Team Dick

A week has passed – what’s the results?

Posted by @ 5:52 PM on Jul 31, 2011

Hello to you all,

The tallies are in: ~30 cans of soda over a week long period. My greatest in take was during the week, on Wednesday to be specific.

Why do I state approximately 30 cans? It’s hard to judge how many ounces the glass is when you eat out.

What does this mean? I drink way to much soda.

  • Health Related: I’ve been struggling to lose weight for a while, I’ve heard, but not seen actual proof, that caffeine and/or soda can get in the way of this process. Even though all this soda has been ‘diet’ soda, I can only imagine what these chemicals have been doing to my system.
  • Economically: The average 12-pack of soda costs five dollars and some change when it’s not on sale. Cutting down on my intake is going to allow extra money to magically be there, and these days every little bit helps.
  • Other Impacts: Personally I feel my soda intake has affected my ability to donate blood/platelets. Although I did increase the amount of water I drink leading up to an attempt to donate platelets, I had a ‘return fail’ for the second time in a row.  Now I, can’t donate for another 60 days, and even if I attempt to it is heavily recommended to go to a normal blood donation instead of a platelet donation center.

Where does one go from here? I’m giving myself 60 days to change how I drink soda, first thing will be to use the tracking I have and stay under that value from day to day, then go to under half that value. All the while making sure I don’t increase the amounts of coffee or other caffeinated drinks. There will be headache and sluggishness as my body gets used to a lower amount of caffeine in my system.

At a future date I’ll talk about how I’ve been doing.

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Can I do it?

Posted by @ 2:40 PM on Jul 24, 2011

Long time no write, sorry about that.

As John Adams has told me on more than one occasion, ‘your posts don’t need to be anything amazing, insightful or especially funny, just write something.’

So I’m going to document my attempts to lessen the amount of soda I drink. Starting August 1st I will track, document, and comment on my active reduction of soda and other soft drinks. It will also be interesting to see what vice I choose to replace this with.

There are currently 2+ 12 packs of soda in my house. Those won’t last the week if I don’t take specific action to reduce how much of it I drink. So as a measure of how bad my ‘soda addiction’ I’ll post again when it’s all gone.

I estimate I go through at least 12 cans of soda a week, not including what I grab at the office in the afternoon.

Lets see how accurate that is starting now: 2 cans already consumed, Sunday July 24th. I am not going to alter or avoid drinking it if my first impulse is to grab a can.

Talk to you next Sunday.

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On buying a new car

Posted by @ 2:06 PM on Apr 8, 2011

It’s amazing what one learns when they research into buying a car.

There’s sticker invoice price, MSRP, and the real price the dealer pays.

There are various websites, like Edmunds.com on the internet which offer a statistic known as True Market Value. The True Market Value is the average price people in your area have purchased the car for. In some cases this is lower than the printed sticker invoice price. How is this possible?

If you’re thinking about buying a car, do lots of research. Lots and lots of research, not just on the car you want, how much people have paid for it, how to negotiate for it, what tricks car dealers can legally use to inflate the price.

What exactly is dealer prep? In many cases it’s just removing the plastic off the seats, vacuuming the inside and attaching your license plates. Takes a couple hours at most. If the dealer prep fee is $500 you just paid $250 an hour for those minor tasks. In this modern day of electronic information transfer, is the price paid for filing fees really covering the effort to file your title or financing? Should you, the car buyer, pay the dealer for the money they spent to advertise the cars on their lot? Come prepared, bring along your credit history. Bring along online quotes for the car you’re interested in. Bring along estimated values of your trade in.

I’ve come across many recommendations that you should attempt to negotiate the price of the car to 5% over the real dealer cost. Before you can determine the real dealer cost you need to learn if there are any Factory to Dealer Incentives and how much Factory Holdback there is on your car.  Factory to Dealer Incentives is money paid to the dealer by the factory when the car is sold. Factory Holdback (generally 2-3%) is the amount extra charged the dealer by the factory which is then paid back to the dealer after the car is sold. So the Factory to Dealer Incentives and Factory Holdback are really money that the dealer makes on top of what they sell your car for.

So in equation format: Dealer’s Actual Cost = (Invoice Price – Factory to Dealer Incentives – Factory Holdback).

This moves your offer to being Dealer’s Actual Cost + 5%

Not every dealer will publish those values, some will pretend that you’re crazy for even asking about them. Walk away from those dealers.

Remember when you’re buying a car. Until you sign something you can always walk away.

Websites where the information above has come from:

Using the tactics above I recently purchased a new vehicle. In fact just coming armed with the information above lead my sales rep to avoiding discussing those items.

There was a heavy push on the after sale items – additional warranties, paint coating, but I held firm.

The last tip I can offer, arrive at the dealership knowing your credit score and how much local banks will pre-qualify you on an autoloan. My credit score is nearly 800 and the dealership tried to get me to accept a 7.5% interest rate on a loan. Since my bank pre-approved me a 2.99% (for the same number of months) the dealership was forced to either offer me a better interest rate, or risk me walking off the lot. In the end they offered me 2.94% and I drove off the lot with my new Ford Fiesta.

Good hunting!

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