Search found 166 matches

by bryansmile
Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can you ever find decent flight deals during peak seasons (Christmas, Spring Break, etc.)?
Replies: 10
Views: 910

Re: Can you ever find decent flight deals during peak seasons (Christmas, Spring Break, etc.)?

It is expensive to travel as a family. To lower the cost/mileage usage, my family has long ago decided that if we want to travel during Christmas break, we are open to flying on Christmas Eve. Santa will come, whether we are home or not. We also got the SW companion pass, so that helps too.
by bryansmile
Sun Oct 20, 2019 8:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: SAT/ACT prep courses worth the money?
Replies: 47
Views: 3110

Re: SAT/ACT prep courses worth the money?

My child improved from 1270 to 1470 out of 1520 points on PSAT by self studying, using 3 SAT prep books (on reading, writing and math separately), spent $80 total. Like one poster said, the prep books have answers to all the practice problems, with very detailed explanations. He did not do well with...
by bryansmile
Fri Sep 06, 2019 9:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Downside to Using an Authorized User Card - Not Earning Rewards
Replies: 20
Views: 1241

Re: Downside to Using an Authorized User Card - Not Earning Rewards

What's a "joint member?" Costco's executive memberships have one "primary member" and one "household member." Both earn the same rewards and get a combined check once a year. I've linked Costco's executive T&C's above. Can you please point to the exclusion that you're talking about there. Like I sa...
by bryansmile
Fri Sep 06, 2019 9:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Downside to Using an Authorized User Card - Not Earning Rewards
Replies: 20
Views: 1241

Re: Downside to Using an Authorized User Card - Not Earning Rewards

Are you saying that those holding Costco's household executive memberships do not earn the 2% executive member rewards? That's not correct. Here's a link to Costco's T&C (https://www.costco.com/executive-rewards.html), which says "Only purchases made by the Primary and active Primary Household Card...
by bryansmile
Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Downside to Using an Authorized User Card - Not Earning Rewards
Replies: 20
Views: 1241

Re: Downside to Using an Authorized User Card - Not Earning Rewards

Thanks for posting that. I was not aware........fortunately DW who is the primary does most of the shopping. One other thing to be aware of...........for Citi Costco rental car insurance, the primary card holder must make the reservation and must pay using their card. Also good to know! Is the rule...
by bryansmile
Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Downside to Using an Authorized User Card - Not Earning Rewards
Replies: 20
Views: 1241

Re: Downside to Using an Authorized User Card - Not Earning Rewards

I also know that Amex reward offers only apply to the primary card holder, not the authorized user. Do you know of any other instances where an "authorized user" do not earn the same kind of reward/rebate as the primary card holder? Our authorized user (AU) cards from Chase and Citi earn rewards. O...
by bryansmile
Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Downside to Using an Authorized User Card - Not Earning Rewards
Replies: 20
Views: 1241

Re: Downside to Using an Authorized User Card

Are you referring to a "Supplemental Cardholder" (you have your *own* card, with your name on it), or truly an "Authorized User", which - I thought - meant one didn't have an actual card with own name on it. Point is, how does an Authorized User use the card in a store... if one hands over the regu...
by bryansmile
Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Downside to Using an Authorized User Card - Not Earning Rewards
Replies: 20
Views: 1241

Downside to Using an Authorized User Card - Not Earning Rewards

I just recently became aware that if you are not the primary member on your Costco Executive Membership (for example, your spouse is the primary member), your Costco purchases do not earn the 2% Executive rewards (this is separate from the citi card 2% rewards). I wish I knew this when we first star...
by bryansmile
Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: College age male: How much money for food?
Replies: 138
Views: 6293

Re: College age male: How much money for food?

OP, In this day and age, you can get prepared meals (minus the actual baking) delivered to your son's dorm. Take a look at these: https://www.instacart.com/costco/aisles/665-prepared-meals/page/1 https://www.instacart.com/store/items/item_311734837 For example, the Kirkland Signature Stuffed Bell Pe...
by bryansmile
Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Where are the Brokered CDs?
Replies: 13
Views: 1501

Re: Where are the Brokered CDs?

As a follow-up, I opened an account with Navy Credit to get the above mentioned teaser rate, and found it was just that. It seems they only offered it for a month. I started the process on Aug 3rd and with lots of delays in opening first a savings and then an IRA, the IRA transfer form hasn't even ...
by bryansmile
Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Have you skipped a flight segment to save on airfare?
Replies: 39
Views: 3364

Re: Have you skipped a flight segment to save on airfare?

It looks like there's some risk then. The flight I'm looking at goes to the Caribbean with a stopover at his college town (in the US).
by bryansmile
Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Have you skipped a flight segment to save on airfare?
Replies: 39
Views: 3364

Have you skipped a flight segment to save on airfare?

My child flies home from college a few times a year and the airfares have gotten more expensive especially for peak times like holidays and spring break, even though it's still a few months out, so I'm thinking about going the skipping the last segment route. Have you done it?
by bryansmile
Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:19 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Silicon Valley Interview Attire
Replies: 30
Views: 2791

Re: Silicon Valley Interview Attire

Thanks all for your suggestions! We also appreciate the helpful interview tips. I'll pass on all the info to the student.
by bryansmile
Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Silicon Valley Interview Attire
Replies: 30
Views: 2791

Silicon Valley Interview Attire

It's the onsite interview for an undergrad internship in engineering. What is considered 'casual' (the dress code student was told) by the tech companies there? I was thinking a dress shirt without tie, Docker's khaki pants, and leather shoes. Is it too old school? should it be a polo shirt, jeans a...
by bryansmile
Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Where are the Brokered CDs?
Replies: 13
Views: 1501

Re: Where are the Brokered CDs?

I have a question. What's so good about these cds, considering Navy Federal offers 5 year cds at 3.5%, and 18 month at 3%? Thank you for this tip. My father served over 20 years and was a member of Navy Credit for forever before he passed away, but I think I still qualify. We'll have to thank fello...
by bryansmile
Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:59 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Where are the Brokered CDs?
Replies: 13
Views: 1501

Re: Where are the Brokered CDs?

I have a question. What's so good about these cds, considering Navy Federal offers 5 year cds at 3.5%, and 18 month at 3%? Thank you for this tip. My father served over 20 years and was a member of Navy Credit for forever before he passed away, but I think I still qualify. We'll have to thank fello...
by bryansmile
Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:32 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Where are the Brokered CDs?
Replies: 13
Views: 1501

Re: Where are the Brokered CDs?

I have a question. What's so good about these cds, considering Navy Federal offers 5 year cds at 3.5%, and 18 month at 3%?
by bryansmile
Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Day care vs nanny for child care
Replies: 62
Views: 3659

Re: Day care vs nanny for childcare

Never tried nannies. With daycare, the key is to find a good one. It's not easy, and takes a bit of work on your part, but it's totally worth it. And they are out there. And they are not necessarily the most expensive kind. We moved a few times when kids were young, and each time we visited about 20...
by bryansmile
Tue Jul 23, 2019 10:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Uber Without Smartphone
Replies: 103
Views: 7806

Re: Uber Without Smartphone

OP,
Look at tello.com. A plan with unlimited texts, 100 minute calls and 500 MB data is only $6/month. And if you aren't sure where to get a compatible phone, get a Moto E4 from Tello for $79. Then you are all set. Their customer service is very good!
by bryansmile
Mon Jul 22, 2019 1:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Accounts that take foreign currency (London Oyster card refund)?
Replies: 6
Views: 495

Accounts that take foreign currency (London Oyster card refund)?

We have several Oyster cards that have some good amount that we'd like to cash out, since we don't expect to go to London again in the near future. In my online account, it gives two options, one is to go to a customer service kiosk/counter which we can't do (we tried before leaving London but the k...
by bryansmile
Sat Jun 22, 2019 8:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Paris hotel recommendations for young family
Replies: 13
Views: 1148

Re: Paris hotel recommendations for young family

I've never been there, just did lots of research for my family's trip. My conclusion is to stay away from districts 9-10, and 17-20. Those districts are dangerous. There might be pockets in those districts that are less rough, but for simplicity, that's the basic guideline I followed. According to a...
by bryansmile
Sat Jun 15, 2019 5:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone make their own tortillas?
Replies: 37
Views: 3454

Re: Anyone make their own tortillas?

8foot7 wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 4:15 pm
I will say that the uncooked flour tortillas you can buy by the relatively large bag at Costco are very, very surprisingly delicious.
Where in Costco do you find them?
We also buy uncooked tortillas, from Super Walmart. Agree they are very good, and easy to cook.
by bryansmile
Sat Jun 15, 2019 5:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Evaluating Insurance Companies
Replies: 2
Views: 414

Re: Evaluating Insurance Companies

Check their JD Power rating. If you can't find it, ask your agent.
I mainly focus on their claims rating. Other things like interaction or billing process don't matter, that's what the agent is for.
by bryansmile
Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 40+% increase in auto policy (GEICO) - normal?
Replies: 74
Views: 5202

Re: 40+% increase in auto policy (GEICO) - normal?

Many, many decades ago - I had 12 month policies - but with State Farm - for the past 45+ years, I believe all have been six months. Do some (or many) companies commonly offer 12 month policies? Yes, amica, liberty mutual, etc. And some regional companies I know that only do business in the east co...
by bryansmile
Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 40+% increase in auto policy (GEICO) - normal?
Replies: 74
Views: 5202

Re: 40+% increase in auto policy (GEICO) - normal?

Try to avoid 6 month policies. We all know price will increase at every renewal. With an 1 year policy, the price is locked in for one year, even if you have an accident during the year (east coast winters are bad and there're many crazy drivers here too). And, you'd only have to price shop once a y...
by bryansmile
Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:02 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Left MegaCorp, Disadvantages to Rolling 401K & Pension to Self-Directed Solo 401K?
Replies: 28
Views: 2067

Re: Left MegaCorp, Disadvantages to Rolling 401K & Pension to Self-Directed Solo 401K?

Completely agree with Spirit Rider's assessment of MySolo401k. I have a plan through them and I've received blatant misinformation on serious matters. When asking them about my allowed contribution limits, I got two terrible answers. First, they had no idea that a profit-sharing contribution reduce...
by bryansmile
Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 4141
Views: 793045

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

I have actually. But I'm trying to figure out the time period between cards that they require. For example, my wife has had a BOA Cash Rewards that I've been an AU on for several years. When I moved everything to ME and BOA, I opened a Cash Rewards card in my name. About a month later, I tried to o...
by bryansmile
Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Shopping insurance? How often?
Replies: 18
Views: 1350

Re: Shopping insurance? How often?

RubyTuesday wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:57 am
Do those of you who quote many carriers every year or so have a streamlined approach of providing the information to receive the quote?

Thanks
RT
I work with a local independent agent. They can get quotes from 6-10 insurance companies easily. I'll just handle the rest such as Geico and Amica.
by bryansmile
Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good Rx
Replies: 36
Views: 3398

Re: Good Rx

One thing to keep in mind for those with high medical costs, for those who are likely to reach your OOP (Out Of Pocket maximum), in which case you would want "everything to count", so you hit that max and then pay nothing for the rest of the year. At least in our case, meds purchased out of our Rx ...
by bryansmile
Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 4141
Views: 793045

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

I have actually. But I'm trying to figure out the time period between cards that they require. For example, my wife has had a BOA Cash Rewards that I've been an AU on for several years. When I moved everything to ME and BOA, I opened a Cash Rewards card in my name. About a month later, I tried to o...
by bryansmile
Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: College Credits to stay on Parents Health Insurance
Replies: 17
Views: 1449

Re: College Credits to stay on Parents Health Insurance

Yes, to be an HSA eligible individual, you can not be a dependent, must be covered under an HDHP and have no "other coverage". Also, since the "rules for married people" do not apply, their contribution is not limited by their parent's contributions. A non-dependent child covered by a parent's HDHP...
by bryansmile
Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Passport photos cheap
Replies: 55
Views: 3410

Re: Passport photos cheap

have read (bad) stories of folks taking their own photo then 'sending in' a passport renewal only to get it back after an extended period of time as the pictures weren't to spec. On that note I personally wouldn't use a cell phone to take my own photo. I need to do this later this year. People who ...
by bryansmile
Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Shopping insurance? How often?
Replies: 18
Views: 1350

Re: Shopping insurance? How often?

Once a year. The key is to work with an independent agent who will rate shop for you. At the same time, you also call and get quotes from companies that do not work with agents, such as Amica.
I switch when I can save $50 or more a year.
by bryansmile
Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: College Credits to stay on Parents Health Insurance
Replies: 17
Views: 1449

Re: College Credits to stay on Parents Health Insurance

Spirit Rider wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:09 am
In fact, if the parents have a family HDHP, a non-dependent child can make their own HSA contributions up to the full family plan contribution limit.
Can you explain this a bit more? If my non dependent child is on my family plan and I max out the HSA to 7k, can my child contribute extra?
by bryansmile
Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Passport photos cheap
Replies: 55
Views: 3410

Re: Passport photos cheap

Take your own picture, upload to epassportphoto.com for proper formatting, then print it at cvs/walgreens for $0.19 on a 4x6 sheet (it'll contain 4 photos). I've been doing it for years.
by bryansmile
Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:43 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: How are “high earners” (HCEs) eligible for Mega-backdoor Roth?
Replies: 12
Views: 1343

Re: How are “high earners” (HCEs) eligible for Mega-backdoor Roth?

Have you read through your plan's "summary plan description"? It'll tell you the specific rules around HCEs contributions.

The reason some are able to max out is because their plan caps HCE contributions at a percentage of pay, and their pay is high enough. Think 250k*20% + company match.
by bryansmile
Fri May 31, 2019 1:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Blinds for Windows - Where is the best value ?
Replies: 30
Views: 2553

Re: Blinds for Windows - Where is the best value ?

I bought all of my blinds online from jcpenney.com, over a period of time.
A good thing about jcp sales is the extra 25%/30% is off the already discounted sale price, not the original price, so their final price is very competitive. Also, stick with their house brand for best value.
by bryansmile
Fri May 31, 2019 10:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Blinds for Windows - Where is the best value ?
Replies: 30
Views: 2553

Re: Blinds for Windows - Where is the best value ?

I put cordless cellular shades on all my windows. I got good deals from two sources-JC Penneys when they had a sale, and Ebay where you can often find the same blinds. +1 on JCP sales. I replaced 23 mini blinds with 2.5" wood and faux wood (bathrooms) blinds from JCP. Their house brand, all good qu...
by bryansmile
Mon May 06, 2019 3:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: College credit for HS courses or not?
Replies: 49
Views: 2652

Re: College credit for HS courses or not?

My son started college with 60+ credit hours from high school. Here's what the upperclassmen told him which seems to be the consensus on campus: a lot of the freshmen level courses (physics, chem, bio, calc I II III) are "weed out" classes, so they are made exceptional hard, harder than necessary. w...
by bryansmile
Mon May 06, 2019 1:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Educational pathway(s) for future engineer
Replies: 89
Views: 4463

Re: Educational pathway(s) for future engineer

OP, First of all, if your son is disappointed at his school, he can always apply to transfer to GT/UM. Start early, his chances will be high if he does well in freshman year. If he's not looking at grad school, then internships are very important. But freshmen typically do not get the offer. My son ...
by bryansmile
Wed May 01, 2019 9:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chiropracter career no longer lucrative...what other job options are there?
Replies: 41
Views: 5656

Re: Chiropracter career no longer lucrative...what other job options are there?

The way patients seek out chiropractor is through word of mouth, and social media is the best channel. One successful chiropractor I know has his own office, works Monday - Saturday, will give patients a free t-shirt if they write a good review on Yelp.com. He currently has over 1,000 good reviews o...
by bryansmile
Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Switch auto insurance?
Replies: 18
Views: 1943

Re: Switch auto insurance?

I used to shop for insurance every year. Not this year.
Last year for the first time I switched to a regional insurance co. (good rating in jd power), this year I got my renewal notice, a "huge" 3% increase! For the first time in a long time I am not insurance shopping while doing my taxes.
by bryansmile
Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: College admission inputs - Purdue vs local SJSU vs others
Replies: 58
Views: 3789

Re: College admission inputs - Purdue vs local SJSU vs others

As another poster said, SJSU is a commuter college. Does your child want a traditional college/univ experience? Also if he changes major down the road, Purdue is a much better option overall. I don't recommend the "transfer in 2nd year" option. Transfer students have very different and often difficu...
by bryansmile
Thu Apr 18, 2019 9:03 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: next dollar of savings
Replies: 39
Views: 3506

Re: next dollar of savings

I want to revive this thread after reading this thread about after-tax 401k contributions in this thread: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=278923&newpost=4496659 I looked at my company's 401k plan and it looks like I have the option for after-tax contributions, though I have nev...
by bryansmile
Fri Apr 12, 2019 7:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bogleheads, why won't anyone hire me?
Replies: 194
Views: 18901

Re: Bogleheads, why won't anyone hire me?

OP, I didn't read all the replies but your story reminds me of my son's soccer coach from 10+ years back. He's a great volunteer coach (no pay, just reimbursement for gas, food, etc) and well liked by the kids and parents. At the time he's working full time at an indoor soccer place while finishing ...
by bryansmile
Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?
Replies: 111
Views: 10390

Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

There are online MS programs in CS from top universities. You live at home and just pay tuition and small fees. If instate, it's even cheaper. So check your State U. The student can work part time in the mean time.
by bryansmile
Mon Mar 18, 2019 7:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Paris - Is It Safe?
Replies: 143
Views: 10112

Re: Paris - Is It Safe?

I was there a few years back and at the time it was safe on the streets except for the usual [(removed) --admin LadyGeek] , tramps and thieves looking to pick your wallet. A while after that I saw they closed the Louvre as there were so many pickpockets [(removed) --admin LadyGeek] hanging out ther...
by bryansmile
Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are academic enrichment courses for school age kids worth it
Replies: 61
Views: 3497

Re: Are academic enrichment courses for school age kids worth it

When my son was getting 70s in his first grade math, I started reviewing math with him before each test - after all, we parents know elementary school math. It helped a lot, both my son and myself. After a year, he no longer needed my help in math, but as he discovered his love for soccer we started...
by bryansmile
Fri Mar 08, 2019 3:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Preventive Care and Annual Physical 100% Covered but Charged?
Replies: 62
Views: 4428

Re: Preventive Care and Annual Physical 100% Covered but Charged?

OP, you are still lucky. When I took my son to see his doctor who then ordered an x-ray at the medical center next door (in network), besides all the charges for dr's visit and x-ray, the medical center also billed me a $350 "facility charge", for using their x-ray facility. I called and was told th...
by bryansmile
Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ever heard of dentists sedating toddlers to fill baby teeth cavities?
Replies: 28
Views: 2647

Re: Ever heard of dentists sedating toddlers to fill baby teeth cavities?

I did not have my child's baby tooth fixed when it showed decay. It fell out eventually.