Recent Posts

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Yeah, sometimes prepared food is cheaper.  One thing to keep in mind when preparing food from scratch is the time used in preparation.  Sometimes I do the math and realize that I am basically wasting very valuable time for minimal savings.  That is one reason why I just got a bread machine when I switched from buying bread at the store to baking my own.  Time is money.

And I'm not even sure if a bread machine is worth it for me. I buy one loaf a week of bread from Trader Joe's for $2, = $100 a year. Will have to think about it some.

If you buy ingredients in bulk, it's easy to get the price per loaf down to 50 cents using a bread machine (including the cost of electricity for the machine).  I also use it to make pizza dough using the presets.  I can make really good whole wheat pizza dough and make pizzas at home rather than ordering from the pizza parlor on the corner and it saves us about $15 per pizza.  It also only takes maybe two minutes to put the ingredients together and get the machine going and about the same amount of time to clean up afterward, so it's worth it to me.  I got the idea for doing this from MMM's blog post on the subject and it really has been a nice way to save some money on food.
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First Step BREATHE!!!!!!!!!

Yes, I knew I wad going to have to do that sometime.

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Do you have a realtor and inspector that you trust? If there answer is yes. Trust them! there is a reason they make the big bucks.

I trust them both to give me information they believe.  However, I don't trust them to properly evaluate risk of fiery death in electrical systems.  I'm not sure who I would trust with that, probably not an electrician.  Those people can tell you if things are installed correctly, but it's not like they are doing research into long term system longevity.  The people doing that are possibly legislators who write the building codes (perhaps), insurance companies, and consumer groups.  As mentioned above, there are mixed results from these groups.

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Addressing your daily freak outs! Houses aren't perfect. they break have issues gain, lose valley and unpredictable. You will do the best you can and things will STILL happen. If you like the house, area and price than go for it. Talk to your peeps, take their advice, process it and move forward. There are things you want to freak out about, but if you freak out about everything your team won't take major things seriously. (i.e. boy who called wolf).

Yeah, believe me I realize no house is "perfect" and I'm not looking for that.  If termite comes back with section 1, I'll ask seller to fix.  No biggie.  If the balcony railing is loose, I can fix that myself. 

Many of these issues I have enough information to assess.  I know how to read a title report to understand the obligations imposed by easements, etc.  I can say "there's X risk the retaining wall will fail, and if it does, the repairs will cost Y".  I'm OK with that risk after structural told me the wall is not holding up the house, just some landscaping.

In the case of electrical, as an engineer and a lawyer, I know just enough to freak out, but not enough to adequately assess risk.  I can see why aluminum is inferior, and why it can only get worse over time.  Thus, the fact that the house has survived 34 years does not comfort me that there will be no future problems.  Nevertheless, more research shows that the post-72 wiring is indeed a much better alloy (old alloys would break after 4-5 flexes). 

But I still wonder why a modern builder would use aluminum to begin with.  It has no advantage besides price, many downsides, and makes me worry about other cut corners.

For the record, I'm not worried about multi-stranded aluminum in street feeds, just the romex branch circuits running behind inaccessible walls.

Thanks Snackdog for the reference, I will probably see if he can perform an inspection.
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Ask a Mustachian / Re: Do you use a financial advisor?
« Last post by dandarc on Today at 10:22:27 AM »
Answered Maybe -

Used one when I first started investing seriously - I still have the Roth IRAs he set up for me and my wife, and our term insurance with him.  He has not really "advised" us on anything useful since setting up our life insurance.  I was extremely disappointed when I was setting up a Solo 401K on how little he even knew about this type of account - and the only option he presented was extremely expensive.  The term insurance he sold us was overpriced, but not that badly.

One thing he is much better at than I am is explaining things to my wife.  I need to work on that - I tend to research things extensively and then ask her if she is OK with what I've concluded is best - e.g. "what do you think of rolling all of our accounts (that we can) to Vanguard?" and then the response generally demonstrates that she doesn't really understand the question (which makes sense - I've done extensive research and she hasn't).  For example she objected to moving accounts to Vanguard because A.  She is comfortable with mutual funds and B.  she wants more diversification than Vanguard offers - both of these objections are obviously false to anyone who knows anything about Vanguard, particularly given that our alternative in this is American Funds.  So I should have started with "have you heard of Vanguard?".  My advisor wouldn't help with this specific question obviously, but is much better about starting at the beginning when we do talk with him.

So yes, I use an advisor, however I don't think he has added much value to the equation and I'm in process of getting away from the products he set us up on.
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Ask a Mustachian / Re: Setting up a 401k for an S-Corp
« Last post by CSP66 on Today at 10:21:54 AM »
I have a chiropractic practice which is structured as an S-Corp.  We use a Simple-IRA for our retirement program.  This choice was the unanimous one after consulting with our CPA and my financial adviser.  Hope that helps.
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Ask a Mustachian / Re: Why do we want to Max out 401k?
« Last post by davef on Today at 10:20:16 AM »
This is beyond an easy decision. You max the 401k. I get taxed at 28.5%. I'm not going to be in that bracket when I retire.  I'll be around 15% unless I move to Florida or az. Then I'd be around 9%. Math is easy. 35000*.135 =4725 a year MORE than saving any other way just due to taxes. 

Statements made about not knowing what will happen to taxes. Yes you DONT know so build wealth off what you DO. know.

Its a simple common philosophy. I'll retire by 35. And have access to all the money. The more complicated decision is figuring out how to make the bridge work if you haven't been saving in a non tax advantaged account. But I'm 3 years away from seeing if I need to pull back tax ad and just go taxable.

I'll then post my finances here and ask the mathematicians their philosophy. THATS HARD MATH

Agreed, unless you are a business owner or expect to have a significant income after retiring maxing the 401k is the way to go.
I am a business owner and dont ever expect to fully retire. I'll just spend less and less time at the office and hire more people to makge the place for me. However, I'll likely still be drawing a nice salary. So I went the Roth IRA route as priority, but am still contributing the excess funds to 401k.
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Ask a Mustachian / Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Last post by Jack on Today at 10:19:59 AM »
I've agreed for my wife and I to visit my in-laws sometime around Thanksgiving, so I'm going to need tickets from Atlanta to Portland, OR and back. I've only flown a few times in my life and never shopped for the tickets myself before. Could y'all give me some tips about how to get a good deal?
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Ask a Mustachian / How much do you spend on groceries?
« Last post by frugalnacho on Today at 10:19:14 AM »
What's your grocery and food budget?  We currently spend around $600 for 2 people.  That includes eating out (usually less than $50 month total).  That also includes all of our other household supplies (soap, napkins, paper plates, toilet paper, deoderant, sandwhich bags, etc).   It seems like too much of a hassle to separate that stuff out when it's on the same receipts. 

That number seems high based on what i've read around the forums, but I want to check where everyone else is at.  I have already lowered that number by eliminating fast food, soda, and bringing my lunch to work.  I also try to buy in bulk, freeze stuff, and make multiple meals at a time.  We also like to have bbqs with family (already had 3 this month) and eat some stuff that is not the cheapest option (but we enjoy it and don't want to give it up) like cheese burgers, fish, fresh fruits, and the wife has a penchant for making frequent desserts.

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@dragoncar: I'd like to point out a separate angle to this discovery, and that is resale value and ability to sell. My guess is that when you contact qualified electricians, they will essentially second what the inspector said: Definitely substandard and short of ideal, but "serviceable." But no matter what they say, your own experience shows you what the reputation of aluminum wiring does to a potential sale. You almost certainly are going to encounter that one day when you try to sell. It's going to turn buyers off, it will make selling more difficult and you will possibly have to eat the cost of replacing it, or take a discount on sale price.

Sorry for the discovery, but you are wise to pay attention to the sunk costs fallacy and not get too wrapped up in the money you've sunk into inspections. Look at this way: Your inspection money was not lost, it did exactly what it was supposed to do.

Personally, I'd ask the sellers for a discount on the price to replace it (I'd ask them to pay half of the estimated cost, splitting it with you), and see what they say. If they balk, then your agent can politely point out that they will likely face this situation from the next buyers to come along. If they still refuse, you can decide how to proceed (either a counter offer, take it as is, or walk away). But it certainly does not hurt to ask.

Also, that aluminum wiring is likely from the Mark III series of leukemia generators, so watch out. (joke from other thread for those saying "wtf?")
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Share Your Badassity / Re: Just bought my first ETF shares
« Last post by Primm on Today at 10:18:52 AM »
I will be joining you in this sometime over the next month or so!

Really looking forward to it :-)

Did you pick a nice cheap online broker?

I will be joining you in this sometime over the next month or so!

Really looking forward to it :-)

Did you pick a nice cheap online broker?

I went with CommSec. Sign up for online brokerage before the end of August and your first $600 / 3 months is free. After that it's $19.90 a time.
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