Search found 260 matches

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: 630

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: 1829

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: 6204

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: 2501

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: 1074

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: 8139

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: 1265

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: 5857

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: 3291

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: 5857

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: 5857

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: 524

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: 603

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: 603

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: 1955

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: 689

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: 8350

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: 2466

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: 2466

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: 2466

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: 2466

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: 3132

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: 8316

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: 6838

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: 44259

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: 2976

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: 2976

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: 2976

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: 2976

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: 6126

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: 5354

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: 5354

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: 12051

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: 1928

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: 1142

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...
by vveat
Sun Jun 11, 2017 9:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Choosing a home from 3 options
Replies: 7
Views: 1469

Re: Choosing a home from 3 options

It's not very clear what is your preference for location - is it walkability or is it proximity to center? For the last one you say it's best location, but then you have a concern about approachable neighbors? Are there other factors - commute to work, driving distance to sports or other activities ...
by vveat
Mon May 22, 2017 2:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medical Insurance for visiting the US
Replies: 10
Views: 1398

Re: Medical Insurance for visiting the US

We have regularly used insubuy.com to purchase visitor insurance for our family that visit US. They offer quotes online that can customized by coverage and limits, need and your pocket book. Thankfully, we have not had to use much and always cover tests and basic doctor visits out of pocket as we c...
by vveat
Mon May 22, 2017 2:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Summer outdoor parties - party food ideas
Replies: 20
Views: 2311

Re: Summer outdoor parties - party food ideas

You didn't say whether you'll be serving kids/teens or grown ups, for us that would be a leading factor. A few favorites: - tomato/mozzarella or fruit "kebabs" (i.e. on a stick) - gazpacho in plastic cups (if you have good ripe tomatoes, blend them with some cucumber, onions, red pepper, garlic, cil...
by vveat
Sat May 20, 2017 6:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What goes in your smoothie?
Replies: 45
Views: 4285

Re: What goes in your smoothie?

We recently got a Ninja, much cheaper than a Vitamix, likely makes a bit less smooth smoothies. One particular one ended as the whole family favorite (otherwise one of us is more into greens, others entirely into fruits) 2 cups of Swiss chard or spinach 2 cups of fresh peaches or bananas (canned or ...
by vveat
Fri May 19, 2017 3:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: house issue with number of rooms
Replies: 18
Views: 2563

Re: house issue with number of rooms

When we bought our house we realized somebody (not even the previous owner) had built an addition without declaring it. We did the right thing and notified the town. Our taxes went up significantly and it took us an appeal to bring them down in line with comparables. Ours was a big and noticeable di...
by vveat
Fri May 19, 2017 3:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gifts - list price vs. what you actually paid
Replies: 3
Views: 688

Gifts - list price vs. what you actually paid

I am for sure overthinking this, but decided to ask. My son is going to a classmate's birthday party tomorrow. In general my rule of thumb for kids gifts for not very close friends is ~$25 (or maybe $20-30). We got him an item with a list price of $25 (printed on the back), but I got it at Costco fo...
by vveat
Wed May 10, 2017 8:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What newspaper or magazine do you pay for?
Replies: 107
Views: 7619

Re: What newspaper or magazine do you pay for?

Recently subscribed to NYTimes (digital) and Washington Post (digital)
Time (physical)
Cooks Illustrated (digital)
and my husband is subscribed to all sailing magazines there are
by vveat
Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice for someone new to Management Consulting
Replies: 6
Views: 1185

Re: Advice for someone new to Management Consulting

My 2 cents below. 1) What do you think epitomizes a successful management consultant? If you are in a big firm it will vary (and change) by level. At the analyst or even manager level you'll need strong analytical skills - from quick back of the envelope solutions and sanity checking, to creating an...
by vveat
Wed Apr 05, 2017 11:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying House with Odor (not cigarette)
Replies: 36
Views: 3456

Re: Buying House with Odor (not cigarette)

When we bought our house one room smelled. We were novices, this was a fixer upper anyway, and we decided the owners cat had peed on the carpet. Well, when we pulled the carpet out we encountered a lot of rotting wood, lack of insulation, etc. Resolvable, no serious mold issue, but this added a coup...
by vveat
Wed Mar 29, 2017 7:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chores for elementary school age kids?
Replies: 18
Views: 1937

Re: Chores for elementary school age kids?

Thank you all for the ideas - especially ChurchLady and Loik098 for the organized long lists. Some of the suggestions were not applicable to what we do in our household - for example, we don't iron (ok, maybe 2-3 times a year), no rugs to shake (pity, I remember beating the rugs being a fun chore wh...
by vveat
Tue Mar 28, 2017 3:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chores for elementary school age kids?
Replies: 18
Views: 1937

Chores for elementary school age kids?

I was thinking recently that we haven't bothered much with formal chores for my 6 and 9 years old: - they are rather swamped with homework and activities 6 days a week (language school on Sundays) - frankly in the modern household with all appliances and conveniences there are not that many chores. ...
by vveat
Fri Mar 24, 2017 1:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Gross Yearly Income needed in Retirement (Speculation)
Replies: 194
Views: 24590

Re: Gross Yearly Income needed in Retirement (Speculation)

Not retired yet but I've done planning as we are considering early retirement. HCOL area. Travel is the big expense - each 1-2 weeks trip to Europe or similarly remote location is $5-10k, if we take kids out of the equation, probably $5k will do it. Local US trips are cheaper, but I would still budg...
by vveat
Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: gratuitous homeownership items
Replies: 218
Views: 23186

Re: gratuitous homeownership items

We've redone the whole house, so practically nothing is gratuitous. It would be easier to point out nice surprises - things we barely noticed or didn't care about that have been surprisingly useful. I could think of only 2 items: Heated towel rack in the master bathroom that we used only in the firs...
by vveat
Tue Mar 07, 2017 12:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you spend on "stuff" for kids?
Replies: 53
Views: 4967

Re: How much do you spend on "stuff" for kids?

You didn't address my earlier question. You mentioned that "funding their b-day parties" was their only gift from you. What did their parties consist of and how much did you spend on them? Am I under cross examination? Truth: I don't remember the dollar amounts. Our 4-year old's party was at Chuck ...
by vveat
Tue Mar 07, 2017 12:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you spend on "stuff" for kids?
Replies: 53
Views: 4967

Re: How much do you spend on "stuff" for kids?

I completely understand and like the fact that your kids read a lot. But I am really curios why you do not use libraries most of the time? Could it be that you don not have good libraries where you live? Original OP here. I was (am) so fascinated by the birthday gifts discussion that I forgot to re...