Search found 644 matches

by dsmil
Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Basement foundation wall a little bowed -- should I consult an engineer?
Replies: 11
Views: 1505

Re: Basement foundation wall a little bowed -- should I consult an engineer?

I have a basement wall that is bowed by 2 inches, with a horizontal hairline crack accompanying it. I chose to go the cheaper route by having a foundation inspection done rather than bringing in a structural engineer. We also had a couple of masonry guys come over, take a look, and give quotes to pu...
by dsmil
Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Roth IRA instead of 529 plan
Replies: 54
Views: 2508

Re: Roth IRA instead of 529 plan

I agree with filling the Roth before using the 529. The 529 is easier but I like the flexibility of the Roth. You'll just need some other funding sources once it's time to pay up, since the Roth contributions towards college wouldn't be enough. My long term plan is for the Roth contributions to make...
by dsmil
Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: All in one single serve and pot of coffee maker
Replies: 21
Views: 1532

Re: All in one single serve and pot of coffee maker

We have family in Italy who just bought us a Moka Pot (they are very cheap). For someone who likes strong coffee, it is great, and I like it better than our Bonavita coffee maker. It makes 12 oz. or so of coffee.
by dsmil
Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you know what your partner spends money on?
Replies: 80
Views: 6021

Re: Do you know what your partner spends money on?

We have a joint budget and write everything down. It's annoying but it works.
by dsmil
Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refi Question
Replies: 4
Views: 407

Re: Refi Question

You should get the quotes first and only pay the appraisal fee when you've decided on who you're going with. I recently locked without paying any fees. Once the application was reviewed and the loan was ready to be sent to underwriting, the appraisal was scheduled and paid for.
by dsmil
Fri Sep 20, 2019 9:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)
Replies: 155
Views: 10949

Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

This landscaping company that I hired to cut an acre of a community field behind our house has been also mowing/edging our yard for free. I've told them multiple times that they don't have to do it, but they continue to, so I'll take it at this point. Anyway, that hour per week saved is nice when yo...
by dsmil
Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Accountant Salary Growth
Replies: 32
Views: 3517

Re: Accountant Salary Growth

Looks like a nice career so far. I'm 9 years in, with the first 3 being public, and am at $130k as assistant controller, but that's in the D.C. area. I think you are doing quite well and seem to have nice work/life balance. Keep it up!
by dsmil
Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mortgage Rates - Time to Refi?
Replies: 23
Views: 1390

Re: Mortgage Rates - Time to Refi?

It's definitely a good time to refinance. I locked in at 3.25% a couple of weeks ago, and I'm seeing 3.5% this week. Our costs to refinance will pay for themselves in about one year.
by dsmil
Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buy a house now or in the next 3 years?
Replies: 35
Views: 3883

Re: Buy a house now or in the next 3 years?

From what I've seen, Sofi's rates aren't very competitive. I'd imagine that their no PMI offer comes with a higher rate, which might be ok if you're only in the home for a few years, but not in the long term. I think you're probably looking at $250 per month or so of PMI, plus you'll pay a slightly ...
by dsmil
Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance Mega Thread
Replies: 53
Views: 5930

Re: Refinance Mega Thread

Ryanlion8506 wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:06 pm
Question? If you refinance, is there good chance due to new appraisal property taxes will rise more than if not refinancing? Because I can see that happening and completely negating the refi.
I doubt it. I would think that the only people who see the appraisal are the bank and the buyer.
by dsmil
Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance Mega Thread
Replies: 53
Views: 5930

Re: Refinance Mega Thread

Just refinanced 4.25% 30yr to 3.5% 30yr fixed with no points. Only 5% LTV (308750 loan on 325k house). Originally bought house in January, but only paying $2500 in closing costs, so I will have an 18month recoup period. Sweet deal. I'm about to go from a 3.75% 30 yr loan, to 3.25% 30 yr loan. Lende...
by dsmil
Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance Mega Thread
Replies: 53
Views: 5930

Re: Refinance Mega Thread

I'm about to go from a 3.75% 30 yr loan, to 3.25% 30 yr loan. Lender/title costs are around $2k, and we save $200 per month. We just bought this last year but it was an easy decision considering that we plan on being here for a very long time. We only put 10% down, but I'm expecting our equity to be...
by dsmil
Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance 7/1 ARM mortgage
Replies: 33
Views: 3032

Re: Refinance 7/1 ARM mortgage

3.25% is the rate that I've been seeing for 30 year fixed.

https://mtgprofessor.com/ext/partners/ShopYourLoan.aspx
by dsmil
Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheap Amazon Mattress Recommendations?
Replies: 20
Views: 1530

Re: Cheap Amazon Mattress Recommendations?

We just got the Zinus Green Tea one from Amazon. We've only had it a month but we've been happy. We're not counting on it to last as long as our last one, but for $200, we're fine with that.
by dsmil
Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you afford to travel?
Replies: 116
Views: 16007

Re: How do you afford to travel?

It's all about credit card sign-up bonuses for us. We probably spend $2k per year on travel (usually to stay at the beach for a week), and the rest is covered with credit card points from sign-up bonuses. Flights to Europe, flights within the U.S., and hotels for my family have been almost all cover...
by dsmil
Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Soil erosion, rain runoff— major concern or no?
Replies: 17
Views: 1366

Re: Soil erosion, rain runoff— major concern or no?

We bought our house last year and have a similar situation to what you've explained. We have a slope away from the house, and a large maple tree (with exposed roots) which sits on that slope. I have read that maple trees have naturally shallow roots anyway, but I'm sure the ground has eroded over ti...
by dsmil
Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Feel like we are spinning our wheels (financially speaking). How far behind are we?!
Replies: 63
Views: 6617

Re: Feel like we are spinning our wheels (financially speaking). How far behind are we?!

You guys seem to be doing fine, and unless your expenses are very high, I don't see why you couldn't buy a house soon. Are you not able to use any of your savings to use as a down payment? What else would you do with the $130k? Would the monthly payment be too high on the type of house you want?
by dsmil
Tue Jul 23, 2019 7:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: issues with roofer
Replies: 15
Views: 1806

Re: issues with roofer

I had a ton of issues with my roof replacement last year. Many of these things I could see with my untrained eye, and I also hired a roof inspector to then come out and write up an inspection report. They wound up coming back to fix things at least a handful of times until I was satisfied.
by dsmil
Thu Jul 18, 2019 2:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit rating question
Replies: 3
Views: 319

Re: Credit rating question

If you're at 830 and have a lot of old credit lines already, I think you'll be fine. That being said, I keep my old ones open with small purchases every so often.
by dsmil
Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Maryland 529 College Investment Plans
Replies: 37
Views: 4838

Re: Maryland 529 College Investment Plans

You may also be interested in the $250/year/account matching funds MD makes available: https://maryland529.com/MDMatch250. I was wondering about that too. At the bottom of the page, the fine print says: *State Contributions are not guaranteed. The State funding for contributions is limited to (i) $...
by dsmil
Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Toaster Oven Recommendations
Replies: 38
Views: 6504

Re: Toaster Oven Recommendations

I've had the same Cuisinart convection toaster oven for 12 years and it's great.
by dsmil
Thu Jun 20, 2019 12:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: ? about Leap Frog for three year old
Replies: 4
Views: 514

Re: ? about Leap Frog for three year old

Yes, it does go through batteries pretty quickly but I can't tell you exactly how long it takes to run through them. I know that it's not 20 minutes as someone suggested in that review that you read. I don't think he really got bored of the books, but there are some that he just likes better than ot...
by dsmil
Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: ? about Leap Frog for three year old
Replies: 4
Views: 514

Re: ? about Leap Frog for three year old

My son has spent a lot of time on the leap frog. He used it the most when he was 3. We probably have a dozen of those books.
by dsmil
Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommendation for light beer.
Replies: 41
Views: 3074

Re: Recommendation for light beer.

Founders All Day IPA.
by dsmil
Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much is your guys’ fees for your 401k?
Replies: 96
Views: 5717

Re: How much is your guys’ fees for your 401k?

No fees other than expense ratios. Our lowest expense ratio is .52% on a S&P 500 fund.
by dsmil
Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best women's starter golf clubs?
Replies: 17
Views: 952

Re: Best women's starter golf clubs?

A starter box set is the easiest way to go. Expensive clubs are not the best use of your money when you're trying to learn golf; lessons and time at the driving range are. I buy almost all of my clubs used from Global Golf and they have a Callaway used starter set for $200 (or new for $250). https:/...
by dsmil
Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying for rent is throwing away money...myth?
Replies: 302
Views: 20346

Re: Paying for rent is throwing away money...myth?

It's a myth. You can be better or worse off (financially) renting, and it's really more of a life decision than financial decision. I've been a homeowner for 7 years and have spent around $40k on a roof, water and sewer line replacements, carpet, paint, and a looming foundation repair. Not to mentio...
by dsmil
Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Solar - when replacing roof?
Replies: 45
Views: 3259

Re: Solar - when replacing roof?

EnergySage was a good resource, but they were estimating 5.4% annual increases in electricity costs, which really inflated their savings estimates. The savings were much more modest after using a more realistic estimate like 2.5%. In Maryland, we can switch to a clean energy supplier, so we'll go th...
by dsmil
Fri May 17, 2019 10:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Going rate for real estate commissions, ATL
Replies: 11
Views: 1145

Re: Going rate for real estate commissions, ATL

We sold last year and paid 2% to our agent and 2.5% to the buyer's agent.
by dsmil
Fri May 10, 2019 9:15 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tired of a reel mower
Replies: 42
Views: 4085

Re: Tired of a reel mower

I've been using this coded lawnmower for the last year. $150 currently plus you'll need an extension cord (I got a 100 ft one for my 1/4 acre). Sure, the extension cord can be annoying, but it's much cheaper than comparable battery mowers. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002ZVOLXE/ref=oh_aui_sear...
by dsmil
Tue May 07, 2019 10:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do YOU make coffee?
Replies: 201
Views: 9878

Re: How do YOU make coffee?

On weekdays it's the k-cups that my office provides. On weekends, I use a Bonavita coffee maker and grind the beans with a manual coffee grinder (takes a couple of minutes). My local grocery store carries beans from a local roastery, and the roast date on them is literally the day before I buy them ...
by dsmil
Mon Apr 29, 2019 2:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best use of Chase Sapphire Preferred points?
Replies: 27
Views: 2978

Re: Best use of Chase Sapphire Preferred points?

The best redemption value that I ever got was transferring points to Hyatt's program and using them for an expensive hotel in Paris (3 cents per pt). Southwest's redemption value is something around 1.5 cents per pt and that doesn't change since the points needed are always based exactly on the pric...
by dsmil
Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Who is buying 1-3 year old used Toyotas and Hondas?
Replies: 114
Views: 12635

Re: Who is buying 1-3 year old used Toyotas and Hondas?

I bought a 3 year old Prius (50k) miles for $14k, which is a lot lower than the new price.
by dsmil
Mon Apr 22, 2019 9:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mower purchase considerations
Replies: 24
Views: 2699

Re: Mower purchase considerations

I have the same one that you just purchased and have been happy. The cord will always be annoying, but it will get less annoying over time. When I needed to buy lawn equipment, I decided to go with all corded models because I didn't want to deal with gasoline, and the price point was much cheaper th...
by dsmil
Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: $29 collections notice
Replies: 31
Views: 2971

Re: $29 collections notice

My company sends past due balances to a collections agency and they only report the balance to the credit agencies if it remains unpaid another 60 days after the collections agency first attempts to collect.
by dsmil
Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Robot vacuum cleaner - need recommendation
Replies: 13
Views: 1083

Re: Robot vacuum cleaner - need recommendation

We've had the Eufy 30c for a few months and like it, although we've never had anything to compare it to. It's at $300 now but we were able to get it at $210. I'd also suggest the wirecutter review mentioned above.
by dsmil
Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Landlord looking to buy out my lease. Whats a reasonable price?
Replies: 75
Views: 6185

Re: Landlord looking to buy out my lease. Whats a reasonable price?

My company recently did something like this where we settled with the residents in exchange for them leaving their DC apartment. An agreement was made between us and the legal counsel of their tenant association. Each tenant received $41k minus $8k of legal fees, for a total of $33k. They were all o...
by dsmil
Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is $650 for a Roof Inspection Too Much?
Replies: 37
Views: 2940

Re: Is $650 for a Roof Inspection Too Much?

I paid $225 for a home inspector to do a roof inspection last year, and I trusted him more than going with a roofing company to do the inspection.
by dsmil
Wed Apr 03, 2019 10:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Household budget, savings, retirement, and Home Equity question
Replies: 23
Views: 2448

Re: Household budget, savings, retirement, and Home Equity question

I don't think that your spending is unreasonable. The cleaning lady seems like an obvious $300 cut and once you knock off that and the TSP loan, you'll see a $1,200 difference. Your house seems like a reasonable price for your income, but the 15 year loan is killing you. I'd see if you could refinan...
by dsmil
Tue Apr 02, 2019 7:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Only need 5% down to avoid PMI. Should we put less than 20% down and put balance toward renovations?
Replies: 34
Views: 2800

Re: Only need 5% down to avoid PMI. Should we put less than 20% down and put balance toward renovations?

I don't see anything wrong with 5% down, assuming that they are offering the same terms either way. Based on your income, this seems like a very affordable house no matter what you put down, and 3.9% is cheap money.
by dsmil
Mon Apr 01, 2019 2:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Men's no iron dress shirt recommendations
Replies: 88
Views: 9994

Re: Men's no iron dress shirt recommendations

My Charles Tyrwhitt shirts look great, but 3 of them have now been ripped right above the back of my elbow. Maybe I need to order longer sleeves? I'm not sure.
by dsmil
Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are aiming at Realtors and their 6% fee
Replies: 34
Views: 3615

Re: The lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are aiming at Realtors and their 6% fee

Everything is negotiable. When we sold our house, we paid 2% to our seller agent and 2.5% to the buyer's agent. Redfin has obviously changed the game allowing for 1% seller fees.
by dsmil
Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Haven't bought a car in ages - how does negotiation work these days?
Replies: 47
Views: 5363

Re: Haven't bought a car in ages - how does negotiation work these days?

I just bought a used car and the best prices from the dealers were posted online. The dealers really weren't willing to negotiate. I used cargurus.com to get a good sense of what the good and bad deals were. Cargurus also keeps record of price drop history for the vehicles, so you'll be able to tell...
by dsmil
Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How many companies have you worked for?
Replies: 125
Views: 7488

Re: How many companies have you worked for?

9 years into my career and I'm at my 2nd company. I'm likely to stay here for as long as I can.
by dsmil
Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What time do you start your day?
Replies: 69
Views: 3489

Re: What time do you start your day?

Up at 5:45, leave house at 6:45, at office at 7:30.
by dsmil
Mon Mar 11, 2019 1:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sports team season tickets
Replies: 45
Views: 4621

Re: Sports team season tickets

Years ago, I bought a 13 game package for the Wizards, just to see some of the opposing teams. I went to about half of the games and it wound up not costing me anything. The profits from selling the games against Kobe's Lakers and the Pierce/Garnett/Allen Celtics carried me, and I usually broke even...
by dsmil
Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [2018 tax return - How does it compare to previous years?]
Replies: 441
Views: 33860

Re: [2018 tax return - How does it compare to previous years?]

We'll come out a couple hundred dollars ahead this year. The doubling of the child tax credit helps us more than the loss of the personal exemptions hurts us. We are itemizing even though we are at $21k of deductions, because if take the SD, we'd have to do the same on the MD state return, and the S...
by dsmil
Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can solar be worth it??
Replies: 78
Views: 8195

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: 764

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: 8031

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...