Search found 1302 matches

by deanbrew
Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wize Cam reviews
Replies: 23
Views: 1591

Re: Wize Cam reviews

I have two Wyze cams. I've only had them a week, so I'm still learning the ins and outs. I have memory cards in each one, to improve the functionality. They seem to work well, and the price seems very good for what you get. I'm also not understanding the security worries. What exactly is the concern?
by deanbrew
Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?
Replies: 46
Views: 2089

Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

Yes! And definitely go somewhere that has "Beef on Weck" - a local food favorite. Agree. A good beef on weck is fabulous. I didn't think about going over to the Finger Lakes from Buffalo. We stayed in Geneva a couple of years ago and went to some wineries around Keuka Lake and Seneca Lake. Had a gr...
by deanbrew
Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?
Replies: 46
Views: 2089

Re: Visiting Buffalo,NY / Niagara Falls area - things to see and do?

The Maid of the Mist on the Canadian side is worth doing (I never did it from the US side). I remember walking right next to the falls on a walking tour, which was fun. I second visiting the Welland Canal locks. It's not too far northwest of Niagara Falls in Canada. My family found it interesting to...
by deanbrew
Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fun paid jobs after FIRE
Replies: 180
Views: 16543

Re: Fun paid jobs after FIRE

I plan to work part-time at a hifi shop. I love audio/video equipment, but refuse to pay the ridiculous markups or spend retirement money on it. This way I can get some money for groceries, hopefully get health insurance benefits, and then take home lots of free gear to "test". There are still HiFi...
by deanbrew
Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Toll was not charged to my EZ pass, anything I should do?
Replies: 10
Views: 1207

Re: Toll was not charged to my EZ pass, anything I should do?

I would just wait. I am not in NJ, so I don't know the system there. But here in PA, they take a photo of all license plates going through toll plazas. If it matches up with an EZ Pass account (from any state), they will charge your account. In cases where it doesn't match up properly, I've gotten v...
by deanbrew
Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 3844
Views: 1105442

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Re-reading 1984 by George Orwell. I figure once every 50 years is probably a good idea. I just re-read it last year, for probably the fourth or fifth time. And Animal Farm, too. Both of my kids read both books, and really like them (but not in school). These books are no longer required reading in ...
by deanbrew
Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HVAC Installation Cost
Replies: 11
Views: 1203

Re: HVAC Installation Cost

I share the OP's surprise at current prices. I just had some HVAC contractors come to look at possible changes to my house. Two of the three mentioned that prices have skyrocketed over the past few years, and most home owners are shocked/amazed at how expensive new systems are. Both said there are a...
by deanbrew
Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fun paid jobs after FIRE
Replies: 180
Views: 16543

Re: Fun paid jobs after FIRE

On the working-at-a-golf-course idea....I golfed a lot when I was younger before being forced into golf-retirement by marriage and kids (sheesh!). My impression of the retired men that were starters and rangers were that they were generally grumpy old curmudgeons with a miserable disposition. I don...
by deanbrew
Sat Jun 01, 2019 1:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fun paid jobs after FIRE
Replies: 180
Views: 16543

Re: Fun paid jobs after FIRE

You missed the part I just bolded. I have a teenage niece and nephew making $15/hr as new hires (different employers); more after 6 months. High school kid next door is making $17/hr after 1 year. Different cities. The general point is that $135/day for a substitute teacher is ridiculously low. In ...
by deanbrew
Mon May 13, 2019 2:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help me figure out cotton shirt mystery
Replies: 21
Views: 2575

Re: Help me figure out cotton shirt mystery

The problem is the perception as much as anything. I think it’s not an insignificant number of consumers who are dissatisfied with current offerings as opposed to what used to be available, but what is their recourse? Companies make what they THINK people want to buy. Unfortunately, low price on a ...
by deanbrew
Mon May 13, 2019 2:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Heating with propane?? Good idea?
Replies: 38
Views: 1992

Re: Heating with propane?? Good idea?

Our electric co-op charges us 13.5 cents per kwh. The current price of propane in the area is $1.50 per gallon. The tank would be free to lease if we filled up enough. I would greatly appreciate your input in helping us decide. Are you sure about that propane price? That seems extraordinarily low. ...
by deanbrew
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Inherited Traditional IRA
Replies: 15
Views: 1988

Re: Inherited Traditional IRA

My wife inherited an IRA and the account officer never told us we had to start taking RMDs. After a couple of years, I asked our accountant about it and he said we should have been taking withdrawals. He let the IRS know that we missed two withdrawals and would take out the required amount that incl...
by deanbrew
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:42 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Underassessment by County Assessor
Replies: 29
Views: 1742

Re: Underassessment by County Assessor

I certainly agree with you that it doesn't matter, but on the other hand I've never seen appraiser measure a house. They almost always use the assessors records to calculate square footage. I've seen lots of appraisers measure houses. It depends, partly, on how confident they are in the assessment ...
by deanbrew
Sun Mar 03, 2019 2:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 3844
Views: 1105442

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

A Man Called Ove I sense that there are some similar characters as Ove on this forum. I hear the film is good too, perhaps even better than the book. My wife and I just finished the audiobook version of A Man Called Ove. We both liked it. I would stop short of saying it's a "great" book, but it is ...
by deanbrew
Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Check for abandoned property -- worked twice for me
Replies: 58
Views: 9073

Re: Check for abandoned property -- worked twice for me

I found ~$10 from my maternal grandmother on Illinois' site but it was too big of a pain to collect, I don't have death certificates anymore and it would cost more than $10 to get one so it will probably be there forever. Yeah, just out of curiosity, I searched my deceased uncle's name in another s...
by deanbrew
Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2019 Camry vs RAV4
Replies: 39
Views: 4306

Re: 2019 Camry vs RAV4

The Subaru Outback is essentially a raised tarted up Legacy wagon. They raise it and add some plastic cladding, but it is based on the Legacy. Worth a look, IMO, Compared to the Rav4 and CRV. Why do you recommend comparing the Outback to the RAV4 and CRV when the Forester is the Subaru vehicle most...
by deanbrew
Sun Jan 20, 2019 2:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2019 Camry vs RAV4
Replies: 39
Views: 4306

Re: 2019 Camry vs RAV4

The Subaru Outback is essentially a raised tarted up Legacy wagon. They raise it and add some plastic cladding, but it is based on the Legacy. Worth a look, IMO, Compared to the Rav4 and CRV.
by deanbrew
Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Audio book options
Replies: 28
Views: 1166

Re: Audio book options

Yeah, your public library is a good choice. I download books using Overdrive. They seem to be switching to Hoopla.

If my library doesn't have something I'm looking for, I also buy used audiobooks on CD from ebay and Amazon. After I listen to them, I donate them to my local library.
by deanbrew
Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Would like some advice on a family minivan
Replies: 17
Views: 1126

Re: Would like some advice on a family minivan

Hondas and Toyotas tend to depreciate more slowly, so sometimes a new purchase can be as cost effective if you are going to keep it for a long time. We have a 2014 Odyssey that we purchased new which has been great. I haven’t priced vans lately, but there were some pretty good discounts on ours whe...
by deanbrew
Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2019 Camry vs RAV4
Replies: 39
Views: 4306

Re: 2019 Camry vs RAV4

This thread has me baffled... I simply don't understand the thought process. It seems to me the primary question should be do you want to drive a sedan in the Camry class or a CUV in the RAV4 class, or even how much you prefer the materials, driving experience and MPG in one vs. the other... not how...
by deanbrew
Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc
Replies: 318
Views: 32834

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Update: I just rolled out functionality for child benefits and child-in-care spousal benefits. That's about 9 months of nearly full-time work on this project (~30 hours spent on it per week since April), and the calculator now does all of the major things that I had hoped for it to do. So I think I...
by deanbrew
Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Basement minimum height requirement -- can I ignore until house sale?
Replies: 34
Views: 2710

Re: Basement minimum height requirement -- can I ignore until house sale?

I wouldn't be ignoring anything. An inspector for town appraisals could come in, see the code violation and you get an order to rip it out. (I know for sure that in my town, that would happen) Are you talking about assessors? I've owned houses in two states for 40 years and have never had a governm...
by deanbrew
Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you Report Home Improvements to County Tax Office?
Replies: 14
Views: 1188

Re: Do you Report Home Improvements to County Tax Office?

I wouldn't. If you didn't pull building permits, and all work was interior, why report it and have your taxes go up? Do you think other residents in your county do this? As for building permits, it varies by location and exact work done, so someone telling you that you should have pulled a permit mi...
by deanbrew
Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New job, sales at Subaru
Replies: 72
Views: 9775

Re: New job, sales at Subaru

I will add to this thought. I found our Forrester online, emailed the dealer to see if it was still for sale and went in two days later to buy it. When we went into the finance office, the guy asked how we wanted to finance it (I know, but our old car was suddenly near death (350,000 miles will do ...
by deanbrew
Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:19 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: objective data on quietest cars?
Replies: 26
Views: 4211

Re: objective data on quietest cars?

perl wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 8:00 am
If you want quiet, you want an electric car.
Probably not on the highway, where road and wind noise are the culprits, not engine noise. And as I posted above, if MPG is the goal, loud tires and little sound dampening are part of the equation.
by deanbrew
Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: objective data on quietest cars?
Replies: 26
Views: 4211

Re: objective data on quietest cars?

I remain in the seemingly endless hunt for an affordable, reliable, fuel efficient, safe, and QUIET highway commuting vehicle. I’m hoping the new Honda Insight will fit the bill; early professional reviews have been excellent though the Bogleheads have been more restrained: https://www.bogleheads.o...
by deanbrew
Thu Dec 13, 2018 4:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New job, sales at Subaru
Replies: 72
Views: 9775

Re: New job, sales at Subaru

Few pieces of advice: Listen, truly listen to what the customer needs. I'm in sales (not car sales) and I listen way more than I speak. Yep. I hate when a salesman starts pushing me toward something before we've established what I'm looking for. Please do not assume that if a couple comes in to buy...
by deanbrew
Fri Oct 26, 2018 3:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to sell a nice professional office desk?
Replies: 12
Views: 1139

How to sell a nice professional office desk?

My wife used to work at home, and we have a very nice HON office desk system. She has two HON Series 10500 desks - one "L" shaped and one "U" shaped, with two filing cabinets and a storage hutch. The furniture is in excellent condition, like new. Looking on Amazon, the pieces add up to about $5,000....
by deanbrew
Fri Oct 26, 2018 3:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: any recommendations for vacation stay in Punta Cana
Replies: 15
Views: 1436

Re: any recommendations for vacation stay in Punta Cana

The food there for the most part is terrible. Very bland tasting. The chicken/beef/pork all tastes the same no matter what dish it is used in. It was like they didn't bother to season or prepare it any differently between chicken enchiladas or chicken parmesan. I am not a DR expert, but my wife and...
by deanbrew
Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: UPDATE Considering new Honda Pilot, other suggestions?
Replies: 39
Views: 3000

Re: Considering new Honda Pilot, other suggestions?

The Toyota Sienna is the only minivan with an AWD option. My wife and I have a 2017 Acura MDX SH-AWD and 2015 Toyota Sienna Limited AWD in the household. While both vehicles have three rows of seating, the Sienna is significantly better at child and cargo hauling. Sliding doors help at school drop-...
by deanbrew
Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ventilated car seats?
Replies: 61
Views: 4555

Re: Ventilated car seats?

I do, but only as a form of art. Generally, they are all unsafe in a crash, noisy, underpowered, don't handle well, uncomfortable seats, manual windows. No thanks. I'll take 400hp with heated steering wheel and a heads up display for a daily driver. I "only" have 300 HP in my car. I do have a heate...
by deanbrew
Thu Sep 27, 2018 8:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ventilated car seats?
Replies: 61
Views: 4555

Re: Ventilated car seats?

2pedals wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:03 pm
I would try a wood beaded seat cushion first. Shouldn't cost more than $20 bucks.
I'm thinking that would make a twisty road a lot less fun.

Has anyone here actually tried the beaded seat cover? I haven't. In addition to the aforesaid secure seating issue, it sure looks mighty uncomfortable.
by deanbrew
Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car predicament
Replies: 14
Views: 2501

Re: Car predicament

Kia and Hyundai cars have a 10 year / 100,000 mile powertrain warranty, I believe. It sounds like this car is 6-7 years old with 70k miles. Are you certain the warranty doesn't cover the "blown" engine? Even if not for some reason, lazydavid brings up a good point that repairing might cost significa...
by deanbrew
Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ventilated car seats?
Replies: 61
Views: 4555

Re: Ventilated car seats?

And better yet: if you've never experienced ventilated seats yourself, how can you claim they are a "marketing ploy"? :oops: Exactly. I suppose you could argue that every single option and trim level upgrade is a "marketing ploy", but we each choose which ones are worth paying for. I have long suff...
by deanbrew
Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Low pay and low stress jobs with health benefit
Replies: 41
Views: 5940

Re: Low pay and low stress jobs with health benefit

How about working for the DMV? I recently renewed my registration and had to go in since it was too close to the deadline to do it online. Seemed like a pretty easy desk job for the person doing it. Don't need talk too much, but not isolated in a cubicle by yourself. It is a customer service job th...
by deanbrew
Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Low pay and low stress jobs with health benefit
Replies: 41
Views: 5940

Re: Low pay and low stress jobs with health benefit

"stress" differs by individuals. A young man of my acquaintance is a store manager for a fast food place. He tells me it is a very easy job - low stress for him. For me, though, a job like that would be high stress - dealing with customers who raise hell over the french fries and a revolving door o...
by deanbrew
Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cashing a check
Replies: 28
Views: 2612

Re: Cashing a check

I really dislike mailing paper checks. Opportunities for fraud and honest mistakes are plentiful. Send the honest young lady a Zelle transfer or Venmo or Paypal or whatever you like, or use the Bill Pay function from your broker or your bank in the future. It completely avoids this problem. [boldin...
by deanbrew
Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What’s your Value Colombian coffee?
Replies: 53
Views: 3876

Re: What’s your Value Colombian coffee?

I enjoy coffee, but it hasn't become a hobby or obsession with me. I buy 8 O'Clock 100% Columbian coffee as my regular, go-to. It's the best mass-produced coffee I've found, and is an excellent value.
by deanbrew
Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: $8712/year for insurance (auto, home, rental) How to reduce?
Replies: 40
Views: 3198

Re: $8712/year for insurance (auto, home, rental) How to reduce?

Any ideas? This move is turning out to be a bit of a disaster. I'm assuming your idea of "a disaster" involves more than insurance? In any event, write up a list of insurance needs and email to a bunch of insurance agents near you. In addition to the captive companies (Geico, Allstate, State Farm, ...
by deanbrew
Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Needed appraisal of farm land?
Replies: 18
Views: 1283

Re: Needed appraisal of farm land?

it all depends on the jurisdiction. Some track quite closely -- while others do not. I might check this out and see how reliable this is for farmland in that jurisdiction. Also, don't forget that a lot of states have programs that reduce assessed values (and taxes) for farmland. Here in PA, the pro...
by deanbrew
Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Needed appraisal of farm land?
Replies: 18
Views: 1283

Re: Needed appraisal of farm land?

I inherited some farm land a couple years ago. Everything was smooth. A while ago I found out that my brother-in-law and sister had the adjoining parcel they inherited appraised at the time they acquired it. I had never thought about having it appraised at that time. Now that I think about it I won...
by deanbrew
Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are laminate floors better-wearing than real hardwood?
Replies: 36
Views: 2999

Re: Are laminate floors better-wearing than real hardwood?

If you're buying 99 cent/sf Lumber Liquidators laminate, chances are it's not going to be great. The OP mentions laminate with an AC4 rating. If you look up AC ratings, AC4 is supposed to hold up quite well. As someone who has had trouble with supposedly high-quality home materials (Corian counter ...
by deanbrew
Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage on Upcoming Home Purchase
Replies: 12
Views: 1935

Re: Mortgage on Upcoming Home Purchase

The no closing costs loan will cost more only if the borrower keeps the loan for more than 11 years, or longer if you consider the opportunity cost of forking over $3,800 up front. I am not a fan of buying down interest rates with upfront money, which is effectively what is happening. That is a pret...
by deanbrew
Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are laminate floors better-wearing than real hardwood?
Replies: 36
Views: 2999

Re: Are laminate floors better-wearing than real hardwood?

This. Not comparable. Engineered hardwood or bamboo is also a solid alternative. I would consider porcelain tile. Far more durable. Scratch resistant. Vinyl or Luxury vinyl plank has its uses, basements, river or mountain condos with usage and water, etc. But for my house, I would not put anything ...
by deanbrew
Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage on Upcoming Home Purchase
Replies: 12
Views: 1935

Re: Mortgage on Upcoming Home Purchase

P&I on a $380k mortgage at 4.5% is $1,925 per month. P&I on a $380k mortgage at 4.625% is $1,954 per month. So, the break-even point is 131 months, or 10.9 years, without considering that you have to cough up $3,800 up front and lose the chance to earn interest/returns on that money. I would choose ...
by deanbrew
Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are laminate floors better-wearing than real hardwood?
Replies: 36
Views: 2999

Re: Are laminate floors better-wearing than real hardwood?

Everyone I know who chose laminate has been unhappy due to damage or wear and has ended up replacing it. Real hardwood is superior to laminate. If you can't afford real hardwood or you want to save money, check out vinyl hardwood. My friends have put it in their rental units. It is far cheaper than...
by deanbrew
Wed Jul 18, 2018 1:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Commercial Real Estate Broker - Contact Direct or Via Agent?
Replies: 1
Views: 187

Re: Commercial Real Estate Broker - Contact Direct or Via Agent?

There is a chance you can save a little money by calling the listing agent directly, as he might be willing to accept a lower overall commission if he gets both ends of the deal. But that is usually done to save the seller some money, not the buyer. I also think there is a larger chance that you wil...
by deanbrew
Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replace car battery after X years or wait till it dies?
Replies: 162
Views: 22997

Re: Replace car battery after X years or wait till it dies?

I agree that the alternator story sounds fishy... And suspiciously expensive. I have never replaced a battery before it failed. My Subaru dealer recommended that I replace the battery in my 2011 Legacy almost three years ago, and it's still working at 7.5 years old. If it doesn't start one morning, ...
by deanbrew
Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Do you subscribe to Consumer Reports?]
Replies: 31
Views: 3165

Re: [Do you subscribe to Consumer Reports?]

I currently subscribe, and have for many years. But I'm not going to renew. There are fewer and fewer actual product tests, with decreasing content in every issue. Rather than test products, the magazine is now full of editorials and opinions regarding services and concepts. I read the magazine in j...
by deanbrew
Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: DNA ancestry testing
Replies: 88
Views: 9570

Re: DNA ancestry testing

Although probably infrequent - one risk of these DNA sites (I am in 23and me as well as ancestrydna) is finding (or being found by) someone who may cause you a big problem - stalking, embarrassing you, and so on. Maybe a close relative is a serial killer. Then, probably less frequent - although pos...