Search found 67 matches

by Marylander1
Sat Apr 29, 2017 2:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Southwest] Airlines Rapid Rewards Dining
Replies: 11
Views: 940

Re: [Southwest] Airlines Rapid Rewards Dining

Back when I had a stash of United Airlines miles, their credit card dining program was extremely helpful for preserving the points until I was able to redeem them. (Since United has fallen from a high-quality airline to a low-quality, "we charge extra for everything" airline, I've stopped ...
by Marylander1
Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Washer/dryer suggestions?
Replies: 31
Views: 2073

Re: Washer/dryer suggestions?

Our LG front-loader washer & dryer are fabulous, have never smelled, and are trivial to clean. We wipe down the seal once every few weeks to remove bits of hair & fur. Moisture doesn't accumulate because the door closes with a "soft-latch" that leaves an air gap so it dries thoroug...
by Marylander1
Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Unemployed for 2-3 days- potential benefits
Replies: 24
Views: 2105

Re: Unemployed for 2-3 days- potential benefits

Has anybody ever had the need to "collect" on the retro-active policy? As it is dealing with insurance company is a hassle and I suspect this would end up magnitude higher than normal. I faced a near-worst case scenario: complex surgery was scheduled months in advance, then my project was...
by Marylander1
Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is 130k a good salary in IT?.
Replies: 40
Views: 6161

Re: Is 130k a good salary in IT?.

This salary survey can provide a moderately detailed answer:
https://www.roberthalf.com/technology/s ... fessionals

Note that you need to add the local differential.

-Tom
by Marylander1
Sun Feb 12, 2017 8:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why do you go to restaurants?
Replies: 229
Views: 17088

Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

We go out for experiences we can't get at home. Our favorite local restaurant has great live music most nights and many of our friends are also regulars.

-Marylander1
by Marylander1
Sun Feb 12, 2017 8:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Poll: IT salary
Replies: 4
Views: 973

Re: Poll: IT salary

You should also ask for location, as CS grad salaries vary dramatically between San Francisco and Muncie.

-Marylander1
by Marylander1
Wed Jan 25, 2017 8:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Refusing to sign or altering hospital billing admission forms?
Replies: 79
Views: 6164

Re: Refusing to sign or altering hospital billing admission forms?

...Two reasons are that there's not likely to be much of a difference between the forms and that in many (but not all) ER situations you're not going to have a choice of hospitals. I almost always read doctor and hospital paperwork and can't recall seeing any substantial differences in recent years...
by Marylander1
Sat Jan 21, 2017 9:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much is your cell phone bill?
Replies: 263
Views: 25919

Re: How much is your cell phone bill?

Phones are kinda like insurance plans in many ways. If you've ever stood in an ER or along the roadside frantically trying to call family/friends or doctors etc or access the Internet to look up X,Y or Z in an emergency, a 'cheap' plan isn't what you want that's for sure. In this regard, having som...
by Marylander1
Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Family ski trip without breaking the bank
Replies: 27
Views: 2752

Re: Family ski trip without breaking the bank

Copper Mountain is a good value. I was at Copper last week. One of Copper's best deals--the Four Pack--is available through tomorrow. (The best deal for less than a season pass is to buy the four pack the previous spring, when it adds a fifth day for free.) There's fairly cheap competitive lodging ...
by Marylander1
Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?
Replies: 67
Views: 7374

Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

I found support for my Ideapad (original model Yoga 13 purchased early 2013) to be horrible. Though I had a Thinkpad from around 2004-2010 and support was quite good back then. That is encouraging that you found Thinkpad support good. Thinkpad is Lenovo's flagship business brand. Ideapad is their d...
by Marylander1
Tue Nov 29, 2016 4:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?
Replies: 67
Views: 7374

Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

I have an XPS 13 for work, with the super high resolution touch screen. It's gorgeous (especially the screen), but the keyboard slows my typing considerably, with shallow travel and missing keys (compared to my personal Lenovo X260). The Dell TrackPad is a disaster, crude and imprecise (not just for...
by Marylander1
Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: H&R Block Tax Software for 2016
Replies: 76
Views: 8175

Re: H&R Block Tax Software for 2016

Inframan4712 wrote:Mac version on sale for 29.95 right now. Just downloaded it. Deluxe Fed + State.


Windows version is also back down to $29.95 at the link above https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MDO3TEG

-Marylander1
by Marylander1
Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cancun, Grand Cayman or Other Caribbean Islands
Replies: 28
Views: 2627

Re: Cancun, Grand Cayman or Other Caribbean Islands

Puerto Rico is beautiful. The Waldorf-Astoria El Conquistador on the eastern coast is a bargain through Costco Travel. It has a beach island just off shore accessible by a high-speed catamaran, and a moderately big but very uncrowded water park, both included free through Costco's prices. It's inclu...
by Marylander1
Fri Jul 08, 2016 7:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can I get a little house or townhouse for under $400K in Maryland or Virginia?
Replies: 112
Views: 10356

Re: Can I get a little house or townhouse for under $400K in Maryland or Virginia?

There are neighborhoods close to the Maryland Beltway and Metro with costs <$400k. These are older houses in College Park, and new townhouses including these: http://www.ryanhomes.com/find-your-home ... -metro-sfa

-Marylander1
by Marylander1
Sun May 29, 2016 8:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is Maryland state pension a good idea for me?
Replies: 6
Views: 1117

Is Maryland state pension a good idea for me?

I recently started employment with the University of Maryland. With little time to research, I had to choose whether to join the defined-benefit State Retirement and Pension System ("SRPS Reformed") or the defined-contribution Optional Retirement Program (ORP). I know a lot about 401ks and...
by Marylander1
Sat May 21, 2016 11:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon has no head to head competitors?
Replies: 71
Views: 5553

Re: Amazon has no head to head competitors?

We've seen a steep dropoff in Amazon quality the past 2 years. It used to be that if you ignored Amazon's "3rd party" sellers and bought directly from Amazon (for a higher price), you would get quality items at great prices. Now even when I order directly from Amazon I often receive used i...
by Marylander1
Wed Apr 27, 2016 3:14 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Feedback on plan to balance my portfolio
Replies: 14
Views: 1269

Re: Feedback on plan to balance my portfolio

I don't appear to have free trades at Etrade, though they make that difficult to ascertain. The most information I've been able to find on Etrade's site is an indicator for whether there's a transaction fee on individual mutual funds, not what it is for me. I'm not at all opposed to consolidating t...
by Marylander1
Sat Apr 16, 2016 10:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Alternatives to Verizon Wireless
Replies: 47
Views: 5086

Re: Alternatives to Verizon Wireless

I switched from Verizon's standard "post-pay" to their cheaper "pre-pay" option over a year ago. I have a 4G LTE Moto E, and the Verizon network. If you have to work with their customer service, it's about the same as most MVNOs—meaning significantly less good than Verizon post-p...
by Marylander1
Sun Apr 10, 2016 3:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best showerhead?
Replies: 38
Views: 8405

Re: Best showerhead?

Thank you! Our WaterPik shower head is dying—after 8 years of regular use, it's developed irreconcilable leaks and the plastic mount is about to shear. I searched for the model specified at the top of this thread, and found Amazon now charges $156.22 (plus you have to buy the mount & hose separa...
by Marylander1
Sun Mar 27, 2016 8:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Your fav [US domestic] airline - as far as flying experience?
Replies: 72
Views: 4949

Re: Your fav airline - as far as flying experience?

Southwest, at least for US & nearby flights. Their service is far better than any of the lousy "legacy" carriers constantly dreaming up new fees. Regardless of ticket price, every time I compare, Southwest is cheaper for anyone who checks baggage, carries baggage onto the plane, change...
by Marylander1
Fri Jan 22, 2016 11:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Nutritional supplements - beware
Replies: 38
Views: 3229

Re: Nutritional supplements - beware

What I'd really like to see somebody do is look at the homeopathic remedies to find out whether or not they really contain their stated ingredients. I don't know if there are any testing techniques sensitive enough to verify whether a sleep aid actually does or does not contain the stated "Hyo...
by Marylander1
Sat Oct 24, 2015 7:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Options after retroactive TSP dis-enrollment?
Replies: 10
Views: 1447

Re: Options after retroactive TSP dis-enrollment?

Here's the final resolution from me, the original poster: My spouse has transitioned to a new Federal job in a different division of the same agency--and this new position includes full benefits including TSP and FERS. We've set the TSP contributions to deduct a very large percentage of income and h...
by Marylander1
Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Second time Yoga 13 battery died in 1 1/2 years- What to buy?
Replies: 16
Views: 2282

Re: Second time Yoga 13 battery died in 1 1/2 years- What to buy?

amd2135 wrote:I'd recommend going for an SSD if you can afford it. The performance difference can be substantial over a conventional hard drive.


I believe SSDs also use significantly less power than spinning platters (in addition to be much more durable). Your battery charge will last longer.
by Marylander1
Fri May 22, 2015 11:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good 3-way LED Bulb?
Replies: 12
Views: 2748

Re: Good 3-way LED Bulb?

aaronl wrote:I'm happy with the Philips 453340: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NP2MYO0


I concur--the Philips provides nice light, is sturdy, and I've used their LED bulbs for years without any failing.

-Marylander1
by Marylander1
Thu May 21, 2015 7:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Options after retroactive TSP dis-enrollment?
Replies: 10
Views: 1447

Re: Options after retroactive TSP dis-enrollment?

Here's follow-up on this situation. First, a bit more background. It turns out the best thing we did was to go directly to our congressional representative with a detailed, well-documented letter the same week TSP money started disappearing. (It disappeared in several large chunks, for reasons we've...
by Marylander1
Tue May 05, 2015 7:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: French press recommendation?
Replies: 32
Views: 4574

Re: French press recommendation?

After breaking a couple of Bodum glass presses over a few years, we upgraded to a Frieling stainless steel press. After more than 4 years, it has a few scuffs but no signs of wear. I also think it will outlast me, so the price was a bargain.

-Marylander1
by Marylander1
Mon May 04, 2015 8:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: electric water heater keeps tripping
Replies: 7
Views: 9251

Re: electric water heater keeps tripping

What exactly is tripping? When my water heater started tripping the circuit breaker, the electrician said it was the breaker failing. (They're designed to fail-safe, meaning they trip on less than specified load.) Once the breaker was replaced, all was well. Is it possible that whatever is tripping ...
by Marylander1
Sat May 02, 2015 8:24 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Options after retroactive TSP dis-enrollment?
Replies: 10
Views: 1447

Re: Options after retroactive TSP dis-enrollment?

Thank you, lafder and sawhorse! Seriously--thank you, this is extremely helpful for us to understand what's going on. That would seem to explain why the account remains open with a balance. I recall the offer letter was vaguer than most I've seen, but we will review the situation carefully. Others w...
by Marylander1
Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Options after retroactive TSP dis-enrollment?
Replies: 10
Views: 1447

Options after retroactive TSP dis-enrollment?

My spouse contributed the maximum $17,500 to the federal employee TSP plan for 2014, and was on track to contribute the 2015 maximum. In an extremely unpleasant turn of events, we learned after April 15 that Human Resources made an error--the position was mis-coded and allegedly ineligible to partic...
by Marylander1
Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mailing tax returns
Replies: 93
Views: 10898

Re: Mailing tax returns

According to the H&R Block software, I can't federal e-file, so I'm V-coding. In preparation for potential back-door Roth in future years, I rolled an IRA into my 401k. The software gives an error on form 1099-R, saying "You cannot e-file if you rolled over this distribution in 2015, or fro...
by Marylander1
Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HR error- Highly compensated employee status
Replies: 11
Views: 1655

Re: HR error- Highly compensated employee status

Your view is very idealistic - and not very real world. The IRS HCE rules only handicap those middle class peons that just so happen to make it barely over this magical $115k line. If you're truly a HCE, say making north of $1MM/year, it doesn't really matter if HCE limits you to 2%, 4%, 10%.... as...
by Marylander1
Sun Mar 01, 2015 10:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replace or repair dishwasher
Replies: 28
Views: 2639

Re: Replace or repair dishwasher

Our Bosch is about to celebrate its third birthday. We get the standard Finish pellets from Costco, and use 1 per load. We don't pre-rinse our dishes, and the dishes nearly always come out perfectly clean. Once every few months there's grit throughout the load, and I spend 5 minutes to clean the gri...
by Marylander1
Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turbotax 2014: Buyer Beware
Replies: 77
Views: 12078

Re: Turbotax 2014: Buyer Beware

I suspect is more likely a simple software issue. Their code is likely written to need a connection to encrypt and decrypt. I bet the printing routine is tied into that. I'll let someone else sniff out what they are sending. It doesn't worry me so much. One of the comments on the Forbes article ind...
by Marylander1
Fri Feb 06, 2015 6:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TurboTax '14 Deluxe (Desktop) Excludes Schedule D
Replies: 223
Views: 39882

Re: Turbo Tax - schedule D now no extra cost

Just curious I've been using the online version for years , no problems , why would someone want the desktop version ?? ⋅ I consider my tax form to be highly personal information, and give copies of it only to people I trust. I don't trust Intuit. Over and over, Intuit has been incredibly...
by Marylander1
Sun Feb 01, 2015 10:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: POLL: How Will You Complete Your 2014 Taxes?
Replies: 69
Views: 6440

Re: POLL: How Will You Complete Your 2014 Taxes?

I gave TaxAct a try but it would not import my taxes from last year (&%#@$%*#$*@!!!), and when I found I had to enter every detail by hand, I went back to TurboTax. After years of TurboTax, I bailed on their ridiculous gotcha price increases this year. H&R Block readily imported our TurboTa...
by Marylander1
Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Thinking of switching from Turbo-Tax
Replies: 26
Views: 2593

Re: Thinking of switching from Turbo-Tax

Having used H&R a bit more I think I can safely say "I won't be going back to TT". Same here. I used TurboTax Deluxe for more than a decade, and rejected their demand I upgrade to Premier to continue. This year's return is going quite well in H&R Block Deluxe—at one third the pric...
by Marylander1
Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:04 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Does college tuition indeed keep up with inflation?
Replies: 15
Views: 1904

Re: Does college tuition indeed keep up with inflation?

From this week's Economist: https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpf1/v/t1.0-9/10957638_10153036890569060_9047490872547886517_n.png?oh=a2795a040965d0f7ce8be2ca73021190&oe=555FFDA9&__gda__=1431845334_68735c2ac5f22403a646eb097300148b Source: http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/...
by Marylander1
Sun Jan 11, 2015 9:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rental Car Driver Not Authorized
Replies: 36
Views: 11415

Re: Rental Car Driver Not Authorized

This may or may not help your situation, but we've found the lowest rates are nearly always from Enterprise through Costco, which includes spouse drivers PLUS a third driver at no additional cost.

-Marylander1
by Marylander1
Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Your Favorite Cookbook?
Replies: 68
Views: 7624

Re: Your Favorite Cookbook?

Our favorite cookbook isn't a list of recipes. Instead, it's an index of ingredients and what goes well with each, including many non-obvious ideas:
http://www.amazon.com/Flavor-Bible-Esse ... 1420391475

-Marylander1
by Marylander1
Fri Jan 02, 2015 1:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HR Block software deal on Amazon
Replies: 45
Views: 6493

Re: HR Block software deal on Amazon

So far HR Block is getting off to a disappointing start. I bought it as a Mac dowload and attempted to install it. It asked me for an "activation code", which it said should be in the email I received after completing my purchase. But the only email I received after purchasing it was a pu...
by Marylander1
Fri Jan 02, 2015 1:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HR Block software deal on Amazon
Replies: 45
Views: 6493

Re: H&R Block Tax Software - $22 Deluxe at Amazon

Thanks for the notice! I've used TurboTax Deluxe for more than a dozen years, but Intuit's deceitful price hike is too much. Rather than pay $90 for TurboTax Premier, I bought the comparable H&R Block Deluxe for $22. I've already imported my TurboTax file from last year with no problem (it's the...
by Marylander1
Tue Dec 09, 2014 7:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: A Visit toPittsburgh
Replies: 35
Views: 3162

Re: A Visit toPittsburgh

For our anniversary this past May, we stayed at a B&B on the river that was extremely pleasant, and fairly close to downtown but very secluded: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1555296 We highly recommend it if's your style. If you like tasty home-brewed alcohol, the pear, ginger, and blueberry wine...
by Marylander1
Wed Nov 26, 2014 10:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Discover Card - New Deal
Replies: 13
Views: 2352

Re: Discover Card - New Deal

I have my Discover linked up with Amazon so I spend my rewards there. Note that if you spend your reward directly on Amazon, you don't get rewards on that purchase. If you apply the reward as a statement credit and use the same Discover card to buy the same purchase on Amazon, you do get rewards on...
by Marylander1
Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:09 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: IRA with $0.17 balance
Replies: 16
Views: 2452

Re: IRA with $0.17 balance

Thank you, everyone for posting your take--especially Alan S.! I expected a different viewpoint would provide clear resolution, and it did. I'll keep the IRA account open and just flush my first Roth conversion through it, picking up the loose change along the way.

Gracias,

-Marylander1
by Marylander1
Sat Nov 15, 2014 3:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: IRA with $0.17 balance
Replies: 16
Views: 2452

IRA with $0.17 balance

Preparing for a backdoor Roth, I rolled over an ETrade IRA into my employer's 401k. Everything went according to plan--almost. Three weeks after my ETrade balance dropped to $0.00, I received a 17 cent sweep account dividend. :| I want to close this account while generating as little additional pape...
by Marylander1
Sat Oct 25, 2014 11:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Reduce income to fall below 401k HCE threshold?
Replies: 9
Views: 1243

Re: Reduce income to fall below 401k HCE threshold?

ERISA Stone wrote:An HCE who makes $260k and contributes the max will receive the same refund amount (again excluding earnings) as an HCE who barely hits the HCE limit and contributes the max.

Thanks for the correction! The ADP is better designed than I thought.

-Marylander1
by Marylander1
Sat Oct 25, 2014 10:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Reduce income to fall below 401k HCE threshold?
Replies: 9
Views: 1243

Re: Reduce income to fall below 401k HCE threshold?

Bigger picture: is there any chance you could successfully lobby for the company to take advantage of a safeharbor? Unfortunately, this is a large employer and I wouldn't expect success from a hypothetical safe harbor campaign. I have been an HCE for more than a decade and I think the most that I h...
by Marylander1
Fri Oct 24, 2014 4:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Reduce income to fall below 401k HCE threshold?
Replies: 9
Views: 1243

Reduce income to fall below 401k HCE threshold?

In 2013, my employer failed the Average Deferral Percentage (ADP) test, and Highly Compensated Employees (HCEs) received substantial "return of excess" checks in the first quarter of 2014 to reduce their contributions into compliance. My 2013 gross income fell just below the HCE threshold ...
by Marylander1
Fri Sep 26, 2014 4:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [phishing with fake] EZ-Pass [e-mail]
Replies: 15
Views: 1979

Re: EZ-Pass scam?

The real scam is monthly fees. How is that even legal? It's your choice whether to pay monthly fees--you can obtain an E-Z Pass from any state that issues them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-ZPass#Fees_and_discounts_by_state And of course the appropriate response is not to click on links in *any* ...
by Marylander1
Thu Aug 21, 2014 6:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Unlimited cell plans dropping in price?
Replies: 40
Views: 4456

Re: Unlimited cell plans dropping in price?

I pay $50 for verizon for unlimited talk, text and 1gig data. Plus I get a big subsidy on my phone I pay $45 (base) = $48.30 (including all taxes & fees)--for no-contract Verizon Wireless with unlimited calls and text and 1GB/month. (It's 500MB base, plus 500MB because I sign up for auto-bill.)...

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