Search found 88 matches

by engineer1969
Wed Feb 21, 2018 2:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sams Club vs Costco
Replies: 77
Views: 5598

Re: Sams Club vs Costco

I concur with the posts above about the pride the Costco employees show for their store. Part of the pleasant experience is the fact you can tell the employees are happy to be working there.
by engineer1969
Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: When is Costco cash back coupon arriving?
Replies: 23
Views: 1860

Re: When is Costco cash back coupon arriving?

I believe the executive membership refund is tied to your membership date, but not certain. We just received the CC e-mail recently as well.
by engineer1969
Fri Feb 02, 2018 2:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Relearning Calculus
Replies: 81
Views: 6081

Re: Relearning Calculus

Derive the basic concepts yourself: Evaluate an expression to a limit, ie. x->0 or x->infinity If an expression can not be evaluated at its limit, the derivative/integral is undefined at that point. Integrals are the sum of an infinite number of small rectangles or trapezoids underneath a curve (+ a...
by engineer1969
Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cutting cable
Replies: 51
Views: 2667

Re: Cutting cable

Btw, I’ve only skimmed the posts (sorry), but: -bring your own cable modem if allowed. It’s super easy and will pay for itself in half a year or so. Motorola Surfboard is a pretty good option. -when comparing bundles, make sure you pay attention to the taxes. In my area, there is a very hefty tax (...
by engineer1969
Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 4k UHD TVs worth it?
Replies: 66
Views: 5053

Re: 4k UHD TVs worth it?

We have a 4K and there is a noticeable difference on a larger screen. I'm sure the cost will come down enough eventually for everyone to make the jump. Something happened in Costco last week which hasn't happened to me in a long time -- I was amazed by a new screen they had on display (QLD). I neede...
by engineer1969
Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cutting cable
Replies: 51
Views: 2667

Re: Cutting cable

I looked into this. We have Verizon. Due to the bundled discounts they offer, switching to internet only is $20 more for us per month. We'd save the additional programming costs since we don't have basic TV and the equipment costs. Once you add back in the additional streaming services we'd want, we...
by engineer1969
Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need to buy new printer. Suggestions for best value?
Replies: 32
Views: 2362

Re: Need to buy new printer. Suggestions for best value?

There are some ink-jet reservoir printers out there now. Save a ton on ink, but with a higher up front cost.

We just got one for X-mas and I don't have enough long term experience with it other than it is much nicer than my old ink-jet.
by engineer1969
Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 Withholding Tables
Replies: 88
Views: 11529

Re: 2018 Withholding Tables

It's been posted before, but it appears to be updated for 2018: https://www.taxformcalculator.com/ The calculation matches my personal results. It appears this calculator has been updated for 2018 tables, but 401k limit is still 18,000 rather than the new 18,500. Also it seems like there is a bug w...
by engineer1969
Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 Withholding Tables
Replies: 88
Views: 11529

Re: 2018 Withholding Tables

It's been posted before, but it appears to be updated for 2018: https://www.taxformcalculator.com/

The calculation matches my personal results.
by engineer1969
Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 Withholding Tables
Replies: 88
Views: 11529

Re: IRS announces new withholding tables for 2018

We had significant itemized deductions before, but we're pretty sure we will be taking the standard deduction in 2018. I'm guessing I'm at risk of withholding too little. Need to look at this, thanks for the reminder... I suspect you'll be pleasantly surprised. It will be worth the exercise of esti...
by engineer1969
Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Reducing 2018 Taxes
Replies: 19
Views: 2062

Re: Reducing 2018 Taxes

Without knowing other details: Gross 130k 401k (18.5k off Gross) If you chose a High Deductible Health Plan with HSA you can save another 3.45k tax free No itemization means your taxable income is 130K - 18.95 - 3.45 - 12 = 95.6 k, solidly in the 24% tax bracket At this point I think your stuck with...
by engineer1969
Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal Employee HSA account set up help
Replies: 25
Views: 1475

Re: Federal Employee HSA account set up help

Since the limit for 2018 contributions is 6900 for family (3450 single), the contribution should be just over 207 per pay period to max it out across 26 pay periods considering the $1500 automatic. You can make election changes every pay period if you wish. <<corrected single contribution number -- ...
by engineer1969
Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: SALT Tax Deduction Max of $10K is NOT indexed to Inflation
Replies: 29
Views: 4366

Re: SALT Tax Deduction Max of $10K is NOT indexed to Inflation

Generally speaking, those impacted by this change would have either large mortgage interest, real estate tax or both. Most falling in this category and who make too little to absorb the extra costs are likely getting a huge reduction in tax rate due to the widening of the 24% (formerly 28%) bracket....
by engineer1969
Mon Dec 11, 2017 5:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: MoviePass-Too good to be true, but it's legit.
Replies: 147
Views: 18160

Re: MoviePass-Too good to be true, but it's legit.

I have no idea what a production company or studio would be willing to pay for their information, but I know they are willing to pay millions for 30 secs of air time on television. 5 million for a 30s superbowl ad seen by 100 million people 100 million people *10/ticket is 1 billion dollars I'd be ...
by engineer1969
Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My Costco/TrueCar auto shopping experience
Replies: 44
Views: 21723

Re: My Costco/TrueCar auto shopping experience

My credit union and Costco shopping services seemed to have a very similar interface which makes me wonder if the underlying shopping group is the same. The two inquiries resulted in 3 different dealers each -- so a total of 6 separate dealers. Only two of the six made more than one attempt to conta...
by engineer1969
Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: MoviePass-Too good to be true, but it's legit.
Replies: 147
Views: 18160

Re: MoviePass-Too good to be true, but it's legit.

just read about this company. I wouldn't expect them to stay in business for long with a stupid buiness model like this. Enjoy while it lasts :) " Just to put this problem in perspective, lets apply some math to this case study on how not to run a business. Lets assume that each of MoviePass's 400,...
by engineer1969
Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: MoviePass-Too good to be true, but it's legit.
Replies: 147
Views: 18160

Re: MoviePass-Too good to be true, but it's legit.

Yeah, I just do not see how this is sustainable.... The CEO thinks that people will buy the pass and then enough customers who watch 1 or fewer movies per month will balance out and cover all the people watching 1 every day/week/etc. I do not see how this ends well. If their share of the tickets pu...
by engineer1969
Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: MoviePass-Too good to be true, but it's legit.
Replies: 147
Views: 18160

Re: MoviePass-Too good to be true, but it's legit.

I've heard AMC is pushing back on this, but I see it as a win/win. Eventually, the theaters will be fuller on average and the admission cost will go down below the monthly premium. The theaters should take the opportunity to improve the experience inside the theater (better seats, better concessions...
by engineer1969
Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:25 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Are credit cards rewards worth it?
Replies: 103
Views: 7263

Re: Are credit cards rewards worth it?

While I take full advantage of rewards credit cards (we have 4 separate rewards cards), I don't like the concept of them overall. Credit card companies need to offer the rewards to entice the customers who want to pay fully each month so they can charge a fee to the vendor for that customer's transa...
by engineer1969
Mon Sep 18, 2017 12:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 30yr Mortgage Refi Rates
Replies: 16
Views: 2738

Re: 30yr Mortgage Refi Rates

bankrate.com displays the current competitive rates based on your local.

Keep in mind the rates shown assume high equity and 740+ credit score. The rates adjust in 0.125 increments based on your situation and selected bank.
by engineer1969
Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wondering if solar is worth it - does my utility bill seem high? (Arizona)
Replies: 40
Views: 3188

Re: Wondering if solar is worth it - does my utility bill seem high? (Arizona)

I did the math for a modestly sized home (1200 sq ft) in the mid-atlantic. If it were not for the government incentives it would not be worth it financially. With the incentives, it seemed to be be almost revenue neutral if you considered having to replace the array every 18 years. 18 yrs was the gu...
by engineer1969
Thu Aug 24, 2017 11:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?
Replies: 64
Views: 5699

Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

We had four hours tacked onto our 7 hour trip from Northwestern SC to the DC area. Our GPS took us on some side roads that perhaps saved us up to an hour. I-85 was the bottleneck.
by engineer1969
Fri Aug 04, 2017 6:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buy EZ Pass transponder for road trip?
Replies: 45
Views: 3605

Re: Buy EZ Pass transponder for road trip?

While driving home on I-95 we decided to buy an EZ pass at a rest station in NJ. At the next toll, we gleefully passed what must have been a 20-30 minute backup of cars going into the pay lanes. I've never been so satisfied about a purchase.
by engineer1969
Thu Aug 03, 2017 5:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best internet service provider in Washington DC area?
Replies: 6
Views: 865

Re: Best internet service provider in Washington DC area?

In the many years (probably more than a decade at this point) we have had FIOS, I can only recall two service interruptions. They were huge too, affecting a large portion of the east coast. Their phone based customer service initially was superb, but over the years it has degraded to what I'd consid...
by engineer1969
Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Did you shop for a title company
Replies: 4
Views: 586

Re: Did you shop for a title company

We recently refinanced and saved about $1000 by going with the same title company we used years earlier. They were able to apply some discounts as a repeat customer in addition to having lower rates overall. The paperwork with the loan application from our bank screamed we are getting a kickback fro...
by engineer1969
Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:16 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are bitcoins nonsense?
Replies: 73
Views: 6072

Re: Are bitcoins nonsense?

I was thinking the makers of crypto-currencies are trying to establish money systems which are out of the hands of government manipulation and truly market driven. That being said, I have no idea who holds the reigns at that point.
by engineer1969
Tue Jul 25, 2017 5:48 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: "If You Can"-style Rebalancing
Replies: 14
Views: 1939

Re: "If You Can"-style Rebalancing

Please correct me if I misunderstand - as the OP - but if you're rebalancing with new money, on a monthly basis, aren't the odds going to be that you're almost always buying Total Bond with that new money? Since, with the exception of bear markets, the stock funds will likely be ahead of the bond f...
by engineer1969
Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: State Farm vs Penn National- auto, renters, umbrella?
Replies: 58
Views: 6561

Re: Why does State Farm have poor reviews?

We experienced a house fire a little over a year ago and I give the SF team 5 stars. We were displaced from our home for 10 months during the restoration and remodeling. The customer service was outstanding. The contractors not so much, but I think we had an above average experience with them as well.
by engineer1969
Thu Jul 20, 2017 5:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Would you let your teenager spend all his savings on a gaming computer?
Replies: 123
Views: 8370

Re: Would you let your teenager spend all his savings on a gaming computer?

Given this will be a nice machine, he could also do his school work on it (and take it to college). He will have a highly valuable item which he earned and purchased. If he hasn't shown respect for material items this may be his first window into seeing why it is important. Its fun! I don't see a do...
by engineer1969
Thu Jul 20, 2017 5:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Keurig vs coffeemaker - and the Keurig won
Replies: 53
Views: 5187

Re: Keurig vs coffeemaker - and the Keurig won

We bought ours with the stipulation we'd only use it on weekday mornings when the hustling around makes dealing with the coffee pot a little more annoying. Three years later we only use the Keurig and the pot sits in the pantry. Something interesting I recently learned is that those fancy machines t...
by engineer1969
Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Sam's Club, Costco, BJ's, and other wholesaler clubs]
Replies: 274
Views: 18363

Re: Costco vs. other wholesale clubs

Big Worm wrote:
thebogledude wrote:I like that Costco has no coupons, this tells me that their prices are close to what they pay.
I get coupons in the mail from Costco every month.

I am a member of Sam's, BJ's and Costco. I like Costco the best.
No coupon required at the register.
by engineer1969
Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Sam's Club, Costco, BJ's, and other wholesaler clubs]
Replies: 274
Views: 18363

Re: Costco vs. other wholesale clubs

I find the employees that work at Costco are enthusiastic and happy. It adds to the good vibe of shopping there.
by engineer1969
Sun Jul 09, 2017 5:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is this cable device?
Replies: 53
Views: 3866

Re: What is this cable device?

It appears that the "T" device is either a bias-T as pictured previously or an amplifier. It would be weird to put an amplifier right by device you want to boost, but it would work if you were on the hairy edge. You would typically want to boost the signal prior to the lengthy cable loss otherwise y...
by engineer1969
Tue Jul 04, 2017 8:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: options to buy stocks
Replies: 27
Views: 1728

Re: options to buy stocks

It appears when the stock lowers, you always do slightly better than buying outright. My example above stops at the inflection point. Any gain above twice the expected return would be lost versus buying the stock outright. Yes, I agree. If the stock goes down, or goes up by less than the option pre...
by engineer1969
Tue Jul 04, 2017 6:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: options to buy stocks
Replies: 27
Views: 1728

Re: options to buy stocks

I have a young colleague at work that is quite enthusiastic about investing. We have frank discussions about risks and strategies for the long haul. He has come up with a strategy into which I can't seem to poke any holes: If your intent is to buy a stock in the short term, you will always do bette...
by engineer1969
Tue Jul 04, 2017 6:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: options to buy stocks
Replies: 27
Views: 1728

Re: options to buy stocks

Can you guys elaborate on the risks? He isn't buying on margin as he is totally intending on buying the stock and has the funds. It appears like he is accepting money to wait and buy it at a later date. He is doing his diligence and researching the companies he is purchasing. It might help if you p...
by engineer1969
Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:35 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: options to buy stocks
Replies: 27
Views: 1728

Re: options to buy stocks

Options are a zero sum game. I agree entirely w the point about writing naked calls and risk. Just don't. Best advice anyone can give. Can you guys elaborate on the risks? He isn't buying on margin as he is totally intending on buying the stock and has the funds. It appears like he is accepting mon...
by engineer1969
Tue Jul 04, 2017 9:44 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: options to buy stocks
Replies: 27
Views: 1728

options to buy stocks

I have a young colleague at work that is quite enthusiastic about investing. We have frank discussions about risks and strategies for the long haul. He has come up with a strategy into which I can't seem to poke any holes: If your intent is to buy a stock in the short term, you will always do better...
by engineer1969
Fri Jun 30, 2017 1:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best cars for multiple kids
Replies: 51
Views: 4111

Re: Best cars for multiple kids

If you google the topic, you can probably find literally thousands of photos of configurations of 3 child seats in one row. Probably millions of families have done this (including us). Having a 3rd kid is not really an event that forces you to get a bigger vehicle. It's just a choice. Life generall...
by engineer1969
Wed May 10, 2017 5:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel tips for first time visitors to England and France?
Replies: 55
Views: 5594

Re: Travel tips for first time visitors to England and France?

Be cognizant of any bans that may be in place. I'm reading they may likely be banning laptops on flights from Europe to the US in the near future. This is the sort of thing that would have me stranded at the airport with laptop in hand :(
by engineer1969
Sat May 06, 2017 10:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommended Washer/Dryer Set
Replies: 25
Views: 2601

Re: Recommended Washer/Dryer Set

We bought LG set, full sized front loader 10 moths ago and ready to give it away. It stinks. I've done everything (air out with each wash, use pods only, then powder only, intermittently run cleaning cycle with vinegar baking soda, consistent wiping it down wth each wash, still looks new but smells...
by engineer1969
Fri Apr 14, 2017 10:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Windows 10 upgrade, now legacy software doesn't work
Replies: 35
Views: 3207

Re: Windows 10 upgrade, now legacy software doesn't work

If your software is not extremely old (16 bit application) you should be able to run it either in compatibility mode or in a virtual machine. Compatibility mode is a property you set on the executable itself. RIght click on the icon and hit properties. Virtual machines are freely available and allow...
by engineer1969
Fri Feb 24, 2017 5:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: BH thoughts on Time shares
Replies: 123
Views: 10704

Re: BH thoughts on Time shares

Dutch wrote:
engineer1969 wrote:That's just under $900 a night for these very nice units. This seems expensive, but ...
Yes, that does seem very expensive.
Similarly outfitted hotels with no kitchen for two rooms in the area would cost $600/night.
by engineer1969
Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: BH thoughts on Time shares
Replies: 123
Views: 10704

Re: BH thoughts on Time shares

I know the general wisdom is to avoid, but felt I should share my own experiences: I was young and stupid and bought a timeshare in the early nineties. I was in Hawaii with my parents and tagged along to get free food and discounted tickets. My parents were receiving the pitch and refused, but I rea...
by engineer1969
Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Discussing taxes with my 16 yr old son
Replies: 16
Views: 1282

Re: Discussing taxes with my 16 yr old son

What's interesting is if you don't isolate the fixed expenses all households become equal in the eyes of the tax man and should be charged slightly more than 50%. I realize this model isn't a real representation, but I do believe it goes a long way in conceptually describing the impacts of tax rate.
by engineer1969
Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Discussing taxes with my 16 yr old son
Replies: 16
Views: 1282

Re: Discussing taxes with my 16 yr old son

I don't think you equation models reality at all. For example if I spend 1k on a fixed budget item, don't you think that causes a multiplier effect? I agree it does, but the idea here is Fixed spending is not impacted by your tax rate. You need to make your mortgage payment regardless of your tax r...
by engineer1969
Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Discussing taxes with my 16 yr old son
Replies: 16
Views: 1282

Re: Discussing taxes with my 16 yr old son

I view each category like this: Fixed Budget -- This is static spending that each household must spend to keep their standard of living. I think money saved under the mattress would also fall in this category. Taxes -- This money goes directly to the government. Discretionary -- This money is either...
by engineer1969
Wed Nov 23, 2016 3:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Discussing taxes with my 16 yr old son
Replies: 16
Views: 1282

Re: Discussing taxes with my 16 yr old son

EHEngineer: Thanks for the tip.

Longdog: Money we spend and save becomes someone else's income.
by engineer1969
Wed Nov 23, 2016 3:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Discussing taxes with my 16 yr old son
Replies: 16
Views: 1282

Re: Discussing taxes with my 16 yr old son

I think I see the confusion. I was talking from the point of view of a single household. So income is the fixed income of the household. The government income tax revenue would be the sum of all household revenues, but it the optimal rate to charge each household is a function of the ratio of fixed ...
by engineer1969
Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Discussing taxes with my 16 yr old son
Replies: 16
Views: 1282

Discussing taxes with my 16 yr old son

With the discussion of tax rates in the news lately, my son was asking why in the world it would be a good idea to lower taxes when the government is so in debt. He has just recently learned derivatives in his math course, so I came up with the following simple model to work through the problem: I (...