Thursday, August 27, 2009

TD loan is paid off

Some good news on the bank statement this month. This was the final payment on the TD loan. It's good to have it now paid off. It took a while but now it's done. And with that I've now paid off all of the consumer debts.

It was about two years ago that I resolved to fix the debt situation and now I have. The job switch about a year ago helped a lot. I intend to be debt free for the long haul. It's a great way to be. As long as my employment remains stable it should be possible.

There's still some debt left around. There's about a year to go on the Honda loan. That's not a bad debt because I'm getting something for the payments, the car. Plus it's only 1.9% so I could find more profitable uses of any extra money than accelerating the payments on that. It will go away on its own in a few months anyway.

The TD bank watches what's going on. About a week after the final payment a rep called me. He asked if I had any plans for the $200 a month freed up by paying off the loan. He suggested I could put it into an auto deposit into my TD savings account. I think I can do better than a 1% savings account. Thanks for mentioning it anyway.

One thing I did was I canceled the overdraft on my chequing account. It was just a $200 overdraft and I keep a "floor" balance in the account anyway to cover occasional unexpected unbudgeted monthly expenses. So now I'm debt free the overdraft is a remnant of the financial past which can be discarded.

I don't have too much planned for the new $200 a month from paying this off. Like most people in Canada the $200 is nice but it isn't life changing money. I've allocated some of it already. I'll also make some modest lifestyle improvements. A bit of shopping and such. Maybe a little treat or two for myself to mark the milestone. Mostly it will just be absorbed into the existing budget. Now that I'm not putting extra money to accelerate the elimination of the debts, I have some other things I want to work on. Like getting a better place would be nice. That and some other bigger things.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Road trip

I went on a road trip this weekend. I drove to Moncton to see a friend. I hadn't seen him in person in about 4 years, since the Rolling Stones show. I'd been meaning to go since around last summer but now I finally got around to it.

It was a good trip up. It was around 2 1/2 hours. I made good time and the traffic was pretty good. It's always nice when I get to Truro and reach the trans Canada highway. This time I took the left to New Brunswick instead of the right to Cape Breton. Both are great choices. The trans canada around Truro is pretty neat where it has the orange pavement in parts. I wonder what the story is on that.

I always enjoy going on the trans Canada. I always feel like driving clear across Canada to BC and the Pacific ocean when I go on it. That would be a fun thing to do some day. Drive across Canada to BC. Head south and come back east through the USA. Who knows maybe someday.

I arrived in Moncton around 1 PM and made it to my friend's house. We didn't really have a set plan. I mentioned I wouldn't mind seeing if I could find some baseball cards from the 1978 and 1979 sets I've been working on. He'd looked up some local dealers and we spent some time driving around to them. As it happened I didn't find any cards I wanted. That's fine, I didn't really go to Moncton to look for baseball cards. It was something to fill in time and it was pleasant driving around and chatting.

We went out for a late lunch. I suggested Smitty's so we went there. I've always been a fan and I hadn't been there in around a year. I had the western skillet and vanilla milkshake and it was good. And filling.

By then it was getting later in the afternoon. It had been overcast most of the day but then the sun came through bright and hot. We considered heading to Parlee beach to get some sun and sand and check out some eye candy but alas it was getting time to head back home. We'd just planned for a day trip and that was fine. I was there for around 4 hours so it was a good visit. I've visited him in the past in Moncton back in 2005 and 1997. Back then I stayed overnight and left the next day. In the past though we liked to drink heavily when we hung around. Today he doesn't drink anymore. So Moncton on a Saturday night with no alcohol just wasn't doing it for me. And he had tentative plans for the evening so it was all good.

The trip back home was good. Along the way I took a side trip off the main highway and that was a worthwhile and interesting visit.

Friday, August 14, 2009

new tv

I picked up a new tv last weekend.

My old tv is giving out. And it is an old tv. Very small, mid 80s vintage I would guess. Still it has run pretty well the last couple of years so that's fine. But two weeks ago the color gave out on it and it was coming in black and white. That's not good on a small screen.

So off I went seeking a new tv. I wasn't really looking for anything special. I don't have digital cable and the only show I regularly watch is Friday night SmackDown. Plus I don't have a lot of space where I'm at so I didn't want anything too expensive or space hungry.

At the store I quickly settled on the 26 inch size. That's small by today's standards, but it's about twice the size of my old tv. They look ok and the price was about as much as I wanted to spend.

I started at Sears Halifax Shopping Centre. Then I remembered there was a Sears Home in Bayers Lake along with the Brick, Future Shop and Ashley. After going to a few places the best deal was at Sears Home in Bayers Lake. I ended up getting a Samsung 26 inch. It was $565 original but there was a weekend special 15% off there. Once you add tax and the hefty environment fee back on it brought it back to a bit under $600.

This tv should be fine for me. The screen looks ok, especially with a game console. The remote is pretty good too it is well designed the major functions are right there. I'm glad I got it at Sears. All things considered, I would rather go with Sears for a major purchase. I hope the Samsung is a good purchase. My monitor is also Samsung and that has been working well since I got it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bridge walk

I went to the Halifax bridge walk this year earlier this month. I went with the kids and it was a good time.

It was cool walking across the span. We parked on the Dartmouth side and ended up remarkably close as it turned out. It was a great day for it, very warm. It's a great view from up there. It is pretty high up. It was a little bit scary the first time across looking down for the first time from that height.

I had never walked across the bridge before. Although it was always something I had wanted to do. I'm glad I did it. I will hope to do it again some time. We ended up going a bit by accident. I just checked the web site to see if anything was happening for natal day that was convenient and that's when I saw the bridge walk.

It was well organized. When we got back across to the Dartmouth side there were some good bouncy castles for the kids. There was also cake. We were a bit lucky the kids ended up getting the last of the cake.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Petro Canada Olympic Glasses

I picked up some Vancouver 2010 Olympic Glasses at Petro Canada recently. I had been meaning to get them. I got the two that are out, I hadn't got around to getting the first one yet.

I got it at the Main Street Petro Canada. I wonder if they are selling a lot of them. I noticed there's now a deal where they throw in a bottle of coke if you buy two glasses. At the Main Street store there seemed to be a fully stocked display. Maybe it was the store but there was a layer of dust on the boxes.

It seems like a good buy anyway. They are only $4 anyway and the glasses are fairly nice. I actually needed some new glasses anyway so this was timely. Plus some of it does go to the athletes so we get to help out in that way.

I remember the original glasses promotion for Calgary 1988. A lot of those glasses are still around, just like in the commercials. My parents still have at least some of the glasses they got back then.

It's nice in a way to now be in the generation who buys the Petro Can Olympic glasses.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Baseball cards update

Another baseball cards update. I was back on sportlots looking for 1978 o pee chee. They did have a few there.

I ordered five cards that I needed. As usual with sportlots it seems there were complications. One order was marked filled and then a few days later the seller changed it to credit/refund. I guess he realized he didn't have the card.

For another seller I marked the order as non delivery in early August as it had been marked shipped on July 6. However the seller said it had been sent. It did arrive last week postmarked July 30. So much for being shipped on July 6. I gave that seller a "neutral" rating.

Sometimes I wonder about these seller ratings on sportlots. They all seem to be 90+ percent positive. Yet in the three orders I've made I've had to deal with non-deliveries and late deliveries.

In any case I was able to advance the 1978 set a bit. I now have 17 cards to go on that set. There may be some new things to look into to see if I can find the remaining cards from those sets. I have a couple of ideas still to try.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Bought some music online

After seeing KISS I wanted to put together a CD of my favorite songs. Like many artists with a mid to large catalog there are a number of KISS albums and greatest hits albums. But none that quite had just what I wanted.

I checked out itunes first but I couldn't really understand the user interface. And it seemed pretty Apple specific as far as I could tell.

I wasn't interested in using a piracy/virus site like kazaa or limewire. I tried out puretracks for no special reason. I remember hearing of them in the past with tv commercials a couple of years ago. I didn't know much about them. I searched on them and there was a wikipedia note. I didn't see anything questionable so they seemed legit. I hope they are legit.

puretracks was actually very good. The site is really well organized and super easy to navigate and search. They had anything from KISS you could want. Plus it was interesting they sold in mp3 format. Which is great because I just bought a CD from the dollar store for $1 and burned the songs I bought onto there using windows media player. Now I can listen to the disc in my car just like I wanted.

I ended up ordering 9 KISS songs. Plus I tacked on bohemian rhapsody from Queen which is not on Queen greatest hits for some unknown reason. The price was right, most of the songs were $0.99 each, all in Canadian money. A couple of the bigger hits were $1.29. So it worked out well. I was able to put together the 10 songs I wanted for only about $15 total.

My experience with puretracks was all positive. I would go there again.

Plus I should shout out a plus to Eastlink high speed internet. The download speeds on the music were consistently around 10Mbps+ just like they advertise; and this was during prime time load. Nice work Eastlink.