Go Back  British Expats > Living & Moving Abroad > USA
Reload this Page >

Thoughts month after moving into Bay Area

Thoughts month after moving into Bay Area

Old Apr 8th 2018, 4:01 pm
  #1  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 8
SherlockFan is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Thoughts month after moving into Bay Area

Hi all,

We have now been in the Bay Area, California, for nearly a month, so I thought I share some overall thoughts and tips for anyone about to do the same transition. Please feel free to comment with advice if we've misunderstood something.


General Advice
The one thing I wish we had done as soon as we arrived was fast track getting a US cell phone. We had an international roaming package that come with work, so we didn't prioritise it but EVERY one, be it the pharmacy, grocery store, bank, or school want a US phone number - they cannot cope with international dialling codes.

Customer service, especially on the phone, is much, much, better than the UK. People are very polite and helpful - while trying to sort out problems with xfinity the person was happy to ring me back and stay on hold for over an hour.

There is an aversion to installing ceiling lights (i.e a light that hangs down from the ceiling), especially in bedrooms - I guess they just buy uplighters or desklamps?


Banking/Commerce
Debit cards are accepted most places, and they do have chip and pin. How you interact with the machine changes depending on the type of device - some you always put your chip in the chip slot and type your PIN, others you swipe down the side of the machine and still type your pin. Do not be lulled into thinking that just because they have the same machines that everything is the same as the UK though - debit cards seem to have a maximum transaction limit of around $5000. You can ring the bank up and get a one-time-raise to this limit, but they will NOT raise it that much, even if you do have the funds in the account!! The way around this is to use personal check, or cashiers check if needed. (as a side point, I had a bizarre conversation with a bank teller where they tried to convince me that a personal check was more secure than the chip and pin system)

Be careful changing your personal details at the bank, and try to do so as early as possible - the reason being that as soon as you do change personal information it puts a flag on your account that prevents certain spending or actions. As an example, we were unable to put the down payment on a used car as the bank had us on a cooling off window due to the personal information change that we had put through the day or so before.

We also managed to get the entire account locked down for 72 hours by cashing a check from my wife's work (I still don't really understand this one), so my general advice is to err on the side of caution and check in with the bank that everything is running as you expect.

Joint accounts do exist, though I don't think they call them that, my wife and I both have access to the same account just by going into the bank and signing the correct form. An interesting fact here is that I bought my social security envelop being delivered as proof of address but the teller was more interested in the postmark on the letter as proof of address.

DirectDebits don't really exist in the same form, and in fact the system is a lot weaker. To my mind a direct debit is a way that I can authorise someone to charge my bank account to debit me money, but only if I explicitly set it up to do so by filling in a form. From what I can tell, if you give someone your US account number and routing code, ANYONE can debit money out of your account (which is probably why in my earlier response some people were dead set against sharing out that information!) This is also why this information is treated as very special information, when you login to your internet bank account it won't tell your details, and in fact that only reference to those details we have is one letter the bank sent us when we first moved in.

A lot of places want to check your credit rating, but as a new entrant to the US you won't have one. You can proceed without one by paying a deposit up front - normally of the order of $100, we had to do this for cable, water, electricity and mobile phone.

Buying a Car
It may be worth while getting an International Version of your Drivers License, which you can order at your local UK post office. This is simply the SAME information on your UK license in a set format, that makes it easier for international parties to interact with it.

We didn't have one made, and when we tried to buy a car at CarMax they refused to let us test drive anything. We failed to buy the car due to the bank problems, but even if we had succeeded, they wouldn't have let us drive the car off the lot, or drive it off the lot for us (as by that point it would by our car), so we'd have to find some willing third party to move the car the 10m or so out of the service bay!

There's also a lot of misunderstanding about whether you can buy a car, and we were advised by our relocation company that we wouldn't be able to do so until we had received our Californian Driver's license - this is incorrect. There are no restrictions on buying a car, but you aren't allowed to DRIVE the car without insurance, and insurance is harder to get if you don't have the state license. We had to ring around until we found one, Geiko, that was willing to insure us on our UK licenese for a hefty premium.

In the end, we went direct to a Totota dealer, as they had a 'foreign professional finance program', where we could activate finance based on our VISA status. I believe that other main vendors have similar programs.


Getting Children into School
At least in California, your children are not allowed into school until they have fulfilled the vaccination requirements. For us at least, the main difference was Hepatitis-B, as this is only now starting to get rolled out into the combined vaccination the children receive. However, upon trying to complete enrolment we ran into two problems. First, our children had both had chicken pox, and therefore we hadn't got proof that they been vaccinated against it. Second, in the UK they only do 3 doses of DTP, whereas in the USA they receive more. As such we were refused entry into school, we then went to the local paediatrician who gave us the DTP top up, and was happy to diagnose the history of chicken pox from some pictures we took at the time.


Packages
Packages from fedex/ups/post are by default left on your doorstep, EVEN if you are in the property at the time - they don't even ring the bell.

Food
We're still getting to grips with where to purchase and buy food, and being honest, I missed the trusty Tesco. All the convenience food that we use as emergency standins always seems to have a lot of extra added salt or sugar. We've yet to find frozen chips that don't taste too salty, and the frozen chicken breast we purchased from Safeway was horrible and obviously injected with lots of water. My current impression is that rather than shopping in one place, people mix where they shop to maximise quality and minimise price appropriately. I.e. buy cupboard essentials/bulk buy from Walmart/CostCo, get meat and veg from Trader Joe's/Farmer's markets. Safeway seems to have a reasonably wide selection but is bad on price and quality.
SherlockFan is offline  
Old Apr 8th 2018, 5:22 pm
  #2  
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Sep 2017
Location: Miami
Posts: 229
karenkaren1 has a reputation beyond reputekarenkaren1 has a reputation beyond reputekarenkaren1 has a reputation beyond reputekarenkaren1 has a reputation beyond reputekarenkaren1 has a reputation beyond reputekarenkaren1 has a reputation beyond reputekarenkaren1 has a reputation beyond reputekarenkaren1 has a reputation beyond reputekarenkaren1 has a reputation beyond reputekarenkaren1 has a reputation beyond reputekarenkaren1 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Thoughts month after moving into Bay Area

Originally Posted by SherlockFan View Post
Hi all,

We have now been in the Bay Area, California, for nearly a month, so I thought I share some overall thoughts and tips for anyone about to do the same transition. Please feel free to comment with advice if we've misunderstood something.


General Advice
The one thing I wish we had done as soon as we arrived was fast track getting a US cell phone. We had an international roaming package that come with work, so we didn't prioritise it but EVERY one, be it the pharmacy, grocery store, bank, or school want a US phone number - they cannot cope with international dialling codes.

Customer service, especially on the phone, is much, much, better than the UK. People are very polite and helpful - while trying to sort out problems with xfinity the person was happy to ring me back and stay on hold for over an hour.

There is an aversion to installing ceiling lights (i.e a light that hangs down from the ceiling), especially in bedrooms - I guess they just buy uplighters or desklamps?


Banking/Commerce
Debit cards are accepted most places, and they do have chip and pin. How you interact with the machine changes depending on the type of device - some you always put your chip in the chip slot and type your PIN, others you swipe down the side of the machine and still type your pin. Do not be lulled into thinking that just because they have the same machines that everything is the same as the UK though - debit cards seem to have a maximum transaction limit of around $5000. You can ring the bank up and get a one-time-raise to this limit, but they will NOT raise it that much, even if you do have the funds in the account!! The way around this is to use personal check, or cashiers check if needed. (as a side point, I had a bizarre conversation with a bank teller where they tried to convince me that a personal check was more secure than the chip and pin system)

Be careful changing your personal details at the bank, and try to do so as early as possible - the reason being that as soon as you do change personal information it puts a flag on your account that prevents certain spending or actions. As an example, we were unable to put the down payment on a used car as the bank had us on a cooling off window due to the personal information change that we had put through the day or so before.

We also managed to get the entire account locked down for 72 hours by cashing a check from my wife's work (I still don't really understand this one), so my general advice is to err on the side of caution and check in with the bank that everything is running as you expect.

Joint accounts do exist, though I don't think they call them that, my wife and I both have access to the same account just by going into the bank and signing the correct form. An interesting fact here is that I bought my social security envelop being delivered as proof of address but the teller was more interested in the postmark on the letter as proof of address.

DirectDebits don't really exist in the same form, and in fact the system is a lot weaker. To my mind a direct debit is a way that I can authorise someone to charge my bank account to debit me money, but only if I explicitly set it up to do so by filling in a form. From what I can tell, if you give someone your US account number and routing code, ANYONE can debit money out of your account (which is probably why in my earlier response some people were dead set against sharing out that information!) This is also why this information is treated as very special information, when you login to your internet bank account it won't tell your details, and in fact that only reference to those details we have is one letter the bank sent us when we first moved in.

A lot of places want to check your credit rating, but as a new entrant to the US you won't have one. You can proceed without one by paying a deposit up front - normally of the order of $100, we had to do this for cable, water, electricity and mobile phone.

Buying a Car
It may be worth while getting an International Version of your Drivers License, which you can order at your local UK post office. This is simply the SAME information on your UK license in a set format, that makes it easier for international parties to interact with it.

We didn't have one made, and when we tried to buy a car at CarMax they refused to let us test drive anything. We failed to buy the car due to the bank problems, but even if we had succeeded, they wouldn't have let us drive the car off the lot, or drive it off the lot for us (as by that point it would by our car), so we'd have to find some willing third party to move the car the 10m or so out of the service bay!

There's also a lot of misunderstanding about whether you can buy a car, and we were advised by our relocation company that we wouldn't be able to do so until we had received our Californian Driver's license - this is incorrect. There are no restrictions on buying a car, but you aren't allowed to DRIVE the car without insurance, and insurance is harder to get if you don't have the state license. We had to ring around until we found one, Geiko, that was willing to insure us on our UK licenese for a hefty premium.

In the end, we went direct to a Totota dealer, as they had a 'foreign professional finance program', where we could activate finance based on our VISA status. I believe that other main vendors have similar programs.


Getting Children into School
At least in California, your children are not allowed into school until they have fulfilled the vaccination requirements. For us at least, the main difference was Hepatitis-B, as this is only now starting to get rolled out into the combined vaccination the children receive. However, upon trying to complete enrolment we ran into two problems. First, our children had both had chicken pox, and therefore we hadn't got proof that they been vaccinated against it. Second, in the UK they only do 3 doses of DTP, whereas in the USA they receive more. As such we were refused entry into school, we then went to the local paediatrician who gave us the DTP top up, and was happy to diagnose the history of chicken pox from some pictures we took at the time.


Packages
Packages from fedex/ups/post are by default left on your doorstep, EVEN if you are in the property at the time - they don't even ring the bell.

Food
We're still getting to grips with where to purchase and buy food, and being honest, I missed the trusty Tesco. All the convenience food that we use as emergency standins always seems to have a lot of extra added salt or sugar. We've yet to find frozen chips that don't taste too salty, and the frozen chicken breast we purchased from Safeway was horrible and obviously injected with lots of water. My current impression is that rather than shopping in one place, people mix where they shop to maximise quality and minimise price appropriately. I.e. buy cupboard essentials/bulk buy from Walmart/CostCo, get meat and veg from Trader Joe's/Farmer's markets. Safeway seems to have a reasonably wide selection but is bad on price and quality.
great post and very useful for someone like me (moving with kids in 2 months), thanks
karenkaren1 is offline  
Old Apr 8th 2018, 5:26 pm
  #3  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Temecula, CA
Posts: 4,759
GeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Thoughts month after moving into Bay Area

Interesting viewpoints. One thing I'd like to point out is to rarely take anything somebody tells you in an "official" capacity as true at face value. I think you've been misled a couple of times and assumed it was a fact.

An International Driver's License is a waste of money and time. CarMax might have liked one but it's more likely to be an ignorant salesman. All the information is on your DL already so getting an "English" translation is pointless.

UPS/Fedex/USPS/etc all ring the doorbell when they leave stuff here but yes, parcels at the front door.

Chicken: bear in mind that here when you get "fresh" chicken from the supermarket, it is likely to have been down to -3.33c - but they claim it's not frozen. Yeah right. Thank the likes of Foster Farms for that legal technicality. Add to that the supermarkets' ability to keep it (not) frozen seems somewhat suspect.

Talking of storage, that fresh, shiny apple you bought? Likely to be a year old. You'd think the food bowl of American could bring us our veg to the supermarket in short order but no, a lot has been stored for a long time - and I'm not even talking about strawberries in March but things that are in season. Ironically 99c stores and the like sometimes have vegetables that are way more fresh than the supermarkets. Try to locate a decent farmers' market - there seem to be two types: those that sell fancy crap for fancy prices; and those that sell mud-encrusted carrots (but fresh) for a fraction of the supermarket price.

Deposits for lack of credit vary widely. We've had anything from $50 to $350. Even after 5 years and switching to a new water company, we still had a $200 deposit. We just passed the six year point and still get a ding on our credit report for lack of history length.

Incidentally I had fraudulent direct debits set up on my account in the UK no less than six times, two sets of three. The second set was after I insisted on a new account number - but they stupidly linked the accounts so anybody with the old sort code and account number could - and did - set up DDs on my account. I switched banks. But yes, exactly the same can and does happen here in the US with the same information.

Talking of salt, I had an Arby's last week. BBQ sandwich and loaded fries, just regular portions. Tasted salty so I looked it up: 1.2x my daily sodium allowance in one meal!. Yoy have to really watch the dry seasoning mixes / Schwartz spice jar kind of things as often the first ingredient on those is salt. Go GF like I did for a couple of months (IBS experiment) and you'll be shocked at the additives added to a lot of those foods to make them palatable.

I find US call centers can go both ways. Some can be extremely helpful and will just refund/credit you for a mistake, no questions asked. Others can be "computer says no" even when you know you are in the right. Fight. Fight for everything. When spelling my name, or anything else, it's easier to use simple terms like "A for apple", "M for mother" for US call centers; while Asian call centers often understand the phonetic alphabet (Alpha, Charlie, Echo etc). "I'll call you back" from a US call center is usually code for "you won't hear from me again".

When you get your mystery medical bills, fight. Question everything. We've had so many that were just plain bullshit - but they won't fix them unless you really fight. I had two separate bills from doctors that I never saw, yet took 15 months each to fix. Misdiagnosis also seems common: our son went for an updated autism evaluation now he's older, with a insurer-suggested doctor who decided there was nothing wrong with our son (his other doctors have him on meds, he's in special ed, he's got medical records to show "problems", and we get respite care, yet this doctor saw him for an hour and decided we're barking mad).

Keep good tax records. It'll be easier when you come to do your taxes if you've done some organisation during the year. Products like TurboTax can ask pertinent questions but you'll still do well to research what you can and can't claim beforehand. I find my US tax forms much easier to complete than self assessment in the UK, but still takes a couple of days (including a business).
GeoffM is offline  
Old Apr 8th 2018, 6:53 pm
  #4  
BE Enthusiast
 
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 935
sherbert has a reputation beyond reputesherbert has a reputation beyond reputesherbert has a reputation beyond reputesherbert has a reputation beyond reputesherbert has a reputation beyond reputesherbert has a reputation beyond reputesherbert has a reputation beyond reputesherbert has a reputation beyond reputesherbert has a reputation beyond reputesherbert has a reputation beyond reputesherbert has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Thoughts month after moving into Bay Area

Re where to buy food: avoid Safeway. I buy a lot of food items from CostCo (their own brand stuff is really very good: olive oil, ravioli, washing detergent etc). Trader Joe's (owned by Aldi) - look here for your frozen chips. Whole Foods has all the name brand stuff you'd find in Safeway and lots of organic stuff too. Prices have dropped slightly since Amazon took over and I've not seen any difference in quality of the salad bar/take away options.

You'll find some Euro/Brit imports in some of the dollar/99c/Big Lots stores too. The Grocery Outlet has some great stuff but check that everything is in date (they sell products a week past the sell by date by default): I saw Cheshire Cheese in there the other day for $2. I buy a lot of wine here as they have good new world and European wines for around $4 a bottle. In an emergency (kid's bday party or something) you can find all your faves from home (at a premium) in the Costplus World Market.

And advice to newcomers yes, get everything sorted ASAP the moment you arrive: driver's licence and bank accounts should be sorted in week 1.
sherbert is offline  
Old Apr 8th 2018, 6:57 pm
  #5  
 
N1cky's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Google Town
Posts: 7,530
N1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Thoughts month after moving into Bay Area

Is it you who moved to Los Altos? If so, go to The Milk Pail on the corner of San Antonio and California in Mountain View. Their produce is excellent and cheap, they have over 100 cheeses from all over the world, they sell Acme bread, which is the best bread in the area, they have a small English section where you can buy HP, salad cream... at Christmas they even have Thornton’s stuff. They are also a great family business who look after their staff.

We buy all our meat from Sprouts, it’s good quality, good price and not frozen. Their butcher counter also have good items. We also buy most of our cupboard items from here.
N1cky is offline  
Old Apr 8th 2018, 6:58 pm
  #6  
Concierge
 
Rete's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 44,012
Rete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Thoughts month after moving into Bay Area

Originally Posted by SherlockFan View Post
Hi all,


There is an aversion to installing ceiling lights (i.e a light that hangs down from the ceiling), especially in bedrooms - I guess they just buy uplighters or desklamps?
My Canadian husband, now USC, has been complaining about this for 20 years. We now own a home with ceiling lights in every bloody room and hallway.


Banking/Commerce
Debit cards are accepted most places, and they do have chip and pin. How you interact with the machine changes depending on the type of device - some you always put your chip in the chip slot and type your PIN, others you swipe down the side of the machine and still type your pin. Do not be lulled into thinking that just because they have the same machines that everything is the same as the UK though - debit cards seem to have a maximum transaction limit of around $5000.
Never heard of this $5,000 transaction limit on a debit card but then again, I wouldn't use my debit card for that large a transaction. I hate the $500 per day cash withdrawal on your debit card.


[/quote]


We also managed to get the entire account locked down for 72 hours by cashing a check from my wife's work (I still don't really understand this one), so my general advice is to err on the side of caution and check in with the bank that everything is running as you expect.
She should be enrolled with her company for direct deposit and never have to cash a check from the office again.

Joint accounts do exist, though I don't think they call them that, my wife and I both have access to the same account just by going into the bank and signing the correct form. An interesting fact here is that I bought my social security envelop being delivered as proof of address but the teller was more interested in the postmark on the letter as proof of address.
Yes, it is called a joint account. Our checking account for household bills is called a joint account by the bank and either one of us can withdraw or deposit into said account. We also have individual checking and savings account with the other as a beneficiary but no power/ability to withdraw funds.


DirectDebits don't really exist in the same form, and in fact the system is a lot weaker. To my mind a direct debit is a way that I can authorise someone to charge my bank account to debit me money, but only if I explicitly set it up to do so by filling in a form. From what I can tell, if you give someone your US account number and routing code, ANYONE can debit money out of your account (which is probably why in my earlier response some people were dead set against sharing out that information!) This is also why this information is treated as very special information, when you login to your internet bank account it won't tell your details, and in fact that only reference to those details we have is one letter the bank sent us when we first moved in.
Perhaps not in the same form but Chase has been advertising this for years and now other banks have it and it is called Zeller.

Food
My current impression is that rather than shopping in one place, people mix where they shop to maximise quality and minimise price appropriately. I.e. buy cupboard essentials/bulk buy from Walmart/CostCo, get meat and veg from Trader Joe's/Farmer's markets. Safeway seems to have a reasonably wide selection but is bad on price and quality.
I have 3 markets that I shop at here in Mississippi. Only had one while living just outside of metropolitan NYC. Down here one is for fresh produce; one for meat and one for canned items. In season, fresh produce is bought at a farm stand and/or farmer's market.

Costco (only one C is a capital letter) is okay for some products if you don't mind buying in bulk. Their meats and fish are normally inexpensive and good grade. The imported cheeses are nice but very expensive. Try Trader Joe for that at least other expats swear by TJ.

Last edited by Rete; Apr 8th 2018 at 7:01 pm.
Rete is offline  
Old Apr 8th 2018, 7:17 pm
  #7  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Temecula, CA
Posts: 4,759
GeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Thoughts month after moving into Bay Area

Originally Posted by Rete View Post
Never heard of this $5,000 transaction limit on a debit card but then again, I wouldn't use my debit card for that large a transaction. I hate the $500 per day cash withdrawal on your debit card.
Pretty sure we have a transaction limit on our Wells Fargo joint account debit cards, though like you I wouldn't use it for large transactions. We do have a $310 ATM limit though... on an ATM network that dispenses only $20 notes everywhere I've used. It's been that limit for years but I rarely use cash. Similarly we can only auto pay somebody $2500 per 30 days: bank said an algorithm automatically adjusts that upwards after a while of use but it's the same a year later. Royal PITA when we had to pay our landlady in February (28 days), had to go into the bank to do it = more time wasted. We also have a deposit limit - WTF?! Two cheques to deposit, one had to be at the counter because we'd hit the random limit.
GeoffM is offline  
Old Apr 8th 2018, 8:26 pm
  #8  
Concierge
 
Rete's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 44,012
Rete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Thoughts month after moving into Bay Area

Having worked for a law firm where Wells Fargo was one of our corporate clients, I will never use them. Never heard of a deposit limit. At Citibank at the ATM you can deposit up to ten checks at one time.
Rete is offline  
Old Apr 8th 2018, 9:23 pm
  #9  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Temecula, CA
Posts: 4,759
GeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Thoughts month after moving into Bay Area

Originally Posted by Rete View Post
Having worked for a law firm where Wells Fargo was one of our corporate clients, I will never use them. Never heard of a deposit limit. At Citibank at the ATM you can deposit up to ten checks at one time.
Hah, well when I first came here I was with HSBC for banking. After they lost a bunch of signed legal documents I had to make a second round trip to Los Angeles to do it again, so now nearly 2 entire days wasted as it was a 2-3 hour drive each way. Then their key fob thing didn't work, then something else happened... I ended up switching to WF which was at least local.

However, WF for mortgages was a disaster for us. Twice. Made an appointment, turned up, made to wait an hour beyond our appointment time, had all the paperwork they needed. Then waited for the pre-approval. And waited. And found another mortgage company who gave us pre-approval overnight. Finally, once we closed, WF came back to us and said "thank you for your application. Please submit X" (which they had 6 weeks earlier). They expressed surprise at my anger.

Apart from the limits, WF have been okay for day-to-day banking. I just learnt that certain limits apply to each account though, so I could have deposited that second cheque into our savings account. Still bonkers though. Mobile deposits are usually cleared overnight on banking days; in-branch deposits usually take a day longer for some reason.
GeoffM is offline  
Old Apr 8th 2018, 10:02 pm
  #10  
Concierge
 
Rete's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 44,012
Rete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Thoughts month after moving into Bay Area

In my working days, I couldn't live without direct deposit. It made life so easy. Used the firm's banking institution, pay check was deposited the night before payday and the morning could be withdrawn immediately. No fees, no worry about getting to the bank on time or having to use the ATM, no waiting for the check to clear if I didn't have enough to cover it in the account. Now social security is mandatory direct deposit only bitch with that is they change the date of payment. Date depends on when the second Wednesday of the month falls on. But again, not a problem just a pita.
Rete is offline  
Old Apr 9th 2018, 3:36 pm
  #11  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 8
SherlockFan is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Thoughts month after moving into Bay Area

She should be enrolled with her company for direct deposit and never have to cash a check from the office again.
She is enrollled, but apparently it will take an unknown number of pay cycles to kick in. In hindsight, the first pay check inlcuded some expenses for relocation which probably pushed it over a fraud threshold.

An International Driver's License is a waste of money and time. CarMax might have liked one but it's more likely to be an ignorant salesman. All the information is on your DL already so getting an "English" translation is pointless.
Well, an ignorant salesman, his manager, and the manager's manager. I agree that you shouldn't need to do it - feel free to change the advice to be wary of going to CarMax in Freemont with only your Uk license.

Is it you who moved to Los Altos?
Menlo Park, my wife has a job in Foster City. Currently sitting in an unfurnished house waiting for furniture and my collection of boardgames to turn up.

Keep good tax records
That is something we're not used to, as part of the package we have an accountancy firm to do our taxes for the first few years, but I guess we still need to keep track of receipts. I am trying to get into the habit of taking a photo of them, but its early days yet.
SherlockFan is offline  
Old Apr 9th 2018, 4:24 pm
  #12  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Temecula, CA
Posts: 4,759
GeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond reputeGeoffM has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Thoughts month after moving into Bay Area

Originally Posted by SherlockFan View Post
That is something we're not used to, as part of the package we have an accountancy firm to do our taxes for the first few years, but I guess we still need to keep track of receipts. I am trying to get into the habit of taking a photo of them, but its early days yet.
It's just holding on to receipts for important stuff, but then I go through my credit card statements online to pick out anything I missed. Not onerous; just something to be aware of. The "shoebox of receipts" is a Thing when you do your accounts yourself.
GeoffM is offline  
Old Apr 9th 2018, 8:58 pm
  #13  
Just Joined
 
Joined: Oct 2016
Location: Los Altos hopefully
Posts: 28
Andyoxon is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Thoughts month after moving into Bay Area

Hi Nicky, thanks for the recommendation on the Milk Pail
Regards, “Andy from Los Altos although may be moving to near Blossom Hill”





Originally Posted by N1cky View Post
Is it you who moved to Los Altos? If so, go to The Milk Pail on the corner of San Antonio and California in Mountain View. Their produce is excellent and cheap, they have over 100 cheeses from all over the world, they sell Acme bread, which is the best bread in the area, they have a small English section where you can buy HP, salad cream... at Christmas they even have Thornton’s stuff. They are also a great family business who look after their staff.

We buy all our meat from Sprouts, it’s good quality, good price and not frozen. Their butcher counter also have good items. We also buy most of our cupboard items from here.
Andyoxon is offline  
Old Apr 9th 2018, 9:06 pm
  #14  
 
N1cky's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Google Town
Posts: 7,530
N1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Thoughts month after moving into Bay Area

Originally Posted by Andyoxon View Post
Hi Nicky, thanks for the recommendation on the Milk Pail
Regards, “Andy from Los Altos although may be moving to near Blossom Hill”
You're welcome, glad the info came in useful for someone. I knew someone had said Los Altos.

Blossom Hill in San Jose? What happened to Los Altos, didn't you just move here a couple of months ago?
N1cky is offline  
Old Apr 10th 2018, 10:58 am
  #15  
Just Joined
 
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 7
Fivehals is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Thoughts month after moving into Bay Area

This is a really interesting post, thank you!
We have encountered many of these things already and we haven’t even moved yet haha. My husband is now there permentanly and we (the children and I) are hoping to join him in 3 weeks time or so 😄 we’ll be living in Campbell.
Fivehals is offline  

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.