Well, there’s been a whole lot of progress on just about every front. Lauren and I found an apartment that we like. It’s a swanky 1 bedroom/1 study with a huge living room and equally large master bath. The two bedroom was more expensive but the study in the one bedroom is nearly as large, so it’s a sneaky way of getting two bedrooms if we need’em. The washing machine, dryer, microwave and etc are all included. There’s door front trash pick-up and covered parking. It’s nice. We put down a $250 deposit so that they’ll hold it for us until Sept 30th so we have until then to decide if it’s really the place for us.

I also took some time today and started my school loan consolidation process with LendingTree/CFS. I applied and now I’m at the point where I need to gather up the information and details about my current loans and they’ll contact me by phone later this week. That was the option I chose since I don’t have my loan paperwork with me and that’ll give me a day or two to collect it and/or get it mailed to me.

Tonight we’re also going car shopping. I think we’ll try Toyota and Mazda tonight and Ford and Subaru later this week. Top contenders for cars this time around are pretty much the same as last time. Obviously a new Matrix would but my top choice but a Corolla S is also a consideration. I’d also like to test drive a Mazda Protégé 5 and the “Speed” edition of the regular Protégé. At Ford I plan on checking out the f150s and of course I’ve got to test drive a Subaru WRX at some point. I did a little fact checking and now I know all the dealer invoice prices as well as the average percentage “hold back” that the dealers use for leverage. For example, a Matrix XRS has a MSRP of $18,750 but an invoice price of only $16,960. There’s also a 2% hold back that they use to negotiate and there’s a $1000 rebate in effect. All that junk means that the car cost the dealer approximately $16,500 minus $1000 instant rebate. So, if I can get a Matrix for anything around $16,900 the dealer will have made at least $1200 profit and I’ve gotten a car for below dealer invoice (and obviously well below sticker price). I’ll never pay the sticker price. I know that they add $2000 to the invoice almost instantly and that they CAN go as low as invoice and still turn a profit. Any dealer not willing to work with me on a deal AND still turn a profit isn’t one I’m going to buy a car from. Perhaps I’m being unrealistic about it but I don’t feel like playing good cop/bad cop and I don’t feel like beating around the bush. I know how much the car is worth to the dealer and I want it for an acceptable margin above that. I don’t expect anyone to give me a car without making a profit, that’s unreasonable, but I’m not going to get taken for an extra $4000 when I don’t need to.

Anyway, things are starting to come together. Hopefully the next time I post I’ll have some exciting car news for you. Wish me luck. And a big thanks to everyone for their continued support. It’s very appreciated.

Matt out.