Search found 114 matches

by MattE
Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Aug. 2017 US total eclipse hotel reservations.
Replies: 77
Views: 8136

Re: Aug. 2017 US total eclipse hotel reservations.

The eclipse is only going to last for 2 to 3 minutes. To me, it seems excessive to travel and rent hotel rooms for 2 to 3 minutes. To each her own. It's a celestial event creating irreproducible natural phenomena (360 degree sunsets, visible solar corona and chromosphere, fauna going totally silent...
by MattE
Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cheap "starter" home or stretch "forever" home?
Replies: 18
Views: 1613

Re: Cheap "starter" home or stretch "forever" home?

Are you working in the city proper? Is commuting from one of the bedroom communities just not a plausible option? $350K total \ $2400 per month gets you goodish schools, great communities, and 2000+ square feet, 3+ BR, 2+ BA with land up the Red Line or out in Howard County....even up the Silver Lin...
by MattE
Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:19 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Your "at peace" moments.
Replies: 98
Views: 11931

Re: Your "at peace" moments.

Sitting at the top of an uncrowded ski slope, strapped in and ready to drop on my snowboard, but taking a minute or so to just look out over the vista before doing so.
by MattE
Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car troubles?
Replies: 18
Views: 1414

Re: Car troubles?

Strong second\third\however-th to the people that also said to do the spark plugs and brake pads yourself. You can do them yourself in an afternoon with absolutely zero prior car knowledge, YouTube, and a socket wrench set, and save yourself probably close to $500 in the process. I'm not a car guy a...
by MattE
Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]
Replies: 138
Views: 14668

Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

The extent to which people on this board are willing to eat **** with a smile is totally baffling to me. A large portion of a manager's job is to facilitate ways to make those under them more effective\productive. If there's something about them that's causing that to be not true, then they're now a...
by MattE
Tue Apr 11, 2017 10:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dream vacation spots?
Replies: 81
Views: 9394

Re: Dream vacation spots?

My wife and I are looking at having our first spawn in the next year-ish, so I made a concerted effort to knock out at least one true bucket list-type trip before that happens. Spent two weeks in Japan this past February: 4 days sightseeing in Tokyo, 1 day sightseeing in Sapporo during Yuki Matsuri,...
by MattE
Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cost of Booze on a Cruise
Replies: 68
Views: 7878

Re: Cost of Booze on a Cruise

I've done a half dozen Carnival and one Norwegian cruise, and on every single trip my wife and I stashed at least one 1.75L bottle of a "utility liquor" like vodka that can be mixed with just about anything in our bags and had them pass through security without any issues. Several friends ...
by MattE
Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Packing cubes for travel
Replies: 60
Views: 5049

Re: Packing cubes for travel

I travel frequently for work, and several times a year provide engineering support for field tests that last up to a month. During that time I might be staying in field quarters where the space provided for personal items is at an absolute minimum (think: a single drawer under a bed) for up to two w...
by MattE
Sun Jul 10, 2016 9:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: August vacation to Glacier NP
Replies: 21
Views: 2647

Re: August vacation to Glacier NP

Depending on when in August and where in the park you're at, be prepared for cold weather. In late August there's a very real chance Logan Pass and part of the park east of the Divide can be in the highs 30s\low 40s with snow at the higher elevations, even on days where the west side may be in the 6...
by MattE
Mon Apr 04, 2016 3:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Five Best National Parks to Visit?
Replies: 99
Views: 9643

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

I spent a week backpacking in Glacier late last August and thought it was the most breathtaking place I've ever been even with the haze from the historic fire season the northwest had last year, which is saying something because I've backpacked and snowboarded some pretty awesome places.
by MattE
Sat Mar 26, 2016 12:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?
Replies: 134
Views: 13702

Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

My parents were\are uneducated blue collar workers and were\are fiscally irresponsible dolts on top of that. At 27 I make more than both of them combined at any point in their lives and I'm pretty sure I passed their peak net worth within a year or two of graduating college. I'm the oldest of four, ...
by MattE
Sun Mar 20, 2016 8:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Removing mildew from vinyl siding
Replies: 25
Views: 3613

Re: Removing mildew from vinyl siding

The grime is really stuck on my driveway, so it's really tough to pressure wash evenly (much tougher than my vinyl siding). I was thinking a solution could help loosen up the really tough stuff. Or I may need a gas power pressure washer or pro to do the whole driveway evenly without it taking forev...
by MattE
Sat Mar 19, 2016 4:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Removing mildew from vinyl siding
Replies: 25
Views: 3613

Re: Removing mildew from vinyl siding

I've always had great success with just regular dish soap, hot water, and a scrub brush on the end of a pole (I got a 10 foot telescoping one from Home Depot that works great and lets me reach all the way to my roof from the top of a 10 foot ladder). Doesn't even take that much force\pressure, comes...
by MattE
Tue Mar 31, 2015 3:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Honeymoon Ideas
Replies: 31
Views: 4066

Re: Honeymoon Ideas

When my wife and I got married in 2011, we did a 7-day Carnival cruise of the southern Caribbean that left out of\returned to San Juan, PR and stopped in St. Kitts, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, and Barbados. Cruise + airfare (round trip from PHL) + ground transportation ended up something lik...
by MattE
Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make?
Replies: 107
Views: 23534

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

+1 to all the comments about it not being a big deal and how peers\colleagues keeping that information secret does nothing but shortchange them at their employers' benefit. I'm a government contractor and work with two other guys that were hired within a month of me right after we all got out of col...
by MattE
Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What do you drive, and why?
Replies: 255
Views: 35104

Re: What do you drive, and why?

I drive a 2001 Saturn SL that was the first car I ever purchased on my own ($4300 in 2008 after my sophomore year of college). It had 109K on it when I bought it and is about to roll 170K now. I drive it because it still gets 32 MPG combined and runs like a champ with minimal maintenance, though it ...
by MattE
Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When is cash still king?
Replies: 26
Views: 3354

Re: When is cash still king?

When making larger purchases, vendors will sometimes give you a discount for paying with cash\debit as opposed to credit if you ask since they no longer have to pay the 2-3% processing fee on the credit card charge. This was the case when my wife and I got a new living room set from a local furnitur...
by MattE
Tue Jan 20, 2015 11:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: downhill ski boots question
Replies: 17
Views: 1570

Re: downhill ski boots question

If you're going to own a single piece of equipment and rent the rest, boots are definitely what you want to have. Properly fitting boots with the right amount of flex completely dominate your control of your skis and can make okay skis seem pretty good, and vice versa bad boots can make great skis s...
by MattE
Thu Dec 18, 2014 5:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Where to find the cheapest mortgage?
Replies: 30
Views: 5425

Re: Where to find the cheapest mortgage?

When we were mortgage hunting last year, we found that AimLoan and National Mortgage Alliance offered the best rates, and it wasn't even close between them and anyone else (including PenFed and NASA's FCU). AimLoan had the lower rates initially, but we were able to bid them against each other and NM...
by MattE
Mon Dec 08, 2014 10:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Who Paid for the wedding?
Replies: 94
Views: 9109

Re: Who Paid for the wedding?

My wife and I were married in October 2011; she was 24, I was 22. Her parents wanted to pay for the entire thing, but I was extremely opposed to the idea of them paying for much of it at all and wanted to fund it ourselves (I'm estranged from my side of the family, so nothing was coming from there)....
by MattE
Tue Nov 25, 2014 5:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Random life events
Replies: 34
Views: 3670

Re: Random life events

I paid my own way through college with grants, scholarships, and state\federal loans, but late in my sophomore year it was looking very, very doubtful that I was going to be able to continue to afford going to the school I was (Penn State). Right as that was coming to a crisis point with my first ju...
by MattE
Tue Nov 25, 2014 5:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Living below my means, means…
Replies: 32
Views: 3575

Re: Living below my means, means…

Agree with the last several posts. At some arbitrary but reasonable point you establish "We're comfortable and happy living on this much," and from there on out income increases are translated largely into savings increases rather than lifestyle cost increases. My wife and I have seen our ...
by MattE
Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a home with aluminum wiring?
Replies: 73
Views: 20849

Re: Buying a home with aluminum wiring?

If I could be bothered to take the time to respond to everything in this topic, my posts would read like Jack's almost verbatim. There's a huge amount of fear-mongering in this topic that's not grounded in facts or reality. My wife and I purchased a home last year that during our inspection was foun...
by MattE
Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheap Carnival Cruises
Replies: 21
Views: 3710

Re: Cheap Carnival Cruises

Regarding the advice to book your own excursions, be aware of one risk. If an unapproved excursion operator doesn't get you back to the ship on time, you're on your own. The ship can leave without you and it's up to you to get yourself to the next port of call or back home. I've never seen that hap...
by MattE
Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheap Carnival Cruises
Replies: 21
Views: 3710

Re: Cheap Carnival Cruises

There's a Carnival Cruise that leaves out of Baltimore every weekend that does a 7-day trip to Port Canaveral (Orlando\Cocoa Beach Florida), and then Nassau\Freeport in the Bahamas. It's typically loaded with college spring breakers (matching whatever major regional school is out that week) for the ...
by MattE
Thu Jun 12, 2014 9:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: POLL: Do/did you get a match? How much?
Replies: 67
Views: 5634

Re: POLL: Do/did you get a match? How much?

50% match up to 8% of your pay, so the equivalent is 4%. It historically had been 100% up to 8% but the company halved it just before I started working there in 2010 as a cost control measure.
by MattE
Fri May 16, 2014 10:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Suggestions on used high mileage car?
Replies: 17
Views: 1498

Re: Suggestions on used high mileage car?

I second the Saturn suggestion. They're very bare-bones cars, but the early 2000s manual SLs get 30-40 MPG (depending on driving type and condition of the car), will generally run you $3000-$4500, and run for forever with minimal maintenance. I drive a 2001 SL that I bought in 2008 with 109K on it; ...
by MattE
Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car recommendations - Mazda6, accord, Prius
Replies: 23
Views: 4489

Re: Car recommendations - Mazda6, accord, Prius

The wife and I just bought a 2013 Mazda 6 last summer and couldn't be happier with it. It gets decent gas mileage in real-world driving (~30 MPG combined), drives very smooth, and is deceptively roomy - plenty of passenger space and the trunk is huge. They've got a good manufacturer's warranty (5 ye...
by MattE
Tue Apr 08, 2014 12:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Reviewing my insurance now that I have money
Replies: 6
Views: 961

Re: Reviewing my insurance now that I have money

Renter's insurance is one of those things that's so cheap for the level of protection it provides that not having it is borderline negligent.
by MattE
Thu Apr 03, 2014 6:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Boglehead Cruise Line Preference
Replies: 57
Views: 8870

Re: Boglehead Cruise Line Preference

My wife and I are younger (mid-20s) and have done several Carnival cruises and always enjoyed them a lot. They're certainly more of a "for the masses" cruise and their clientele varies pretty drastically throughout the year - during the spring you get tons of college students, summer is al...
by MattE
Mon Feb 24, 2014 5:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Stay for pay, or leave for growth? Seeking opinions.
Replies: 14
Views: 1669

Re: Stay for pay, or leave for growth? Seeking opinions.

How long have you been at your current position? Almost four years. Secondly, you may be able to negotiate a hiring bonus to cover the remaining tuition. When I was hiring engineers, HR always had hard salary caps that we couldn't exceed in an offer but were generally much more flexible about bonus...
by MattE
Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best place to procure a mortgage
Replies: 15
Views: 1543

Re: Best place to procure a mortgage

My wife and I used National Mortgage Alliance this past summer when we bought our first home and had a pretty good experience, though their paperwork requirements are substantial and they required wet ink signatures on every single page of the closing documents, though those are hassles rather than ...
by MattE
Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Stay for pay, or leave for growth? Seeking opinions.
Replies: 14
Views: 1669

Re: Stay for pay, or leave for growth? Seeking opinions.

I appreciate the opinions. After mulling it over some more, I'm pretty sure I'm going to go with my initial reaction and just sit tight for a while unless one of the applications I've already put out there in the past couple of weeks comes back with an offer I can't refuse.
by MattE
Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Stay for pay, or leave for growth? Seeking opinions.
Replies: 14
Views: 1669

Stay for pay, or leave for growth? Seeking opinions.

I currently work as an engineer for a Fortune 100 company doing satellite operations and analysis work. I'm paid pretty well for the work I do and my level of experience, but the benefits (aside from a pretty good 401k) and corporate culture are terrible, and it's kind of a dead-end job in that ther...
by MattE
Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you define "emergency fund?"
Replies: 32
Views: 3671

Re: How do you define "emergency fund?"

I'm in the boat with people that just have general purpose "savings." My wife and I keep a savings account with an amount that covers our insurance deductibles in it (which would also cover about 1.5 months of expenses) for instant-access, and a much larger (and regularly contributed to) a...
by MattE
Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Question On Reimbursed Educational Reimbursements on Taxes
Replies: 8
Views: 915

Re: Question On Reimbursed Educational Reimbursements on Tax

That would make sense. Thanks for the responses!
by MattE
Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Question On Reimbursed Educational Reimbursements on Taxes
Replies: 8
Views: 915

Question On Reimbursed Educational Reimbursements on Taxes

I work full-time as an engineer and am finishing up my Master's part-time on the side. My current employer reimburses my tuition expenses. However, I am looking to leave my current job within the next several months for better opportunities elsewhere, and my tuition reimbursement from my employer ha...
by MattE
Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?
Replies: 127
Views: 8259

Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

I lived in a rural area with very limited job opportunities for minors outside of the winter (ski resort region). I spent a summer working groundskeeping and maintenance at a summer camp 20 miles from home working minimum wage because it was pretty much the only thing available, and was more or less...
by MattE
Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?
Replies: 66
Views: 6103

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

I'll also vouch for PagePlus - we swapped my wife's Droid 3 over to their $55 plan (unlimited talk\text + 2 GB data) and my old Motorola Q9 to their $12 plan (250 minutes\250 texts) last year and have had no problems at all with it.
by MattE
Sun Nov 24, 2013 1:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Casio G-Shock
Replies: 22
Views: 2266

Re: Casio G-Shock

I've been wearing G-Shocks for 20 years and have nothing but good things to say about them. The only reason I don't have the same one from childhood is because it was stolen in college, and the one I bought to replace it has been trucking 7 years since. Get one of the Tough Solars and you'll never n...
by MattE
Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How did you/your child pay for college?
Replies: 151
Views: 12560

Re: How did you/your child pay for college?

I'm probably close to the age of most everyone else in this topic's children (or younger, in some cases), so for what it's worth: I attended Penn State from '06 - '10, with my tuition + room & board varying from ~$20K my freshman year to ~$25K my senior year. My family provided nothing towards m...
by MattE
Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Considering a Bread Machine
Replies: 38
Views: 3308

Re: Considering a Bread Machine

My wife and I and I don't use ours that often (maybe a half dozen times per year), but every time we use it, we find ourselves going, "Why the hell don't we do this more often?" You really can't beat the simplicity of it - the process is literally dump in ingredients -> receive delicious b...
by MattE
Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any ideas for a good desktop PC under $600?
Replies: 18
Views: 3296

Re: Any ideas for a good desktop PC under $600?

Quick foot, where did you buy that custom optioned pc? What I see lately is most pc brands don't really offer options like they used to and SSD was really hard to find and couldn't just be added as an option to most setups. I've bought both a laptop and a desktop from m and have found their configu...
by MattE
Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Moving brother out of Mom's house
Replies: 26
Views: 5100

Re: Moving brother out of Mom's house

You do the best that you can and try to forget it's a problem when it's not immediately an issue, to be honest. My mother is 46, a paranoid schizophrenic, and even prior to mental illness setting in had been one of the least reliable people and worst decision makers I've ever met in my life. She's c...
by MattE
Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage Companies Recommendations
Replies: 9
Views: 1006

Re: Mortgage Companies Recommendations

My wife and I just closed on a new home in June with National Mortgage Alliance, and the process with them was fairly painless and straightforward. We were also able to put them in a bidding war against AimLoan, which ultimately led to thousands of dollars of origination fees being knocked off even ...
by MattE
Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage dilemma, please help
Replies: 26
Views: 4977

Re: Mortgage dilemma, please help

You're right, I misread what was originally posted while responding at way too late an hour on far too little sleep. The NMA estimate doesn't include your mandatory pre-paids, which explains the price gap. A breakout of everything included in the credit union's "summary of charges" would r...
by MattE
Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage dilemma, please help
Replies: 26
Views: 4977

Re: Mortgage dilemma, please help

Closing costs are closing costs; as listed, the loan from NMA appears to be several thousand dollars cheaper upfront in addition to having the lower rate. FWIW, I just closed on my first house last week with the mortgage through NMA and the process went extremely smoothly. It's also quite possible t...
by MattE
Sat May 11, 2013 12:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy
Replies: 88
Views: 7057

Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

I completely fail to understand what advantage you supposedly gain from waiting until the last few seconds. I just bid the amount I am willing to pay at the time when I see the item... and forget about it until the auction has finished. Ok, here's why. Say there is an item for which I am willing to...
by MattE
Fri May 10, 2013 4:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Experience with Entitle Direct? [Title insurance]
Replies: 4
Views: 944

Re: Experience with Entitle Direct?

Follow up for the benefit of anyone else that comes looking in the future: EnTitle Direct undercut every other quote I got from local (B\W Corridor) title companies by at least $450 when including the insurance premiums and all settlement fees. In several cases they were more than $600 cheaper. Howe...
by MattE
Tue May 07, 2013 4:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How Much Did You Spend on Your Engagement Ring??
Replies: 289
Views: 31651

Re: How Much Did You Spend on Your Engagement Ring??

I spent $3800 on hers in 2010. At the time that was about 3 weeks' gross salary. The central stone isn't real (cubic zirconia), but it has a few dozen much smaller high-quality diamonds inlaid about the band and was part of a designed matching pair (engagement ring\wedding band) so we were able to q...