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Re: Phone for Europe trip

What phone do you currently have? When we last traveled to Europe, I just used my iPhone. I bought a SIM card on arrival with prepaid minutes/data and replaced the Verizon SIM card with the foreign one. I think I paid $20 or $30 (USD equivalent) for a SIM that came with 250 voice minutes and unlimit...
by strafe
Thu Oct 23, 2014 2:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Phone for Europe trip
Replies: 20
Views: 752

Re: How do you wash your car?

I find it it amusing that people claim the rain washes their car. Rain is what makes my cars dirty! Also, I'm going to call B.S. on the statement that "I never wash the car and it looks as good as the day it was new." I am by no means a detailing fanatic. I've never washed the car more tha...
by strafe
Wed Oct 22, 2014 10:56 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you wash your car?
Replies: 128
Views: 5362

Re: Computer codes availability at indep. repair garages?

Total ripoff.

My other favorite rip-off is the $60 cabin filter replacement.

The filter(s) cost $5-10 at most and take under 2 minutes to replace.
by strafe
Mon Oct 13, 2014 10:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Computer codes availability at indep. repair garages?
Replies: 42
Views: 1819

Re: is a 1920 x 1200 monitor worth it?

What do you mean , "the native resolution of the video card?" Your laptop screen has a native resolution (as does any monitor you buy). Is that what you mean? If so, the video card may actually support external resolutions higher than the native resolution of the built-in screen. The video...
by strafe
Fri Oct 03, 2014 3:06 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: is a 1920 x 1200 monitor worth it?
Replies: 15
Views: 834

Re: Amex Premium Car Rental Ins and Liability Coverage

Same issue would apply to the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which offers primary auto insurance coverage for free (well, you do pay a small annual fee). The coverage is there to make the rental car company whole and protect you from the rental company, and nothing more. I think it turns on whether you c...
by strafe
Fri Oct 03, 2014 3:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Amex Premium Car Rental Ins and Liability Coverage
Replies: 8
Views: 802

Re: Car-Certified Lexus LS 460 Vs New ES 350 Vs New RX 350

The LS460 is rear wheel drive but will be just fine in the bad weather if you use winter tires. Ground clearance not much worse than the RX.
by strafe
Sun Sep 14, 2014 11:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Car-Certified Lexus LS 460 Vs New ES 350 Vs New RX 350
Replies: 63
Views: 4292

Re: Rental rate of return

As a general rule of thumb, expenses for single family homes (e.g. repairs, maintenance, vacancies, advertising & management, taxes,and insurance, but not financing) add up to about 50% of gross rents. So, in your example renting for $750 per month, you would anticipate net operating income of $...
by strafe
Thu Sep 11, 2014 7:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rental rate of return
Replies: 17
Views: 1483

Re: Repair/maintain the BMW or get a new car?

Brakes are normal maintenance. Your description of the rest is vague; what gasket? What other maintenance items? If you were to replace the BMW, your new car would also have brakes & other consumable parts that wear out. Hondas in particular are notorious for premature rotor warpage. If the car ...
by strafe
Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Repair/maintain the BMW or get a new car?
Replies: 24
Views: 2214

Re: The Power of Zero: Controversial New Book About Taxes

"Tax free" is a bit misleading as it only applies to income tax. The consumption of all of these savings vehicles would still be subject to sales or value-added tax (VAT).
by strafe
Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:04 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Power of Zero: [Book and tax planning for retirement]
Replies: 52
Views: 5489

Re: Gas station etiquette

I'm really amused at how lengthy this silly thread has gotten. Nothing ignites conversation like gasoline, manners, and a catchy diagram. Thought 1: you say B was "evidently not interested" in the open space ahead of A, but that B thought A was interested. Who is right? Did B pull into A's...
by strafe
Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gas station etiquette
Replies: 46
Views: 3059

Re: Gas station etiquette

Your Costco gas station must get the same crowds as mine. I and most folks do pass car A to get to the open pump. I'm not sure I would do so if car B had been in postition you indicated, however. That seemed a bit strange to me, but if you (or car B) had noticed that car A was about to finish and l...
by strafe
Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:33 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gas station etiquette
Replies: 46
Views: 3059

Gas station etiquette

Someone give me a hard time at the local Costco gas station today. I thought my actions were completely appropriate, but wonder if perhaps I violated some unwritten rule of gas station etiquette. The Costco gas pumps are set up like they are everywhere, with multiple aisles of pumps, a wide center l...
by strafe
Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gas station etiquette
Replies: 46
Views: 3059

Re: Sick Building Syndrome (Electrical Pollution)

It's more likely to be the lighting flicker or an odor. I would not hang my hat on a made-up disease. Do you have a computer monitor there? Is it a different LCD panel type (e.g. twisted nematic) than what you're used to? I've noticed that TN displays bother my eyes with extended use, probably from ...
by strafe
Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:50 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sick Building Syndrome (Electrical Pollution)
Replies: 17
Views: 1388

Marriage makes you fatter.

First comes love, then comes obesity.

Will your $4500 outfit still fit in a few years?
by strafe
Mon Aug 25, 2014 8:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Zegna Suits
Replies: 197
Views: 9861

Re: Can a Boglehead put down 10% on a house?

I suppose it depends on the house and the age of the house. The only maintenance expenses I've *ever* had (on multiple houses) were to unplug a toilet and furnace maintenance. For me renting has always been more expensive than buying because rent payments are higher than the mortgage for the same a...
by strafe
Mon Aug 25, 2014 5:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can a Boglehead put down 10% on a house?
Replies: 30
Views: 2530

Re: Can a Boglehead put down 10% on a house?

If you do this, and are required to have mortgage insurance, look into "upfront PMI" where you pay the mortgage insurance premium in a lump sum at closing The break-even is generally around 2 years and you avoid the need to petition for PMI removal (which can be quite onerous). Avoiding PM...
by strafe
Mon Aug 25, 2014 4:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can a Boglehead put down 10% on a house?
Replies: 30
Views: 2530

Re: 2014/2015 Honda Accord vs. 2014 Toyota Avalon

@KyleAAA Do you know if the pre-2005 Accord hybrids had the same drive train? I remember they discontinued the Accord hybrid models between 2005-2014. I can answer this question for you: No -- completely different drivetrains and purpose. The original Accord hybrid added hybrid components to the V6...
by strafe
Sun Aug 24, 2014 8:20 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2014/2015 Honda Accord vs. 2014 Toyota Avalon
Replies: 54
Views: 5331

Re: 2014/2015 Honda Accord vs. 2014 Toyota Avalon

surfstar wrote:How long do you plan on owning/driving this? Unless you run it to over 150-200k miles, the hybrid premium will not be recovered in reduced gas costs.


You shouldn't assume this is a matter of economic analysis. People don't generally buy hybrids to save money.
by strafe
Fri Aug 22, 2014 2:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2014/2015 Honda Accord vs. 2014 Toyota Avalon
Replies: 54
Views: 5331

Re: 2014/2015 Honda Accord vs. 2014 Toyota Avalon

Those two cars are in different categories. The Camry Hybrid would be more comparable to the Accord. The Avalon is more upmarket. While I might prefer driving the Accord for its sportier handling, if your goal is quietness, the Avalon is the clear answer. Both will be comparable in reliability with ...
by strafe
Fri Aug 22, 2014 2:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2014/2015 Honda Accord vs. 2014 Toyota Avalon
Replies: 54
Views: 5331

Re: Big iPhone Data Bills/Google Maps

Google Maps uses minimal data transfer. The drain is probably from something else. What is your data limit? How much are you using? Are you using video chat (e.g. Skype or FaceTime) over cellular? It would de difficult to exceed any of the typical carrier limits without video or significant audio use.
by strafe
Fri Aug 22, 2014 2:01 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Big iPhone Data Bills/Google Maps
Replies: 16
Views: 1454

Re: Best Place to Do Research on Orthopedic Surgeons

There is a great deal of bias in quality metrics. (Surgeons with higher scores are likely the ones doing the simple cases and turning away the more complex cases that could adversely impact outcomes reporting.) Best bet is to find the surgeon who does a high volume of the particular procedure you ne...
by strafe
Wed Aug 13, 2014 5:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Place to Do Research on Orthopedic Surgeons
Replies: 28
Views: 1884

Re: Top Tier gas or ethanol free (premium)

Ethanol free, though I suspect with a newish car designed to handle the caustic effects of ethanol, it probably doesn't matter a whole lot. I own a classic car that has some fuel system issues that I suspect is related to ethanol damage. If you're concerned about detergents, you can add a bottle of ...
by strafe
Sat Aug 09, 2014 10:18 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Top Tier gas or ethanol free (premium)
Replies: 3
Views: 522

Re: Taking out mortgage with zero down. Smart or no?

Not only is zero down smart, it's the sensible choice.

Why tie up all that money in your house? Keep it liquid.

The mistake would be to spend the down payment money, as alluded by the poster above me who bought with zero down and spent his savings.
by strafe
Mon Jul 28, 2014 2:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taking out mortgage with zero down. Smart or no?
Replies: 64
Views: 3351

Re: Hw many credit cards to own?

I view three as the absolute minimum. When my wife and I purchased our home, we ran into trouble with the mortgage lender because she "only" had two credit card accounts in her name. Lenders now require each borrower to have three independent "trade lines" in order to qualify for...
by strafe
Mon Jul 21, 2014 2:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Hw many credit cards to own?
Replies: 121
Views: 51051

Re: Should I buy a new(er) car, and if so what?

There's no way I would tolerate 2 hrs a day in a Honda Civic. You clearly can afford a better car. Of your list of small cars, my pick would be the new Mazda 3 hatchback by a country mile. For about the same money you can buy a more comfortable (albeit less sporty) car e.g. Honda Accord, Hyundai Son...
by strafe
Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I buy a new(er) car, and if so what?
Replies: 19
Views: 2387

Re: Home Warranty education needed

Home warranties are generally a bad deal. Would never purchase one on my own. In my area they are often included by the seller to "sweeten" the deal and also distract the buyer from coming after the seller if something goes wrong shortly after purchase. I had a poor experience with HSA. Th...
by strafe
Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Warranty education needed
Replies: 10
Views: 699

Re: Medical Textbook for the Layperson?

I would check out Cecil's Essentials of Medicine. It's an overview text written at a med student level.
http://www.amazon.com/Andreoli-Carpente ... 1416061096
by strafe
Thu Jun 12, 2014 7:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Medical Textbook for the Layperson?
Replies: 22
Views: 1852

Re: Peppy V6 With Good Fuel Economy

A modern 4 cylinder midsize sedan will have plenty of power for typical driving. For example, Hyundai Sonata 4-cyl makes 200hp. That's far more than even a V6 from 1992 would have.
by strafe
Wed Jun 11, 2014 6:31 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Peppy V6 With Good Fuel Economy
Replies: 35
Views: 3054

Re: Thinking of buying a 1974 Corvette

The 70s were the "dark ages" for performance cars and Corvettes in particular. Emissions regulations strangled the performance, which suppresses both the prices and fun. The most expensive classic car in the world is a cheap one. Restoring an old car will be a money pit. If you're looking ...
by strafe
Wed May 28, 2014 5:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thinking of buying a 1974 Corvette
Replies: 22
Views: 1533

Re: North Carolina/Virginia vacation

- Greenville, SC is a nice city to visit. Nice downtown. BMW museum & factory tours (X3 & X5 manufactured there) in Greer, SC just outside Greenville. - Old Salem, NC - basically a less impressive & less historic Williamsburg - museums in & around Raleigh-Durham (NC natural sciences,...
by strafe
Mon May 12, 2014 9:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: North Carolina/Virginia vacation
Replies: 24
Views: 1881

Re: Should I be concerned: auto vs. umbrella insurance

Some (in my experience, most) policies are structured like this: Your umbrella policy is a liability policy with a coverage limit of $1,000,000 and a deductible of $250,000. That's not my experience but does describe the somewhat similar product known as "excess liability" so I think if y...
by strafe
Sun May 04, 2014 3:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I be concerned: auto vs. umbrella insurance
Replies: 34
Views: 3365

Re: Should I be concerned: auto vs. umbrella insurance

Umbrella insurance is not a uniform product, which is responsible for the disagreement. Some (in my experience, most) policies are structured like this: Your umbrella policy is a liability policy with a coverage limit of $1,000,000 and a deductible of $250,000. Your auto policy, as corrected, has a ...
by strafe
Sun May 04, 2014 8:35 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I be concerned: auto vs. umbrella insurance
Replies: 34
Views: 3365

Re: Pay down variable loan or invest

I thought federal consolidation loans converted to fixed rates at the prevailing variable rate at the time of consolidation (rounded up to the next eighth of a percent). Is that option still available? That would certainly factor into the decisionmaking process.
by strafe
Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:25 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Pay down variable loan or invest
Replies: 19
Views: 3071

Re: Detached Townhome vs. Single Family Home Costs

"Single Family Home -Price: $300,000 Purchase Price -Taxes: $3,500 -HOA: $0 -Insurance: $2,000 Sorry to hijack the thread but I was doing similar comparison. So home owner's insurance cost is really 4 times than a townhome? That insurance quote seems extreme. I own a single family home of comp...
by strafe
Tue Apr 29, 2014 11:44 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Detached Townhome vs. Single Family Home Costs
Replies: 24
Views: 2791

Re: is 4gb memory, 500gb hd adequate for new desktop?

There will likely be a performance difference between 4gb memory and 8gb. 8gb is a reasonable minimum these days. Memory that is compatible with your computer will become more expensive with time, so better to buy more now. Unless you are going to wait >5 years to upgrade your memory, memory will c...
by strafe
Sat Mar 08, 2014 7:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: is 4gb memory, 500gb hd adequate for new desktop?
Replies: 56
Views: 2398

Re: is 4gb memory, 500gb hd adequate for new desktop?

There will likely be a performance difference between 4gb memory and 8gb. 8gb is a reasonable minimum these days. Memory that is compatible with your computer will become more expensive with time, so better to buy more now. HD size won't affect performance. Your need for storage will depend on the e...
by strafe
Sat Mar 08, 2014 12:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: is 4gb memory, 500gb hd adequate for new desktop?
Replies: 56
Views: 2398

Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Sounds like you need a calendar app with reminder features

- Mac comes with one of the box
- any smartphone
- most webmail services (ie gmail)

Obviously any software you use will time based. Choose a frequency that approximates miles driven. Use the "snooze" feature if too early.
by strafe
Fri Mar 07, 2014 8:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule
Replies: 49
Views: 3779

Re: Comparing lease deal to 0.09% financing on car

[ ... ] For the OP, don't forget the con of leasing that the car needs to be returned in good shape, one curb scrape under the bumper, a long scratch (emphasis on long, BMW was rather forgiving), or something like that and you're out 500 bucks. Of course a bonus is if you have an accident and the c...
by strafe
Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:33 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Comparing lease deal to 0.9% financing on car
Replies: 21
Views: 1123

Re: Comparing lease deal to 0.09% financing on car

A lease is a car purchase, a balloon loan, and future car sale all wrapped into one transaction. Separating the above into separate transactions may or may not save you money. It depends on the particulars of the lease program. A few months ago I ran a number of "present value" scenarios w...
by strafe
Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Comparing lease deal to 0.9% financing on car
Replies: 21
Views: 1123

Re: Used $35k Porsche on $64k income?

I am shocked at the responses to this thread. Did anyone who responded actually read the original post? It's like you all read the word "Porsche" and shut your brains off. The original poster stated clearly that he is not the person buying the car, but all the feedback is directed at him a...
by strafe
Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Used $35k Porsche on $64k income?
Replies: 95
Views: 6903

Re: Used $35k Porsche on $64k income?

Why all the naysayers? His overall expenditures are low relative to his income. The 997 probably isn't going to depreciate much more. He should be able to sell it for very close to that in a few years, once the kids arrive. I see nothing wrong with this. Sounds like he can afford to buy the car and ...
by strafe
Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Used $35k Porsche on $64k income?
Replies: 95
Views: 6903

Re: Cancellation fee from health provider - feeling ripped o

It sounds like you might be talking about a chiropractor. In that case, remember that the perceived benefit we derive from placebo is proportional to the price we pay. So you should be feeling $65 better. (If it''s PT/OT, please disregard. )
by strafe
Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cancellation fee from health provider - feeling ripped off
Replies: 30
Views: 2093

Re: Leased a new car -- now what?

OP: You should change the title to "FLEECED a new car -- now what?" I've run detailed lease vs buy analyses, mostly for BMWs, and found that in many cases leasing (even "serial" leasing) is superior to buying in many instances. Obviously it's cheaper to buy and hold a car for 10...
by strafe
Sat Feb 15, 2014 11:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Leased a new car -- now what?
Replies: 20
Views: 2682

Re: POLL: Is someone in your family a member of this Forum?

I am curious how many people here have someone in their family who is also a Boglehead Forum member. If so, do you know their user name? For the purpose of this poll, family includes those related by blood or marriage. You can include your ex-spouses. Victoria Cousin Victoria???? Is that you??
by strafe
Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: POLL: Is someone in your family a member of this Forum?
Replies: 36
Views: 2129

Re: Which mortgage to pay off ?

Mortgage debt on a rental property offsets rental income dollar for dollar. Mortgage debt on a primary residence offsets your income at your marginal tax rate. Typically holding a mortgage on a rental property makes more sense than holding a mortgage on your primary residence. I did the math, at le...
by strafe
Sun Jan 19, 2014 5:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which mortgage to pay off ?
Replies: 10
Views: 707

Re: Cat teeth cleaning cost in San Diego

How much does a new cat cost? :wink: What a shameful comment! Pets are not expendable. I hope you don't have any. I put the wink in there so that those with under-developed senses of humor would know that I was not serious. I just came across a thread on this forum discussing the monetary value of ...
by strafe
Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cat teeth cleaning cost in San Diego
Replies: 30
Views: 1714

Re: Cat teeth cleaning cost in San Diego

How much does a new cat cost? :wink:
by strafe
Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cat teeth cleaning cost in San Diego
Replies: 30
Views: 1714

Re: Ordering tires from Costco

So I went back to Costco and even though they have the Serenity Plus, it appears it is being discontinued in my size so the hunt begins again. It's really hard to find tires in this size, they only have 2-3 options they can get in this size. Michelin Primacy MXM4, Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 and he ...
by strafe
Mon Dec 23, 2013 7:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ordering tires from Costco
Replies: 25
Views: 4700

Re: Ordering tires from Costco

There's nothing wrong with having Costco special order a tire. They can't stock every possible size combination in the store. (The disadvantage of having an uncommon tire size is that it can be hard to get a replacement on short notice.) The Bridgestone Turanza Serentiy Plus is a fine tire and compa...
by strafe
Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ordering tires from Costco
Replies: 25
Views: 4700

Re: Should I sell my car?

Personally, I'd check to see if the Lexus demands expensive parts compared to a non-luxury vehicle. If so I'd sell it even though I do my own maintenance. Luxury cars tend to have very expensive parts for no other reason than being a luxury vehicle. However, I wouldn't sell it and significantly inc...
by strafe
Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:53 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I sell my car?
Replies: 20
Views: 1537
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