Search found 1179 matches

by centrifuge41
Fri May 27, 2016 9:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do I want a house with a pool?
Replies: 96
Views: 9589

Re: Do I want a house with a pool?

Long time ago, we lived in a house with a pool. The pool was "free" when comparing the house to comparables. We hired a person to come and dump chemicals in the pool every ~2 weeks or so. It was about $70 a month. Not sure about liability/insurance impacts. With a young child, be aware that pools ar...
by centrifuge41
Thu May 12, 2016 8:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cell Plans
Replies: 22
Views: 2658

Re: Cell Plans

Do you have to be on the AT&T network? Is Sprint ok? Sprint plans are given away for free nowadays (e.g. Ringplus and Freedompop). There's currently a Ringplus plan that's 3750MB, 3750 text, 3750 minutes, and you only have to pay a first time fee.
by centrifuge41
Thu May 12, 2016 8:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need barest, skeleton, almost non-existent cell plan.
Replies: 22
Views: 2264

Re: Need barest, skeleton, almost non-existent cell plan.

Ringplus Truly Free maybe? https://ringplus.net/ Anyway, Ringplus gives away free plans as large as 3750MB data, 3750 minutes, 3750 text. You just have to pay an initial load fee, and let them top you up if you hit 0 again. The difference with Truly Free is that you don't have to give them a credit ...
by centrifuge41
Tue May 10, 2016 3:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Anxious About First Home Purchase
Replies: 12
Views: 1925

Re: Anxious About First Home Purchase

Ah, from seeing that both of you are federal gov't employees, I had assumed you were in NoVA or MD. But seeing the tax parity 529 state part rules that out! I'm not a personal fan of home ownership. Renting an apt has been super easy. If there's an issue, I go online and file a ticket. The next day,...
by centrifuge41
Mon May 09, 2016 1:14 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Stable Value Fund vs. Total Bond
Replies: 14
Views: 2017

Re: Stable Value Fund vs. Total Bond

1.23% is far too low. SEC yield on Vanguard's total bond market index (investor shares) is 1.96%. Go with the total bond fund.
by centrifuge41
Thu May 05, 2016 8:36 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is participation in this ESPP worth it? [Employee Stock Purchase Plan]
Replies: 13
Views: 1661

Re: Is participation in this ESPP worth it? [Employee Stock Purchase Plan]

It's definitely worth it. Once you establish a pipeline, it's not nearly as risky as you think. E.g. if you're there for 5 years: month 1 through 12: contribute, but not sell Month 13: you're buying at 15% discount off market price, while selling month 1's allocation at the market price. Month 14: y...
by centrifuge41
Wed May 04, 2016 10:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Things to do in Cincinnati
Replies: 13
Views: 1552

Re: Things to do in Cincinnati

Eat Skyline Chili, Graeter's ice cream, and Dewey's pizza. Go scope out the Mt. Adams neighborhood, and see the art museum!
by centrifuge41
Wed May 04, 2016 10:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Short visit to Toronto
Replies: 33
Views: 2639

Re: Short visit to Toronto

Casa Loma, Ontario Place, Hockey hall of fame, Chinatown. Just some ideas. Not saying these are must-do's, and are more worth your attention than CN Tower, Royal Ontario Museum, etc.
by centrifuge41
Tue May 03, 2016 10:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 4 Days in Iceland - May 2016
Replies: 44
Views: 5514

Re: 4 Days in Iceland - May 2016

No and no. During the course of a week, there was only a single occasion that we needed cash, for a small donation at a church. The only other time that we potentially would have needed cash is if we had decided to take a local city bus without buying a fare card in advance. If you pull too many Kr...
by centrifuge41
Mon May 02, 2016 12:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do Bogleheads TRAVEL?
Replies: 81
Views: 10982

Re: How to Bogleheads TRAVEL?

This is coming from a travel hacker, so take everything with a grain of salt :D > How do you book travel: all-inclusive packages or piecemeal? Almost always piecemeal > How do you book flights: cheapest available on kayak or with specific airlines based on loyalty/credit card programs? I have a valu...
by centrifuge41
Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Comparing MVNOs [Mobile Virtual Network Operator]
Replies: 2
Views: 448

Re: Comparing MVNOs

https://bestmvno.com/. Pretty good site that lists out various providers/plans, and lets you know which network each MVNO really rides on.
by centrifuge41
Wed Apr 27, 2016 1:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mosquito control for home
Replies: 29
Views: 3080

Re: Mosquito control for home

One of my friends looked into running one of these mosquito control operations (as a franchisee of the corporate). He stated that the company engineers the solution/spray, and that a similar spray isn't available from Lowe's/Home Depot.
by centrifuge41
Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Aldi now accepts credit cards!!!
Replies: 65
Views: 9268

Re: Aldi now accepts credit cards!!!

Milk is about $1 cheaper per gallon than most places, but doesn't last as long. Even thoug I hate Walmart, sams club offers it for the same price and it usually lasts longer. I love Aldi, but I hand my milk purchases to Kroger, where I can get 1/2 gallon skim for 1.05. Aldi is a bit more, as is Wal...
by centrifuge41
Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Law School Advice
Replies: 89
Views: 10712

Re: Law School Advice

Ellie wrote:
pgi wrote:She likes contracts and sports law.
I went to a top 15 school
UT law? :D

Anyway, the posters here are giving great advice. It's a good idea to be cognizant/aware of what opportunities are out there, and who funnel into those opportunities.
by centrifuge41
Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:57 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What are your thoughts on the "Golden Butterfly" portfolio?
Replies: 115
Views: 22517

Re: What are your thoughts on the "Golden Butterfly" portfolio?

No Swiss Francs? What kind of well-diversified portfolio is this! :D
by centrifuge41
Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?
Replies: 92
Views: 8022

Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

The CVS/Walgreens etc white screen photos are quite amateur. Whichever customer service agent on hand takes your picture for you using the screen, and the camera, which has a box to meet proportions. Actually, I took one of those once for a visa for another country, and it was rejected due to too mu...
by centrifuge41
Mon Apr 18, 2016 1:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: University of Virginia vs University of Miami
Replies: 148
Views: 14573

Re: University of Virginia vs University of Miami

OK view from a non American (UK) who spent a week on a course once at UVA. This is a *fantastic* public university. The sense of history. The school spirit (especially around basketball I think). The alumni network in the mid Atlantic (that was all my course classmates). The undergrad business scho...
by centrifuge41
Mon Apr 18, 2016 1:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fund a 529 education account with pre-tax dollars?
Replies: 1
Views: 463

Re: Fund a 529 education account with pre-tax dollars?

Always post-tax for federal. Some states give state income tax deductions if you use their plan. Others give state income tax deductions if you use any plan.

WA has no state income tax. There would be no deduction for you for using any 529 plan.
by centrifuge41
Mon Apr 18, 2016 1:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?
Replies: 92
Views: 8022

Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Agree, lighting is the hard part. If you have the right lighting/background, using epassportphoto is easy and free to create a jpg 4"x6". You can even manipulate that file to get 6 2x2 photos, if you prefer, before printing it at your favorite drugstore/club for dimes.
by centrifuge41
Tue Apr 12, 2016 10:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dallas suburbs or Northern Virginia for me?
Replies: 87
Views: 9827

Re: Dallas suburbs or Northern Virginia for me?

If OP is looking to live near Loudoun to be close to Dulles, bear in mind that Dulles is having difficulty and is shrinking. You can google it but here is one piece . IAD is by far best for long-haul international operations, of course. It's a UA hub, but sometimes, UA struggles with how much intern...
by centrifuge41
Sun Apr 10, 2016 4:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dallas suburbs or Northern Virginia for me?
Replies: 87
Views: 9827

Re: Dallas suburbs or Northern Virginia for me?

This will turn into a holy war between VA and MD residents. :D MD - more socialist government, no second amendment rights, higher crime, higher taxes. VA - personal property tax which can hurt if you own expensive vehicles, boats, motorcycles, RVs, etc. More comparable legally to TX than MD. 7 VA s...
by centrifuge41
Sat Apr 09, 2016 10:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dallas suburbs or Northern Virginia for me?
Replies: 87
Views: 9827

Re: Dallas suburbs or Northern Virginia for me?

Annandale has some less dense parts that aren't on traffic corridors. Maybe that's why prices are more modest. Rockville is definitely outside the beltway :) But there are a couple of metro stations. Annandale is where you find the best (or at least, most abundant selection of) Korean restaurants in...
by centrifuge41
Fri Apr 08, 2016 8:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dallas suburbs or Northern Virginia for me?
Replies: 87
Views: 9827

Re: Dallas suburbs or Northern Virginia for me?

Mosaic district (Gallows and Lee Hwy) is really expensive. So are the condos/apt's that are just SW of Dunn Loring/Merrifield by the soon-to-be Harris Teeter. One of the buildings is called The Lanes, and it even has a bowling alley inside. Rents are 2400+ even for small ~850 sqft 2br apartments. Th...
by centrifuge41
Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dallas suburbs or Northern Virginia for me?
Replies: 87
Views: 9827

Re: Dallas suburbs or Northern Virginia for me?

You're single but considering the suburbs? Why not consider uptown if choosing the metroplex, and Arlington (maybe somewhere between Ballston and Rosslyn) if considering NOVA? Arlington is nice, but probably too expensive for you. Dunn Loring is starting to get built up, and housing is much cheaper....
by centrifuge41
Wed Apr 06, 2016 12:18 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are personal mortgages inherently risky (rent vs own)
Replies: 16
Views: 1921

Re: Are personal mortgages inherently risky (rent vs own)

jjface, yes you are right. Of course, there's many layers of cost of home ownership. E.g. maintenance, HOA/condo fees, property tax, property insurance, etc. And a detailed analysis requires factoring these in alongside with just the mortgage (and what part is interest, deductible/not, vs. principal...
by centrifuge41
Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:22 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are personal mortgages inherently risky (rent vs own)
Replies: 16
Views: 1921

Are personal mortgages inherently risky (rent vs own)

Let's say that you are looking for a place to live. You can choose from a $400,000 unit, or you can rent the equivalent unit for $2500. If you purchase the $400k unit with 80k down, you need a 320k mortgage. By having the mortgage, you are taking on leverage. Leverage means inherent risk. Say, in 3 ...
by centrifuge41
Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Maximizing Credit Card Rewards
Replies: 39
Views: 4341

Re: Maximizing Credit Card Rewards

I've read it's better to transfer these points to Singapore Airlines or Korean Airlines because you can book rewards flights for ~10k less miles than transferring them to United. So how does that work? Do I just call Singapore or Korean Air and tell a booking agent that I want to use Krisflyer or S...
by centrifuge41
Sun Mar 20, 2016 2:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trip to Yellowstone / Grand Teton area.
Replies: 27
Views: 3045

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: 1188

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: 3341

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: 1095

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: 1095

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: 1121

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 certain ...
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: 31519

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: 2145

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: 4730

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: 9268

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: 6122

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: 3342

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: 2411

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: 1241

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: 15465

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: 3543

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 Museum, s...
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: 3341

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: 3642

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: 3416

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: 1291

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: 1678

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: 6802

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: 2397

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...