Search found 1166 matches

by rjbraun
Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bidding for airline flight class upgrade
Replies: 9
Views: 1403

Re: Bidding for airline flight class upgrade

We just flew with Singapore Airlines (May 2018) and they gave us the option to do the same. We got a killer deal on the original tickets ($600 rt/pp from Houston to Bali, so about 50% off) and so the minimum cost/bid to upgrade to PE was high ($1,200 rt/pp). We passed on it and we're glad we did. P...
by rjbraun
Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bidding for airline flight class upgrade
Replies: 9
Views: 1403

Bidding for airline flight class upgrade

We are flying Cathay Pacific to Vancouver later this month. Cathay offers the ability to bid on a one-class upgrade, i.e., from Economy to Premium Economy, in our case. The site shows a "dial" with price ranges, including the likelihood of receiving the upgrade ranging from "poor" to "excellent" and...
by rjbraun
Fri May 18, 2018 12:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 2683
Views: 516901

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

I want to get CSR . - I have CSP for which I have received a bonus more than 2 years ago. - I am under 5/24. - I have other Chase cards that can keep my URs. ... Question-2 : Should I convert CSP into Freedom Unlimited? - Most bloggers recommend it, but I am wondering why should not I apply for FU ...
by rjbraun
Fri May 18, 2018 11:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 2683
Views: 516901

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

I want to get CSR . - I have CSP for which I have received a bonus more than 2 years ago. - I am under 5/24. - I have other Chase cards that can keep my URs. Question-1 : After I cancel CSP, how soon will I be able to get CSR with bonuses? - One of the bloggers had a recent discussion on this topic...
by rjbraun
Fri May 18, 2018 11:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 2683
Views: 516901

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Any thoughts on IHG devaluing the free night to just those under 30,000 points and I think the annual fee is going up to $89 from $49? Also, thoughts on changes with SPG starting 8/1? should you convert your spg miles before then? I'm okay with the IHG devaluation. 30k points is still a good deal i...
by rjbraun
Thu May 17, 2018 3:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Financial Gifts for Kids... 529? Savings Bonds? What's the best option?
Replies: 8
Views: 768

Re: Financial Gifts for Kids... 529? Savings Bonds? What's the best option?

I am very interested to follow this thread as I am probably in a similar situation as OP. I am "tired" of giving gifts where it's not clear the parent / kid even wants or can use them (even if they are listed on a registry. Example: parents list some clothing items but meanwhile they receive the sam...
by rjbraun
Thu May 17, 2018 12:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it worth quitting my private-sector job and taking a government job so I can invest in the 457 account, too?
Replies: 15
Views: 1665

Re: Is it worth quitting my private-sector job and taking a government job so I can invest in the 457 account, too?

Long story short: I have a private-sector job where I'm maxing out the HSA and 403(b). (I put in after-tax monies every year into my Roth IRA, too.) If I leave this job for a state government job, I'll almost certainly have to take a little bit of a pay cut, but then I'll get the 457 account. And w...
by rjbraun
Thu May 17, 2018 11:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it worth quitting my private-sector job and taking a government job so I can invest in the 457 account, too?
Replies: 15
Views: 1665

Re: Is it worth quitting my private-sector job and taking a government job so I can invest in the 457 account, too?

Long story short: I have a private-sector job where I'm maxing out the HSA and 403(b). (I put in after-tax monies every year into my Roth IRA, too.) If I leave this job for a state government job, I'll almost certainly have to take a little bit of a pay cut, but then I'll get the 457 account. And w...
by rjbraun
Wed May 16, 2018 7:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 2683
Views: 516901

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Any thoughts on IHG devaluing the free night to just those under 30,000 points and I think the annual fee is going up to $89 from $49? Also, thoughts on changes with SPG starting 8/1? should you convert your spg miles before then? I'm okay with the IHG devaluation. 30k points is still a good deal i...
by rjbraun
Wed May 16, 2018 4:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: how do you tip on wine at a restaurant
Replies: 209
Views: 12252

Re: how do you tip on wine at a restaurant

I'm glad I don't drink in restaurants. To read that a person pays $50 for food and 1.5 times that for wine is so strange to me. Can people not hold off for an hour or two? But to OP, I agree. The few times I have been forced to order wine for others (I always pay :oops: ), I applied a $10 tip for i...
by rjbraun
Wed May 16, 2018 4:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: how do you tip on wine at a restaurant
Replies: 209
Views: 12252

Re: how do you tip on wine at a restaurant

"20% of the total bill, pre-tax" I never thought about that but it is true huh. I usually am 20+ depending..... Thanks i'm going to Boggle more, tip 20% per the cost of meals/drinks ................ Our wonderful Md tax cuts us up !!! Yup, where I live the tax is almost 9%. Ouch. I will say that if...
by rjbraun
Wed May 16, 2018 3:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: how do you tip on wine at a restaurant
Replies: 209
Views: 12252

Re: how do you tip on wine at a restaurant

20% of the total bill, pre-tax, as long as the service was acceptable. Would consider adding more for excellent / exceptional service and shaving off a bit for very poor service that could be attributed directly to the server (and not, say, the kitchen).
by rjbraun
Wed May 16, 2018 9:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Neighbor wants to use our land temporarily - let them or not?
Replies: 48
Views: 6224

Re: Neighbor wants to use our land temporarily - let them or not?

fsrph: I agree with your first reply by livesoft: Yes, I would not hesitate to do so and I wouldn't care at all about liability issues. If there is one thing I have learned about neighbors, it is the great importance of keeping neighbors as friends. Best wishes. Taylor I am with livesoft and Taylor...
by rjbraun
Tue May 15, 2018 9:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Neighbor wants to use our land temporarily - let them or not?
Replies: 48
Views: 6224

Re: Neighbor wants to use our land temporarily - let them or not?

Yes, I would not hesitate to do so and I wouldn't care at all about liability issues. livesoft -- I take it this is your stance regardless of the hurricane aspect, is that right? Or is part of the good neighbor policy a function of the hardship the neighbor has endured as a result of Irma? Just cur...
by rjbraun
Tue May 15, 2018 1:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Helping someone with Cancer
Replies: 21
Views: 1380

Re: Helping someone with Cancer

How well do you know her/them? That can affect what you'd want to do, and what they'd feel comfortable with. RM I agree, your relationship would likely influence the type of help she would feel comfortable requesting or receiving. I know you said that this was a very close co-worker, but depending ...
by rjbraun
Tue May 15, 2018 12:50 pm
Forum: Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community
Topic: Yes, I'm 89 all right! [Jack Bogle]
Replies: 126
Views: 9823

Re: Yes, I'm 89 all right!

Sooooo wonderful to hear from you, sir! I increasingly sound like a broken record to my friends, family, work colleagues ....: Jack Bogle has done more for the individual investor than any other person. Fortunately, fellow Bogleheads never seem to tire of extolling the virtues of Bogle-headedness Th...
by rjbraun
Mon May 14, 2018 12:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Grand Canyon or other Nat'l Park in October?
Replies: 44
Views: 2453

Re: Grand Canyon or other Nat'l Park in October?

I'm having a "significant" birthday this year, and my s/o and I would like to celebrate with some sort of national park trip. A little cliche, but we're thinking the Grand Canyon. We are open to other suggestions. Given work schedules, we can potentially travel between (and including) 10/5 and 10/9...
by rjbraun
Thu May 10, 2018 9:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which City to spend 4-6 weeks?
Replies: 47
Views: 4618

Re: Which City to spend 4-6 weeks?

I agree with splitting your time across a couple of different cities. Of your short list, I recommend Vienna. Of others' suggestions, I recommend Amsterdam. My own thought, however, is that you weigh the merits of basing in Switzerland: Berne especially, but also Geneva, Basel, or Strasbourg (close...
by rjbraun
Thu May 03, 2018 7:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Not Wasting Food
Replies: 60
Views: 3641

Re: Not Wasting Food

Fresh strawberries were on sale this week. I bought 2 lbs and cut them up to add to plain yogurt. That's ultimately what I would do with most of them anyway, but they will keep better in the yogurt. Speaking of berries, I've noticed that fresh blueberries seem to rot more quickly now. Maybe they jus...
by rjbraun
Thu May 03, 2018 5:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amtrak tickets - change in refund terms: UPDATE
Replies: 20
Views: 2104

Re: Amtrak tickets - change in refund terms: UPDATE

I guess I need to post something in order for people to see my update above.
by rjbraun
Thu May 03, 2018 4:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Traveling to italy.........
Replies: 19
Views: 2033

Re: Traveling to italy.........

Buon viaggio! Are you saying that your experience with making connections with Italo is very good or excellent? How much Italo train travel is your experience based on? [/quote] Sorry, my advice was not clear at all. I had numerous botched connections with Trenitalia, both when I lived in Italy (ab...
by rjbraun
Tue May 01, 2018 12:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Potential risk with Chase URs [Ultimate Rewards]
Replies: 20
Views: 2640

Re: Potential risk with Chase URs

Thanks for the heads up. I transfer monthly anyway. Just got the freedom unlimited with 3x points or 3% back in the first year (seemed too good to be true). Nice. Is that offer by invitation only? SO recently "product changed" from Chase Sapphire Preferred to Freedom Unlimited. I wonder if there's ...
by rjbraun
Tue May 01, 2018 11:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Potential risk with Chase URs [Ultimate Rewards]
Replies: 20
Views: 2640

Re: Potential risk with Chase URs

Thanks for the heads up. I transfer monthly anyway. Just got the freedom unlimited with 3x points or 3% back in the first year (seemed too good to be true). Nice. Is that offer by invitation only? SO recently "product changed" from Chase Sapphire Preferred to Freedom Unlimited. I wonder if there's ...
by rjbraun
Sun Apr 29, 2018 1:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: BH travel tips?
Replies: 193
Views: 14419

Re: BH travel tips?

The Amazon compasses seem to satisfy my need. They are small, have a lanyard hole, and hopefully have at least 30 degree precision. It just does not feel right buying 10 compasses and then either finding place for 9 of them or throwing them away. May be I'll use them as wedding gifts. Victoria I wo...
by rjbraun
Fri Apr 27, 2018 1:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Potential risk with Chase URs [Ultimate Rewards]
Replies: 20
Views: 2640

Re: Potential risk with Chase URs

Thanks for the heads up. I transfer monthly anyway. Just got the freedom unlimited with 3x points or 3% back in the first year (seemed too good to be true). Nice. Is that offer by invitation only? SO recently "product changed" from Chase Sapphire Preferred to Freedom Unlimited. I wonder if there's ...
by rjbraun
Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: BH travel tips?
Replies: 193
Views: 14419

Re: BH travel tips?

The Amazon compasses seem to satisfy my need. They are small, have a lanyard hole, and hopefully have at least 30 degree precision. It just does not feel right buying 10 compasses and then either finding place for 9 of them or throwing them away. May be I'll use them as wedding gifts. Victoria I wo...
by rjbraun
Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: BH travel tips?
Replies: 193
Views: 14419

Re: BH travel tips?

The compass you have linked is not available on the REI site. Perhaps you meant this one ? A minor digression: The thermometer on this and similar zipper pulls is useless in practice. They're normally so close to your body that their readings are significantly higher than ambient temperature. Note ...
by rjbraun
Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Medical alert "button"
Replies: 34
Views: 2041

Re: Medical alert "button"

Artsdoctor wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:41 pm
You might try the AARP site:

http://medicalert.systems/aarp-recommen ... t-systems/

I set my mom up with Medical Alert. It looks OK and the concept is good, but we've not had to test them.
Thank you, looks like there's some helpful information on the site.
by rjbraun
Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Medical alert "button"
Replies: 34
Views: 2041

Re: Medical alert "button"

The Knox Box I have is the model 3200. The Knox Box site shows a price of $308. The installation cost would be zero if someone can use a screwdriver. You simply put the box clip over the top of your door, and tighten a set screw on the inside side of the door, which prevents the box from sliding ar...
by rjbraun
Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Medical alert "button"
Replies: 34
Views: 2041

Re: Medical alert "button"

Think very seriously about getting a device that has "fall detection", so IF someone falls and can't move/etc., help is started (e.g., phone call sequence, then 911... whatever is set up). RM Thanks, RM. Will certainly add the "fall detection" feature to whatever "buttons" get short-listed! Edit: G...
by rjbraun
Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Traveling to italy.........
Replies: 19
Views: 2033

Re: Traveling to italy.........

Trenitalia is very dicey if you are taking connecting trains. The Italo is very nice. I would purchase at the station day of; there are often promotions since there is competition between the rail companies. Buon viaggio! Are you saying that your experience with making connections with Italo is ver...
by rjbraun
Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Traveling to italy.........
Replies: 19
Views: 2033

Re: Traveling to italy.........

SO and I have traveled to Italy quite a bit (maybe 8 times in the past 10 years?). Apart from one instance when we traveled with people who rented a car, we always relied on train (or other public transportation). +1 on suggestion for seat61.com. Also, tripadvisor.com's Train Forum (I think that's t...
by rjbraun
Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Medical alert "button"
Replies: 34
Views: 2041

Re: Medical alert "button"

+1 for the Logical mark freedom alert. Purchased one for my Mom when she was alive. She was able to talk to me through the pendant and no monthly fees. Thank you. I will look into the LogicMark Freedom Alert more closely (or their other products), but from what I gather it doesn't seem to have "fal...
by rjbraun
Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Medical alert "button"
Replies: 34
Views: 2041

Re: Medical alert "button"

Thanks to all for the helpful feedback and sharing of information, particularly as some instances involved very personal situations. I am still reviewing the posts but now recognize that getting my parents to use the button may be even more challenging than I thought. Also, even if they use one it's...
by rjbraun
Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Medical alert "button"
Replies: 34
Views: 2041

Re: Medical alert "button"

My mother was given one to wear in her retirement community apartment. It was the necklace type. Between general dislike of having it on and forgetfulness (due to the onset of dementia),she rarely wore it. One time that she did fall, it was nowhere to be found. From what I gather, the failure/refus...
by rjbraun
Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Medical alert "button"
Replies: 34
Views: 2041

Re: Medical alert "button"

Think very seriously about getting a device that has "fall detection", so IF someone falls and can't move/etc., help is started (e.g., phone call sequence, then 911... whatever is set up). RM Thanks, RM. Will certainly add the "fall detection" feature to whatever "buttons" get short-listed! Edit: G...
by rjbraun
Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Medical alert "button"
Replies: 34
Views: 2041

Re: Medical alert "button"

If your parents have a landline, I wear, and recommend, a Logic Mark alert purchased from the company directly and not through an Amazon vendor. They are a small extension phone and have no monthly fee, but are not unobtrusive. Another possibility now available is the Amazon Echo or Dot, possibly s...
by rjbraun
Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Medical alert "button"
Replies: 34
Views: 2041

Medical alert "button"

Just starting to research options for getting a medical alert "button" for my elderly parents (well, two buttons - one for each of them). I know of at least one person whose parent has one, and from what I can tell they seem satisfied enough. My parents live independently, together, but are increasi...
by rjbraun
Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: care.com -- any reviews / experience?
Replies: 14
Views: 1204

Re: care.com -- any reviews / experience?

Thank you all for taking the time to provide helpful feedback. My sister and I decided to proceed with a subscription. She did the actual registration, but my understanding is that one can opt for unlimited background checks for $19.99 per month. Seemed totally worth it, so that's what we did. That ...
by rjbraun
Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Factor in evaluating Physicians
Replies: 86
Views: 5098

Re: Factor in evaluating Physicians

Are any of your current or prospective Physicians receiving significant money from drug companies? A neurologist I saw a couple of times shows $125K. That's even more than I think was listed the last time I checked the list! Not just food, obviously, but speaking fees, consulting fees, travel, lodg...
by rjbraun
Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: care.com -- any reviews / experience?
Replies: 14
Views: 1204

Re: care.com -- any reviews / experience?

We hired three nannies through Care.come. I can't answer your question about auto-renewal because the company I work for pays for access to Care.com as a perk. I have mixed feelings on the overall experience. - 2 of the 3 nannies were excellent. 1 was terrible and we had to let her go. - Many peopl...
by rjbraun
Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: care.com -- any reviews / experience?
Replies: 14
Views: 1204

Re: care.com -- any reviews / experience?

We used it for hiring a cleaning lady. We actually like her a lot. We used their service to do the background check as well. It was easy to cancel once we had hired. Keep in mind, you have to interview and screen the candidates yourself. But the review and rating system can be a good indicator. Tha...
by rjbraun
Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: care.com -- any reviews / experience?
Replies: 14
Views: 1204

Re: care.com -- any reviews / experience?

I have been able to cancel quite easily after joining. I did it online, no phone call or hard sell required. I have hired a caregiver for my father (eldercare) and house cleaning personnel. All were excellent. I highly recommend Care.com. However, understand you get out of it what you put into it. ...
by rjbraun
Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: care.com -- any reviews / experience?
Replies: 14
Views: 1204

Re: care.com -- any reviews / experience?

What type of care are you looking for? We needed to get assistance for very elderly MIL to help with transition from inpatient after a fall, to rehab and then back to assisted living. We got initial help from the hospital social worker/etc., staff, and then also from the rehab facility. They all us...
by rjbraun
Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: care.com -- any reviews / experience?
Replies: 14
Views: 1204

care.com -- any reviews / experience?

Wondering if anyone has experience using care.com to find a caregiver. Based on a fairly quick internet search, many of the negative reviews seem to stem from complaints about the company's auto-renewal policy. I could see how this is a nuisance, though the company's justification is that it avoids ...
by rjbraun
Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: BH travel tips?
Replies: 193
Views: 14419

Re: BH travel tips?

For those of you who hand wash your own clothes, a Flexo-line is a useful tool that doesn't take up much space and weighs close to nothing. Unless you wring your clothes out really well, I would think you could end up with water dripping onto the floor as the clothes dry. I know people also like to...
by rjbraun
Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping for restaurants where you order at the counter
Replies: 126
Views: 18358

Re: Tipping for restaurants where you order at the counter

Thank you. Seems as if it would be tough for the employer to accurately track tips, especially those paid in cash. At the cafe I wrote about, I guess a record or log could be maintained on the (electronic) tablet, but I wonder how a place with a different setup could accurately monitor tips. Still,...
by rjbraun
Sat Apr 14, 2018 8:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping for restaurants where you order at the counter
Replies: 126
Views: 18358

Re: Tipping for restaurants where you order at the counter

The current minimum wage for tipped employees: through 12/31/2018 for employers with over 10 employees Service employees $10.85 cash wage plus they MUST average $2.15 in tips (or receive money from the employer) for a total of $13 per hour. Food Service is $8.65 + $4.35 again $13 per hour. If there...
by rjbraun
Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping for restaurants where you order at the counter
Replies: 126
Views: 18358

Re: Tipping for restaurants where you order at the counter

Since I started working with PR software and learned what waiters / waitresses actually make, I always tip. For inexpensive breakfasts ($3-$4 at the local bagel place) I tip $1 (which is 25%-33%). At high end restaurants I reluctantly tip 18% and resent that. I do not order wine, because of the mar...
by rjbraun
Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Monetary gift in memory of deceased
Replies: 8
Views: 918

Re: Monetary gift in memory of deceased

Many thanks for the helpful feedback. I gave my work friend a sympathy card today (with no check or reference to a donation). The hospital has an online form to complete for donations with an "in memory (or honor) of" section where one can enter a name. I also like the idea of indicating that this w...