Search found 323 matches

by Alf 101
Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What am I missing about HELOCs?
Replies: 31
Views: 2703

Re: What am I missing about HELOCs?

We used a HELOC some years ago when we purchased out first house. We had enough cash to put down 20% and avoid mortgage insurance. At the same time it was an older house, we got some money from the sellers after inspection showed the roof needed work, and were concerned about being stretched too thi...
by Alf 101
Fri Jul 26, 2019 1:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gas Stove
Replies: 23
Views: 1407

Re: Gas Stove

I definitely agree that it's a very bad idea to run your gas stove for warmth. On the other hand, if the power goes out, it's nice to still be able to boil water. If the house was cold, a hot drink is helpful; plus you could always fill water bottles with hot water, and tuck it in among blankets or ...
by Alf 101
Wed Jul 24, 2019 1:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]
Replies: 68
Views: 5460

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

As the OP, I'd like to circle back and say that we've been quite happy with out mini-split units. The first part of the summer was cool; we found we had the windows open most every day, and didn't have to run it. If our installation of this system could ensure that continued, it would be more than w...
by Alf 101
Mon Jul 22, 2019 2:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Whole Bean Coffee: Worth the effort?
Replies: 90
Views: 5111

Re: Whole Bean Coffee: Worth the effort?

It all depends on how much you like coffee. You can spend $350 for a coffee maker. You can spend $2000 for a grinder, and upwards of $8000 for a higher end espresso maker. The OP is probably not one of the people who would consider purchasing any of these. I think that grinding whole beans, to make ...
by Alf 101
Mon Jul 22, 2019 7:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling home- Demanding Buyer (Repairs)
Replies: 396
Views: 34014

Re: Selling home- Demanding Buyer (Repairs)

Just a quick note about the contingency of the buyer selling their current house. For our last purchase, we indeed have such a contingency; however, we already had an accepted offer on the house we were selling. This was more about scheduling the closing. The idea that you would try and make a conti...
by Alf 101
Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Explaining the magic of compound interest to teenagers
Replies: 107
Views: 5838

Re: Explaining the magic of compound interest to teenagers

My dad presented the concept of compound interest to me as an adolescent -- probably 13 or 14, and I could do math. I think of this as "The Talk", for the impact it had on me. Of course there was another talk, but this may have been more in his wheelhouse. He started by talking about compound intere...
by Alf 101
Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How unpleasant is the home buying/selling experience??
Replies: 40
Views: 3673

Re: How unpleasant is the home buying/selling experience??

I'll add that the degree to which home buying or selling is unpleasant will depend on your realtor. On our last purchase we had a great realtor; the process was still unpleasant, but we had a great relationship, and she was able to navigate and mitigate the complications. Prior to that we had realto...
by Alf 101
Mon Jul 15, 2019 10:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a Smoker
Replies: 118
Views: 6804

Re: Buying a Smoker

The OP is chiming back in to report success. I managed to find a 18" Weber Smokey Mountain on Craigslist, brand new and still in the box, which I purchased on Saturday. I then went home, assembled it, and headed back out to buy charcoal, a chimney starter, wood chips, and ribs. I had two racks of ba...
by Alf 101
Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a Smoker
Replies: 118
Views: 6804

Re: Buying a Smoker

OK, friends, the OP is back and I think I'm going to bite the bullet this weekend. I've found a number of smokers for sale locally on Craigslist, and am zeroing in on a Weber Smokey Mountain. The convenience factor of an electric smoker still has appeal, but there's more to go wrong with one of thos...
by Alf 101
Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a Smoker
Replies: 118
Views: 6804

Re: Buying a Smoker

Thanks for all the input. The Weber Smokey Mountain has come up multiple times, so I'm starting to look on Craigslist. At present all I see are the 22" models, which is a little bigger than I'd like. I'm also become intrigued by an electric smoker, as "set it and forget it" has some appeal, especial...
by Alf 101
Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a Smoker
Replies: 118
Views: 6804

Re: Buying a Smoker

Luckily the Brinkman isn't mine; my brother got it for free, from a friend of his who wanted to get rid of it. I can see why. I'm fine with putting in some work and time for the craft of it but it leaked a lot of smoke and heat, I had to add fuel frequently, and there were no vents to open and close...
by Alf 101
Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a Smoker
Replies: 118
Views: 6804

Re: Buying a Smoker

As the OP, I do own a Weber gas grill that I'm quite happy with. I might consider upgrading it, only it will not die. I had to replace the burner tubes and the grates once each due to rust and wear, but this was not expensive, simple to do, and reasonable maintenance given the use and wear it's seen...
by Alf 101
Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a Smoker
Replies: 118
Views: 6804

Buying a Smoker

Every so often I get an idea, and this time it's getting a smoker. I enjoy cooking, entertaining, and grilling, and this has made me curious. While no doubt I could get excellent technical information and specific product recommendations on a BBQ site, the questions are more about value. Basically i...
by Alf 101
Fri Jun 21, 2019 11:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Radon levels in home
Replies: 50
Views: 4576

Re: Radon levels in home

When we moved into our previous home, the 48 hour test revealed basement levels of 4.2 pCi/L. Since it was the basement, and no bedrooms were down there, we weren't overly concerned -- the basement had two sump pumps, after all. We did, however, purchase a kit to run a one-year test, through our sta...
by Alf 101
Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cost of mini split installation? [Ductless Air Conditioning/ Heat]
Replies: 36
Views: 3188

Re: Cost of mini split installation? [Ductless Air Conditioning/ Heat]

This is an interesting question. Last year we went through the process of having a mini-split system installed, so I thought I'd share our process: 1. Mini-split units are common elsewhere in the world, and while growing in popularity, in most cases still not a standard HVAC service in the USA. We b...
by Alf 101
Wed Jun 05, 2019 8:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco or Sam's Club?
Replies: 134
Views: 8942

Re: Costco or Sam's Club?

We recently moved. Now the Costco is about 45 minutes away, which basically rules that out. In some cases that could work for you, but there are other choices closer. Where we moved from, our Costco was 25-30 minutes away, and the Sam's Club about 15 minutes. In truth, we went to Sam's Club more. It...
by Alf 101
Wed Jun 05, 2019 8:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Would you buy a house without a garage?
Replies: 95
Views: 6299

Re: Would you buy a house without a garage?

I'll add my vote to the group that wouldn't buy a house without a garage. The caveat is that I live, and have lived, in places with a winter. If you have snow and/or ice storms, and a freeze-thaw cycle, that's a lot of damage and dealing with your vehicle. As has been commented, people use their gar...
by Alf 101
Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dual coffee maker suggestion
Replies: 24
Views: 1613

Re: Dual coffee maker suggestion

Having just returned from a short vacation, one of the B&B places we stayed had a beverage station with an electric kettle and small French Presses. This was an extremely convenient set-up. The proprietor had several glass jars of different coffee options, which seemed to have been ground fairly rec...
by Alf 101
Wed May 22, 2019 9:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Expensive front load washer/dryer worth it?
Replies: 53
Views: 3476

Re: Expensive front load washer/dryer worth it?

We didn't think so. Unless you're building a new house, you only have so many options for your washer/dryer size, and how you configure. Sure you could remodel your laundry room or basement, but you probably wouldn't. So we knew the size we had to work with, that stacking the washer and dryer wasn't...
by Alf 101
Wed May 22, 2019 8:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone else looking forward to Game of Thrones?
Replies: 90
Views: 8970

Re: Anyone else looking forward to Game of Thrones?

At this point I am somewhat lukewarm about Game of Thrones -- the books, that is. The first three books came out at 2-year intervals, "Feast for Crows" then came out five years later, followed by "Dance with Dragons" six years after that -- in 2011. The author, Martin, is 70 years old and doesn't ex...
by Alf 101
Mon May 20, 2019 11:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Arc'teryx - Anyone else here splurge?
Replies: 30
Views: 4071

Re: Arc'teryx - Anyone else here splurge?

No lie, outdoor gear is expensive -- the the "dead bird" is one of the more pricey brands; it's rare to find sales below about 20%. But is it worth the splurge -- I'd say it depends on three factors: 1. Fit Different brands just fit differently; I'm sure all of us have seen this with shoes, and it's...
by Alf 101
Mon May 20, 2019 10:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling home- Demanding Buyer (Repairs)
Replies: 396
Views: 34014

Re: Selling home- Demanding Buyer (Repairs)

I too have been following this thread, so please keep the updates coming. Very interesting all around. I find myself considering this from a buyer perspective. First off, I wouldn't buy a house without passing an inspection. I realize some markets are tight and you have to move fast; I'll just wait ...
by Alf 101
Fri May 17, 2019 3:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Property Tax vs. Income Tax vs. Sales Tax in Retirement
Replies: 27
Views: 2126

Re: Property Tax vs. Income Tax vs. Sales Tax in Retirement

Ah, but is the question between "more expensive" vs. "less desirable" locations a fair one? For some people there are only 1-2 places they'd be happy; for others 10-12. Also I've visited places in this country that would be fantastic to live, still less than an hour from good medical care; the only ...
by Alf 101
Fri May 17, 2019 12:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Property Tax vs. Income Tax vs. Sales Tax in Retirement
Replies: 27
Views: 2126

Re: Property Tax vs. Income Tax vs. Sales Tax in Retirement

I find it interesting that some states do offer tax and other incentives appealing to retirees. Previous post in this thread have discussed how it was cheaper to retire in Nevada and California, and California than Washington. Googling "State with Incentives for Retirees", I likely would have never ...
by Alf 101
Fri May 17, 2019 8:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Property Tax vs. Income Tax vs. Sales Tax in Retirement
Replies: 27
Views: 2126

Re: Property Tax vs. Income Tax vs. Sales Tax in Retirement

I think another aspect of this is that not everyone is in love with where they currently live. You make certain compromises. Maybe you'd like more land and a space to garden, but want to avoid a long commute, and need to make sure the kids can attend good schools, or moved to be closer and take care...
by Alf 101
Thu May 16, 2019 2:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Property Tax vs. Income Tax vs. Sales Tax in Retirement
Replies: 27
Views: 2126

Re: Property Tax vs. Income Tax vs. Sales Tax in Retirement

This is all very interesting and helpful. As has been said, many expenses are scalable, but not property tax. Actively working I can live with it for the trade-offs of my home and situation, but in retirement I see it not unlike a high ER for a fund. While somewhat of a thought experiment, there is ...
by Alf 101
Thu May 16, 2019 9:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Property Tax vs. Income Tax vs. Sales Tax in Retirement
Replies: 27
Views: 2126

Property Tax vs. Income Tax vs. Sales Tax in Retirement

There have been a number of retirement topics that circle around this, but I'm curious in thoughts from the board about the various taxes in retirement. Though still a good way off, let's say that we have great flexibility in where we settle in retirement. Let's then project a factor that might heig...
by Alf 101
Wed May 15, 2019 7:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: House Painting 2019
Replies: 5
Views: 864

House Painting 2019

Not so long ago, we moved from a house with a stucco exterior, to one with painted exterior. You can see where this is going. There are spots showing wear, where we really should get it painted this summer; also, if you walk a circle around the house and look closely, it's subtly four different shad...
by Alf 101
Fri Apr 26, 2019 9:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tequila and Magaritas
Replies: 122
Views: 14632

Re: Tequila and Magaritas

I'm glad to see this topic getting some interest. Let's see if I can weigh in on a few different things: 1. I purchase limes at either the local Asian groceries, or at the discount club. A cost of 2 limes/$1 presents some challenges to the entertaining budget. If it's just a couple people over, I'll...
by Alf 101
Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tequila and Magaritas
Replies: 122
Views: 14632

Re: Tequila and Magaritas

Well it's one year later, and the season is starting to turn. Rain is falling, things are growing, life is returning, and summer entertaining is looming. I've been asked already if we'll be hosting some summer gatherings again, and why not? I was the OP on this thread, and at the time I launched it,...
by Alf 101
Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: At what age did you buy your first first class airplane ticket?
Replies: 112
Views: 4985

Re: At what age did you buy your first first class airplane ticket?

Like many, still waiting, and unlikely to do so. I've never found flying that unpleasant. That isn't to say I find it pleasant, but it's manageable. I can read and sleep almost anywhere. One correction though -- last year my wife and I visited Ecuador. We were online shopping for our flights, and ei...
by Alf 101
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?
Replies: 44
Views: 3395

Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

There is some good advice here. Having made a couple of trips through Central Asia, a few thoughts: -- For the most part, cash is going to be king. US dollars, as long as they're not worn and ratty, are what you exchange. It will be worthwhile for him to study how he wants to divide and stash that. ...
by Alf 101
Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mini split AC - thoughts?
Replies: 23
Views: 1899

Re: Mini split AC - thoughts?

I was the OP for the past thread on this, linked early on in this one. Something I want to reiterate is that, in going through this process, we gathered multiple quotes. Not only did the prices vary, but also the installation plans proposed by HVAC professionals. This will be more or less of a facto...
by Alf 101
Sat Apr 06, 2019 7:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "The best and worst U.S. states for retirement"
Replies: 303
Views: 33492

Re: "The best and worst U.S. states for retirement"

I wonder if anyone has found a reliable link, knowing bias exists in any analysis, of best states for retirement from a solely financial basis? Let's just say that if I end up in retirement like Scrooge McDuck, I will be posting here from either my Italian villa, Fiji beach resort, or Scandinavian c...
by Alf 101
Tue Apr 02, 2019 7:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "The best and worst U.S. states for retirement"
Replies: 303
Views: 33492

Re: "The best and worst U.S. states for retirement"

Clearly there are some differences of opinion being expressed here. Personally, I've always thought that a place had to have something wrong with it (e.g., too cold, too hot, too wet, too dry, no jobs) to be an affordable place to live. I'm not exactly sure that retiring in San Francisco or Seattle ...
by Alf 101
Fri Mar 29, 2019 7:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Decent hiking/trekking clothing?
Replies: 50
Views: 2153

Re: Decent hiking/trekking clothing?

I would be curious, and my apologies if it was posted and I didn't see it, in seeing a rough itemized list of the gear recommended to you at REI. No doubt this was all very fine clothing, but there's a balance. You can probably get by with beat-up running shoes and a sweater, in the mountains of the...
by Alf 101
Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good Camping Tent?
Replies: 28
Views: 1774

Re: Good Camping Tent?

Many good comments, but I'll bite... The biggest question is what are you going to use it for. If it's car camping, or maybe carrying it 200' to a site, weight is not a critical concern. The most expensive tents, and outdoor gear in general, will balance weight, durability, and performance. If you s...
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: 5206

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: 7038

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: 784

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: 7038

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: 7038

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: 7038

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: 7038

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: 7038

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: 1361

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: 68
Views: 5460

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: 2635

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: 6552

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: 6826

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...