasonable and only charge me for things that I need. The dealers and the big chains like Pep Boys have always found ways to charge me for unnecessar...
by dsmil
Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How Much Is Your Sewer Bill?
Replies: 78
Views: 4224

Re: How Much Is Your Sewer Bill?

In Maryland, we average $35 per month for our water/sewer bill, of which $10 is for some environmental/restoration fees. $3k gallons per month.
by dsmil
Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Offer 3.5% to entice buyers agent
Replies: 12
Views: 1522

Re: Offer 3.5% to entice buyers agent

I wouldn't pay more than 3%. Many buyers are finding the houses that they want to visit on their own anyway, using sites like Redfin and Zillow, so I don't think bumping up that commission would yield more interest. It sounds like you are leaning towards sale by owner, but don't assume that you woul...
by dsmil
Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 401K loan
Replies: 7
Views: 553

Re: 401K loan

Sounds like a reasonable plan to me, as long as your 401k loan interest rate is comparable to what you'd get elsewhere. I like the idea of borrowing from the bond allocation of the 401k because the potential lost market gains are smaller. If borrowing from stocks, you have the possibility of missing...
by dsmil
Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chipotle question
Replies: 73
Views: 4638

Re: Chipotle question

Bowl with a tortilla = maximum food
by dsmil
Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:07 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Fidelity Files for Four Fidelity ZERO℠ Funds (0.00% ER)
Replies: 798
Views: 82615

Re: Fidelity Files for two Fidelity ZERO℠ Funds (0.00% ER total stock and total international mutual funds)

I'm going to wait and see if Vanguard counters but what Fidelity is offering is very compelling. They are consistently beating Vanguard's Admiral Funds without any minimums! As someone who has some investor level funds, the savings will be even greater. https://www.fidelity.com/mutual-funds/investin...
by dsmil
Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Consistently over budget on food - what are you guys eating?
Replies: 70
Views: 6364

Re: Consistently over budget on food - what are you guys eating?

$700 per month for groceries plus eating out seems fine. Of course you could cut down on eating out or buy cheaper groceries, but I don't think your spending levels are something to be worried about. Some easy fixes that I can think of are buying store brand items, packing a lunch, buying less meat,...
by dsmil
Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dealing with HOA Notice
Replies: 118
Views: 10208

Re: Dealing with HOA Notice

My last townhouse had a HOA and they gave notices for violations but never followed up. I'm sure that each one is different.
by dsmil
Fri Jul 20, 2018 6:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Movies of 2017
Replies: 42
Views: 4751

Re: Best Movies of 2017

I admit to only seeing a handful of movies last year, but Get Out was awesome. I had no expectations going in and I can't remember being that into a movie in a long time.
by dsmil
Wed Jul 18, 2018 1:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Salary vs. Lifestyle
Replies: 142
Views: 18079

Re: Salary vs. Lifestyle

I think that I could definitely jump ship and make some more money, but making "enough" with little stress and good hours is good enough for me. With young kids, this is probably the time of my life where I'll have the least amount of free time, so I want to keep as much of it as I can. When I'm nea...
by dsmil
Wed Jul 18, 2018 1:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Xfinity Mobile
Replies: 134
Views: 19645

Re: Xfinity Mobile

We brought our phones over to Xfinity Mobile a few months ago and our bill is now less than half of what it was with Verizon. Not paying for line fees saves us $40 per month. We also pay a little less for data even though we are using more for some reason. We are supposed to pay $12 per GB but Xfini...
by dsmil
Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Flaunt Your High-Mileage Car
Replies: 433
Views: 58327

Re: Flaunt Your High-Mileage Car

We're using 3 old cars between the 2 of us:

'97 Acura Integra - 170k
'00 Toyota Rav4 - 180k
'01 Toyota Rav4 - 150k

The Integra has had by far the most problems, but it's my high school car and I just can't give it up!
by dsmil
Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: College savings plans - Roth vs. 529
Replies: 32
Views: 2792

Re: College savings plans - Roth vs. 529

If I saved enough to fill up two Roths with retirement contributions, I'd use the 529 for college. Until then, I'm using the Roths for college.
by dsmil
Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which Supermarket are you?
Replies: 155
Views: 9662

Re: Which Supermarket are you?

Wegmans is my favorite. Price, selection, and the fact that they carry all of the other random things that you need on a daily basis. The Wegmans brand products are always great values. We aren't foodies but I could see foodies enjoying the variety of products offered. We recently moved further away...
by dsmil
Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Boring Job
Replies: 64
Views: 8002

Re: Boring Job

I personally wouldn't quit out of boredom, but a lack of advancement opportunities for a young person is a detriment. If there aren't advancement opportunities or this job doesn't lead to a better job at another company, it might not be the best place for you. I have a boring job but they pay me wel...
by dsmil
Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is your Take Home Pay / Gross Pay ratio?
Replies: 89
Views: 8413

Re: What is your Take Home Pay / Gross Pay ratio?

75% here. 8% for fed/state, 7% for SS/Med, 7% for health/dental, 3% to 401k. We won't owe or receive a refund at tax time.
by dsmil
Fri May 25, 2018 10:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do people still use AAA?
Replies: 293
Views: 26319

Re: Do people still use AAA?

We use the heck out of AAA. Two old cars and a ton of flat tires! My guess is that we've been using them 3x per year for the last few years. In a stressful situation when the car won't start, you get a flat tire, or you lock your keys in the car, it's nice to have AAA and not add to that stress.
by dsmil
Wed May 16, 2018 1:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying off Debt vs. Investing
Replies: 25
Views: 1969

Re: Paying off Debt vs. Investing

Yes, I agree with your post, and this is why we haven't rushed to pay student loans at the cost of investing for retirement. Making the minimum $300 per month student loan payment means that they money is tied up and put to good use. Freeing up that $300 opens up the possibility of increased spending.