Search found 275 matches

by vveat
Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone hire an interior designer?
Replies: 34
Views: 2956

Re: Anyone hire an interior designer?

I have used an online design service 3 times. Here is the link http://www.interiordesignserviceonline.com/ Twice I had the custom room design ($275) and once a paint color consultation ($50). The first time she sent me a whole binder, the last time we did all by email, easier for me too. I am pretty...
by vveat
Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Pantry and Amazon Fresh
Replies: 1
Views: 280

Amazon Pantry and Amazon Fresh

Some of the programs Amazon has introduced drive me nuts with the added complexity. We have Prime and are pretty happy with it, use it a lot and see value in it. But when I am looking for some smaller items they often come under different programs and I can't get them in a simple way. For example I ...
by vveat
Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you use social media to enhance your travel experience?
Replies: 66
Views: 2842

Re: Do you use social media to enhance your travel experience?

I post select pictures in real time or later that day. Usually 1-2 with something funny/interesting to say about the experience. I like seeing others post in real time, but have no patience for looking through multiple pictures on same post (i.e. treat others as you would like to be treated) Bonus p...
by vveat
Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Laptop for a middle school student (tech issues with Chromebook)
Replies: 7
Views: 757

Laptop for a middle school student (tech issues with Chromebook)

My daughter, a 5th grader, has had a Chromebook for a couple of years. It has served her well since they use the same at school, and she mostly needs internet and writes on google docs. We were pretty happy with this solution until recently. The problem is that now she is taking online courses and i...
by vveat
Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Singing/Voice Classes
Replies: 20
Views: 1325

Re: Singing/Voice Classes

Just to weigh in on cost, since my daughter went last month through a few lessons to prep for an audition. One teacher was $30 for 30 min we had to go there. Another was coming to our home and was $45 for 30 min. I am not musical myself but was impressed by the techniques they showed her, including ...
by vveat
Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to "waste" money on groceries?
Replies: 109
Views: 9459

Re: How to "waste" money on groceries?

Heirloom tomatoes from the farmers market. I would splurge even more on them, but this year is not good for tomatoes in general. Specific Salami brands - from Eastern Europe or some Italian ones from Wegmans The "Oui" French style yogurt Specialty coffee - just bought from a local coffee shop 12oz w...
by vveat
Tue Sep 04, 2018 3:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?
Replies: 85
Views: 4610

Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

So-Anyway Re-swimming: Or spending 4-5 hours each day on a Saturday and Sunday at a swim competition to see you child swim a total of about 5-10 minutes worth of races. Talk about torture. :oops: Oh yes! I just have to quote the sign I saw on a T-shirt of a fellow mom at a swim meet. "If I have but...
by vveat
Tue Sep 04, 2018 3:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?
Replies: 85
Views: 4610

Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Seriously. Whatever happened to doing your homework and then biking over to a friend's house to play? She is actually doing some of that, and I usually get worried texts from the other moms - do you know your daughter is here on her bike, is that OK with you? It seems play is not legit if not pre-s...
by vveat
Tue Sep 04, 2018 3:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?
Replies: 85
Views: 4610

Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

out of curiosity, how much time do these kids spend doing these activities outside of the scheduled lessons/classes/practice? i don't mean practicing piano because you are required to learn certain material for your next lesson... i consider that part of the structured practice. i mean time that co...
by vveat
Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?
Replies: 85
Views: 4610

Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Um, who are the parents and who is the kid? You don't argue and reason with your kids, you lay down the rules and they learn to live with them. This helps out family dynamics in so many ways. Not saying you control every minute of their time, or allow them no freedom. Just that you set rules and th...
by vveat
Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?
Replies: 85
Views: 4610

Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Can you break it down by sport/activity? I would be particularly curious about how much Taekwondo costs, because it’s typically designed to make money. For example, colorized belts were invented to make money. Yes, that is one reason I hate it, you have to pay for belt promotions every 2 months, th...
by vveat
Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?
Replies: 85
Views: 4610

How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

We just did the schedule for the fall, and I feel we have gone off the deep end. Estimated on annual basis, and including summer sports and activities, we seem to be spending ~$1100 per month, or on average $550 per kid. Our biggest spend bucket. Is this as off the charts as I think it is? I am sure...
by vveat
Sun Jul 22, 2018 1:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sail boat budget
Replies: 13
Views: 1977

Re: Sail boat budget

I can give you numbers for a smaller one - a 24' Seawind catamaran, it's old so more maintenance but husband is DIY type
Pretty steady $6500-$7500 a year (not including new sails), of which $3000 are the club fees (incl. food), the rest is maintenance.
by vveat
Wed Jul 18, 2018 6:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Europe travel Qs [Questions]
Replies: 63
Views: 3734

Re: Europe travel Qs

The comments about pickpocketing reminded me of another unpleasant situation I had in Paris. We used the subway a lot, and on one trip as we came out and headed up the stairs I mindlessly threw my ticket in a garbage bin. Just a floor up next to the exit we encountered 2 uniformed officers checking ...
by vveat
Mon Jul 09, 2018 1:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping in a hotel room/cruise ship room
Replies: 57
Views: 4287

Re: Tipping in a hotel room/cruise ship room

I am rather inconsistent about housekeeping tips. Usually don't tip for 1 night stays, but leave $1-2 a day for multi-day stays. Now that I am thinking about it may not make sense since there is most work on checkout, not on interim fixing of the room. I guess my logic was more building goodwill tow...
by vveat
Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where to purchase an used clarinet for a student - Amazon vs. store?
Replies: 14
Views: 845

Where to purchase an used clarinet for a student - Amazon vs. store?

It's the end of the school year, our daughter is 10 and after a year of clarinet wants to continue with band. She seems to have some potential (judging just from her picking up the band tunes easily and picking up on her own other tunes by ear), but doesn't seem very passionate or diligent about pra...
by vveat
Wed May 30, 2018 10:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Using Air Miles and Paying Fees and Taxes
Replies: 29
Views: 2045

Re: Using Air Miles and Paying Fees and Taxes

I fly mostly on United and Lufthansa (home airport Newark, most often trips to Europe) - while they are partners huge difference in fees. I was on LH's Miles and More for years (still have Senator status till end of the year), love the lounges and services, but they charged me ridiculous fees for an...
by vveat
Tue May 08, 2018 7:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do we spend too much on food?
Replies: 71
Views: 6666

Re: Do we spend too much on food?

Just to give you another data point to validate yours. Family of 4, with 2 pets, in HCOL area. Most days cook at home. Entertain a fair amount. - $1000-1100 monthly for groceries including household and pet food - $500-600 eating out The numbers have bothered me for years just because they seem high...
by vveat
Mon Apr 09, 2018 7:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cruise or other vaca ideas for Dad w/13yr old twin boys?
Replies: 36
Views: 2687

Re: Cruise or other vaca ideas for Dad w/13yr old twin boys?

I am just back from a week cruise on Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas from Bayonne, NJ to the Bahamas and back. This may be the "newer ship leaving from NY" that you have been looking into. It was me + 2 kids, admittedly younger (7 and 9) The ship in my opinion was not sufficiently catering to kid...
by vveat
Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: who is responsible? [Tree]
Replies: 4
Views: 1117

Re: who is responsible? [Tree]

Maybe not exactly the same case since it's a power line, but we had a very big branch from one of our trees fall onto the power line with the other end effectively blocking the street (without power loss, just a hazard). This happened last Wed evening and Thursday morning at 6:15am a neighbor starte...
by vveat
Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRS Form 8606 (Nondeductible IRAs)
Replies: 60
Views: 8616

Re: IRS Form 8606 (Nondeductible IRAs)

The availability is now updated to February 15th :oops:

I also did my taxes and am waiting for this to let me submit. Annoying.
by vveat
Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Direct download of tax forms from Vanguard to Turbo Tax
Replies: 11
Views: 1302

Re: Direct download of tax forms from Vanguard to Turbo Tax

I did my taxes (or at least I completed the work, Turbo Tax didn't allow actual submission under IRS is done with forms 8606 or something, so I was too early :oops: ) Automated download for 1099-DIV. But for some reason 1099-R from the Roth IRAs didn't show up as available for downloading, and had t...
by vveat
Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?
Replies: 65
Views: 6147

Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

OP again. Apologies for the depressing thread, but this was a really fascinating discussion and great food for thought. Thanks to everybody who contributed - whether with practical advice or fun remarks :) If you are curious what I am taking out of it (considering again the particular circumstances ...
by vveat
Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rent (free at library) or buy books?
Replies: 50
Views: 3469

Re: Rent (free at library) or buy books?

The choice is so individual - do you like reading digitally or on paper, do you read once or re-read, do you have easy access to a library? I read a lot and re-read with pleasure. My 2 kids are the same. While I and my older kid do read digitally, we much prefer paper, especially for re-reading - so...
by vveat
Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?
Replies: 65
Views: 6147

Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

OP here. Most of you seem to be replying what would you put in a go bag. The contents points are appreciated, but there is plenty of information of this, and I feel if we are clear in our minds for what situation does it make sense to prepare, we can easily decide what to take. My question was: ----...
by vveat
Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?
Replies: 65
Views: 6147

Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

My husband and I were debating whether to have an emergency kit (go bag) in the house. We sort of have one, but with just a few items and not really thought through. Our challenge is not to put in the bag, but what would we be preparing for - since that will determine what is needed. If you consider...
by vveat
Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Early Childhood Learning Programs for grades 1-2
Replies: 4
Views: 570

Re: Early Childhood Learning Programs for grades 1-2

We are subscribed to "ixl.com" - it's not game based but is the best thing I have found for practicing skills. My 1st grader couldn't wait until he got his own access this year, just like his older sister. The site has Math (we use heavily for practice), Language (we rarely use so far), Social studi...
by vveat
Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:04 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Adding a bit of complexity to a portfolio
Replies: 6
Views: 694

Re: Adding a bit of complexity to a portfolio

I don't know anything about VSMAX (or VTMSX) but if it's not tax-efficient why not start adding to VTSAX in taxable and move VTSAX into VSMAX in the Roth? Sorry if I wasn't clear. Both the small cap (VSMAX) and the tax managed small cap (VTMSX) seem relatively tax efficient to me. VSMAX is comparab...
by vveat
Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:40 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Adding a bit of complexity to a portfolio
Replies: 6
Views: 694

Adding a bit of complexity to a portfolio

Emergency funds: 6-7 months Debt: none Tax filing: Married filing jointly Rate: 35% Federal, 6.37% State (New Jersey) Age: 44 Desired allocation: 70% stocks/ 30% bonds Intl. allocation: 25-30% Annual contributions: max one 401k, and two Roth IRAs (backdoor) and add close to $100k to taxable Retireme...
by vveat
Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Looking for a Catamaran
Replies: 21
Views: 2042

Re: Looking for a Catamaran

Another point - do you know how you will use the boat? Purpose would determine the best fit. We have a small 26' catamaran, which is perfect for day trips with multiple guests (we have had 8 adults and 3 kids without feeling crowded) since it has a large platform in the middle and no cabin. In a mon...
by vveat
Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bank accounts and minors
Replies: 11
Views: 775

Bank accounts and minors

My daughter, who is 9, just got a check in her name from some kind of class action (about vitamins). The check is not big, just over $50 and I am wondering whether to have her cash it or open an account My preference is to have her cash it and to treat as an extra "windfall allowance", splitting it ...
by vveat
Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What do you buy in Asian food stores?
Replies: 98
Views: 8782

Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

We get meat types and cuts that are difficult to find in the chain supermarkets - rabbit, duck, goat, etc. The fish department has a lot of diverse choices too. From the produce a variety of mushrooms, and the Chinese cabbage. Kimchi is also a favorite. I rarely buy from the inside aisles, since I a...
by vveat
Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: On the video games path - how to set it up with younger kids
Replies: 36
Views: 2620

Re: On the video games path - how to set it up with younger kids

I would encourage your kids to read! If you don't start when you're young, you won't like reading when you're older. They will not like reading for fun after the instant gratification of video games. Once they are teenagers, I think video games are okay in moderation. No real concern here, we are a...
by vveat
Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: On the video games path - how to set it up with younger kids
Replies: 36
Views: 2620

Re: On the video games path - how to set it up with younger kids

Money is not a particular problem either (we could make them save for a console, but may be better to buy it for them to have more control over use). For what it’s worth my parents made me buy all my video games and they exerted 100% control over them as well. I like that approach :sharebeer
by vveat
Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: On the video games path - how to set it up with younger kids
Replies: 36
Views: 2620

Re: On the video games path - how to set it up with younger kids

Your 6 year old is in sports 4-5 nights a week? And isn't getting burnt out? My 8 year old loves sports but does it 2 nights a week Not to get off topic, but this means 2-3 days sport #1 (the 3rd day is optional for him) + 2 days sport #2 - each session is 1 hour long, so this means 4-5 hours a wee...
by vveat
Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: On the video games path - how to set it up with younger kids
Replies: 36
Views: 2620

On the video games path - how to set it up with younger kids

There is probably an old thread on this, must be a common topic, but I couldn’t find it, so here goes. We have a 6 and 9 year old kids, and they are recently getting more into video games, especially the younger one (a boy). My husband and I are not into games, I haven’t played for many years, he so...
by vveat
Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Budgets: how do you track irregular income and expenses
Replies: 35
Views: 3293

Re: Budgets: how do you track irregular income and expenses

Budget is on monthly basis, dividing the irregulars by whatever number of months they occur When funds were tight we used a sub-account in our online savings account for "escrow" - transferring the monthly budgeted amount and then paying directly from this account. Worked pretty well. Now we have en...
by vveat
Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Innovis and ChexSystems freeze confirmation letters
Replies: 52
Views: 8622

Re: Innovis and ChexSystems freeze confirmation letters

13 days for Innovis.
Still waiting for Chex Systems, now is day 14.
by vveat
Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is the main purpose of holding your current job?
Replies: 66
Views: 7060

Re: What is the main purpose of holding your current job?

1.1) I enjoy my job, I find the work stimulating and challenging (occasionally exhausting) and frustrating). My co-workers are excellent, intelligent people and I truly enjoy interacting and working with them. My job provides the flexibility to work from home a few days a week and I am fairly compe...
by vveat
Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Name something you had to have and now you regret purchasing it?
Replies: 387
Views: 46149

Re: Name something you had to have and now you regret purchasing it?

Son spending kindergarten in a private school. It made sense while the public K was half day, but last year they switched to full day and we still kept him in the private (I guess for continuity and sentimental reasons). Today was his first day in public for 1st grade and he loves it. $17k down the ...
by vveat
Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Evaluating risk of flooding in the "new normal"
Replies: 45
Views: 3111

Re: Evaluating risk of flooding in the "new normal"

It's possible there could be foundation problems, especially if there was rushing water, not "just" standing water. RM Interesting point, we just debated it a bit. But the creek is not that big and we have multiple trees between it and us. It's not a flat plane or coastal area with a surge. The wat...
by vveat
Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Evaluating risk of flooding in the "new normal"
Replies: 45
Views: 3111

Re: Evaluating risk of flooding in the "new normal"

Well, there's a lot of variables at play. That said, 3 backyard floods in just 12 years would suggest to me a pretty serious risk. To start with, compare the annual premium with the amount that it would likely cover, in damages. $5K/year to get $50K in coverage versus $5K/year to get $500K in cover...
by vveat
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Evaluating risk of flooding in the "new normal"
Replies: 45
Views: 3111

Re: Evaluating risk of flooding in the "new normal"

You say only one corner of your property is in a flood zone, but how old is the flood risk map you are relying on for that information? Many communities have fought tooth and nail to keep FEMA from updating the maps. Point being: Politics has often gotten in the way of any objective analysis of the...
by vveat
Wed Aug 30, 2017 3:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Evaluating risk of flooding in the "new normal"
Replies: 45
Views: 3111

Evaluating risk of flooding in the "new normal"

Have you tried to evaluate the flood risk for your house beyond what was considered “normal” previously. This is a question on my mind as I watch what is happening in Houston and also think of recent years in NJ and about climate change in general. We feel (whether right or wrong) that we have consi...
by vveat
Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to deal with Amazon purchases with Mint.com??
Replies: 38
Views: 7224

Re: How to deal with Amazon purchases with Mint.com??

I shop a lot on Amazon - usually have 15-25 Amazon transactions a month in Mint I split them manually, but I do it once a month (since I do a budget categories review in the beginning of the month). Just filter for Amazon transactions, compare the list against the Amazon Orders list and it's a 5-10 ...
by vveat
Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Desperate to get rid of mosquitoes, what else could we try?
Replies: 62
Views: 5775

Re: Desperate to get rid of mosquitoes, what else could we try?

OP here, just wanted to say thanks for the plentiful advice. I already acted on some of it: - spoke with the county mosquito control, they will send an inspector (somehow I never thought before reading this threat that there will be such a service, live and learn :sharebeer ) - ordered Spartan Mosqu...
by vveat
Sat Aug 26, 2017 11:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Desperate to get rid of mosquitoes, what else could we try?
Replies: 62
Views: 5775

Desperate to get rid of mosquitoes, what else could we try?

We are becoming rather desperate to reduce the mosquitoes in our back yard. So much so that for us it’s becoming a determining factor whether to move houses or not. We’ve tried a lot of things, and I was wondering whether you have more suggestions. When we bought the house 12 years ago the mosquitoe...
by vveat
Wed Aug 23, 2017 7:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Non-fiction bucket list
Replies: 110
Views: 12687

Re: Non-fiction bucket list

I also would highly recommend reading a book about the Russian Revolution. Boris Pasternak's "Doctor Zhivago" is an excellent book about the Russian Revolution, but it's not non-fiction. If you are interested in the life in the early Soviet Union and do not reject fiction out of hand, I recommend t...
by vveat
Sun Jul 30, 2017 5:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What kind of cleaning service do you use?
Replies: 15
Views: 2006

What kind of cleaning service do you use?

Today’s thread about happiness through outsourcing cleaning (among other things) reminded me that this is something our family continues to struggle with – we have tried different options over the years and still nothing we are satisfied with. Cost is not the problem, it’s finding the least inconven...
by vveat
Wed Jun 28, 2017 1:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Missing charge - should I go back and inquire?
Replies: 7
Views: 1194

Missing charge - should I go back and inquire?

Three weeks ago I needed to make a photo book for a gift. Time was of essence since we were going abroad within a week (i.e. 2 weeks ago from now) - so I didn't use my usual online photo site, and didn't use Costco either since I had some issues with them last time. I opted to make the book on CVS P...