Search found 286 matches

by Alf 101
Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Haven't bought a car in ages - how does negotiation work these days?
Replies: 47
Views: 4858

Re: Haven't bought a car in ages - how does negotiation work these days?

As has been mentioned, dealers work on much smaller margins than in the past. Still, having purchased a car recently, here was my approach: 1. I first determined the basic niche I was looking for in my next car, and identified some makes and models. I was buying used, so weighed year, miles, and pri...
by Alf 101
Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Espresso Maker 2019
Replies: 106
Views: 6236

Re: Espresso Maker 2019

So I did a little research on grinders -- mainly recording dimensions, and subtly taking cabinet and counter measurements, in advance of broaching this project with the other half of Team Alf. This has led me to consider the Baratza Encore or Virtuoso, for a few reasons. They are compact; and partic...
by Alf 101
Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vacation Planning w/o Foreign Language Knowledge
Replies: 15
Views: 664

Re: Vacation Planning w/o Foreign Language Knowledge

One other idea, since the trip is some time in the future, is make a little effort to learn some of the language before you travel. I'm not suggesting a level of effort that makes you fluent, but knowing enough to say thank you, find a bathroom, ask for directions, and book a hotel room and bus ride...
by Alf 101
Tue Mar 12, 2019 9:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Espresso Maker 2019
Replies: 106
Views: 6236

Re: Espresso Maker 2019

One quick question concerning burr grinders... So there seems a consensus that the grind is of paramount importance, equal or nearly equal to your choice of machine. Logically, this makes some sense, but it does add another layer of complexity to entry level choices. I would say the balance of perfo...
by Alf 101
Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Espresso Maker 2019
Replies: 106
Views: 6236

Re: Espresso Maker 2019

The OP has returned to chime back in. Thank you for all the responses, and detailed insight on espresso. I find it a most enjoyable beverage, but reading the range of opinions, I'm left wondering what kind of investment is required for the "espresso curious". Admittedly, part of the appeal is the cr...
by Alf 101
Fri Mar 08, 2019 3:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Espresso Maker 2019
Replies: 106
Views: 6236

Re: Espresso Maker 2019

Just to keep pace, when I think macchiato, or much else about espresso drinks, I'm thinking Italy -- not Starbucks. I have not spend much time in Italy, but long enough there to start to get it. As for the pull, this is something I'd like to experiment with, though I have generally told the barista ...
by Alf 101
Fri Mar 08, 2019 3:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Espresso Maker 2019
Replies: 106
Views: 6236

Re: Espresso Maker 2019

If I recall correctly, there is a distinction between the "super-automatic" (subject of recent post) and "semi-automatic"; still talking about espresso makers here. It seems this could be a critical difference. If all you want is a coffee beverage that hits you quality metric, that distinction becom...
by Alf 101
Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Espresso Maker 2019
Replies: 106
Views: 6236

Espresso Maker 2019

I thought I'd ask the Bogleheads about their thoughts on purchase and use of an espresso machine. This seems like an extravagance, but indeed life is short, so when -- and to what degree -- is it a reasonable one? For starters, I enjoy coffee, and do very much enjoy espresso. I do not worship it, ho...
by Alf 101
Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chimney Cap Replacement
Replies: 20
Views: 1191

Re: Chimney Cap Replacement

I'll second that, in our experience at least, chimney estimates seem to vary more than I've seen with other contract work. It would be worth calling around. When we moved into our house, the previous and original owners had run their furnace and wood burning stove up the same flue. Also a few of the...
by Alf 101
Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]
Replies: 63
Views: 4319

Re: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]

As the OP, I thought I should circle back with an update -- now that we've had a mini-split system installed. To recap, we had recently moved, with my wife working out of a home office in the new house. While generally well insulated, last summer was a hot one, and it was pretty uncomfortable withou...
by Alf 101
Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Warm Sleepwear
Replies: 21
Views: 2566

Warm Sleepwear

So with the holidays looking, I have began looking for gift ideas for my hard to buy for family. In a phone conversation with my mother, though, she mentioned how she'd like warmer sleepwear My mom is in her early 70s, lives in a northern climate, and isn't a very large person. So this seems legit. ...
by Alf 101
Mon Jul 30, 2018 2:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Talk to me about Le Creuset
Replies: 53
Views: 6379

Re: Talk to me about Le Creuset

Hmmm, I own a 6-quart Lodge enameled Dutch oven, that's seen heavy use for years. As an honest question, what am I missing not owning a very similar thing made by Le Creuset? The question of value in cookware is a very tricky thing. I own several All-Clad stainless pieces -- a 12" skillet, a saute p...
by Alf 101
Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Galapagos Islands
Replies: 31
Views: 6732

Re: Galapagos Islands

While there are many Galapagos threads here on the Bogleheads site, I'm bumping this one. My wife and I will be heading to the Galapagos now in just under 4 weeks. We'll be on a nine day boat trip with G Adventures, and priorities #1-10 are to see wildlife. Factors such as comfort, luxury, and night...
by Alf 101
Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: When does frugal cross the line to cheapskate?
Replies: 136
Views: 10686

Re: When does frugal cross the line to cheapskate?

Thinking about this, I'm reminded of some workplace stories. At a place a friend of mine worked, some director banned the purchase of colored post-it notes, under the impression that they cost more money. When it was pointed out they did not, and that yellow was a color, it mattered not at all. Anot...
by Alf 101
Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]
Replies: 63
Views: 4319

Re: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]

My error. It is an oil furnace with hydronic baseboard heat. This is a new one to me -- up to now everywhere I lived had natural gas. I'll have to go back and check what our average fuel costs are per month over the winter. I did talk last night to a HVAC contractor, who I was able to connect up wit...
by Alf 101
Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]
Replies: 63
Views: 4319

Re: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]

Given that an air source heat pump may not even be a good solution for you in the deepest of winter, it might be worth investigating a vertical ground source heat pump again. How much were your winter heating costs last year? A ground source heat pump might pay for itself. While I wait to set up vi...
by Alf 101
Tue Jul 10, 2018 3:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]
Replies: 63
Views: 4319

Re: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]

The request for quotes has gone out, at least the first three, so I'll keep this topic posted as to what we find. The choice of whether to install a mini-split system or not is challenging. We're north, but not so far north -- USDA Hardiness Zone 5a. Our house seems well insulated, and is surrounded...
by Alf 101
Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]
Replies: 63
Views: 4319

Re: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]

Yes, that is the case -- one unit in the main room downstairs, and a second unit in the master bedroom directly above. Both units would be mounted on an outside wall. Now this was an over the phone estimate, as a precursor to a visit and a quote -- it's not as if the contractor had more information ...
by Alf 101
Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]
Replies: 63
Views: 4319

Re: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]

Hmm, I just got an over the phone and back-of-the-napkin quote range of $10-14K. This would be for a two zone mini-split's system in our 2000 sq. ft. house. This seemed a little on the high end, but I will get an actual quote based on a visit, and several more to shop around. This first estimate was...
by Alf 101
Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: International Vacation Ideas
Replies: 47
Views: 3611

Re: International Vacation Ideas

I'm going to heartily agree with that last post. Thailand is a great option -- food, history, culture, scenery -- and sometimes you really lose out in travel by spreading yourself too thin. I found myself in Bangkok after my first trip to Nepal, with no particular plans. I was completely entertained...
by Alf 101
Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: International Vacation Ideas
Replies: 47
Views: 3611

Re: International Vacation Ideas

I've enjoyed my time in Nepal, and can recommend it, but you go there to trek. Kathmandu can be interesting, but if you haven't spent much time in Asia, I could see how it might be a little jarring on your first trip. I also feel like you really haven't seen the country until you've spent time in th...
by Alf 101
Mon Jul 02, 2018 4:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: International Vacation Ideas
Replies: 47
Views: 3611

Re: International Vacation Ideas

Among the questions for the OP is whether you enjoy camping or "glamping", and what level of smooth -- or unsmooth -- sailing are you comfortable with in your travels? This is in no way meant as judgemental, rather to help suggest good fits. If you like things well arranged, many guided trips are av...
by Alf 101
Mon Jul 02, 2018 4:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]
Replies: 63
Views: 4319

Re: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]

So as the heat wave continues, I find myself returning to this thread. Having done some research, it seems the so-called portable AC are considered inefficient and mostly ineffective. The most cost-effective one room solution remains the window unit. If anyone feels this is grossly inaccurate, pleas...
by Alf 101
Fri Jun 29, 2018 7:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]
Replies: 63
Views: 4319

[Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]

[Added similar air conditioners, see below. --admin LadyGeek] As we come into the heat of summer, somehow I've been thinking about air conditioning. We recently moved to a home that has much to recommend, only has baseboard heat, and no central AC. We're in the north, so this isn't completely unten...
by Alf 101
Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tequila and Magaritas
Replies: 75
Views: 7770

Re: Tequila and Magaritas

Agreed about the fresh citrus. If people are coming over around 5 or 6 PM, I will usually squeeze the limes and mix everything in a pitcher around noon or 1 PM. This works out just fine. This summer I did make a pitcher, then it turned out we only had two guests. The pitcher wasn't emptied and we fi...
by Alf 101
Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tequila and Magaritas
Replies: 75
Views: 7770

Re: Tequila and Magaritas

I would be interested in anyone's impression of using bottled lime juice. I have come to believe that fresh lime is really key to the flavor of a tequila; sure you can use the mix, but the freshness seems to make a big difference to me and my guests. One thing to ask, since this is the BH forum, is ...
by Alf 101
Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tequila and Magaritas
Replies: 75
Views: 7770

Re: Tequila and Magaritas

Now that we're partway through the summer, and the temperatures are climbing, I thought I'd revisit the topic. Though I had not really featured cocktails as part of my entertainment strategy, I'm finding guests are truly enjoying margaritas. Big surprise, I know, stop the presses. First off, I purch...
by Alf 101
Mon Jun 25, 2018 3:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best time to travel to Iceland?
Replies: 22
Views: 3086

Re: Best time to travel to Iceland?

I'd agree with some of the sentiments of the last two posts. If I recall correctly, June and July -- the mid-summer -- are the peak periods for Icelandic tourism. If you can go during the shoulder season, May or September, you may find more of a sense of nature. We visited the canyon pictured in the...
by Alf 101
Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best time to travel to Iceland?
Replies: 22
Views: 3086

Re: Best time to travel to Iceland?

I believe that Iceland will be very expensive, no matter what time of year, so the OP may want to first consider what they want to see and do on the trip. Northern Lights are, of course, in the winter; but it's much harder to get around. If you're a bird watcher and want to see puffins, they come in...
by Alf 101
Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: gray hair
Replies: 130
Views: 9432

Re: gray hair

Interestingly, I started going gray around age 20. My hair was light enough at the time, it seemed to blend in -- that or I didn't really notice it much. By my mid-20s I was fully gray. That was OK too. I told people I was going to get a fake ID that said I was 65, so I could cash in on the great se...
by Alf 101
Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?
Replies: 191
Views: 19149

Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

As to the last point, I do find it interesting what I've noticed dining out, after studying up a little about the subject, thinking about hosting and entertaining. Namely it's the frequency I see overpriced cocktails on menus, naming the liquors featured -- New Amsterdam Gin, Bacardi Superior, or Sa...
by Alf 101
Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Documentaries to recommend?
Replies: 158
Views: 26146

Re: Documentaries to recommend?

I was a little surprised to find no mention of "Meru", currently streaming on Netflix. This may be the finest climbing documentary every made -- beautiful to watch, and giving insight into what it takes to succeed at that level of alpinism. If this genre sounds interesting, I'd also recommend the ps...
by Alf 101
Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:31 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: $1M Question
Replies: 38
Views: 5322

Re: $1M Question

Not necessarily to derail the thread, but a better question might be, if someone came to you at age 21 with $12,000, what's the best way to make $1M? Let's assume also, that this person is of average or slightly average means. A quick web search -- not verified through multiple sources -- for averag...
by Alf 101
Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?
Replies: 191
Views: 19149

Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Well the vodka (Tito's or Finlandia) and gin (Bombay Sapphire) may be in my price range... :happy It's interesting to see the range of opinions. In general it's likely fair to say that those on the Bogleheads site are generally more financially well off than average, but there's a range of tastes, i...
by Alf 101
Wed Jun 06, 2018 7:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?
Replies: 191
Views: 19149

Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Reading through and seeing this thread still around, I thought I'd chime in again. A question occurred to me -- how do people start drinking top shelf liquor? Certainly the liquor many of us first enjoyed earlier in life was no high end. An earlier post shared a story where his son-in-law, clearly n...
by Alf 101
Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?
Replies: 191
Views: 19149

Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Ah yes, this is true. I would say, however, that why we have a Personal Consumer category on an obstensibly financial oriented site, is that we're all interested in value. Many here are doing quite well, and could afford spending more, but unsure if and where it's worth it. When looking specifically...
by Alf 101
Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?
Replies: 191
Views: 19149

Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

As for myself, across the board I take a mid-shelf approach; or it could be debated a low-mid one instead. Am I missing out? Maybe, but here's what I've gone with: 1. For vodka, after trying Skyy and Absolut, I've settled in for Luksusowa. It's Polish, made from potatoes, and the price was right. 2....
by Alf 101
Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: belize with kids -- advice?
Replies: 8
Views: 993

Re: belize with kids -- advice?

I made a trip to Belize with my wife several years ago. No kids were along for the ride, but here are a few thoughts: -- Belize City isn't nice. We got out of there quickly. The State Department warning basically applies to the capital. -- We spent several days in Placencia, and liked it a great dea...
by Alf 101
Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school
Replies: 70
Views: 5994

Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

I hope this thread doesn't get closed, as this has made me curious how this turns out. Often we can speculate and share recommendations, but how things play out vs. expectations is a valuable data point. To the OP, have you had conversations with your son, and do you have a sense of how he views thi...
by Alf 101
Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?
Replies: 191
Views: 19149

Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

I've always found some challenges to exploring this question: 1. How much side-by-side testing can you do? Let's say I want to decide which tequila I like the best. I buy four bottles and compare them. Now I have more than a half-gallon of tequila, which will last some time. So while I want to be a ...
by Alf 101
Thu May 31, 2018 12:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Instant pot pressure cooker
Replies: 50
Views: 7164

Re: Instant pot pressure cooker

I believe many people get quite excited about their Instant Pot, and it works well for what they're intending to do. That said, I bought and use non-electric pressure cooker, specifically the Fagor Duo 8-qt. This was also recommended by Cooks Illustrated, and at times throughout the year, can be fou...
by Alf 101
Wed May 30, 2018 3:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My mind exploded
Replies: 79
Views: 5270

Re: My mind exploded

Because I was curious, I did a quick search and saw that non-sale Tevas or Keens would run a person somewhere in the $50-110. Seeing someone wearing a pair of either of these would not signal conspicuous consumption to most. But that's not really the issue. Nonetheless, it's a good thing she didn't ...
by Alf 101
Wed May 30, 2018 12:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help Me Negotiate My Residential Solar System
Replies: 8
Views: 837

Re: Help Me Negotiate My Residential Solar System

Hmm, are you not able to get multiple bids for the same job? This, in my opinion, is your best option -- unless you want to pursue becoming a solar expert. This is what I generally for work I'd contract out: 1. Get quotes. I will get three as a minimum, and would even go a couple beyond that if I ne...
by Alf 101
Tue May 29, 2018 1:39 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Should one use REITs
Replies: 54
Views: 13874

Re: Should one use REITs

This is an interesting question. Currently I hold somewhere a little less than 5% in the VG REIT Index (VGSLX). The idea was that it would provide some diversification, but I have found it to correlate with equities, as have others in this thread. While there is much to be said for simplicity in one...
by Alf 101
Fri May 25, 2018 10:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rum and Summer Cocktails
Replies: 30
Views: 2325

Re: Rum and Summer Cocktails

Oops, I guess I missed that one. That said, I'm not really looking for a sipping rum... Many of the pricier sipping rums seem to be the darker ones. I find Goslings Black Seal to be the one rum I already buy, as it is quite good in a Dark and Stormy. I'd be curious if anyone things another variety c...
by Alf 101
Fri May 25, 2018 8:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rum and Summer Cocktails
Replies: 30
Views: 2325

Rum and Summer Cocktails

As it so happens, in the summer I like to entertain. We have a grill and some good outdoor space, and having people over just seems to fall into place naturally. Perhaps some others here can relate. On hot summer days, it seems hospitable to serve my guests beverages. While no serious drinker, I too...
by Alf 101
Tue May 22, 2018 10:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Time For New Car?
Replies: 34
Views: 2949

Re: Time For New Car?

I'll jump back in here quickly. In my case, and for general discussion, let's assume we'e in OK financial shape. I may not buy my next car outright, but should be able to put down for more than half of it, and pay it off quickly. In the time I've owned my car, admittedly kind of a beater, I've had t...
by Alf 101
Tue May 22, 2018 8:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Time For New Car?
Replies: 34
Views: 2949

Re: Time For New Car?

Maybe I'll steer this to a more general discussion. How do you gauge when it's time to replace your old car? Do you hit a mileage (e.g., 100,000, 120,000)? Do you look at maintenance costs over a time period (e.g., 3 months, 6 months, 1 year) as a percentage of the car's blue book value? Is it visua...
by Alf 101
Fri May 18, 2018 10:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Growing Fruit Trees and Shrubs
Replies: 30
Views: 2977

Re: Growing Fruit Trees and Shrubs

I recently moved from Zone 4 to Zone 5, and have started our first season of planting in our new home. I started planting 6 blueberries -- two Jersey, two Patriot, and two Duke. I had to do some work on the soil for the blueberries; I sent a sample in for analysis to the local university which showe...
by Alf 101
Fri May 18, 2018 10:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mitsubishi wall air conditioner
Replies: 34
Views: 2654

Re: Mitsubishi wall air conditioner

This is a well-timed thread, as this is something I've been considering. Recently we moved to a 2200 sq. ft house in USDA zone 5a/5b. The home has oil heat, no AC, and is ductless with baseboard heat. Having traveled a bit in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, I've seen mini split AC units widely dep...