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Re: results of 20-year TIPS auction
Old 08-07-2004, 08:58 AM   #21
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Re: results of 20-year TIPS auction

I'll second both of those notions. With bamboozlery like multiple rebate/coupon deals I can occasionally whomp a coscto deal, but in general they're about as cheap as possible.

Sometimes you have to employ under-bed storage and/or a freezer to make best use of the volume, but once you get a system going for each item, its easy to handle.

And costco has a "return anything, anytime" policy, with the exception of computers and some other electronics items. As a result they dont carry anything that doesnt sell well and stays sold. But keep your receipts...if that vacuum you bought starts freaking out six months later when its out of warranty, bring it back. They'll give you your money back.

We think of costco shopping as a treasure hunt. Always something new and different in there.
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Re: results of 20-year TIPS auction
Old 08-07-2004, 03:12 PM   #22
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Re: results of 20-year TIPS auction

I used to shop at Costco. I finally got fed up with their annual "membership" fee. And the fact that after you checked out there was another bozo at the exit doublechecking. I can do just as well watching for specials and buying in bulk elsewhere.
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Re: results of 20-year TIPS auction
Old 08-08-2004, 09:29 AM   #23
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Re: results of 20-year TIPS auction

Quote:
I'll second both of those notions. *With bamboozlery like multiple rebate/coupon deals I can occasionally whomp a coscto deal, *but in general they're about as cheap as possible.
I haven't found that to be true. I've been shopping or at least visiting Costco (or Price Club before they merged) for a long time and in the "old days" about 15 years ago the prices were better. It used to be that if you saw it for sale at Costco that you knew you were getting the best price around. Now that isn't the case. You have to comparison shop to be sure and my guesstimate is that 1/3 of the time you are ahead at Costco, 1/3 of the time you are ahead elsewhere, and 1/3 of the time you come out even.

Given those odds and the fact that I can buy it elsewhere in smaller than the 55 gallon drums of mayonaise I haven't renewed my "membership" at Costco for about the last 5 years. I'll still tag along with someone once a year or so if I'm looking for a specific larger item or for amusement and lunching on the free sample food.

Now it may be that the prices at Costco haven't gotten worse but just that everybody else has gotten better.
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Re: results of 20-year TIPS auction
Old 08-08-2004, 10:05 AM   #24
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Re: results of 20-year TIPS auction

Oh I didnt say you couldnt beat a costco deal. I said "whomp". My oblique vernacular strikes again. If you shop around, find loss leaders and use coupons you can often save a few bucks over costco. But as a bargain shoppers bargain shopper, I dont wanna take the time to cull the papers and make 3 stops.

The 55 gallon drum thing has also gone somewhat by the wayside. I bought 3 regular things of brand name mayonnaise taped together for roughly half the supermarket price. There are a few instances where you have to buy a case of something or three or four of them strapped together, but I have a garage with lots of cabinets, and the space under beds isnt at a premium around here.

Then there are some real bargains. I bought 150' of really good quality hose for about $29 last week. The same hose at home depot was 3x the cost. I bought a rubbermaid backyard shed for $299 that was at Orchard Supply Hardware for $499. Choice quality meat is generally 10-15% cheaper than the Select quality at the el cheapo supermarket. I picked up some very good quality laminate flooring (ok that was at sams club) for a buck a square foot when the cheapest stuff at Home Depot was 2.25 a foot.

I usually get that annual membership fee back with one good bargain purchase during the year. Plus both my wife and I use it and I gave my dad the free "spouse card", so we've got 3 people buying off of one membership.

Sams Club used to be really good with regards to this, offering up to 5 "family" cards for free. Last year they whacked it back to 2, didnt tell anyone until the 3 "extra" family members showed up at the register, and then tried to charge them the full membership fee.

Bad idea. Try to make $35 off a few extra people, lose a lot of customers. But make sure in the process to not communicate that to the customers and surprise them in a bad way.

Excellent management. :P
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Re: results of 20-year TIPS auction
Old 08-08-2004, 12:48 PM   #25
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Re: results of 20-year TIPS auction

Well, now that it's so close, I might give it a try. My previous warehouse experience has been with Sam's Club, and although it was quite CLOSE to where I used to work (10 minutes), it was the wrong direction, so I found myself using it very rarely. I had a $10 or $15 membership as part of a group from work.

This new Costco is right in our regular shopping area, though, not out of the way at all. I think I'll still mooch off of my roommate's card for a while to see if I think it'll be worthwhile.

I find that, for me, the better practice is to try to avoid going into stores. The less time I spend in them, the fewer things I actually need. Remarkable, no? I've noticed this phenomenon for years, when I go Christmas shopping. Suddenly, at the time of year I could least afford it, there were things I wanted to buy for myself. Lots of them. Attractive, appealing things, that I had no notion of wanting or needing until I got into the stores.

Better to shop online, armed with a specific list, at Christmas time. I might not get the very best prices, but I'll miss the "Oh! Look at THAT lovely _____" syndrome.

Anne
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Re: results of 20-year TIPS auction
Old 08-08-2004, 05:33 PM   #26
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Re: results of 20-year TIPS auction

Hi all,to gently guide this thread back to topic,my broker is c schwab.Ive done my best to throw out a bid on every TIPS auction this year,missed the 20,and i think a 5yr.While i can only speak for this broker,has anybody noticed how hard it is to find TIPS on the secondary market?Assuming others also find this the case,i guess that says something about demand,and gauranteed,anybody posting here is a very small ameoba in the bond market.Quite some time a go i posted upcoming auctions,and will try to inform the board a few weeks before the next one.Its hot as hell here in alaska,and im feeling a bit lazy to dig out the link.good luck all--ak4195
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Re: results of 20-year TIPS auction
Old 08-08-2004, 09:55 PM   #27
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Re: results of 20-year TIPS auction

Retail bond inventory differs widely depending on your broker. * I've traded bonds through Merrill, Waterhouse, Vanguard, and Schwab.

Waterhouse and Vanguard both outsource their bond trading through the same firm, but Vanguard has better spreads.

Merrill has the best inventory -- they can usually fill an order via their in-house bond desk, but they'll go out to "the street" to fill your order otherwise.

Schwab is the worst. * They have poor inventory, and they don't even let you sell a bond online. * You have to call their bond desk, and their spreads didn't seem competitive the one time I tried to sell through them.

For TIPS, your best bet is to go through TreasuryDirect. *No mark-up. *No fees. * Bonds are usually sold at or below par (which makes tax accounting much easier). * And you know you're getting the best market rate due to their competitive bidding process and the fact that retail investors buy at the lowest bid (like a dutch auction).
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Re: results of 20-year TIPS auction
Old 08-09-2004, 06:08 PM   #28
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Re: results of 20-year TIPS auction

thnx for the info wab,Merrill is one of the "primary dealers" in treasury's,they along with other big house firms who make up this group HAVE TO buy the auctions.This is an aggreement with the Fed,naturally all the big houses are present.Schwab is a in minor league in this dept.By "trading",i assume you mean purchase/redeem cash settled bonds since it would be far easier to trade bond futures on the CBOT in a futures account.I think 2 out of 3 auctions ive recieved less than par.At the auctions the primary dealers job ( imho) is to bid up the auction and provide liquidity for the FED.If you look at treasury realeases after the auctions it will say something like "95% of bids were at the high of the day",then quite often next day of course price pukes it up.And of course I (schwab) payed top $.Its quite a racket.But ive had nothing but outstanding service,sometimes above and beyond the call of duty.Unfortunately this probably has more to do with sum of account balances ( i manage my moms accounts,larger than mine by a factor of 10x),than with the need to bend over backwards.So what is lost in spreads/fees on bond transactions is more than made up in "Yes sir,we can do that,no problem."There stock transactions fees recently went down by approx 1/2 ,so you give some u get some.Long ago while my dad was still alive he had a bad experience with Merrill and never looked back,instead managing his own accounts till his departure out of this world,but that story is probably best left for another thread.Good luck and dont forget to have a glass of red wine!-ak4195
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