Search found 1152 matches

by centrifuge41
Sun Mar 20, 2016 2:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trip to Yellowstone / Grand Teton area.
Replies: 27
Views: 2828

Re: Trip to Yellowstone / Grand Teton area.

1) We camped at Madison. We bought groceries from West Yellowstone, MT. Maybe Madison is better if you want to be closer to Grand Teton too. You won't be far from some of the nice basins either, e.g. Upper Geyser Basin. 2) Don't miss the main basins and the grand canyon of the Yellowstone. If you ha...
by centrifuge41
Sat Mar 19, 2016 7:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: must do/sees in Beijing and HangZhou
Replies: 13
Views: 1072

Re: must do/sees in Beijing and HangZhou

If you only have one day free in Bejing, and you won't be going again anytime soon, then go to the Great Wall! It is really something to see it, even if it's kind of crowded at Badaling. If you're afraid of the crowd, feel free to go to Juyongguan (Juyong Pass). It's actually (barely) closer to Beij...
by centrifuge41
Fri Mar 18, 2016 4:48 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Virginia 529 Plan - College America vs. InVest
Replies: 14
Views: 2585

Re: Virginia 529 Plan - College America vs. InVest

Nobody's said this yet, but don't even bother with a 529 unless you/wife max out 401k and Roth/IRA already. The 529 is good for the 23,501st dollar of savings (or, 47,001st dollar of savings for a couple), but the 529 is generally inferior to more 401k and IRA savings, especially if you will probabl...
by centrifuge41
Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Musings over a 529 plan
Replies: 5
Views: 1027

Re: Musings over a 529 plan

I think if you are from AZ, you can deduct state income tax regardless of which state's plan you use. So, you may just want to go for the cheapest one (SC and NY are very cheap. NY is more customizable). I think you can deduct 4k per couple, or 2k if filing alone. Probably same goes if in-laws want ...
by centrifuge41
Wed Mar 16, 2016 1:28 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Musings over a 529 plan
Replies: 5
Views: 1027

Re: Musings over a 529 plan

What state are you in? In general, if your state offers a state income deduction but only if you use that state's plan, you would do that. If your state offers a deduction no matter what state you are in, or if your state has no state income tax, you choose the plan that's most favorable to you (e.g...
by centrifuge41
Wed Mar 16, 2016 1:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which Samsung phone/ Straight Talk should I buy?
Replies: 9
Views: 1056

Re: Which Samsung phone/ Straight Talk should I buy?

I'd shop on plan/coverage first. The phone is (somewhat) of an afterthought. Last I checked (years ago), if you use Straight Talk, you could be on the AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint networks. There were specific ways to get on each network. Are all carriers' coverages to your satisfaction? Or are cert...
by centrifuge41
Wed Mar 09, 2016 11:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to get a real Chip and Pin card?
Replies: 108
Views: 26557

Re: How to get a real Chip and Pin card?

inspector00 wrote:It has an annual fee but Barclay's arrival plus should give you a real chip and pin.

Arrival non-plus is chip and pin, and has no AMF.
by centrifuge41
Wed Mar 09, 2016 7:42 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Transferring out of company stock
Replies: 25
Views: 2040

Re: Transferring out of company stock

A lot of people have a psychological need to sell a stock at the same price, or higher, than acquisition price. They don't want to take a loss. But instead, think of it like this. Your stock is down. It's likely that the market is down (at least, the market is lower than in the fall). A given stock'...
by centrifuge41
Fri Mar 04, 2016 12:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Why IBM Moved to Indexing"
Replies: 22
Views: 4547

Re: "Why IBM Moved to Indexing"

A few years ago, I had a friend who worked at IBM. He wanted me to help him look through his 401k. Back then, there were dozens (hundreds?) of fund options. There was a great lineup of Vanguard, and a great lineup of DFA funds, among other things. It was really impressive. Not sure if things have ch...
by centrifuge41
Tue Mar 01, 2016 9:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Aldi now accepts credit cards!!!
Replies: 65
Views: 8695

Re: Aldi now accepts credit cards!!!

I'm in central VA. They've accepted credit cards without surcharge for a few months. There must have been various geographical pilots (surcharge, no surcharge, etc). I think the cashier suggested that accepting credit cards speeds things up. Confused consumers forgetting their pin could slow the lin...
by centrifuge41
Fri Feb 26, 2016 1:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are food prices falling?
Replies: 54
Views: 5906

Re: Are food prices falling?

Yeah, for some of you on this thread who are surprised about some of the quoted prices, see if you have an Aldi nearby. More and more are popping up here in VA. I've long known that if you must buy all items at a single store, Aldi is cheapest. Cheaper than Walmart, Food Lion, Costco, etc. I'm backi...
by centrifuge41
Fri Feb 12, 2016 3:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: First time to Japan Travel. Advice?
Replies: 24
Views: 3148

Re: First time to Japan Travel. Advice?

Agree, Tokyo Skytree and Tokyo Tower are money grabs. Just go up the Tokyo Metropolitan government building in Shinjuku's high-rise business district. It's free. Tokyo's neighborhoods are super varied. You'll find out what you like and what you don't like. I enjoyed Akhiabara and Ueno Park, Shinjuku...
by centrifuge41
Fri Jan 22, 2016 3:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Booking airfare via Citi and Chase rewards
Replies: 16
Views: 1265

Re: Booking airfare via Citi and Chase rewards

If there's a low level Delta award available, you can send your TY Points to AirFrance Flying Blue to book 12.5k domestic one ways. If you're going to take a United award flight, and there's Saver capacity, you can send your points to Singapore and book that for cheap. If not, well, then use them at...
by centrifuge41
Thu Jan 07, 2016 10:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vacation Deal
Replies: 9
Views: 1191

Re: Vacation Deal

Apple Vacations (and the sites mentioned above). Mexico's Yucatan peninsula is a hotbed for all-inclusives. There's some in Jamaica too. In other areas, like Hawaii, all inclusives don't really seem to be the "in" thing.
by centrifuge41
Wed Jan 06, 2016 5:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: profitable hobby?
Replies: 119
Views: 14717

Re: profitable hobby?

Earning and redeeming airline miles and hotel points. It has been my hobby for almost 12 years now. I am more the aspirational type so I primarily utilize it as leverage to increase the return of my travel budget. (First class tickets that I would never pay cash for, fancy hotel suites, that sort o...
by centrifuge41
Tue Dec 29, 2015 2:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Road trip from Florida to Chicago with 7-year-old, what should we see?
Replies: 27
Views: 3304

Re: Road trip from Florida to Chicago with 7-year-old, what should we see?

Agree with many others. Looks like the main draws you are hitting on the route are Orlando, Atlanta, and Nashville. Orlando: theme parks, of course. Atlanta: Georgia Aquarium (I actually prefer Shedd, but the "big tank" here is one of a kind). Fernbank probably has less to offer than Field...
by centrifuge41
Sat Dec 26, 2015 9:44 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Virginia 529 Plan - College America vs. InVest
Replies: 14
Views: 2585

Re: Virginia 529 Plan - College America vs. InVest

Yeah, for VA residents doing a VA 529 plan, you can deduct 4k off state tax (usually, that's $230 back in your pocket... most people are probably in 5.75% marginal state income tax bracket). I used to do CollegeWealth when it was paying 2.3% and 2%. Then, when it dropped to 1.5%, I rolled everything...
by centrifuge41
Thu Dec 10, 2015 10:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any Real Love Lost If.....
Replies: 19
Views: 3498

Re: Any Real Love Lost If.....

Are you closing a BofA checking account? Savings account? Credit card? Other?

I don't think closing a bank account (checking/savings etc) would make any changes to your credit...
by centrifuge41
Mon Dec 07, 2015 1:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Verizon Cell Phone Plans
Replies: 23
Views: 3224

Re: Verizon Cell Phone Plans

Ever considered taking your phones and moving them to Puppy Wireless or Pageplus? Both are on the Verizon network. Great way to potentially save some $ (depending on how much talk/text/data you need) and to keep your Verizon phone working for you.
by centrifuge41
Fri Nov 06, 2015 11:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Citi Thank You Points Redemption
Replies: 8
Views: 1173

Re: Citi Thank You Points Redemption

Sometimes, it's only ~3% more, sometimes it's way off.

In addition to using TYP as travel credit, also consider sending the points to Singapore for buying United saver award airfares, and to Airfrance, for buying Delta/Alaska saver award airfares.
by centrifuge41
Fri Oct 30, 2015 3:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any hotel-oriented rewards credit cards?
Replies: 12
Views: 1622

Re: Any hotel-oriented rewards credit cards?

Do you want to earn a lot via spend on it, or do you want to have a card to hold, whose benefits exceed that of the annual fee? I'd argue that the Club Carlson card's 40k points are worth more than the $75 fee. Likewise, Hyatt card gives you a free cat 1-4 night for a $75 fee. And the IHG card's $49...
by centrifuge41
Fri Oct 23, 2015 11:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Managing retirement date and income for college financial aid
Replies: 68
Views: 6458

Re: Managing retirement date and income for college financial aid

For FAFSA schools, you should definitely pay down your (first/primary) house, and max out IRA/401k!

It's the income reduction that's the main driver for getting more aid. Retiring just before the reportable-income period sounds good to me!
by centrifuge41
Tue Oct 20, 2015 5:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Hotel Loyalty clubs
Replies: 16
Views: 2128

Re: Hotel Loyalty clubs

The majors are: Hilton, Hyatt, Starwood, Marriott, IHG, and maybe Club Carlson. Best Western, Choice, and Wyndham represent lower tier properties. Are you looking for the most rebate/reward for revenue stays, or are you looking to get VIP treatment? Or both? Hilton accrues quickly (15 points/$), but...
by centrifuge41
Sat Oct 17, 2015 7:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2 days in Shanghai - what's worth seeing?
Replies: 11
Views: 1671

Re: 2 days in Shanghai - what's worth seeing?

With 2 days, you could spend one day in Shanghai, and one day visiting a classic water town. Zhu Jia Jiao and Zhou Zhuang are famous. Or you could go to Suzhou, as mentioned below, but it'd be a busy day! If you're too pressed for time, you can just take the metro to Qi Bao (the smallest water town,...
by centrifuge41
Wed Oct 07, 2015 3:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New Wawa gas credit card (5 cent per gallon discount.) Any good?
Replies: 6
Views: 2728

Re: New Wawa gas credit card (5 cent per gallon discount.) Any good?

Doesn't look good. That's 2.5% assuming gas is $2/gallon (roughly what it is here, today). That's not much over what a Citi Double cash provides, and the Citi card can be used for 2% anywhere.
by centrifuge41
Tue Oct 06, 2015 8:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mattress Run: Was it stupid?
Replies: 63
Views: 9212

Re: Mattress Run: Was it stupid?

The Delta Gold would be superior to the SPG Amex for free checked bag. Moot if you already have a high enough status with Delta for free checked bag. For non-Delta category spend, the SPG card would actually earn you more Skymiles than would the Delta Gold card. Earn 20k Starpoints, and you can conv...
by centrifuge41
Tue Oct 06, 2015 3:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mattress Run: Was it stupid?
Replies: 63
Views: 9212

Re: Mattress Run: Was it stupid?

Converting Marriott points to UA? Probably generally suboptimal. There are good uses to Marriott points. Examples include 7500 point Category 1 hotels in Gaithersburg MD (DC suburb) and Tewksbury, MA (Boston suburb). What other programs have Category 1 hotels in the suburbs of such important cities?...
by centrifuge41
Wed Sep 23, 2015 2:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Relocating from Washington DC to Palm Beach County, Florida - any guidance/general thoughts?
Replies: 11
Views: 1655

Re: Relocating from Washington DC to Palm Beach County, Florida - any guidance/general thoughts?

There may be no income tax, but look out for other things. Auto and homeowners insurance are both very expensive, and it can be hard to get quotes in advance. You may need to live in a gated community, depending on where you are, in order to find a good neighborhood. The HOA fee could be hundreds pe...
by centrifuge41
Fri Sep 18, 2015 10:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: If You Have Savings In Your 20s, You’re Doing Something Wrong [article]
Replies: 148
Views: 16083

Re: If You Have Savings In Your 20s, You’re Doing Something Wrong [article]

Since when did saving money, having a good time, and focusing on growing your career become mutually exclusive? I got a good job out of college and had a great time in my 20's. I also saved some money. I didn't live like a hermit but also didn't spend like a drunken sailor on leave either. You nail...
by centrifuge41
Wed Sep 02, 2015 3:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: is it worth buying ESPP?
Replies: 30
Views: 2976

Re: is it worth buying ESPP?

Don't worry about the holding period that much. Say you work at the company for 3 years: Month 1: buy Month 2: buy ... Month 12: buy Month 13: buy, and sell month 1's at same price Month 14: buy, and sell month 2's at same price ... Month 36: buy, and sell month 24's at same price Month 37: sell mon...
by centrifuge41
Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bahamas Cruise - Shore Excursion in Nassau (Atlantis)
Replies: 11
Views: 1803

Re: Bahamas Cruise - Shore Excursion in Nassau (Atlantis)

If your son just wants to check Atlantis out, rather than do anything per se, you can even walk there. The bridge to Paradise Island is less than a mile from the dock. They do sell transfers from the dock right to Paradise island. Once at Atlantis, you can buy the water pass separately (almost alway...
by centrifuge41
Wed Aug 05, 2015 8:19 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Comcast wants me to buy a new modem (I think)
Replies: 53
Views: 5336

Re: Comcast wants me to buy a new modem (I think)

What model is your modem? I have a SB6120. One time I came home, and any page I tried to access redirected to Comcast's modem verification site. I had to call in or chat with them to verify my device (provide the MAC ID?) The call center wait time was 1 hour. I used the online chat. The rep insisted...
by centrifuge41
Tue Jun 30, 2015 12:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you buy used cars like a Boglehead actually should?
Replies: 168
Views: 25285

Re: Do you buy used cars like a Boglehead actually should?

Current 3 year old Prii (2012s) with 30,000 miles are about $19,000. Current 6 year old Prii (2009s) with 100,000 miles are about $12,000. That's a $7000 cost to drive the vehicle 70,000 miles over 3 years (not a direct comparison, different model years, etc). Owning the car from 70,000 to 100,000 ...
by centrifuge41
Sun Jun 28, 2015 8:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: New Job, New Funds. Yay!!!
Replies: 12
Views: 3318

Re: New Job, New Funds. Yay!!!

Once you've exceeded your 401k and IRA, and started doing taxable investments, I definitely recommend separating out all the sub-parts of your investments to optimize for tax efficiency . IE instead of using a Target Retirement, which holds Total stock, Total Intl Stock, and Total Bond in one fund, ...
by centrifuge41
Mon Jun 22, 2015 12:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: When saving money becomes an irrational obsession
Replies: 157
Views: 32512

Re: When saving money becomes an irrational obsession

I have a DOCSIS 2.0 cable modem which limits my download speed to 20 MBPS because I refuse to rent a DOCSIS 3.0 from Time Warner for $7/month. If you're happy with your internet performance for now, good! Just note that the modem may go out of support one day, and your ISP might pull the plug. Comc...
by centrifuge41
Fri Jun 19, 2015 7:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it worth aspiring to get more?
Replies: 131
Views: 22694

Re: Is it worth aspiring to get more?

TheTimeLord wrote:
EnjoyIt wrote:I guess my thought is once I retire and have more time to sit over my morning coffee I would definitely enjoy a mountain view.

I heard there's one in California. Google's favorite 8-)
by centrifuge41
Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Your Top 10 Worst Bands/ Musicians and Movies
Replies: 48
Views: 8466

Re: Your Top 10 Worst Bands/ Musicians and Movies

Worst band/song? That's easy. See this youtube!
by centrifuge41
Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:45 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: New Job, New Funds. Yay!!!
Replies: 12
Views: 3318

Re: New Job, New Funds. Yay!!!

Hi Juicy88, That's amusing One of the most fun things about switching jobs is the new line-up of funds! Is your previous employer's company stock saleable, or does it have to remain that way for however long? For your fixed income, I suggest checking out the stable income fund's rate and comparing w...
by centrifuge41
Sat May 30, 2015 8:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: suggestions for sydney, cairns, and auckland
Replies: 21
Views: 2379

Re: suggestions for sydney, cairns, and aukland

Sydney: Just go around and see the various surrounding neighborhoods. City Center, Rocks, Darling Harbor. Then venture out some more and go to Bondi Beach or Manly to see the beach/coast. Auckland: as everyone says, the city is just normal. To see the real NZ, I strongly recommend you head out of Au...
by centrifuge41
Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Southwest Credit Card Companion Pass
Replies: 14
Views: 3018

Re: Southwest Credit Card Companion Pass

Plus card 50k bonus comes around frequently. Seems like a few months on, a few months off. If that doesn't work, you can get the Rapid Rewards Business Plus or Premier card.
by centrifuge41
Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cruises
Replies: 35
Views: 7652

Re: Cruises

Correct, credit card rewards are heavily tilted in favor of air and hotel. Not even rental car! Since the advertised price of a cruise, and the out-the-door price can differ markedly, you will want to be vigilant when browsing for cruises. The final price is often higher than the advertised price, b...
by centrifuge41
Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Costco and AMEX
Replies: 69
Views: 21549

Re: Costco and AMEX

I don't care for the Costco Amex. Shopping done at Costco and Costco.com isn't even a bonus rewards category on the Costco Amex! If you want an Amex, you might as well as get one with a signing bonus (such as a Hilton 60k point card, Starwood Amex, Delta Amex, Amex Everyday/Preferred etc). Or get on...
by centrifuge41
Fri Apr 17, 2015 12:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Financial] Tips for Post-College Lifestyle
Replies: 53
Views: 4869

Re: Tips for Post-College Lifestyle

preciseman wrote:Hoping to retire here at 30, going to try my hardest to make that happen!


Go visit earlyretirementextreme!
by centrifuge41
Mon Apr 06, 2015 12:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: smartphones
Replies: 24
Views: 3217

Re: smartphones

GIven that there are free data plans (e.g. Freedompop), and given that there are mobile-only discounts and offers (such as today's Target free Coke 0, Target Cartwheel, etc), then yes, having a smartphone is a Boglehead-ish thing to do. That's not to mention the time/effort savings when you need to ...
by centrifuge41
Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: want to leave verizon wireless need advice
Replies: 10
Views: 2036

Re: want to leave verizon wireless need advice

Do you use 15GB of data? Pageplus is a good solution if your data use is under 500MB or 1GB depending on plan. Puppy Wireless has more data for the dollar, but I think they are on Verizon's 3g network. Is AT&T good around you? 5 lines on Cricket (AT&T subsidiary) with unlimited talk and text...
by centrifuge41
Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Worth buying a smart phone if you already have one for work?
Replies: 25
Views: 3735

Re: Worth buying a smart phone if you already have one for w

Try Freedompop's free plan. Just pretend they don't offer talk/text, since those are via their VoIP program anyway. It's as if you're taking on a free Sprint data plan that doesn't have native talk/text. 500MB/month free but you can increase it to 1gb by doing Freedompop Friends. I think the best ph...
by centrifuge41
Thu Mar 26, 2015 3:44 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: My evil plan backfired
Replies: 53
Views: 8739

Re: My evil plan backfired

Let him diversify and buy more stocks (provided that this is funded with the sale of some Kraft stock). I think that it's good for people to have experience with individual stocks. Let him observe the portfolio, and see what ends up happening. I've spoken with some friends. My sample size is small. ...
by centrifuge41
Wed Mar 25, 2015 12:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Booking a cruise online
Replies: 8
Views: 2007

Re: Booking a cruise online

Any site that you use, check out halfway. Far enough to have picked a room and seen the cruise base fare + tax + port fee. The (from $399. Taxes & Port Fees extra) language is misleading, which is why you need to click more to see what the true price is. Port fees + taxes increase the price of t...
by centrifuge41
Fri Mar 06, 2015 4:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ~30,000 Starpoints to redeem before cancelling AMEX SPG card
Replies: 14
Views: 2369

Re: ~30,000 Starpoints to redeem before cancelling AMEX SPG

The Starpoints that are in your SPG account stay put. This is similar to with other hotel/air programs. Once the activity posts, you keep the points (or certificates etc). It is the native bank points (ThankYou, Flexperks, Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, Worldpoints, Arrival miles, etc) that c...
by centrifuge41
Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wife tired of saving...
Replies: 203
Views: 29011

Re: Wife tired of saving...

Is your wife even a car person? One that enjoys the mechanics/features/specs/road-feel of a "nicer" car? I pose to my friends a thought experiment. Say you are thinking about buying a BMW. Would you derive that much more enjoyment from it? What about 6 months later? Would it then become &q...