Monthly Archives: April 2005

The point behind rebates. And why I hate mvelopes.com

I have been hearing a lot of commercials and seeing many ads for the website called mveleopes.com

They claim to be a buch better way of managing your money than all the other financial packages out there like Microsoft Money and Quicken, so me, still trying to get a better hold on why I suck so bad, figured I would give it a try.

So I go to their website, and the first thing you see is “Try Mvelopes Personal FREE” then lower on the page, also in big letters it says “30 day FREE trial. Absolutely no obligation”

now you all know how this is going to end up, but let me tell you my point first. I think the whole way the website is constructed and worded is very deceptive, and their whole business model counts on their “valued customers” laziness.

To me, absolutely no obligation means that after the 30 days, if you want to continue using their product, you have to pay, but in reality, their whole plan works the same ways as rebates do.

Does anyone really think all those rebates Best Buy and CompUSA give out are because they are nice? no…its an advertising trick. Lets say they sell a product with a mail in rebate to 50 people. I bet 30-40 of those people never get around to mailing it in, so what the end up doing is getting you to buy a product under the impressive your getting a good deal, but in the end they are really making a killing off of your own laziness.

And this is the same way mvelopes.com works as well. Sure you get 30 days for free, but….if you don’t call before the 30th day, you automatically get billed for it, so me…being lazy, and not having time to wait on hold for 20 minutes while I should be working, never got a chance to call, and then I noticed the charge on my bank statement 2 days after they charge me, so I immediately call them.

Now keep in mind I havn’t touched their horrible web site since like the 2nd day of my free trial because it was junk. it looked like a 6th grader used the site as his “my first web page” project, and to top it off, despite all their pretty little comparison charts about how much better mvelopes.com is to Microsoft.com and Quicken, their product SUCKED. It didn’t even hold a candle. All their claims about how they manage your budget better and such were pure junk….maybe even a pile of feces. After using the product for 2 days, I immediatly went back to Microsoft Money instead. Money isn’t exactly perfect, but at least it is basically a full featured package. mvelopes.com’s whole plan is to basically give you basic access to your account data, but sort all your income/expenses into a series of “envelopes” they even show them as pretty little envelopes, and each envelope is a differant income/expense category.

Saving for aruba? start a new envelope! its basically managing finances for 2 year olds. Worse yet, they claim nothing else out there can “tell you how much money you have left to use. Instead they just tell you how much you spent” Every couple days I open up money, and I can see exactly how much money I wasted, and exactly how many pennies I have left. Its all a bunch of lies.

So I called and tried getting my money back, and the customer support rep, along with his superviser (his name was Tyler) actually laughed at me when I told them my reasoning on how the website is deceptive.

So… if you are looking for ways to manage your money. Don’t use mvelopes.com, mostly because their product sucks, but also because they could care less about their customers. I called them 2 days after my “subscription” started, and the superviser gave me this bullshit argument about how if he refunded me my money, the company would lose money that they put into my accounts setup and continued operation. Those fuck heads. I hope Tyler gets ass raped when he goes to his car today.

If you want any more proof their product sucks, ironically enough I just lost $120 on a product whos sole purpose was to help me manage/save money.

take that to the bank……ohhhhhhhhhhh

mo’ money mo’ problems

So tonight Aimee and I are supposed to meet up with John/Janelle/Cheryl and the gang to see her brothers band play.

The show is at the Paradise Rock Club in boston. Alchemilla plays at 9:30, and it will be a nice change of pace.

What is really said is my whole new “outlook” on money. I must say that it has changed drastically for the better over the last couple months, but it continues to amaze me how easily I can waste money.

For example, just today I was in walgreens waiting for the assholes at the pharmacy counter to stop downing oxycontin long enough to fill my prescription, and every aisle I went down had some stupid worthless piece of crap that I would pick up….look at, seriously consider buying…to the point where I would even walk around with it, then come to my senses and put it back.

Those late night infomercials were made for impulsive people like myself. I can’t even count the number of times I was watched Ron Popeil dazzle me with his rotissery cooker, or that guy/lady that sell the vacuum sealed storage bags. I still want that package, I could condense everything in my bedroom down into like a 3 foot pile. Infomercials are like some kind of drug fix, I actually think they might hide subliminal messages in them, because when you first come accross one, your like eh…this isn’t too interesting, then all of a sudden, its an hour later and your still watching.

I can’t help but look back at some of the past purchases I have made, and wonder how much differant things would be if I just wasnt such a dumbass.

I get upset for a couple minutes almost every day when I get home and remember I have a room full of drums that I have now managed to touch a total of 2 times since I moved. 2 times! at one point I was practicing for hours every day. You couldn’t even get a hold of me until 7:30pm or so on a friday because of my drum lessons. I can only wonder how things are going to be after I finally pass the real estate exam, which better be on May 5th, because them I am going to have to work my ass off to prove I can do this. Due to the stupid rules, I am probably going to start being a sales agent at least $1,000 in the hole, but I think there is a good chance I can get this to work.

It’s just really wierd trying to go from a “i am going to blow every penny I make as soon as possible” mentality to trying to save every penny I make.

damn I am a tool

September 3rd

So it is now official.

September 3rd, 2006 is the big day. Its a sunday….labor day weekend, at the Ocean View in Nahant. You’re all most likely invited.

All is really like the 6 people I know, so be thankful.

On an unrelated note, I have set out to discover how to extend the hours of the day to 34 hours. I figure this would give me the extra time I need to actually be able to do things every day, since for some reason I don’t seem to have time for anything anymore.

So far the best idea is a large parachute that will slow down the earths rotation, thereby extending the hours of the day.

If you have a better idaea, please tell me

police state

So before work today, I had to bring my dog for his monthly percoten-v shot, which means I got to pay $3 for the luxury of going over the fabulous tobin bridge.

When I get to the toll booth, a statey pulls in behind me. Now, due to my “somewhat tarnished” driving record, when a cop car pulls up behind me, I instantly panic.

No matter what, where or when it happens, I see a cop, and I instantly have to do a quick inventory in my head. The same questions always run through my mind.
a) is there anything that shouldn’t be in the car? (weapons, alcohol, tied up children…etc)
b) does the car have anything wrong with it (broken lights, expired sticker…etc)
c) is your seat belt on?
d) are you acting weird, or where you driving too fast?

now this is where the cache-22 comes in. Now I know a cop is behind me, so now your stuck over compensating and end up probably acting more guilty just because you too busy trying to seem as legal and innocent as possible.

and that is the problem all together. How does it get to the point where I almost have a stroke if a cop pulls up behind me? I feel like a rape victim, all vulnerable and scared.

So now this cop though, he did was most cops I see do. A little thing called abusing your power. This guy slams on the gas after the toll booth, and rode my ass like a black guy in prison. He did that the entire ride up until I almost hit the waste-of-my-money tunnel, then he switches lanes when he finds an opening, and speeds off…way over the speed limit. Who watches those assholes? who pulls them over? What kind of message does that send? its okay to speed as long as I am a fat ass shit head with a over inflated ego and a superiority complex?

I am wondering when I will meet a “good cop”. If anyone knows of one, tell me

the real estate exam

As I may have mentioned in previous posts, I decided I want to try selling real estate part time.

I signed up and took the class, finished it, then had to make up a class because the teacher was a tool.

This brings me to my big rant of the day. It seems more often than not teachers have little interest in their job. They are not passionate about it, and because of that they essentially fail as teachers. I am not saying all teachers suck, in fact during the class I made up, the teacher for that one I thought did an excellant job.

So in this real estate class example, I paid $180 to take a mandatory real estate course. You need to take the course to take the exam, and the course is supposed to teach you everything you need to know in order to pass. Now, part of that $180 fee is the cost of the book they give you. The teacher that taught the class was depending mostly on you going home and reading/learning on your own.

Does that seem to make much sense? If I wanted to just read the whole thing at my house, why take the class? The teacher droned on for house each twice a week just rattling off vocabulary words verbatim from the book.

That is not teaching. Why take the job of being a teacher if you don’t actually want to do it? On top of that, he cared so little about the course, that he didn’t even bother to read the syllabus that everyone got at the beginning of the class. It clearly said that if Salem State cancels its classes due to inclement weather, so do they.

So one day it snows, Salem State cancels class, and I don’t go to this class. About half the class did, the half that did where the teacher, and a bunch of foreigners that hadnt read the syllabus. In fact, they were the ones that thought that “6-10″ meant that the class started at 6:10 instead of what it really means, that the class runs from 6 to 10.

You need to attend each class to get the certificate to take the test, so I had to make up the one I “missed”. Since it was the 6th out of 7 classes, I had to make up the 6th class of the next course when it started 2 weeks later.

Now this is where this guys lack of teaching skills and irresponsibility came into full affect. I wanted to take the test as soon as I possibily could. This way all the useless crap they make you learn is fresh in my brain. So now, I can’t take the test until I make up the class. The next course starts 2 weeks after mine finished, and then the class I had to make up was 3 weeks after that (2 classes a week). The almost 5 weeks go by, I go to make up the class, and some other dude was running the show this time. I actually learned stuff in that class because he actually cared about his job. The next day I get my stupid certificate, and I call the testing center to schedule an appointment to take the test, which I wanted to take on the coming saturday (it was wednesday). They had no openings until 2 weeks later, on a wednesday. So now, I am up to being forced to wait a total of 7 weeks to take the test.

So for the next 2 weeks off and on I study parts of the book, and then 2 days before the test date I study like crazy. I get all stressed out because I feel like I forgot so much, and then go to take the test.

Now as for the test, its a total of 120 questions.
80 are “general questions”
40 are “state specific questions”

Each section is graded seperately, so if you fail one, you only have to retake one section.

I made the mistake of dedicating the majority of my time to studying the general section, since it covers a vastly larger amount of information, when I really should have problem split up my time better, especially since the shithead that taught the course I took barely covered the state specific stuff.

You get 4 hours to take the test, its all computerized, and I finished maybe 2 hourse in. I pass the general section without much of a problem, and then fail the state section by ONE QUESTION.

Thats right….just one.

Now I get to takethat shitfest again. At least its only 40 question and should be a lot easier to remember now.

What really sucks is that obviously after I pass it, its going to take some time to find a broker I want to work for (and wants me to work for them)..get situated, trained, and maybe actually sell something. I was really counting on getting this started because I could really use the extra money.

Sure I could have studied more, but I still think I would have been in a better position of the “teacher” running the course actually liked his job, instead he bitched about politics and other things that were completely irrelevant to the course.

Crazy Spanish Fella

Today I was on an errand for work, and was at the light next to Bunker Hill Community College waiting to get onto 93 South. There is one car in front of me, it was your typical “spanish car”…being a Honda with dark tinted windows. There is another car next to that one (diagonally in front of me). All of a sudden, the spanish kid in front of me puts his car in park, gets out, opens up the trunk, and pulls out an old aluminum softball bat (it was one of the bats that was extra wide). He then turns to the car next to him and starts threatening the guy with it. The guy in the other car just sits there smoking a cigarette as I wait for some big event to unfold in front of me.

But no….spanish kid instead tries acting all cool and tough, and walks back to his drivers side door, looking at the other kid the whole time, throws the bat in the car, and then gets in. He then realizes that he left his keys in the trunk, and the trunk wide open, so he tries pulling off still looking tough and cool as he gets back out to get his keys and to shut the trunk.

meanwhile I just laugh.

How friggin anti-climactic

The new car

So I have been really trying to finally budget my finances. I think part of it is because I am stubborn, and since I moved out of my parents house, I can do what I want, and now I can budget because I want to, instead of because I was being told to. But thats a side note.

I decided my Lincoln LS was a horribly bad decision to have purchased, and on top of that, it was starting to get old. Yes, I know its only a 2000, but when its a “fake american car” and every time I need to fix something……from suspension parts to headlights….the only place that even knows what I am talking about is the dealership, at which point they happily bend me over and proceed to rape me.

Also, the parts are more expensive than they should be. Part of the reason why I like american cars is because the parts are supposed to be dirt cheap, but this one, being 1) a lincoln, and 2) partially made by jaguar, makes the everything way more expensive than it should be. The bastards claim I am supposed to only put 91+ octane gas in the car. And on top of that, although it had the smallest V8 engine in the world on it (3.9L I believe), the car wasnt the best on gas. I think on average I would get 17mpg on the highway, and probably like 10 city.

So…. I traded the car in before it was too late, and got a 2005 grand am. It was a demo car with about 2,000 miles on it, and with all the “rebates” and shit, it was about $4,000 under retail. So I decided to do it.

This is where typical “Mike Luck” comes into full swing

For starters, I got the car from the GM Dealer on Rt-114 in Danvers. I believe it is called David Farraez Chevrolet. So , we start the whole fun bargaining process. They gave me about $7,000 for my car, and where going to roll the remainder of my car loan on the lincoln onto the new cars loan. (I owed a total of $13,000). I told the dealer that I wanted to finance it, put no money down, trade in my car, and that I wanted the financing to be equal to, or better than, my current financing deal on my car, which was 7.9%, and like $430 a month (I was paying $470 a month though). After he did the whole, i gotta go talk to people back and forth bit..he comes back after a couple tries with a reasonable deal, which was that it would be 8.7% for 72 months, for like $469/month. So I think what the hell, I will just refinance the car in 6 months to a year and get like 6% instead, and I start signing papers.

Then its time to go talk to the finance officer dude. This guy got all pissy with me because I wouldn’t but the gap insurance or the stupid extended warranty, and didn’t want to try bargaining anymore, so I just went with it. He prints out all the crap, is ready to hand the keys over, then remembers that I am registering the car in NH, and then its starts raining fire and brimstone.

They are only “hooked up” to the MA RMV, so I can’t take the car home until I go to NH and get temporary plates, because its also against the dealerships policy to let me leave with the title.

Of course Nashuas town hall is closed on saturday, so monday morning I head over there, and the lady says that since I dont have the title, I have to go to the RMV in Manchester instead, so I head up there. I get my snazzy temporary plate (a piece of cardboard) and drive back down to Danvers. I get there, and the finance guy is like Mike…..I have been trying to reach you all morning! (he called my house once). So he tells me that they couldn’t get me the financing rates i SIGNED on friday. Apparantly they neglected to tell me that on fridays and saturdays, they can’t talk directly to the banks, so they can only get preliminary numbers that are subject to change.

So then he tells me “the best the bank will give us”, because apparantly he is buying the car with me, is 12% interest, and like $490/month.

So I say wait a minute. I told you I was trading in the car to put myself in a better financial position. Why would I go from paying 7.9% interest, for $430 a month, to paying 12% interest at $490 a month? he tries throwing so crap out that its pennies a day and some other bullshit. So I start getting a little agitated, and try explaining to him that I would end up paying like $40,000 for a car that lists for $25,000, and that makes no sense at all, so he says “what if I try and knock a point off?” wait a second. First, you just said that was the best you could do for “us”. Second, how is 10.9% anywhere near 7.9%? I tell him there is no way I could go for that….blah blah blah..

he then says umm….hold on a second, I’ll be right back. He leaves his own office, goes and jerks off in the mens room or something, and then comes back in and says what about 9% at $416 a month? thats the absolute best I can do?

what the hell? mother fucker! he was just fucking with me for the fun of it or something. Their math doesn’t even make sense. So I say fine, and he retypes all the paperwork and then I figure its all set….but wait…..there’s more!

then the moron Finance guy says he needs me to get an insurance binder from my insurance company. Isn’t that his job?

So I call my insurance company, which is Giganti Insurance in Everett, and tell them the deal, they then tell me….whoa…wait a second….NH? we didn’t know anything about that! you can’t have a NH policy from us! They must have never noticed that all the bills and mail they send me say “Nashua, NH” on them.

So at this point my options are register the car at my parents house, which seems illegal to me, and then waste more money to transfer it up to NH later on, or find a new insurance company in NH damn quick.

Then the Geico commerical comes to mind. I could save like 20% on my car insurance! what a load of crap that is.

I call their 800 number, and they are more than happy to instantly setup my insurance policy. They then put me on hold, look up my MA, and NH driving record, come back and say I have a lot of stuff on there.

Oh really? I didn’t know about my extensive driving record that I have been paying dearly for since like 1997.

So she says that putting all that into consideration, my policy would cost a low low price of $3,497 a year, and I only had to make an initial down payment of $800.

wait a second, but what about the commercials! I could save a bundle right? At this point, I am hours late for work, and I just want to leave this dealership, so I say fine, I figure I can work it out later. So I give them the dealerships fax number, and they say they will fax the insurance binder over in 5-10 minutes.

a half hour goes by, and nothing is coming out of the fax machine

so I call back, I get some other lady, she says they might be having problems with their “Fax Gateway” and will try it again, and I should get it in 5-10 minutes

another half hour goes by.

I call back and tell them I have been at this dealership all day waiting, and I need the damn binder so I can leave. This new lady says that the “Fax Gateway” is running an hour behind, and she will have to type the binder up manually an fax it over herself.

Okay great, I don’t really care what you do, just fax it over, so she goes and does her thing, and I finally get the binder.

So now I can FINALLY leave with my new car. But, because of the dealerships policy of not letting me leave with the title, when I go to Nashua town hall to get my real plates and register the car, I need to call the salesman I bought the car from, and he has to drive up to Nashua with the title and such to meet me.

Those cocksuckers! oh well, its his time wasted, not mine. So he drives up wednesday morning and meets me in Nashua at the 7-11, and follows me to the town hall. stands there, and watches me do my thing, then leaves.

They really couldn’t have had just a tiny bit of trust, and let me bring the title up there myself? I dont get to keep anything anyway, because Nashua just mails the real title to the bank I got my loan from. And on top of that, the dealership knows where I live….my social security number, my employer…etc

They could find me in a second.

Then the salesperson tells me I should be getting a survey in the mail soon, and to make sure I rate their service as excellant, because it is real important to them. Yeah…how about fuck you? The salesperson was nice, he did his job, he was stuck with me all day (I left the dealership at 4pm. I got there at like 12) and he had to drive up to Nashua. I’ll give him credit, but fuck his dealership.

Anyway, here is a picture of the car. Also, remember the little accident I was in on the way to work in the tunnel in Boston a couple weeks ago? after the deductable I got a $900 check, which I decided to not give to the dealership when I traded in the car, screw them.

So the next day, I call my old insurance company, and ask how much the policy on the new car would have cost if I stayed in Massachusetts. She tells me it would have been $2,100. Geico was charging me like $1400 more! so I call Geico, and yell at the lady for a half hour trying to get her to explain how they arrive at their rates. The best she could tell me is that they “feed my driving record into the computer, and the computer gives them a rate” so I hang up, look for a local insurance company in Nashua, call them and setup a policy. I guess they go through Progressive insurance, and they ended up being about $2,050 a year, AND I have more coverage on my policy

So whats the moral of the story?

1) Geico sucks, they are a bunch of liars, and their rates suck
2) Apparantly all car dealerships suck
3) I realized yet again why I hate buying cars
4) I still like to complain a real lot