Monday, March 31, 2008

New car is home....I'm happy

New car is home. I put literally nothing down and got $391 a month for 36 months. It's another lease. It's $65 a month cheaper than a 60 month purchase. In 3 years I can once again walk away or buy it for $12K. I think it will be worth a little less. We will see. The money factor I got was .00189 which converts to a 4.5% interest rate. Not bad at all. I got the windows tinted darkest legal upfront and super dark in the back. Looks slick. I think I was attracted to the 5 because it reminds me of my Matrix. I liked the versatility of the Toyota Matrix. The new Matrix literally cost as much as a Mazda5...but the Matrix is much smaller. Now to order the navigation system and all weather floor mats!



Saturday, March 29, 2008

New Ride

New ride purchase/lease is almost done. Picking it up Monday. Decided on a Black Mazda5 Grand Touring WITHOUT Navigation. Spending the $2K on Nav wasn't justifiable for an inferior navigation unit to what I have now. I can install my own with more features (like a backup camera) for under $900. I am going to use birthday money from the best mother in law in the world along with a little savings to pay for it. The dealership is awesome. Shockingly straight forward. Through my employment with American Eagle I get S plan pricing. The Sticker price is $23K 'S' Plan price is $21558. I then get $1250 off for lease cash bringing it down to $20308. They are taking $500 additional off because it has 811 miles on it. It's brand new...just been moved around a lot. The price is then $19808. For my Acura I owe $17400 ($17K + $380 early lease termination). The dealer is giving me $17750. Bringing the price down to $19558. The residual value of the car is expected to be $11K in 3 years. The lease payments should fall between $345 -$380. I am adding window tint, homelink rearview mirror and rear bumper guard. I'm happy.

I was going to go through a leasing company but the agent I was dealing with gave me a bad feeling as I could not get a solid or ballpark interest rate or money factor (interest rate for leases) from him. By going through Mazda I get $1250 lease cash I would not have been able to get going through a separate company.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Car is in Texas somewhere. Talking over the $2000 price tag for the navigation system....pretty hefty. I still have time to decided if I REALLY want it or not. I enjoy it. One thing that will be annoying is that it can't be used while driving while my current one can. If I decide against it I can get the color combo I want (black/black) right away. If I go without I could always install a better more functional unit myself. One unit in particular will allow a backup camera and NAV for under $1000. Things to ponder.....Oh yeah the unit is the Pioneer AVIC-D3X


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Birthday in Canada

Canada looked a lot like the United States...only more boring. Well I can't say all of Canada...but at least Toronto and areas south to Niagra Falls. I quickly got used to the whole Kilometers thing. I never went faster than 100 KM/hr which is 62 MPH. The PT Cruiser rental had a trip computer which read 9.0 liters per 100KM...I think. Gas was expensive equating to almost $4 a gallon ($1.079 per liter almost 4 liters in a gallon). Once we arrived we drove straight to Niagara Falls. The Falls were neat..not really impressive...just neat. We then gambled and lost. For dinner we went to Frickers. A neat pub...good beer semi expensive. Yadda yadda yadda we went to bed early. The next morning we were in search of breakfast. I wanted a simple buffet. I rolled upon a place that advertised $6.95 all you can eat breakfast. In fact all they sold was a breakfast buffet. The selection was quite simple...but good. We thought we were getting a cheap meal. Nope. Water...bottled only....$2.95. Coffee....I had one cup.....$2.85. After all said and done it was a $22 meal. Won't go there again.

For the flight back we checked in early and were high on the list. The flight there netted us both first class seats. On the way back....only on first class seat open. Kelli didn't want it so I took it. I had a nice grilled Salmon lunch. Cheap weekend. We used hotel points for a free room. Rental car was $36 all in. Flight round trip was just under $100 round trip for both of us. Not too bad. Once again we have gambled on Easter 3 years running!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

31.....feels the same as 30...but

So over the past few months I have been aging. Sure everyone ages...but I am doing it in an odd way. For example, I have started holding things I am reading far from my face as though I can't read them close up. Truth is I can read them fine close or far....but I still hold them far out. I have also started making what can only be described as "old man noises". Moans, groans and sighs. Quite odd. I can feel I am getting older too. I spent a day weeding the lawn. My thighs and knees were in pain the next day. All in good time I guess. I still "think" I'm young. I still live by if you can't laugh you can live. On my 21st birthday I enjoyed my first cuban cigar. Quite well....bleh. Won't do that again. Damn thing cost $20! I smoked the whole thing though over two sessions. I shouldn't say smoked....more "held in my hand and sucked on it till it was gone" as you don't inhale cigars. Good times.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

It's my birthday and I'll fly where I want to........

So my birthday is coming up Friday. The big 31. Kelli and I have this thing where we have gambled on every Easter since we were married. Well flying on Sundays is risky business so we decided to gamble on Saturday. Originally we were going to go to Shreveport. Not great...but it's a casino. Then I got to thinking.....where else can we fly that has a casino? Lots of places really. Vegas is are full. Kansas City and St. Louis...same thing. Then I thought north. Way north. CANADA!!! Flights to Toronto are wiiiiiiiiide open. There is a casino one hour north but then I thought....what about south? Niagra Falls has a casino and the Niagra Falls tourist thing. Being the travel specialist I am I booked a rental car for $31 USD all in, free hotel via points and the flight will cost us what the hotel would have cost for one night. Cheap trip. Plus we can use our passports. Our friends Lacy and Raymond were going to go (Raymond's sister works for AA and can use her flight benefits) but the amount they pay for flights is 2X what we pay as they are a lower level. Boo. Fly up Friday morning and fly back Saturday evening. We are going to do a small amount of gambling, see the falls and maybe an IMAX. The drive from Toronto to Niagra Falls is about 90 minutes. The Buffalo, NY airport is closer, but there is no direct flight from DFW and I loathe connecting in Chicago. Should be a fun trip. Gotta travel now....once the kiddo will be much more complicated.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The car has been chosen

So I am going to replace my TSX with a Mazda 5. Big change. The only luxury items I am giving up are homelink auto-dimming rearview mirror (although I can add one for a stiff $300), dual zone automatic climate control (now just single zone), power seats and the need for premium gas. The leasing company I am working with just called. Only one Black/Black Mazda 5 Grand Touring w/Navigation in the country....and it's in Nebraska. DOH! My second choices are dark gray (which I have right now) and dark blue (which I had on the previous car). Selling a black car in Texas is hard anyways. The Mazda5 has everything else my car has and gets similar gas mileage. I took my car to Carmax yesterday (which if you EVER want to trade in a car go there first!) and they offered me $17,500. I "owe" $17,090. The dealer offered me $16,300. Once I figure in the cost of the new tires I will need to buy in the next 5000 miles at $850 (a decent quality named brand tire is $180 a piece plus install and yadda yadda yadda) and the fact that I won't need premium gas anymore I am way ahead. Now it's just finding the car.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Weekend with my brothers

Went to Houston for a Bachelor party. The party was for my little brother in my fraternity. I haven't been out with my fraternity brothers in at least two years. The night started at Hooters. I had parked the car next door at the hotel . I had three beers and was feeling pretty good. We went back to the hotel and then headed out on the party bus. First stop was a bar. Just a few guys bought a lot of drinks for everyone. Shots were flowing. I left there feeling really good. We then went to club named after the top floor of a hotel. The atmosphere was just average. We left at 1AM. I took a shower and went to bed at 2AM which was now 3AM thanks to daylight savings time. I ended up waking up at 6:15 and headed to the airport. Getting through security was easy being in uniform...but the two normal passengers a head of me ignored the repeated warnings to take out liquids and laptops. So I was stuck for a few minutes. The screener tried to hurry up the assistants he called for. They took their time. He did verbally scold them stating because they took so long they delayed a A flight to DFW was leaving at 7:40AM. I cleared security at 7:31AM. I figured the flight had already been electronically closed out but asked the agent anyway. I had not listed myself yet. I literally just walked up. A minute later I was going down the jet bridge. I scored the last seat. I love my perks.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Trying NOT to drive

So with me being of limited funds, I am doing my best to NOT drive. I have done so well that I have only bought gas three times this year. That's it! The last time I bought gas was February 16th. I can go another 100 miles before I have to buy gas again. If I do the minimum driving that's at least until late March. With my limited driving needs this begs the question on should I just lease another car? I have driven less than 4000 miles in the last 6 months. Leasing another car would be cheaper in the short run. Long Since I am of limited funds now and will not be in the future (I get a good sized raise at the end of the year and then a little more each year after) I would be in a better position to buy a car next time. I thought about buying a cheap used car...but my one and only used car experience didn't go well. I think I will either keep my car, buy a new car....or lease a new car. Hmm...yeah....this has been a waste of a post. Oh well....

Saturday, March 1, 2008

So......I dunno what to do

I thought I wanted a FJ Cruiser or a Scion XB. I test drove both today. The XB is neat....but a little too cheap inside. The seats didn't have seatback pockets, no homelink .....and....hmmm...guess that's about it. The FJ Cruiser was nice and big....but had even more negatives. The dealer tried to play the numbers game. I told him I didn't want to as Kelli was tired. He did a "we will give you more for your trade" BS by inflating the price of the car. I was gone. The XB will stay on my list....IF I got leather in it then it would have seat back pockets...and homelink (which we use to open our garage) can be added also.

The XB makes the most sense. It's in my price range, I can get it with what I want for under $21K. The 4 Cylinder buzziness was a little annoying...but I would rarely have to buy gas. lease? I REALLY should buy. *shrug*. The FJ Cruiser is off the list without a doubt. Dunno what else to look at. I am very picky. Maybe a Toyota 4Runner....used one likely. No Fords (Escape Hybrid maybe...but it's too small). No Hondas. No Nissans. No Mitsubishis. No Acuras. No Lexus. No Hyundais. Maybe a Prius....but again it's out of my price range.

Funny thing my leasing company called today asking what I was going to do with the car. The current payoff if I wanted to keep it is $18,900. The price will be $15,200 in August. That's $3700 lower. In that time I will pay $1600 in payments. Hmmm....what to do.