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Old 07-07-2015, 04:06 PM   #1
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Post FIRE relocation

We have relocated to lower cost of living area to be closer to family for the next several years. Due to the move, we need to purchase some big ticket items. Looking for thoughts and opinions on following

Washing machine and dryer - seems like the $299 loss leaders are just as good as the $1100 Samsung models. The frugal person says to buy the $299 models. Any idea if even cheaper than 299 models exist ? Looking at best buy. Amana brand. Easily serviced- spare parts available on eBay etc

Flat screen TV - everyone touting 4k but even the 1080p seems good enough. Some good discounts on the 1080p models. Should I be frugal and find a 1080p bargain or go for 4k ?

Home phone - skipping landline. No need.

Internet - in a country -rural setting so no ATT internet or DSL service here so trying to install Comcast xfinity. If that's not available it looks like 4g using a hotspot from Verizon or ATT - expensive but seems more reliable than satellite internet ( heard horror stories)

Computers - kids need new computers. Best buy has some deals on Apple. Thinking MacBook Air x 2 - apparently our college student gets a 100 dollar discount but hs student does not. Any opinions on which models are best. Air or Pro? Can get an air 128g/4g ram air for around 750 plus tax. Seems ok. Is it ?

Also need new obamacare insurance for this state. We fall under an "event" so can sign up this month - wow it's expensive here - should we be looking for best doctor network or lowest price ? Thinking bronze or silver. Family of 4 will cost between 900-1400/month excluding deductible for 2015. Ouch and going higher in 2016 I understand.
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Old 07-07-2015, 05:24 PM   #2
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I bought the cheapest washer and dryer I could find. A $225 Kenmore washer and $200 Kitchen Aide dryer. But that was 15 years ago so I would think you will have to dig deep into the bowels of the internet to find something significantly cheaper than what you have found. BTW- My cheap pair are still working like they were when brand new without ever having a repair.


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Old 07-07-2015, 07:29 PM   #3
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about 9 years ago we use Wild Blue Sat. Internet for about four years. Really did not have any real problems with it. However we dropped it when Windstream brought DSL to the neighborhood. Cheaper, and no download limits, but I would not hesitate to use them again.
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Yup-- Go for the Kenmore!
Old 07-07-2015, 07:39 PM   #4
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Yup-- Go for the Kenmore!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulligan View Post
I bought the cheapest washer and dryer I could find. A $225 Kenmore washer and $200 Kitchen Aide dryer. But that was 15 years ago so I would think you will have to dig deep into the bowels of the internet to find something significantly cheaper than what you have found. BTW- My cheap pair are still working like they were when brand new without ever having a repair.


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Our first two houses in CA (1979-96 era fixer-uppers) each came with used Kenmore washer and dryer sets that never wore out. They went with each house as we sold it.

When we moved to OH in '96, we were thrilled to finally buy a NEW washer and dryer set for the first time in our married life (17 years at that point, with the old used ones). So we went to Sears and bought the lower-mid range Kenmore set. That was 19 years ago, and they are still working just fine. (I think the pair cost about $800, tax and delivery included.)

Have had the same experience with Kenmore refrigerators.
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Old 07-07-2015, 08:10 PM   #5
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For the same money, you might find a 4K TV for little more than a seemingly similar 1080p, but odds you're better off with the 1080p. If you watch sports, play games or other fast paced video, you want a decent refresh rate, the cheaper 4K TV's are usually lower refresh rate. The small premium 4K TV's usually have inferior onboard sound/speakers too.

And there's almost no 4K content aside from paid movies, it will probably be a while before 4K content is anything like mainstream.

And unless they're side by side, I defy most people (especially older eyes) to see a difference between 1080p and 4K. I have a 4K, so I've compared, usually no perceptible difference IMO...
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Old 07-07-2015, 10:59 PM   #6
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Get the cheap washer & dryer top loaders, as I've known a bunch of people who went fancy with the front loaders and had many problems , even replacing them within a couple of years.

Also go 1080p as hardly any 4k shows/movies and if you wait 5 yrs the 4k will be as cheap/cheaper than 1080p are now.

I guess you're an Apple family, so no cheap deals there
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Old 07-08-2015, 07:25 AM   #7
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Thanks. Great suggestions. Got the Amana $299 best buy specials. Free delivery. Gave us half off on the washer connection hoses and dryer electrical cord so there we go. All in with tax etc, a bit under $670
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Old 07-08-2015, 09:59 AM   #8
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agreed with what everyone else said


you can get a 1080p lg tv cheap on amazon (amazing picture), the lg bp550 blueray is under $100 too


I have one 50" and one 42" I think I paid under $600 for the 50 and under $400 for the 42 shipped
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:46 AM   #9
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+1 on the cheaper washer/dryer combination; we've literally had ours for 20+ years and they are still working serviceably and can also be repaired pretty easily.

As far as the Macs go, they're not cheap, but we have 2 iMacs, 3 Mac Airs, 2 iPads, 4 iPhones and 3 iPods in the family and our HS aged DS and DD (16 and 17) have been happy with the macbook air models they have. One note is that the Air doesn't have many ports, so if you need peripherals you may find the Macbook Pro a better choice.

Also, FWIW, we have had very good luck with certified Apple refurbished products from the apple store. Comes with a 1 yr factory warranty, and you can buy AppleCare if you want to extend that to three years. Usually 1-2 years old and 10-30% cheaper than new. If you go to the apple online store and search for 'refurbished xxx' where xxx is the product you want, you'll see what they have. It's a pretty fluid inventory so it pays to watch if for a few days -- and they can deliver to you or for free to local apple store to pick up
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Old 07-08-2015, 11:58 AM   #10
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One note is that the Air doesn't have many ports, so if you need peripherals you may find the Macbook Pro a better choice.

Also, FWIW, we have had very good luck with certified Apple refurbished products from the apple store. Comes with a 1 yr factory warranty, and you can buy AppleCare if you want to extend that to three years. Usually 1-2 years old and 10-30% cheaper than new. If you go to the apple online store and search for 'refurbished xxx' where xxx is the product you want, you'll see what they have. It's a pretty fluid inventory so it pays to watch if for a few days -- and they can deliver to you or for free to local apple store to pick up
+1 on the Air vs Pro ports - major thing to think about now that both have SSDs.

Also +1 on the Apple refurbs - DS dumped a soda on his brand new MacBook Pro in his first semester of college and since the replacement was coming out of his pocket, he decided to go refurb. He's still using it more than 5 years later.

On the TV, I don't know if it's standard on all 1080p sets now (haven't looked at TVs in years), but I wish ours had internet connectivity built in as well as better sound options. I think those are more important than 4k.
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Old 07-08-2015, 12:34 PM   #11
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RE: TV resolution, viewing distance should determine what you need for the best HD viewing. Here's a link to a chart showing optimal size for viewing disance. Seems pretty accurate in my experience.
Chart: 1080P Does Matter - CarltonBale.com
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Old 07-08-2015, 02:58 PM   #12
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RE: TV resolution, viewing distance should determine what you need for the best HD viewing. Here's a link to a chart showing optimal size for viewing disance. Seems pretty accurate in my experience.
Chart: 1080P Does Matter - CarltonBale.com
Yep, absolutely true. Standing in front of the 4K tv in the shop will wow you, but sitting ten feet away and you'll be hard-pressed to see the difference in resolution.

People may be better off going with OLED 1080P rather than LED 4K. Picture quality for OLED will be much better than LED and because of sitting distance to TV, you won't be able to see the smaller pixels of 4K.

Skip the smart TV features too. Just get a roku, firestick, chromecast, etc. That said I do find a few built in apps nice (e.g. netflix, vudu, etc.) to have; the other 95% are crap or worse than similar app found on roku, etc.
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Old 07-08-2015, 03:44 PM   #13
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On washers and dryers, people who have old models should hang on to them. New models of mainstream makes are being built to last 5 years. Don't expect a new one to last 20 years. Also, don't go high tech: machines with computer components apparently won't last as long - if the computer board burns out, you're done, or so I heard on a CBC hidden-camera-in-an-appliance-store program.
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Old 07-08-2015, 03:53 PM   #14
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On washers and dryers, people who have old models should hang on to them. New models of mainstream makes are being built to last 5 years. Don't expect a new one to last 20 years. Also, don't go high tech: machines with computer components apparently won't last as long - if the computer board burns out, you're done, or so I heard on a CBC hidden-camera-in-an-appliance-store program.

I always look to buy appliances with dials, not buttons. It has served me well. But then again, we would probably be corresponding with the pony express if everyone had Luddite inclinations such as myself though.


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Old 07-13-2015, 03:47 AM   #15
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Post FIRE relocation

Thanks. OP here ... So we got best buy and the washer and dryer are being delivered today at lunch time. Amana brand. Have an Amana over-under fridge which is awesome ... This was cheapest models they had. Let's see how they do.

For computers, Went back to the best buy on Saturday and got two Mac book pros, same models for DS1 and DS2 . They had a 150 off sale for the July 4 retail cycle. DS1 got another 150 off for a college student discount since he will be a freshman come end of August. DS2 grabbed the opened box return one for what amounted to the same savings ( DS2 did not get student discount but the open box route is fine for him) ... Wound up getting latest models so 1135 each after discounts before sales tax. Ouch !

For TV - have not decided what specific model but am going to find a cheap 1080p in 48-50 inch class. Hoping to get for under 500 dollars as a back to school or thanksgiving cycle promo. Will check Amazon too.

Where do you buy your big ticket stuff online ?

I picked up via Craigslist a very well used Briggs and Stratton 18 HP/46" deck riding lawn mower with a bazillion hours on it for 340 dollars delivered to me as I wanted to get something cheap to see how it works with my huge and hilly front pasture. Took me 5 hours to mow and now decided I won't be cheap with a mower - probably get a zero-turn commercial mower in the 2000-2500 dollar range as I don't want to waste my precious time mowing 5 hours every week. Of course DS2 will have to learn to mow it too...

So Next on the "outflow of cash" list is a mower and couple of weed whacker(s)

Thanks for the continued helpful nuggets. Setting up house is a huge chore. Still up to ears in boxes and tossing/donating tons and tons of stuff to charity as the house is more compact than prior living arrangements
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Old 07-13-2015, 10:15 AM   #16
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Papa, you expressed patience in waiting to get a tv. If you are set in your desire for a 50 in tv then ignore this. But if it is price that is keeping your desire for a 50 in tv, wait until Thanksgiving for a TV blow out special. I had a 54 in TV and demoted it to the downstairs bullpen with a 65in Vizio 1080p for $648 last year. This is by far my best purchase. Unless you have size constraints bigger is better with a tv, in my mind! I am guessing the 65in has a 20-25% bigger screen than the 54 in has. Usually you can google "Best Black Friday TV deals" when approaching Thanksgiving to find best deal. Walmart was the place for the best big tv deal last year.


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Old 07-15-2015, 10:36 PM   #17
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Thanks.

I see a Walmart deal buster - TV HD 1080p 50 inch for $349. Hard to resist that deal ...

Trying to find cellular plans. 2 adults and 2 kids. Only have reliable ATT coverage here - other networks are spotty at best .. and so considering a ATT network-reliant MVNO ... Not sure which one.
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Old 07-16-2015, 06:26 AM   #18
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Here is a link to AT&T MVNO plan comparisons. If you don't need a smartphone, the Tracfone models that end with 'G' use the AT&T network. I have their LG 306G. I bought it bundled with 1500 minutes for $80 (before discount) on Home Shopping Network. You can find just the phone for $10 on Ebay and occasionally on sale at that price at Dollar General.
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Old 07-16-2015, 10:04 PM   #19
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Post FIRE relocation

Thanks for the link.

Today I went with cricket. Same network as ATT so good for my area. Data is important to us so a LTE package was essential.

I went with the family deal - ported my old number over to it. That's 5 devices for 100 dollars/month.


5 devices provides one for each family member telephone and a 1 for my tablet.

Each with 2.5g LTE after which data is still unlimited but at a much slower EDGE speed. Can purchase incremental 1 g high speed data for 10 dollars. No roll over data.. No data hotspot feature.

Unlimited talk and SMS within USA

Cost per device per month works out to 20 dollars each, a total bill @ 100 dollars per month all inclusive ... which is "still expensive" but I love the convenience of smart phones and it's half what I was ready to be paying ATT
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Old 07-18-2015, 06:58 AM   #20
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Update !

And today the DW and I visited one of the local insurance agents to get some insight on ACA which we will be signing up for . Said agent is a early 30's lady, mom of 2 kids and husband ex marine corps. She is well informed of health care in the local area given her current fight with breast C.

Reminds me why we chose FIRE and that time and health can not be bought no matter what you earn or how much is in the bank.

We went with a bronze plan for rest of the year to test drive for the next 5 or 6 months and will learn more and if needed change at enrollment time depending what we learn and what exchange rates do. We chose the lowest premium cost exchange option provider, which is a new company, for our family of 4. Since DS 2 is below 18 we had to get a plan with dental too. That was 70 dollars per month higher than non dental. We are through the braces years but wisdom teeth may need to come out for DS1.

We are not eligible for ACA subsidy for this year due to MAGI calcs and pre FIRE deferred income that is paying out this year and next. Will not be eligible next year either. By year 3, who knows what may happen to subsidies.

DW reminded me that's a nice problem to have..but it is sure expensive and aside emergency care, I think I can get equal or better care abroad for a lot less. There is a lot in current policies that I don't need but required for ACA compliance Eg. Maternity care .

So the premium is $920 per month and the deductible is $13500 max OOP. Crazy expensive... Sticker shock in fact

But going with cheaper premium (non ACA compliant plan) and then paying a 2 percent ACA penalty was not a compelling ROI financially.

So we will re-evaluate this from time to time as (if) we become ACA subsidy eligible or if rates go up again on these ACA compliant plans.

After signing up, we also asked her to quote us for home,auto,and umbrella.

I think we are paying too much on auto especially with new drivers.

We are now with a reputable insurance company but the service level has declined in the past couple years to the point we want to shop around and we know the rates were relatively higher when comparison shopping a few years ago. It's a great company or has been in the past but recent changes are causing some heartburn. So... Said agent now has a shot at getting some of our business and helping us reduce insurance spending post FIRE.

I am debating whether or not to drop my disability insurance too. It's about 3k per year for 100k income replacement coverage. DW is employable ... leaning toward discontinuing that cover/expense. Weighing the cost against the risk of both becoming disabled - that may justify the cover... I dunno..

DS 2 enrolls in a new HS (sophomore) next week and DS1 has a few weeks till first year of university registration !

The money outflow continues.....

Exciting times..... Three weeks in and The post FIRE Relo to-do list is making progress ..

Now back to unpacking boxes and donating more junk to good will. Downsizing is liberating !!
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