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Things That Work

 
Introducing a new section, that we'll update as time permits, to share information sources, services and/or web sites that may be of interest and benefit to the Music Sojourn user community.  These are not paid endorsements, and none will be accepted for this area!  (Businesses that wish to support our efforts can underwrite our programming - see this form [click here]).  Only Services, books, Web Sites, etc. that have been used and been proven to deliver what they promise will be accepted for inclusion, and only if recommended by a third party (someone without a direct relationship to the business or service).  If you are a Member of Music Sojourn and would like to suggest something for this area, please email me at this address (click here).  Make sure to include your name and contact information, anonymous suggestions will be disregarded.

Here's our first few services to spotlight for "Things That Work!"

 
ETCHED IN GLASS - http://www.etchedinglass.biz/

Etched In Glass is the fine Merchant who supports Music Sojourn by processing direct Credit Card payments for us so we can minimize our support costs.  They offer a unique set of Gift and Awards options using an etching process that allows for transfering photographs, logos and other personalizations to Glassware.  Scott has used this service many times for gift items that make a superb impression!  They are not an online merchant, but can work by mail order for you.  Please check their web site for a full pdf catalog and more info:

http://www.etchedinglass.biz/

Email Scott at Support @ musicsojourn (click here)

 
FIGHTING CHANCE! - http://www.fightingchance.com

With apologies to any Members of Music Sojourn who happen to be car dealers:

The next time you are planning to purchase a new car, BEFORE you vist the dealer, visit Fighting Chance at http://www.fightingchance.com

Please visit the Fighting Chance web site above for an overview of the service, I'll only detail my results below:

I (Scott) recently used Fighting Chance's service and methods to purchase two cars (at the same time), one for our family and one for my mom, and the results were better than advertised!  (BTW, lest you get the idea that supporting Music Sojourn is helping me buy new cars, here's our disclosure of the pretty modest finances that keep this site running - click here to read it plus more >>> - fortunately I have a day job to survive on).

I followed the advice of Fighting Chance and used the Fax Attack, faxing 18 dealers within a 3 hour drive of home, on the date specified for best results at the end of March (2004).  The faxes were sent on a Monday, the end of the month was on Wednesday.

In Pennsylvania, car dealers are closed on Sundays, so we had already visited several of the dealerships on the Sunday before sending out the faxes and, thus had some knowledge of where several models that met our purchase criteria were.  We also verified the options pricing against the info in the Fighting Chance package, and it was exact.

In all, I received 8 Reponses/offers to the 18 faxes.  I live in the Pittsburgh, PA metro area, but the majority of the responses were from a little further out (only 2 of the closest 6 dealers responded).  By early Tuesday, I had three dealers, with both of the cars that we wanted, offering them at about $400 over Invoice price (each).  By the end of the day on Tuesday, two of the dealers were offering the cars at about $100 over invoice (each car).

Things got really interesting on Wednesday (remember, last day of the month).  by 10:30 a.m., a 3rd dealer (and one close to me) agreed to sell the two cars both at Invoice price.  But between 11:00 and 1:00, a full scale price war broke out between two other dealers.  Both dealers began outbidding each other by phone.  At this point, I had an advantage from having visited one of the dealers - I knew that one of the dealers had both cars in the colors and trims that we wanted because we saw them on the Sunday before, and the 2nd dealer admitted that he had to get the cars from somewhere else.  So, in order to actually be able to physically get to the bank, etc, then to the car dealers to complete the sale by closing, I had to cut the bidding process off at 2:00 p.m.  The final result was a price on the cars, from the dealer that we saw them at, of $327.00 below invoice on car # 1, and $371.00 below invoice on car # 2 (the winning dealer was approximately 45 minutes away).

And, by the way, the 2nd dealer didn't give up!  They called back and tried to offer another deal of another $100 off plus 10 free oil changes!  I did not reverse my deal with dealer one since I had closed the bidding by my word, but found out later that dealer 2 here was desperately trying to get one of the cars we purchased from dealer 1 (where we purchased it)!

Remember, I was not running around to these dealers, they were calling me at my office while I worked at other things (though I admit that I really didn't get anything else done Wednesday after 11:00, but it was worth that time spent!).

So the bottom line for me was a combined price on 2 cars of $698.00 below invoice prices, about $1,498 below the best offers made on Monday of that week, and over $8,400 below the sticker prices ($4,230 per car - think about that the next time you hear of $1,000 off the sticker price!).

As for time spent, I tracked my time on this project accurately (since I do that for real work tasks, it was easy to do), and my total time spent was 40.3 hours - but that includes 8 hours spent on Sunday driving around the area to see cars, and 8 hours on Wednesday to finalize and drive to the dealer to make the purchase, and drive our new car home (and they even delivered the 2nd car right to my door on Thursday!).  So, if you assume that I could have walked into a dealer unprepared and paid the sticker price less $1,000 per car ($2,000), and my savings over that was around $6,400, divided by the 40.3 hours spent equates to $160.00 per hour for the total time spent.  Not a bad billing rate!

Finally, in case my experience is not enough to convince you, those of you who are Public Radio listeners or Public TV viewers will recognize another Fighting Chance customer in David Brancaccio, formerly host of Marketplace on Public Radio, now co-host of Now with Bill Moyers.  See more info on the Fighting Chance website here >>>.

And on the lighter side of cars, I now know that I'm not the only one who thought BMW stood for "Big Money Waste" or similar - click here for "The Car Name Game"

http://www.fightingchance.com

Email Scott at Support @ musicsojourn (click here)

 
Managing Your Investments:
   The Vital Few vs. The Trivial Many:
       NOT your ordinary 'hype' type of Investment advice!!
          (this one is for smart people only)

Highly Recommended by Scott.  Even if you are a small investor, or just managing your retirement account in your spare time, this short, inexpensive book is very much worth your time and money!  You can find more about the book, and George Muzea's Subscription service, on this website:

http://www.vitalfew.info/

or you can order the book from Amazon using our link below.

Click here for more recommended books on this topic.

Book Description:
If you want to be one of the Vital Few in the stock market who make money, rather than the Trivial Many who consistently lose, this is a must read. Years ago George Muzea identified who the winners, The Vital Few, were and compared what they did at key market points to what the majority (losers), The Trivial Many investors did. Now that he is very comfortably retired, he shares his techniques with you. This book shows you in simple laymen's terms, how to monitor both groups and to use this information to always make money in the stock market. Any one of the five Muzea secrets contained in this book, could mean the difference between making a lot of money or losing it. Use all five and you'll never lose money in the stock market again.

About the Author
George Muzea is President of Muzea Insider Consulting Services whose money management clients number among the most influential names on Wall Street. Founded in 1994, Muzea Insider Consulting Services advises firms in the U.S. and Europe with more than one trillion dollars under management.

Email Scott at Support @ musicsojourn (click here)

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