Search found 83 matches

by maxq
Thu Nov 26, 2020 9:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: H&R Block 2020 software offer
Replies: 372
Views: 26415

Re: H&R Block 2020 software offer

Just ordered HRB 2020 Deluxe Fed only, physical disc. Was $17.50 once a promo code that appears with the item listing is applied. https://www.newegg.com/h-r-block-tax-software-deluxe-2020/p/N82E16832732138?item=N82E16832732138&source=region&nm_mc=knc-googleadwords-pc&cm_mmc=knc-googlead...
by maxq
Sat Nov 21, 2020 5:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hangouts alternative for calling landlines for free?
Replies: 15
Views: 1085

Re: Hangouts alternative for calling landlines for free?

:thumbsup

I wonder if you can leverage your shiny new USA number to set up a Google Voice number..... :-)
by maxq
Sat Nov 21, 2020 12:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hangouts alternative for calling landlines for free?
Replies: 15
Views: 1085

Re: Hangouts alternative for calling landlines for free?

I don't know where the OP is located, but perhaps try TextNow or Talkatone apps. Both give you a US or Canadian phone number and have free basic plans similar to Google Voice, but maybe without some of the bells and whistles (transcription, etc). I have a friend in Canada that uses TextNow to call m...
by maxq
Fri Aug 21, 2020 10:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: move from Microsoft Office to Libre Office - any advantages or disadvantages for those that have done so?
Replies: 45
Views: 3501

Re: move from Microsoft Office to Libre Office - any advantages or disadvantages for those that have done so?

I'm a long-time MS Office user, but have tried LibreOffice at home over the last couple of years. For basic needs, it works great as a replacement for Word and Excel. I've often created documents and spreadsheets in one program and opened and edited in the other without issue. I do have problems usi...
by maxq
Wed Jul 15, 2020 6:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: POD and unintended consequences
Replies: 10
Views: 1245

POD and unintended consequences

I'm happily divorced and have no familial obligations. I have no debts, a mortgage-free home, and live well within my means. I have a will that provides $100K bequests to my step-daughter, two long-time friends, and two charities (the church I grew up in and the Fisher House Foundation), with the re...
by maxq
Wed Jun 10, 2020 3:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 3 month Electricity
Replies: 3
Views: 818

Re: 3 month Electricity

Like you, I've used the 3-month plans for the last year or so in south Texas, and found the rates were significantly lower than with the longer term plans. When I did my search for a new plan to start at the end of June, I found the same lack of 3-month plans. There do seem to be a plethora of 10-mo...
by maxq
Wed Jun 10, 2020 2:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ID dot ME and Social Security Admin
Replies: 8
Views: 1182

Re: ID dot ME and Social Security Admin

I've used ID.me a few times. The VA uses it as one of the ways to log in to various VA websites. Costco uses it to verify military affiliation if you seek to enroll on-line with the discounted military rate. I hope its secure.... :-)
by maxq
Mon Apr 27, 2020 10:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Toyota vs. Kia Quality & Longevity
Replies: 82
Views: 5954

Re: Toyota vs. Kia Quality & Longevity

I used to be a huge fan of Toyota longevity and reliability. I have a 2001 RAV4 that's closing in on 180,000 miles and I sold a 2006 4Runner a couple of years ago after 140,000 trouble-free miles. I replaced it with a 2018 Highlander. Last year my Highlander sat at the dealer's lot for over a month ...
by maxq
Sat Apr 25, 2020 3:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: treasurydirect conversion account transfer question
Replies: 38
Views: 5575

Re: treasurydirect conversion account transfer question

I sent in about 10 paper I Bonds a few months ago for conversion, and it took about a week to receive acknowledgment they got them, then about two weeks more to show up in my conversion account. I sent in another 20 or so about 3 weeks ago. 10 days after mailing I received acknowledgement they had a...
by maxq
Sat Mar 14, 2020 11:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I hold off mailing I-Bonds to Treasury Direct?
Replies: 3
Views: 358

Should I hold off mailing I-Bonds to Treasury Direct?

I'm in the process of converting multiple paper I Bonds to electronic bonds in Treasury Direct. I didn't really trust the process (or more accurately maybe, I didn't trust my understanding of the process), so I sent a small batch first batch a month or so ago. The paper bonds were received at their ...
by maxq
Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:58 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How quickly did you receive your 2019 tax refund?
Replies: 111
Views: 8721

Re: How quickly did you receive your 2019 tax refund?

E-filed via H&R Block late night Sunday 2/23; refund direct deposit received early morning Friday 2/28. :sharebeer
by maxq
Fri Jan 17, 2020 5:26 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: FDIC Insurance Rules Update
Replies: 24
Views: 3732

Re: FDIC Insurance Rules Update

I ran into this earlier this week when I went into a local credit union (I have used it many years) to renew a maturing six-figure CD. The account rep insisted I needed to provide the POD's SSN due to new rules. I asked her to verify this with management, but she insisted there was no exception. I t...
by maxq
Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Electric shavers - foil vs rotary
Replies: 24
Views: 2357

Re: Electric shavers - foil vs rotary

I usually shave in the shower with whatever cheap disposable razor I happen to buy, then use a Norelco rotary battery-powered travel shaver to clean up the top of my ears and any areas I missed under my nose. Its quiet, small, runs a couple of months on 2 AA batteries for this limited use, and is al...
by maxq
Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Question for Feds re: liability insurance...
Replies: 24
Views: 2570

Re: Question for Feds re: liability insurance...

Many years ago, while on active duty as an Air Force officer serving as a warranted Contracting Officer, I was sued by a problematic contractor for something north of $40 million. The company was displeased that they had been terminated for default and were not being paid for work completed and anti...
by maxq
Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: highlander platinum
Replies: 10
Views: 1412

Re: highlander platinum

I bought a 2018 Highlander Platinum and am happy so far after about 6 months. The Entune audio/navigation/notification system is rather limited and is missing the tire pressure readings that a lot of cheaper crossovers include. Android Auto and Apple Car Play are still MIA on the current Highlander....
by maxq
Sun Mar 03, 2019 7:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: NO Gift Tax on Gifts >$15k in a Year
Replies: 85
Views: 8775

Re: NO Gift Tax on Gifts >$15k in a Year

I've been following this topic with interest. I have a question as to how the reporting is actually done. For example, if a person gifts someone $15K or more during 2019, I understand the form would be due to the IRS by Apr 15 of the year after the gift is made, but am unsure of how it is actually f...
by maxq
Sun Mar 03, 2019 6:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommendations for a 15-inch business laptop with centered keyboard
Replies: 7
Views: 1328

Re: Recommendations for a 15-inch business laptop with centered keyboard

I'm also one that prefers a centered keyboard and find a number pad on a laptop to be of minor value. I've been a Thinkpad user for many years, and also like the trackpoint. Last year I tried to find a 15" Windows laptop without a number pad, and discovered they are few and far between. So, I ...
by maxq
Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommendations for a 15-inch business laptop with centered keyboard
Replies: 7
Views: 1328

Re: Recommendations for a 15-inch business laptop with centered keyboard

I'm also one that prefers a centered keyboard and find a number pad on a laptop to be of minor value. I've been a Thinkpad user for many years, and also like the trackpoint. Last year I tried to find a 15" Windows laptop without a number pad, and discovered they are few and far between. So, I w...
by maxq
Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pen Fed CU on-line 1099-INT format differs from mailed version
Replies: 1
Views: 270

Pen Fed CU on-line 1099-INT format differs from mailed version

I looked at the Pen Fed website last week and saw an electronic version of my 1099-INT. I have 3 accounts there (savings and 2 certificate accounts), and the on-line 1099 merely showed a single Block 1 with the sum of the total Pen Fed interest and showing only the basic savings account number. Toda...
by maxq
Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Suggestions on secular donations & time donations
Replies: 22
Views: 1477

Re: Suggestions on secular donations & time donations

I volunteer a couple of times a week at the USO lounge in a major airport and am a substitute driver for Meals on Wheels. Both are great organizations and I've met incredible folks, both on the volunteer and "customer" side.
by maxq
Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I get umbrella liability insurance?
Replies: 56
Views: 5531

Re: Should I get umbrella liability insurance?

I read this thread with interest. I have an umbrella policy that meets my needs, but the mentions of asset protection got me thinking..... I understand each state varies on what assets you can shelter from creditors (primary residence, IRAs, etc), but I'm curious how it actually works in practice. I...
by maxq
Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: USAA apology letter?
Replies: 42
Views: 7474

Re: USAA apology letter?

Well, I guess we now know at least one reason why USAA issued the odd apology letter: https://www.militarytimes.com/pay-benefits/2019/01/03/usaa-customers-to-receive-more-than-12-million-for-alleged-violations-in-handling-accounts-errors/ As a former 35+ year USAA member, I was sorry to see them go ...
by maxq
Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New On-screen Guide for Direct TV
Replies: 17
Views: 6500

New On-screen Guide for Direct TV

I've had Direct TV and AT&T internet for several years and find it generally OK and better customer service than Comcast. In November, Direct TV started rolling out a new on-screen interface that is hugely unpopular with customers--4K function is broken, tiny font is hard to read from across the...
by maxq
Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Delayed credit card alerts from USAA Bank
Replies: 3
Views: 838

Delayed credit card alerts from USAA Bank

I have a credit card and debit card from Chase, both of which I have set up for alerts to be sent via text and an email whenever I use my card--usually I get the alert before I even get the card back in my wallet. Likewise for when auto payments I have set up are actually made. I also have alerts se...
by maxq
Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Washer/Dryer longevity ?
Replies: 69
Views: 8968

Re: Washer/Dryer longevity ?

I bought the cheapest Roper w/d set for about $600 while living in an apartment about 15 years ago. Light user, but probably average a load a week. Last year the washer died, but I was able to revive it by a simple lid safety switch replacement. Last month, the dryer quit mid-cycle. A bit of Googlin...
by maxq
Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Steps for Redeeming/Reporting/Paying interest & penalties for inherited matured EE Series Savings Bonds
Replies: 3
Views: 721

Steps for Redeeming/Reporting/Paying interest & penalties for inherited matured EE Series Savings Bonds

Long title, but I think its explanatory. My sister and I have several paper EE Series Savings Bonds that our late father purchased in 1980. They matured in early 2010. He didn't pay tax as interest was earned, so we know we will have to do so, along with payment of interest and penalties. The vast m...
by maxq
Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Entering detail in H&R Block vs TaxAct programs
Replies: 10
Views: 914

Entering detail in H&R Block vs TaxAct programs

Odd question, but I'm a bit stumped.... I used TaxAct for 10 years or so and was happy with it until their pricing skyrocketed the last two years ($10 for Federal only year after year, then $35 last year, now $52 since they say I'm a valued customer). I've switched to H&R Block (CD for $14) and ...
by maxq
Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What MPG App Do You Use To Track Fuel Usage ?
Replies: 61
Views: 3987

Re: What MPG App Do You Use To Track Fuel Usage ?

Sorry if its already been mentioned, but Fuelly (Apple store) is free today, normally $6. Noted in 9to5toys.com
by maxq
Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My dad's army jacket
Replies: 76
Views: 9572

Re: My dad's army jacket

I'm retired US Air Force and have no problem with him wearing something like this, as he noted he planned to remove the accoutrements. I still have my BDU field jacket with insulated liner (removed rank, badges and patches) and am glad to have it on the one or two winter days we get in Houston every...
by maxq
Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Propane Stove For Earthquake Kit
Replies: 24
Views: 2538

Re: Propane Stove For Earthquake Kit

I keep a Primus backpacking stove in my survival stores (Houston, so hurricanes instead of earthquakes). It uses the half pound canisters and each one lasts a couple of hours, depending on use. Only one burner though. Not as cost efficient as something like a Coleman stove running off of propane tan...
by maxq
Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: BH phone review: Moto G5 Plus
Replies: 35
Views: 4250

Re: BH phone review: Moto G5 Plus

I picked one up from Amazon for just under $200 a couple of months ago. Worked great on Cricket and had remarkable battery life. I ended up returning it though as it doesn't have an LED notification light. I like being able to see from across the room that I have a text or missed call or calendar ev...
by maxq
Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2004 LEXUS RX 330
Replies: 46
Views: 4909

Re: 2004 LEXUS RX 330

I'd factor in a few other things before making a decision: - Safety features. I assume the 2015 has a lot more than the 2004 - Location. Due to ice/snow/salt, I'd be a lot less inclined to buy a 13 year old vehicle in the northeast than in the southwest - Check the recall history and find out if any...
by maxq
Sat Jun 10, 2017 4:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: learning Arabic
Replies: 19
Views: 3191

Re: learning Arabic

A few years ago, Arabic was on the Foreign Service's list of the most difficult languages for native English-speakers to learn. I can muddle through reading/writing/speaking in 9 languages to varying degrees, but Arabic totally defeated me. If I was to tackle it again, I'd go with Duolingo for just ...
by maxq
Mon May 29, 2017 5:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Agent Orange compensation for Vietnam veteran
Replies: 4
Views: 1204

Re: Agent Orange compensation for Vietnam veteran

It can be very complicated, but I'd start with having him talk to a Veterans Service Officer if possible--many American Legion or DAV posts can put you in touch with one. Some states and/or counties also have people who fill this role. They are generally quite knowledgeable and are compensated by th...
by maxq
Thu May 25, 2017 1:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: best for web surfing: trackpoint or touchpad?
Replies: 12
Views: 1682

Re: best for web surfing: trackpoint or touchpad?

I'm a long-time Thinkpad user solely because of the Trackpoint. I've never been able to master trackpads and constantly under/overshoot where I'm aiming the cursor. The Trackpoint just feels natural to me and I find it to be quicker. I also like the 15.6" screens, but dislike laptops with numbe...
by maxq
Wed May 24, 2017 2:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mexican Pacific Beaches
Replies: 58
Views: 7435

Re: Mexican Pacific Beaches

I've been to most Mexican resorts and definitely prefer Mazatlan. The tourist areas are decidedly smaller than other beach resorts, and Mazatlan seems to be mostly a normal Mexican working city and port. I feel safe in the city and nearby areas, but I don't venture too far out as its in Sinaloa (El ...
by maxq
Sun May 07, 2017 5:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: United Mileage Plus CC - worth it?
Replies: 32
Views: 3564

Re: United Mileage Plus CC - worth it?

I've had this card for 5 years or so and find it very worthwhile. I'm in Houston, so direct flights to many places are at the whim and mercy of United. Zone 2 boarding and a free checked bag each way (also a free checked bag for one other person if they are on your reservation), zero foreign transac...
by maxq
Tue May 02, 2017 9:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Global Entry or Nexus
Replies: 15
Views: 1843

Re: Global Entry or Nexus

I've been very satisfied with Global Entry for the last 6 years or so. I just renewed on line and received a new card in about 3 weeks. I use it several times a year returning from Mexico, Canada, and Costa Rica. It also includes TSA Precheck. I found on my last trip that to use Global Entry at Cana...
by maxq
Tue May 02, 2017 8:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Disabled Veterans - What to expect in coming years?
Replies: 4
Views: 1015

Re: Disabled Veterans - What to expect in coming years?

I retired from active duty in 2004 and received an 80% VA disability rating in 2005. Since then, both the retired military pay and VA disability pay increases have tracked with the annual Social Security increases (or lack of increases). For the history, take a look at https://www.ssa.gov/cola/ . If...
by maxq
Sat Apr 22, 2017 6:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any golfers played Bandon Dunes on the Oregon coast?
Replies: 5
Views: 1008

Any golfers played Bandon Dunes on the Oregon coast?

This set of courses seems to be high on my die-hard golfing buddies' to-do list. A few of us old Air Force buddies try to meet at a place every year where a couple of us play and a couple of us are more interested in being tourists. Its worked out well over the years--Palm Springs; Vegas; S Carolina...
by maxq
Sat Apr 22, 2017 6:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Six pack for barbecue?
Replies: 77
Views: 7879

Re: Six pack for barbecue?

I'm in Texas, so BBQ means Shiner Bock and/or Lone Star with the friends I run with. Actually though, DUI is a real concern and when I'm asked to bring a 6/12 pack, I add an equivalent amount of non-alcoholic beer--Buckleys and Becks NA really aren't all that bad. My peer group is aging along with m...
by maxq
Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cost of Booze on a Cruise
Replies: 68
Views: 9541

Re: Cost of Booze on a Cruise

I think its rather interesting that the safety-sealed caps on water, mouthwash, etc, are in fact not so safe from those who want to swap contents. For those doing it to skirt cruise lines' restrictions, that's not too bad to me; for those with more evil intentions (think product tampering), it is al...
by maxq
Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The Wall Street Journal to close Google loophole entirely
Replies: 169
Views: 39090

Re: The Wall Street Journal to close Google loophole entirely

I have a Mac, OS is Sierra. I typically use Safari for my browser. I am going to switch to Chrome, but looks like I have to go to something called a BookMark Manager. We'll see lol I've used this method on my Mac, using Safari 9.1.3 but running Mavericks still. In Safari, open a new tab and add it ...
by maxq
Sat Jan 28, 2017 7:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Volunteering Ideas
Replies: 87
Views: 8025

Re: Volunteering Ideas

I'm not sure it has been mentioned, but the USO is a worthy organization that I find personally rewarding. I do a couple of shifts a month in the USO lounges at the Houston airports. After a few orientations and background checks since the facilities are generally on the airside of the terminal, its...
by maxq
Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Discount Code for TaxAct?
Replies: 2
Views: 1279

Re: Discount Code for TaxAct?

There have been a few threads about the TaxAct increases this year. It seems the price basically tripled, state return cost is required even if not needed, etc. This after they got hacked and failed to tell anyone until confronted. To cap it off, they jacked up the already tripled price before Black...
by maxq
Sun Jan 15, 2017 2:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How High is Your TV?
Replies: 41
Views: 5104

How High is Your TV?

I finally got around to replacing a 36" 200+ pound Sony tube TV (no takers at $0 on Craigslist; no takers at $20; multiple responses at $50) with a nice 55" LG widescreen. For now, I just moved the coffee table against the wall to have something to stand it on. Its only about 16" high...
by maxq
Mon Dec 26, 2016 4:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: anyone brave enough to read fineprint of online tax filing software
Replies: 5
Views: 1238

Re: anyone brave enough to read fineprint of online tax filing software

Well, after TaxAct got hacked last year, I waded through their TOS. Customer protections were basically non-existent as the legal verbiage is all skewed to protect the business (as done by all companies I assume). The only "protection" was to tell victims months after they found the hack t...
by maxq
Tue Dec 13, 2016 11:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: European Riverboat Tours
Replies: 22
Views: 4053

Re: European Riverboat Tours

Happily divorced here and thinking of taking a river cruise. I like group tours because I seem to see more, but do like some free time to explore on my own. Any thoughts or experience regarding single travel on river cruises?
by maxq
Tue Dec 13, 2016 11:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Flaunt Your High-Mileage Car
Replies: 661
Views: 94093

Re: Flaunt Your High-Mileage Car

Not sure if flaunting or admitting: - 1972 Chevy Vega with 185,892 miles on the odometer. My first car out of high school, always garaged or in storage while stationed overseas; desert southwest climates. I think I paid a bit over or under $2000 when I bought it new. Over the years, the original mud...
by maxq
Sat Dec 10, 2016 4:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TurboTax Pricing
Replies: 2
Views: 751

Re: TurboTax Pricing

I used TaxAct many years and was generally pleased. Last year I paid 9.99 for the Deluxe version (no state needed ); this year my "loyal customer" discounted price was 23.99 for the equivalent but renamed download package, and includes state even though I don't want or need it. I noticed t...