Search found 1741 matches

by guitarguy
Wed May 30, 2012 2:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Another car thread, need a new/used car and some advice!!!
Replies: 23
Views: 1758

Another car thread, need a new/used car and some advice!!!

OK, wife's car is on its last leg (99 Malibu with 140k and a dash that's lit up like a Christmas tree. Still runs but has a slight oil leak and a bunch of other ticky tack problems). Time to go car shopping for her. I drive a Grand Prix with 160k. Has a couple of little things that need fixing but r...
by guitarguy
Wed May 16, 2012 1:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Considering grad school
Replies: 44
Views: 4866

Re: Considering grad school

That's exciting! Honestly, my advice would be to delay making a baby, put your nose to the grindstone and finish the program in two years. Having a young baby (or two!) while taking classes and attending grad school part time sounds like a difficult set-up for any partner. Just my two cents! My hus...
by guitarguy
Wed May 16, 2012 1:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Considering grad school
Replies: 44
Views: 4866

Re: Considering grad school

Just an update on this... I've decided to pull the trigger and start grad school in Sept. I just sort of decided that having my employer cover nearly 100% of the costs is too big an opportunity to pass up, and I'm going to jump on it before too much more time goes by. ... Wish me luck!! Hey congrat...
by guitarguy
Wed May 16, 2012 12:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Considering grad school
Replies: 44
Views: 4866

Re: Considering grad school

Just an update on this... I've decided to pull the trigger and start grad school in Sept. I just sort of decided that having my employer cover nearly 100% of the costs is too big an opportunity to pass up, and I'm going to jump on it before too much more time goes by. I'm still a little nervous abou...
by guitarguy
Wed May 16, 2012 11:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Learn Guitar or Piano?
Replies: 119
Views: 13219

Re: Learn Guitar or Piano?

I also believe that the piano is a better tool than the guitar for learning music theory. You can certain learn on either, but a piano makes it visually easier to see whole/half notes and chord formations and such. I found it easier to learn modes with a guitar though. So as with pretty much everyt...
by guitarguy
Wed May 16, 2012 11:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Learn Guitar or Piano?
Replies: 119
Views: 13219

Re: Learn Guitar or Piano?

Playing guitar is fun, but it's not as special as playing the piano. Hey now...in your opinion! It's true classical music and such on the piano maybe is more "special" than some hack job of Sweet Home Alabama, but for me, I can be a lot more powerful and expressive with a guitar than a pi...
by guitarguy
Wed May 16, 2012 8:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Learn Guitar or Piano?
Replies: 119
Views: 13219

Re: Learn Guitar or Piano?

Playing guitar is fun, but it's not as special as playing the piano. Hey now...in your opinion! It's true classical music and such on the piano maybe is more "special" than some hack job of Sweet Home Alabama, but for me, I can be a lot more powerful and expressive with a guitar than a pi...
by guitarguy
Tue May 15, 2012 9:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Learn Guitar or Piano?
Replies: 119
Views: 13219

Re: Learn Guitar or Piano?

One other thing, having actually done it, it's much easier to switch from a piano (weighted keys) to a keyboard or a synth, than to go the other way. Some keyboards claim to have a weighted key action. Are they good? Weighted actions are pretty much essential unless you want to use a keyboard just ...
by guitarguy
Tue May 15, 2012 9:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Learn Guitar or Piano?
Replies: 119
Views: 13219

Re: Learn Guitar or Piano?

Coming from a semi-professional musician who plays (guitar and keys) live enough to pay the mortgage most months...I'd vote both as well. But it depends on your goals. If you want to just strum some chords to oldies songs around the campfire...go with guitar. If you're more interested in theory, you...
by guitarguy
Thu May 10, 2012 9:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: restaurants.com alternatives?
Replies: 2
Views: 389

restaurants.com alternatives?

Has anyone noticed that restaurant.com has been getting crappier by the day? I used to use this site pretty often and it was nice not only for getting discounts, but also for ideas for new restaurants to try out. Lately though, I've noticed increased "minimum spending" and what seems like ...
by guitarguy
Thu May 03, 2012 8:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: PennFedCredit Gas Purchase error
Replies: 7
Views: 830

Re: PennFedCredit Gas Purchase error

Just got this card myself and received my first statement with what looks to be a correct 5% back on my purchases (all gasoline). I only usually buy from the pump anyways, but good to know. Thanks for posting.
by guitarguy
Wed May 02, 2012 12:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Smart money behavior starts young
Replies: 20
Views: 2463

Re: Smart money behavior starts young

To the credit card advice, I would add the caveat of convenience: their main draw is to make it easier to buy, including to buy what's not needed, which too often leads to large balances the card-holder can't pay off each month. While I don't disagree when it comes to the general population...keep ...
by guitarguy
Wed May 02, 2012 11:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much do you spend on groceries?
Replies: 134
Views: 14983

Re: How much do you spend on groceries?

Tom_T wrote:we shouldn't be eating 3000 calories to begin with


Keep in mind a statement like that is relative to ones BMR and activity level...but continue. :beer
by guitarguy
Wed May 02, 2012 11:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much do you spend on groceries?
Replies: 134
Views: 14983

Re: How much do you spend on groceries?

Around $450 for 2. This includes everything one would buy at the grocery store (toiletries, etc) but doesn't include things we buy at Costco (pet food, some bulk groceries, etc) or eating out. This can vary $100 each way depending on how many weekends are in the month and whatever "random"...
by guitarguy
Wed May 02, 2012 8:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"
Replies: 57
Views: 4358

Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Buying something you want, as long as your savings goals are met, shouldn't be something you agonize over. If you've already tucked away your savings for the month, take care of the bills and other necessities and spend the rest or save some extra. Don't agonize!! For larger purchases, save up slowl...
by guitarguy
Thu Apr 26, 2012 2:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: PenFed 1.5% Auto Loan Offer
Replies: 13
Views: 1921

Re: PenFed 1.5% Auto Loan Offer

The way I see it. Your wife wants a Cruze. You want something around $10k. You don't want to miss a 1.5% opportunity. You don't exactly need a car now. If you wait a little longer, used Cruzes will depreciate to your $10k number. The 1.5% might be gone but the 1.99% thats been around since forever ...
by guitarguy
Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: PenFed 1.5% Auto Loan Offer
Replies: 13
Views: 1921

Re: PenFed 1.5% Auto Loan Offer

Some dealers are offering 0% financing now, so check that too. In any case, I would find a car first, financing 2nd . -- Tet Yeah...that's a good point. At any rate, I don't know if we're planning on buying now anyways. We're saving up pretty strongly in hopes to pay cash for a car around $10k or s...
by guitarguy
Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: PenFed 1.5% Auto Loan Offer
Replies: 13
Views: 1921

PenFed 1.5% Auto Loan Offer

I got an email today from PenFed for an auto loan at 1.5%, online only and it looks like (I'm not sure though) you have to find the car and apply through their 'Car Finder' on the PenFed website. First of all, anyone else looking into this offer? I haven't done much research yet, but it looks like t...
by guitarguy
Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How is it possible to save and get out of debt?
Replies: 83
Views: 6698

Re: How is it possible to save and get out of debt?

You know it's funny, 2 years ago this thread applied to me almost 100%. We had so many things coming up, had just bought a house, a pile of student loans, old cars, etc. Now, coming up on our 2 year wedding anniversary we have accomplished so many goals and are continuing to work on others, all with...
by guitarguy
Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Reusuable Lint Trap
Replies: 6
Views: 730

Re: Reusuable Lint Trap

Do you use the aluminum ones? You could just let them dry out and burn the lint away. How often do you replace them? I buy 10 for $10 on Amazon and (without any pet hair) we go through one maybe every 4-6 months. I'd say we go through one every 2 months or so. Pet hair collects there quickly. Lucki...
by guitarguy
Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Reusuable Lint Trap
Replies: 6
Views: 730

Reusuable Lint Trap

Anyone use one of these? With 2 dogs, we get lots of hair and the mesh ones that we buy from the grocery store have to get replaced quite often. Although they work well, something reusable would be great and cheaper for sure. A quick search yielded some options and most if not all had mixed reviews ...
by guitarguy
Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Car Purchase: Loan versus Cash
Replies: 26
Views: 2539

Re: Car Purchase: Loan versus Cash

The dealer told me on my way out the door, "Congratulations, you just paid cash for a depreciating asset." If full payment (any form) for a depreciating asset is bad, then it's worse to pay additional interest charges for the same asset. Dealer's "sour grapes" is your proof that...
by guitarguy
Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Safety and Crash Test ratings
Replies: 12
Views: 998

Re: Car Safety and Crash Test ratings

This is what IIHS says That's enough for me. It's such a pet peeve of mine how these car companies use IIHS ratings in their commercials to try to sell vehicles as top safety picks, and most people don't know that IIHS ratings are scored on how the structure of the vehicle performs and other factor...
by guitarguy
Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any downside whatsoever to PenFed VISA??
Replies: 8
Views: 1266

Re: Any downside whatsoever to PenFed VISA??

I just got one of those PenFed Platinum Rewards cards a couple weeks ago and on my Wife's first use online she got slapped with a "Verified by Visa" prompt asking for her SSN, address, driver's license, etc. PenFed claims that they aren't enrolling people automatically but they are and it...
by guitarguy
Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any downside whatsoever to PenFed VISA??
Replies: 8
Views: 1266

Re: Any downside whatsoever to PenFed VISA??

pochax wrote:the major downside for me is the 0.25% all other purchase cash back. it is too low and when compared to AMEX Blue Cash, for relatively high spenders, total cash rewards lag behind other rewards cards.


I agree here. I'd get this card and use it basically for gas and that's it.
by guitarguy
Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any downside whatsoever to PenFed VISA??
Replies: 8
Views: 1266

Any downside whatsoever to PenFed VISA??

5% back on gas and no annual fee...is there any reason whatsoever not to use this card? On many of the "credit card threads" here, I've not seen this one mentioned as much as the Blue Cash one (for example). I'm wondering why every one of us doesn't have this one. The 5% on gas alone with ...
by guitarguy
Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Want a privacy fence, how to approach neighbor
Replies: 32
Views: 8704

Re: Want a privacy fence, how to approach neighbor

I'd be more concerned with zoning codes than your neighbor. Make sure you obey the set back, height limits, and material requirements. I'll have to check with the city to confirm, but talking with other neighbors who have similar fences on my block, I don't see an issue there. "not an issue&qu...
by guitarguy
Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Want a privacy fence, how to approach neighbor
Replies: 32
Views: 8704

Re: Want a privacy fence, how to approach neighbor

You'll be paying for the whole thing. No permission needed. You need to determine the property line. Your fence should be on YOUR side of the line but coming right up to it... To me that's a last resort approach, to build in my yard and leave the crappy old chain link up behind the new fence. If it...
by guitarguy
Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Want a privacy fence, how to approach neighbor
Replies: 32
Views: 8704

Re: Want a privacy fence, how to approach neighbor

bungalow10 wrote:I'd be more concerned with zoning codes than your neighbor. Make sure you obey the set back, height limits, and material requirements.


I'll have to check with the city to confirm, but talking with other neighbors who have similar fences on my block, I don't see an issue there.
by guitarguy
Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Want a privacy fence, how to approach neighbor
Replies: 32
Views: 8704

Re: Want a privacy fence, how to approach neighbor

Alex Frakt wrote:A lot depends on the current fence. Is the current fence clearly in one yard or does it run right down the property line?


It runs down the property line.
by guitarguy
Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Want a privacy fence, how to approach neighbor
Replies: 32
Views: 8704

Want a privacy fence, how to approach neighbor

I have a neighbor on one side that I don't really see much or talk to much. She's an older lady that isn't outside much so we don't have much to talk about other than cordial "hellos" when we do cross paths, which isn't often. We certainly have no dislike for each other or anything like th...
by guitarguy
Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Return on Investment for Home Improvements
Replies: 11
Views: 1559

Re: Return on Investment for Home Improvements

We've lived in our house since April '08. One of the biggest selling points for us was new furnace, new roof, all copper plumbing, all new electric and breakers. I put in a new hot water heater last year, so our house is relatively up-to-date with this sort of stuff. We spent $10k and got an AMAZING...
by guitarguy
Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Saving On Gas Purchases
Replies: 6
Views: 1448

Re: Saving On Gas Purchases

Lon wrote:paid for the gas with Freedom Visa Credit Card which is giving a 5 % cash back on gasoline purchases through the balance of March. Takes away a bit of the sting .


Anyone planning on what to do during 2nd quarter when the 5% isn't there?

Luckily gas shows up again during 3rd quarter...
by guitarguy
Tue Mar 06, 2012 12:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Caremark & CVS - poor service
Replies: 45
Views: 4137

Re: Caremark & CVS - poor service

We have CVS and Caremark and don't really have any issues here.

As far as I know you can use that insurance plan at Walgreens or Rite Aid or basically any other pharmacy too. Go somewhere else besides the local CVS that you don't like.
by guitarguy
Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fixing squeaks in hardwood floors (kit)
Replies: 9
Views: 1279

Re: Fixing squeaks in hardwood floors (kit)

Since you have access from below, some of these squeaks can easily be fixed with wood screws and drawing the hardwood and sub floor together. If you have a say ½ inch thick sub-floor and ½ inch hardwood, run a ¾ inch #6 or #8 wood screw from the bottom through the sub into the hardwood. It won't po...
by guitarguy
Thu Mar 01, 2012 6:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fixing squeaks in hardwood floors (kit)
Replies: 9
Views: 1279

Re: Fixing squeaks in hardwood floors (kit)

I think I may go without the kit. Got a few areas fixed up nicely with just some shims and my trusty hammer! Good to know that these would work nicely for carpeted areas though. If we decide to take the squeak elimination to another level (literally) and see if we can find any upstairs, I may pick u...
by guitarguy
Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fixing squeaks in hardwood floors (kit)
Replies: 9
Views: 1279

Fixing squeaks in hardwood floors (kit)

We have a few spots thoughout our old bungalow that have squeaks in the floors. We do have access to joists and everything from the basement. I saw these screws that that are supposed to close the gaps in the wood and then snap off below the surface of the floor. They have mostly good reviews, so I ...
by guitarguy
Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Talking personal finance
Replies: 37
Views: 3872

Re: Talking personal finance

I don't give advice or comment unless asked I generally follow this rule of thumb too. If the topic comes up or something I'll converse, but I generally don't give advice ... Just last week when he asked for my help, I showed my recent college grad brother my budget spreadsheet and helped him devel...
by guitarguy
Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: when did you start to max out 401k?
Replies: 58
Views: 7116

Re: when did you start to max out 401k?

Don't recall the exact year but in the mid to late 90's when the limit was between $9k and 10k, and it was 33% of my gross. I remember having this discussion with an accountant friend, that I was determined to max it though my student loans weren't paid off yet. He said I should pay off the loans f...
by guitarguy
Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: when did you start to max out 401k?
Replies: 58
Views: 7116

Re: when did you start to max out 401k?

Still haven't. Just turned 27. I just go up to the match and then max a Roth IRA because like many others, my 401(k) isn't very cost effective...lots of expensive fund choices and only one index. Wife contributes to hers up to full match also. We'd like to be able to save more, but pesky house and s...
by guitarguy
Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: No Cost FHA Streamline to save 1.125%?
Replies: 17
Views: 2434

Re: No Cost FHA Streamline to save 1.125%?

Well...I think I'm just going to pass. After thinking about it more today and talking with the wife...it's not worth the hassle. I think we're just going to focus on getting rid of our MIP as soon as we can and not bother adding these extra costs. Maybe if our balance was 2 or 3x what it is, the sav...
by guitarguy
Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: No Cost FHA Streamline to save 1.125%?
Replies: 17
Views: 2434

Re: No Cost FHA Streamline to save 1.125%?

Thanks for posting the actual sheet - very helpful! Thanks for all the help. My biggest concern is that either 1)you didn't hear this person correctly or 2)they weren't hearing you correctly or 3)they aren't paying attention. You are right that you loan amount is NOT staying the same and there ARE ...
by guitarguy
Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: No Cost FHA Streamline to save 1.125%?
Replies: 17
Views: 2434

Re: No Cost FHA Streamline to save 1.125%?

Well, after getting this cost estimate worksheet from this lender, I'm not happy and I have some questions. Here are some actual numbers: Taxes: ~$2075/yr Ins: $525/yr Current Payment Total: $839.89 Principal: $141.89 Interest: $434.72 Escrow: $263.28 (incl. $46.06/m FHA MIP) Balance: $101,646 Term:...
by guitarguy
Mon Feb 20, 2012 11:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: No Cost FHA Streamline to save 1.125%?
Replies: 17
Views: 2434

Re: No Cost FHA Streamline to save 1.125%?

The problem with resetting the clock is that your principal payment goes down. Think of a car loan that you have 3 years left and someone offers a lower rate as long as you go back up to 6 years. You now instinctively that the principal part is stretched back out to 6 years and that is not necessar...
by guitarguy
Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: No Cost FHA Streamline to save 1.125%?
Replies: 17
Views: 2434

Re: No Cost FHA Streamline to save 1.125%?

Be sure to check all components of your new payment and your projected old payment. The FHA monthly premium has recently doubled (from .55% yearly to 1.10% yearly for >5% down). It is possible that your FHA premium is higher and is being offset by a lower interest payment. The $40 savings may be co...
by guitarguy
Sat Feb 18, 2012 5:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: No Cost FHA Streamline to save 1.125%?
Replies: 17
Views: 2434

Re: No Cost FHA Streamline to save 1.125%?

Why not save $40 per month if the only cost is shuffling a few papers and your time and effort shuffling them? Sounds too good to be true, so be careful. If due diligence discloses significant costs besides PMI (origination fee, document preparation fee, recording fee, appraisal fee, etc.) be sure ...
by guitarguy
Sat Feb 18, 2012 5:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying off low interest student loans early -- a mistake?
Replies: 71
Views: 16069

Re: Paying off low interest student loans early -- a mistake

What risk free liquid investment can we choose to earn over 3%? It must be liquid because our loan rates are variable, and it must earn enough above the loan rates to outweigh the "peace-of-mind" factor of paying the loans off, which admittedly is a decent size piece of the equation for u...
by guitarguy
Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: No Cost FHA Streamline to save 1.125%?
Replies: 17
Views: 2434

No Cost FHA Streamline to save 1.125%?

I did an FHA Streamline back in 2009 and I'm investigating doing another one. Original loan was in 2008. This time around, I can go from 5.125% down to 4% and save about $40/m on my payment even after the PMI price increase that they implemented recently. This is also "zero-cost" according...
by guitarguy
Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying off low interest student loans early -- a mistake?
Replies: 71
Views: 16069

Re: Paying off low interest student loans early -- a mistake

Being able to borrow at a rate lower than the government, with the ability to prepay whenever you want, should rarely if ever be paid early. The only realistic situation I can see is if you are facing something like divorce or bankruptcy. I will add to that a 3rd reason: an expected (or known) chan...
by guitarguy
Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying off low interest student loans early -- a mistake?
Replies: 71
Views: 16069

Re: Paying off low interest student loans early -- a mistake

Being able to borrow at a rate lower than the government, with the ability to prepay whenever you want, should rarely if ever be paid early. The only realistic situation I can see is if you are facing something like divorce or bankruptcy. I will add to that a 3rd reason: an expected (or known) chan...