I opened the fridge, I opened a beer, and played a tape I couldn’t hear

Time certainly does fly by these days… Let’s try to play catch up.

Went home to California for my usual birthday trip the first week in May. Had a great time mostly just relaxing with friends and family.

Work is work. Nothing really to report there. I go in around 7 and go home around 3 most days. Occasional early AM deployments and maintenance windows, but that’s about it. I’m content.

On the hosting front, like most industries, there’s been a serious drop off in business. The market has become so completely over saturated with “hosting companies” that there’s just too much competition. I’ve always done serve-you.net because it’s something I enjoy doing, not because it’s going to make me rich. That said, it’s definitely been costing more than it makes lately, so I’ve been working to consolidate servers again, and look for other ways to save money.

Which leads to finance in general. As I last reported in March, I’ve been trying to reel in our spending all around. So far, it’s been going well. I’ve been able to cut costs to the tune of a few hundred a month, without really giving up anything. It’s amazing what a few phone calls can do!

One of my big wins will be when my lease is up on my truck in the fall. I plan to buy something used, and cut a couple hundred a month on my payments, and in turn, save a bit on insurance/taxes as well. In anticipation of this, we decided that we wanted to trade Steph’s car for something that fit our needs a bit better in case whatever I get isn’t the best “touring” vehicle. The 05 Murano was nice, but there were a few things that had bothered us ever since we got it, and the fact that it was depreciating unbelievably quick made me want to pay for it even less.

So I started looking around at what we could get for around the same amount we were paying for the Murano. I had a pretty wide selection of vehicles to choose from at that price range, but we had a lot of little extras that we have grown accustomed to, so that started narrowing the field down.

After a long weekend of test drives and comparisons, we eventually narrowed it down to the new generation (2007-2009) Hyundai Santa Fe Limited. It’s not they “coolest” vehicle around, but the features/price is really unmatched. I did some math, and decided that we might be able to lease a brand new one, for a little more than what it would cost us to buy one a couple years old. We had already pre-qualified for 2 different loans at pretty awesome interest rates, so I figured that we should be able to get a solid money-factor (basically the interest rate in a lease).

So I called the dealer we had been working with, and told him I was interested in a new Santa Fe that they had on their lot. We test drove it, liked it, and sat down with finance to try and make a deal. They came back with a ridiculously high money-factor, and WAY low residual (the amount the car is estimated to be worth at the end of the lease term. combined with the money-factor, this is what determines the payments. low money-factor + high residual = low payment). So I showed them my numbers and told them they were crazy. The finance guy was clueless, and kept calling some other guy. They said they couldn’t get the payment any lower, so we walked. We left feeling defeated, after being so close. I decided that it was for the best anyway, as I’d rather pay less for a used model that isn’t going to depreciate as fast.

When we got back home, we decided to go look at an 07 that we had previously seen at carmax when we got our appraisal on the Murano. We test drove it, and Steph decided that she was willing to compromise on the few things about it. So we bought it. It’s still got like 25k miles/3yrs on the bumper-bumper, and the price was several thousand below blue book, so I was happy. In the end we ended up with a payment of about $40/mo less than the older Murano that had more miles, so we are definitely happy there. Insurance even dropped a little (like .50 cents for the 6 months).

BTW, if you need a car loan, I strongly suggest checking out Pentagon Federal Credit Union. They have really low rates available online, and it was a really simple process. I literally filled out the app online, got approved, then called them when I found the car I wanted, gave them some basic info over the phone, and had them fedex the check the next day! If you are/were in the military, or have an immediate relative that is/was you can join for free. If not, you can become a supporter by donating $20 to their fund.

Other than that, it’s been a lot of the same. I finally broke down and bought Guitar Hero: Metallica. I am completely biased being a Rock Band fan, so I still think the game play blows in comparison, but it’s still a lot of fun. I’ve been able to get through most of the songs on expert, but some of them are just ridiculous as you might expect.

I saw ISIS last weekend, and they were awesome as expected. Definitely glad I made it to that show. Next week is NIN, which I am stoked about. Haven’t seen him/them since 94, and Steph never has. Add Janes Addiction to the mix, and it should be a great night.

Oh yeah, GO LAKERS!