Search found 126 matches

by MattE
Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?
Replies: 66
Views: 6527

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

I'll also vouch for PagePlus - we swapped my wife's Droid 3 over to their $55 plan (unlimited talk\text + 2 GB data) and my old Motorola Q9 to their $12 plan (250 minutes\250 texts) last year and have had no problems at all with it.
by MattE
Sun Nov 24, 2013 1:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Casio G-Shock
Replies: 22
Views: 2581

Re: Casio G-Shock

I've been wearing G-Shocks for 20 years and have nothing but good things to say about them. The only reason I don't have the same one from childhood is because it was stolen in college, and the one I bought to replace it has been trucking 7 years since. Get one of the Tough Solars and you'll never n...
by MattE
Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How did you/your child pay for college?
Replies: 151
Views: 13131

Re: How did you/your child pay for college?

I'm probably close to the age of most everyone else in this topic's children (or younger, in some cases), so for what it's worth: I attended Penn State from '06 - '10, with my tuition + room & board varying from ~$20K my freshman year to ~$25K my senior year. My family provided nothing towards my ed...
by MattE
Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Considering a Bread Machine
Replies: 38
Views: 3456

Re: Considering a Bread Machine

My wife and I and I don't use ours that often (maybe a half dozen times per year), but every time we use it, we find ourselves going, "Why the hell don't we do this more often?" You really can't beat the simplicity of it - the process is literally dump in ingredients -> receive delicious bread. And ...
by MattE
Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any ideas for a good desktop PC under $600?
Replies: 18
Views: 3468

Re: Any ideas for a good desktop PC under $600?

Quick foot, where did you buy that custom optioned pc? What I see lately is most pc brands don't really offer options like they used to and SSD was really hard to find and couldn't just be added as an option to most setups. I've bought both a laptop and a desktop from http://www.ibuypower.com/home....
by MattE
Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Moving brother out of Mom's house
Replies: 26
Views: 5237

Re: Moving brother out of Mom's house

You do the best that you can and try to forget it's a problem when it's not immediately an issue, to be honest. My mother is 46, a paranoid schizophrenic, and even prior to mental illness setting in had been one of the least reliable people and worst decision makers I've ever met in my life. She's c...
by MattE
Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage Companies Recommendations
Replies: 9
Views: 1104

Re: Mortgage Companies Recommendations

My wife and I just closed on a new home in June with National Mortgage Alliance, and the process with them was fairly painless and straightforward. We were also able to put them in a bidding war against AimLoan, which ultimately led to thousands of dollars of origination fees being knocked off even ...
by MattE
Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage dilemma, please help
Replies: 26
Views: 5112

Re: Mortgage dilemma, please help

You're right, I misread what was originally posted while responding at way too late an hour on far too little sleep. The NMA estimate doesn't include your mandatory pre-paids, which explains the price gap. A breakout of everything included in the credit union's "summary of charges" would really be n...
by MattE
Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage dilemma, please help
Replies: 26
Views: 5112

Re: Mortgage dilemma, please help

Closing costs are closing costs; as listed, the loan from NMA appears to be several thousand dollars cheaper upfront in addition to having the lower rate. FWIW, I just closed on my first house last week with the mortgage through NMA and the process went extremely smoothly. It's also quite possible t...
by MattE
Sat May 11, 2013 12:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy
Replies: 88
Views: 7529

Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

I completely fail to understand what advantage you supposedly gain from waiting until the last few seconds. I just bid the amount I am willing to pay at the time when I see the item... and forget about it until the auction has finished. Ok, here's why. Say there is an item for which I am willing to...
by MattE
Fri May 10, 2013 4:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Experience with Entitle Direct? [Title insurance]
Replies: 4
Views: 1034

Re: Experience with Entitle Direct?

Follow up for the benefit of anyone else that comes looking in the future: EnTitle Direct undercut every other quote I got from local (B\W Corridor) title companies by at least $450 when including the insurance premiums and all settlement fees. In several cases they were more than $600 cheaper. Howe...
by MattE
Tue May 07, 2013 4:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How Much Did You Spend on Your Engagement Ring??
Replies: 289
Views: 33883

Re: How Much Did You Spend on Your Engagement Ring??

I spent $3800 on hers in 2010. At the time that was about 3 weeks' gross salary. The central stone isn't real (cubic zirconia), but it has a few dozen much smaller high-quality diamonds inlaid about the band and was part of a designed matching pair (engagement ring\wedding band) so we were able to q...
by MattE
Tue May 07, 2013 4:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Renting - The Boglehead Way
Replies: 65
Views: 9017

Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

I would make sure you have documented any damage prior to moving in-including countertops, floors walls, etc. Take dated pictures, put copies with your lease and notify your landlord. In college towns they pretty much keep the damage deposit as a matter of principal, it didn't matter if you left th...
by MattE
Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Experience with Entitle Direct? [Title insurance]
Replies: 4
Views: 1034

Experience with Entitle Direct? [Title insurance]

Anyone here have any past experiences they wish to share about Entitle Direct? I'm shopping for title insurance on our first home purchase right now, and they quoted my substantially under what the local companies have. In a very small sample size, I've seen\heard things on both ends of the spectrum...
by MattE
Sun Mar 31, 2013 10:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone have experience with 203k mortgages?
Replies: 4
Views: 1894

Re: Anyone have experience with 203k mortgages?

You may want to retitle this to be a "renovation loan" or something since I thought you were commenting on the size of the loan and had to google to figure out what you were talking about. Anyone that can't identify what a 203k loan is obviously isn't going to have much (or more likely, any) experi...
by MattE
Sat Mar 30, 2013 11:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone have experience with 203k mortgages?
Replies: 4
Views: 1894

Anyone have experience with 203k mortgages?

The wife and I are looking to buy a new home, and are currently looking at a property that has everything we want, except what it doesn't. The home was recently renovated and is being flipped by a local contracting company, and they did an incredibly good job with it - gorgeous new kitchen and bathr...
by MattE
Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Experiences with Zillow-listed mortgage lenders\brokers?
Replies: 9
Views: 1648

Re: Experiences with Zillow-listed mortgage lenders\brokers?

Thanks for all the replies. I live in literally the only state in the entire country where FIB won't do first-home purchase loans, and my initial communications with PenFed have been kind of off-putting, so I'm probably going to stick with PNC, NASA FCU, National Mortgage Alliance, and another Zillo...
by MattE
Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Experiences with Zillow-listed mortgage lenders\brokers?
Replies: 9
Views: 1648

Experiences with Zillow-listed mortgage lenders\brokers?

My wife and I are about to begin the process of finding and purchasing our first house, and as such are starting to schedule appointments with lenders to discuss rates, terms, and pre-approval on mortgages. Right now I'm planning on looking at PNC (our primary bank), NASA FCU, and possibly PenFed. I...
by MattE
Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turbo Tax Figuring State Tax Wrong
Replies: 12
Views: 2923

Re: Turbo Tax Figuring State Tax Wrong

I actually was just trying to delete this topic because I already found where *I* screwed up, and can't now that you replied haha. I copied something wrong from one of our W-2s into the iFile system and it threw all the math off, and then I used that same figure when doing the pen-and-paper work. A ...
by MattE
Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turbo Tax Figuring State Tax Wrong
Replies: 12
Views: 2923

Turbo Tax Figuring State Tax Wrong

So, in the process of doing my taxes using Turbo Tax, I double-checked its calculations for my state return against the official iFile system for Maryland, and TurboTax is overestimating my total state\local taxes owed for the year by like $2400. I triple-checked this by going and working through th...
by MattE
Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Getting Canadian $
Replies: 30
Views: 2073

Re: Getting Canadian $

If where you're going has one in the area, the best place to exchange money in Canada is a casino. They charge no fees, because they want you to gamble and spend money.
by MattE
Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Colleges Losing Pricing Power
Replies: 41
Views: 3046

Re: Colleges Losing Pricing Power

The college elitism backed by factual exaggerations and apples-to-oranges comparisons in this thread is literally nauseating. And as a graduate, I also take personal umbrage with the frequency that people try to use Penn State as the "rag-tag state school" comparison, when the numbers say it's the m...
by MattE
Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Good-to-Go on Roth IRA Withdrawal for Home Purchase?
Replies: 12
Views: 1891

Re: Good-to-Go on Roth IRA Withdrawal for Home Purchase?

Alan S. wrote:...
That was more along the lines of what I was asking for. Nothing we were planning on taking out would count as anything other than contributions, then, no earnings will be touched. Thanks!
by MattE
Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Good-to-Go on Roth IRA Withdrawal for Home Purchase?
Replies: 12
Views: 1891

Re: Good-to-Go on Roth IRA Withdrawal for Home Purchase?

The Roths were, in fact, opened with the intent that they would be used to fund a home purchase. We are funding retirement savings separately and primarily through our 401ks at work, as they are decidedly not awful. The money that was used to open my wife's Roth IRA was rolled over from her 401k at ...
by MattE
Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay raise for young engineer
Replies: 18
Views: 2341

Re: Pay raise for young engineer

He's slightly below average salary-wise for his experience and a PE is normally good for 5-10%. Targeting the low 70s wouldn't be patently offensive to a potential employer.
by MattE
Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay raise for young engineer
Replies: 18
Views: 2341

Re: Pay raise for young engineer

It would be easier to say if that's a reasonable salary target if you specified what he's making now. Where he lives makes a substantial difference as well, $80K in Nebraska is not the same as $80K on the California coast.
by MattE
Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Good-to-Go on Roth IRA Withdrawal for Home Purchase?
Replies: 12
Views: 1891

Good-to-Go on Roth IRA Withdrawal for Home Purchase?

So, my wife and I are looking at purchasing our first home this coming summer, and had been planning on each withdrawing $10K from our Roth IRAs to put towards the down payment. I think I've covered my bases as far as making sure everything should be kosher tax and penalty wise, but I figured I'd as...
by MattE
Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V
Replies: 3372
Views: 1497798

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

We Can Build You by Philip K. Dick.
by MattE
Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Increase assets or decrease liabilities?
Replies: 54
Views: 8732

Re: Increase assets or decrease liabilities?

I was pondering this very thing today. Should I stop funding my 401(k) and apply the funds to pay down the mortgage with an eye to paying it off when I retire in 2-3 years? My preliminary conclusion is to keep funding the tax deferred stuff since you only have a limited number of opportunities to d...
by MattE
Wed Aug 08, 2012 5:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What was Your Starting Salary Out of College?
Replies: 151
Views: 12093

Re: What was Your Starting Salary Out of College?

$58K in 2010 = $61K now in 2012.
by MattE
Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good fitness site in the spirit of Bogleheads?
Replies: 27
Views: 6849

Re: Good fitness site in the spirit of Bogleheads?

In my third week of doing Rippetoe's Starting Strength with my buddies. Getting my form ironed out and keep adding weight. Tried working out on and off for a long time. This has been the most progressive and enjoyable. I just started Rippetoe's Starting Strength program. I like how it focuses on th...
by MattE
Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is the worst job you have ever had?
Replies: 87
Views: 7377

Re: What is the worst job you have ever had?

The summer after my freshman year at college I worked groundskeeping\construction\maintenance for a summer camp in my area. It was a minimum-wage position, and I was basically treated like slave labor by the camp owner\managers with not a shred of decency, respect, or care for my well-being. In retr...
by MattE
Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good fitness site in the spirit of Bogleheads?
Replies: 27
Views: 6849

Re: Good fitness site in the spirit of Bogleheads?

I agree with the people that have mentioned Rippetoe's Starting Strength. It is THE baseline building workout routine for people that are out of shape or don't exercise often. I disagree with the guy who said it overemphasizes squats; it's pretty much impossible to overemphasize squats, as they're a...
by MattE
Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay
Replies: 62
Views: 13890

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Sitting around an open fire in the evening, especially on a cool night, is one of the greatest simple pleasures there is in life.

I'm kind in disbelief at some of the responses in this topic as far as overreacting to the smoke from them and whatnot. How does one not enjoy the smell of a wood fire?
by MattE
Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: MBA or MSE??
Replies: 21
Views: 3453

Re: MBA or MSE??

It really depends on what you'd like to do in your future. If you see yourself moving into more of a non-technical management role down the line, then the MBA is probably the best choice. If you'd like to stay strictly technical (be it pure engineering or leading a technical team), then the MS in yo...
by MattE
Thu May 17, 2012 12:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travelling To Toronto
Replies: 11
Views: 2101

Re: Travelling To Toronto

-Dinner at the CN Tower, though I heard that one can go for breakfast. Is that true? How is the food there or is one just going for the atmosphere? Thinking of going either on a Sunday or Monday night The food is excellent, prices are ridiculous - think $40-$50 Canadian for entrees you'd probably p...
by MattE
Wed May 16, 2012 6:21 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What is stopping this algorithmic doomsday scenario?
Replies: 55
Views: 5274

Re: What is stopping this algorithmic doomsday scenario?

yobria wrote:Computers trading with each other don't affect the intrinsic value of a company, so why worry?
Because they DO affect the perceived\effective value, which has tangible and tangential effects. HFTs blow.
by MattE
Tue May 15, 2012 10:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travelling To Toronto
Replies: 11
Views: 2101

Re: Travelling To Toronto

Hockey Hall of Fame and dinner at the CN Tower (pricy but amazing). Both are downtown and within walking distance of each other.
by MattE
Mon May 14, 2012 10:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Newly Engaged! Looking for wedding budgeting advice
Replies: 14
Views: 2090

Re: Newly Engaged! Looking for wedding budgeting advice

Hijack topic: I wonder how much people are really finding the value of video-documentation of their weddings. I could see how a set of great pics can give you a feel-good to share right then (which is why the photographer may have high-pressure sales packages), or to look at many years later. But I...
by MattE
Mon May 14, 2012 10:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Student Loans for which year(s) of college?
Replies: 15
Views: 1480

Re: Student Loans for which year(s) of college?

One thing to consider is that at least as far as the availability of government loans and whatnot, the caps on what you can receive per year are much higher for juniors\seniors than they are for freshmen\sophomores.
by MattE
Mon May 14, 2012 4:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V
Replies: 3372
Views: 1497798

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Default User BR wrote:
MattE wrote:Finished Hyperion, moving on to The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Heinlein.
Is this the first time for TMiaHM, or a reread?


Brian
First time, but I've read most of his other works.
by MattE
Mon May 14, 2012 4:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Newly Engaged! Looking for wedding budgeting advice
Replies: 14
Views: 2090

Re: Newly Engaged! Looking for wedding budgeting advice

If you want videography and happen to personally know someone that's good or at least capable of editing, you can save yourself a lot of money by negotiating with the videographer for footage-only services. You can get just the raw footage for 30% of what a "full package" including editing the foota...
by MattE
Sun May 13, 2012 11:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V
Replies: 3372
Views: 1497798

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Finished Hyperion, moving on to The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Heinlein.
by MattE
Sun May 06, 2012 9:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car to Gross Income Ratio - under 35
Replies: 41
Views: 4986

Re: Car to Gross Income Ratio - under 35

100%-ish. My first car is to date still my only car, and I bought it with savings just after my sophomore year of college for $3900 when my only income was from my summer job.
by MattE
Fri May 04, 2012 1:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: tips on saving for 4 month-old daughter's future wedding
Replies: 85
Views: 8299

Re: tips on saving for 4 month-old daughter's future wedding

In short, some people are perfectly happy with a miserly wedding and a very small group of guests. More power to them. And some people spend on a wedding what the rest of us would spend on a home down payment. If they can afford it and it's what they want, more power to them as well. But that's how...
by MattE
Thu May 03, 2012 7:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: tips on saving for 4 month-old daughter's future wedding
Replies: 85
Views: 8299

Re: tips on saving for 4 month-old daughter's future wedding

MattE, This is what I got from your post: if you spend a lot of money, weddings are expensive. It's kind of like saying cars are expensive and then showing as proof that you just spent $500,000 on a Rolls Royce. And just because you can get by driving $300 hoopties recovered from the scrap yard and...
by MattE
Thu May 03, 2012 4:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Re: What stops you from retiring today?
Replies: 100
Views: 9299

Re: What stops you from retiring today?

I'm 23, and hence don't have anywhere even remotely close to the level of funds I'd need to not\barely work for the next 6-7 decades and not live like a pauper. If I suddenly came into a huge windfall, I'd retire tomorrow without thinking about it twice. I've got enough widely varied interests that ...
by MattE
Thu May 03, 2012 4:14 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: tips on saving for 4 month-old daughter's future wedding
Replies: 85
Views: 8299

Re: tips on saving for 4 month-old daughter's future wedding

...$6.5k for the wedding bands? Did that include her engagement ring? Man, I live on a totally different planet. Her engagement ring was $2500 separate from that, and doesn't even have a real center diamond. Her wedding ring was about $3000, and mine was $3500. Jewelery is stupidly expensive and th...
by MattE
Thu May 03, 2012 4:06 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: tips on saving for 4 month-old daughter's future wedding
Replies: 85
Views: 8299

Re: tips on saving for 4 month-old daughter's future wedding

...$6.5k for the wedding bands? Did that include her engagement ring? Man, I live on a totally different planet. Her engagement ring was $2500 separate from that, and doesn't even have a real center diamond. Her wedding ring was about $3000, and mine was $3500. Jewelery is stupidly expensive and th...
by MattE
Thu May 03, 2012 3:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: tips on saving for 4 month-old daughter's future wedding
Replies: 85
Views: 8299

Re: tips on saving for 4 month-old daughter's future wedding

It's pretty easy to rack up wedding costs in the 10s of thousands of dollars even with small-to-medium-sized weddings if you don't DIY the entire thing, i.e., having a ceremony at a nice location, a catered reception, keepsake worthy invitations, wedding bands that aren't pewter or onyx, etc. I thou...