Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year's Eve!

While I don't normally post on Saturdays, I noticed on my sidebar that I had published 99 posts during 2011, and, gosh darnit, how do you not go for 100 when you're in that position?

Too dark?

Anyways, I just wanted to take a moment to thank everybody who has stopped by over the last several months.  I am thankful for my growing readership, and I will continue to publish quality commentary on monetary issues (as well as things like 2 Broke Girls) into the new year.

I'm also excited to realize that I published 100 posts in 2011 because I've only published with any consistency since July (this consistency was, in part, spurred on by my participation in the Yakezie Challenge); I look forward to the fun and challenge that will come with keeping up the pace next year and getting to (at least!) 200 posts!

A final item that I'd like to bring up is that I will be starting a new website in the coming week.  As I've mentioned on here previously, one of my goals in life is to lose a fair (unfair?) amount of weight.  This being the time of year in which people resolve to do things like lose weight, I thought, cliched though it may be, that I'd resolve to lose that weight.  I may also mention weight-loss items here, but I thought that it would dilute the focus at Pinch that Penny! to dwell too much on losing weight here.

If you are interested, I'll definitely link to it when the site is live, and I'd certainly appreciate it if any of you would stop by from time to time to encourage me (the primary reason I'm creating the site is so that I will have a very public accountability system).  As far as how much weight I'm hoping to lose, let's just say that I'm hoping, at the end, I'll look a lot more like Laurel than Hardy, or a little bit more like Abbot than Costello

In any case, have a safe and fun time tonight, and I'll see you all in 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday Links

Andrea at So Over Debt asked if we're defined by our mistakes, and she makes the case that those in poverty are not easily able to escape from poverty* and that assuming the poor should just choose to not be poor anymore is kind of asinine.

MSN Money listed four good and four bad money resolutions for the new year.  Interestingly, none of the good money resolutions was to pay off the Mayan gods who are planning planetary destruction as we speak.

Gizmodo had a terrific post about how the hashtag is ruining the English language

Moneycrashers posed ways in which you can create free exercise programs for yourself.  None of these involved having a Twinkie dangling from a string just out of your reach.

In a several-year-old piece, a writer for Slate described how running a coffee shop is a money pit.  It remains unfortunate that the things that we think we might most enjoy doing tend to be the worst financial decisions we could make.

Forbes magazine shared eleven life-changing tax decisions.  For me, at least, the money saved by moving from California (a state with state income tax) to Nevada (a state without state income tax) would almost certainly end up in the the coffers of the Bellagio, so it's kind of a wash.

In a guest post for Get Rich Slowly, the author describes how losing 25 pounds is a sound financial decision.  What he neglects to mention is that before his diet, the writer mostly ate gold coins.

*I would like to see the movie "Escape from Poverty" starring an eye-patch wearing Kurt Russell.  Or even Keri Russell.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Investing: P2P Lending vs. Bank CDs

I'm going to start this post by stating something that is stupidly obvious: there are a huge number of different ways to invest your money.  From stocks and bonds, to investing in new companies, to burying your cash in the backyard, if you can imagine it, you can probably invest in it (dream a little dream, you dreamers!).  For the purposes of this article though, I'm only going to focus on two that I think have a good deal in common: peer to peer (P2P) lending and certificates of deposit (CDs).

How P2P Lending and CDs Are Similar

The key similarity both investments share is that both require you to tie up your money for a certain, specified amount of time.  As such, both are essentially illiquid investments.*  However, this length of time is fairly short-term, particularly when compared to 30 year bonds, for instance. 

For CDs, your money can be tied up anywhere between three months and five years, depending on how long you choose to invest.  For P2P, (which I'm basing on my experience with Lending Club, as I am unfamiliar with Prosper and others), your money is invested for either three years or five years.**

With the above similarity stated, let's look at the pros and cons of each investment.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2012 Financial Goals

Just as Couple Money and others have done, I think it's an excellent idea to spend some time thinking about what our financial goals are and should be in the new year.  Below are some of my own.

1)  Max Out my 401(k) - As I've mentioned before, the company that I work for has a very generous 401(k) plan: they match every dollar up to the federal limit (in 2011 it was $16,500, and in 2012 it will be $17,000).  Unfortunately, I have been unable to contribute to the plan thus far as the company knows that the retirement plan is very generous, and so they only offer it to employees that have been with the company for at least six months.  Luckily for me, since my position started in July, I will be able to enroll in the 401(k) retirement plan in the middle of January. 

If and when I max out my contributions in 2012 (market forces notwithstanding), I will have a cool $34,000 to show for it.  If I stay for three years, I'll have $102,000, and, if I stay my entire career full-time at this company, by the end of 2041, I'll have $1,020,000.  That's not too shabby.  It's also worth noting that $34,000 is more than 50% of my personal gross income (not counting whatever bonus I receive).

2)  Pay Off my Student Loans - As I can't seem to shut up about, I graduated in May with an M.A. in Drama.  I was able to pay most of my tuition with money I had saved from working, but during my time at school, I took out some federal loans (approximately $3,700).  For what it's worth, it's kind of amazing that I ONLY took out that much as my grad school experience was characterized by me commuting back and forth from San Diego to San Francisco (to my readers not in California, these cities are not close). 

Anyways, if I were some sort of amazing personal finance blogger, I would have already paid off my loans during the grace period.  Nevertheless, I didn't, and the grace period for my student loans ended last month.  While I don't hate student loans as much as some in the personal finance community, I think the amount that I have due will be manageable to pay off in the upcoming year, and I will be glad to be rid of them.  Plus, if I really do get into a Ph.D. program in the fall, I'd like to have all the education that I've received up to that point already paid off.*

3)  Continue to Invest in Lending Club - I've basically only dipped my toes in the waters of Lending Club so far (that is, I've only put in a couple of hundred dollars), but the calm, pleasant currents of rates of return above 7% feel awfully nice between my tootsies.**  As I invest more, I will undoubtedly write a review of the site here to talk about what I've learned.

How about you?  What are your money plans in the new year?  Let me know in the comments.

*I realize that if I do go back to school, I could defer the loans, but that's not a route I want to take.
**7% is based on my choosing pretty conservative notes, but I wanted to choose people with the "safest" credit to start out with.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday Links

Shopping Detox compared the cost of purchasing all the items in the song "The 12 Days of Christmas" with the cost of purchasing all the items in Destiny's Child's song "8 Days of Christmas."  As much as I loves me some lords a-leaping, I don't think I'll shell out $24 grand for the whole package.

The Digerati Life shared some links to free ebooks on financial topics

Bookshop Blog wrote about what books to buy and what books to avoid when you own your own bookstore.  Spoiler alert: it turns out only buying what you yourself enjoy reading is not a sound business practice.

Budgeting in the Fun Stuff gave some advice on what to look for when purchasing second-hand books.

Debt Black Hole asked how much do you spend on your geek collections?  I figure purchasing geeks is a pretty good investment (13th through 15th Amendments be darned!), so I actually spend quite a bit.  Oh the databases I can demand on demand!

Cash Money Life wrote about how small decisions add up, particularly in terms of purchases.

Finally, The Consumerist shared a Nielsen study that shows which television shows were most egregiously using product placement.  I mean, are they even really drinking Coke on Americas Idol?  Also, I was surprised Bones wasn't on the list as the last episode I watched seemed to basically be an advertisement for some car.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 Coupon Code Weekly Promo Offer 300 x 250
I've only seen have certificates this cheap once or twice before.  Use the coupon code JOY to receive a 90% discount on gift certificates you purchase if you buy between now and December 24.

They have 80% off sales at least once a month, so if you miss out, you'll probably be able to get these for about as cheap some time in the future.

Full disclosure: I do receive a percentage of what you buy if you click on the above link, but as you will probably be spending only a few dollars, it's not a whole lot.  I just really like it when they're 90% off!

3 Lessons about Selling Sports Tickets on Craigslist, Or, Why I'm a Moron

As I mentioned last week, over the last few months, I have managed to lose a good-sized sum of money by selling my extra season tickets for the San Diego Chargers on Craigslist.  While I have more or less sworn off of making money in this way, I learned a few things that I think could be helpful to others who are trying to make money selling tickets on Craigslist.

But today, I'd rather talk to you about the draft...

Nah, just kidding.  Here are my thoughts about selling football tickets on Craigslist.

1)  Don't Assume Prices Will Go Up - I bought a partial season ticket package (I received tickets to four of the eight home games).  For arbitrage to be successful, one must sell items for more than he or she paid for them (this is key).  Of the four games that I purchased, the ticket prices for only one of those games in the secondary market went up significantly.  For each of the other games, the tickets lost value (including one game in which market forces compelled me to sell three tickets for $10 a piece -- a $60 per ticket loss).  For the other two games, I lost about $15 to $20 per ticket.

2)  Make Sure to Maximize Profits - I purchased season tickets because the secondary market for one of the games (Green Bay at San Diego) was ridiculously expensive, and the Chargers organization, knowing that that was the marquis game of the season, did not allow fans to purchase tickets for that game alone.  Instead, fans had to buy at least a two game package.  Nevertheless, it has been a tradition for me and my family to go to a Chargers game at least once a season, so I thought I'd save us all (read: my family) money by buying the tickets as part of this package.

Then, on the morning of the game, which took place in beautiful, sunny San Diego, the unthinkable happened: it rained.  One of the people who was going to come to the game was my grandfather who, though spry for an 88 year old, is not really the sort of person who should be sitting in the rain for an extended period of time.  My uncle (understandably) decided to keep grandpa company, which left me stuck with two tickets.  Worried about the last minute nature of my plight, I hurriedly put the two tickets up on Craigslist.   While I did make a small profit, the sheer number of rapid responses to my posting led me to believe that I could have sold the tickets for quite a bit more.  When you consider that I felt compelled to pay my grandpa and uncle back for what they had paid me for the tickets, I didn't come out very far ahead at all.

Particularly when I lost money on the other games, I should have tried to sell the tickets for a lot more.

3)  Make Sure to Have Change - For one pair of tickets that I sold, the buyer and I had agreed to $110.  Absent-mindedly, I did not bring change with me.  The buyer only had twenty dollar bills (as he had just hit up an ATM on his way to meet me), so we were left with with three options: not selling the tickets, selling the tickets for $120, or selling the tickets for $100.  As I was leaving early the next morning to fly to a different state for a work conference, I wanted to get rid of the tickets (as dealing with buyers on Craigslist is a fickle, time-consuming enterprise), so not selling them wasn't really a great option for me.  He, of course, didn't want to pay more than we had agreed on, and so I was left taking less money than I had expected. 

I realize that $10 isn't a lot of money, but, as I had already lost so much money, any amount extra that I could get back would have helped.

In short, I think trying to re-sell tickets is a fool's errand, unless you can purchase the tickets for a significantly reduced rate.  If you're paying face value with the intention to re-sell, you are almost certainly paying too much.  Nevertheless, people can and do make money in this way, and I hope the above will provide a helpful, if cautionary, example.

Photo by me!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The One Dollar Coin Problem

Ah, James Buchanan and Martin van Buren:
one led to the inevitability of the Civil War, and
the other had awesome side burns.
They're both well worth spending $50 million a year on.
Let it not be said that the Obama administration is not trying to lower your taxes!  Slate reports that:

"The Vice President and Secretary Geithner announced the Administration’s plan to stop the wasteful production of $1 coins for circulation. In 2005, Congress enacted the Presidential $1 Coin Act, which mandated that the United States Mint issue new Presidential $1 Coins with the likeness of every deceased President.  But more than 40 percent of the $1 coins that the United States Mint has issued have been returned to the Federal Reserve, because nobody wants to use them."

Their plan is to comply with the law that the coins shall be minted, but to,essentially, leave the number of coins that are minted to market demands.  The Mint intends to only issue enough coins to satisfy coin collecotrs.  Apparently not sustaining coin production at its current rate will save the government approximately $50 million a year.

I see a day in America's future where all coins, like the space program, will be obsolete.  It would sure save us all a heap of money if that day came sooner rather than later.

Photo by jlodder.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Links

A broken link on the internet? Sad face!
The Centsible Life had a great post on what items are best to buy in December.  I thought it was curious that scotch was missing from the list until I realized that there is never a bad time to buy scotch.

Cordelia Calls It Quits! posted 10 ways to know you're on the right track in life.  As usual, the article is thoughtful and inspiring.  I keep hoping she'll phone some posts in so the rest of us don't look so bad, but she never does.

Posting at Yakezie, the Financial Samurai encouraged us to press on even if we momentarily feel dumb.  Heck, I feel dumb every moment, and I keep going!

Well Heeled Blog celebrated a still-running warhorse of a 16 year old, 250,000 mile-having car.  When the zombies attack, I'm totes stealing a mid-nineties Honda Accord, y'all!

So Over Debt wrote about how toys are the biggest money pit ever.  As a 29 year old man who still buys toys from time to time, I am in total agreement.  My solution?  Outlaw children.  And 29 year old men.

Farhad Manjoo at Slate suggests that, instead of helping to foster a literary community, independent booksellers are actually detrimental to the arts community when compared to buying from Amazon.  He suggests that if you can buy a book from Amazon at half the price of an item at a brick and mortar store, but choose to buy the overpriced book in person, you're foolishly spending money that could be used to promote other artistic endeavors (read: going to plays).  This one is worth a read.

Photo by oedipusphinx.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Four Tips to Living a Balanced Life

This article was contributed by Nina Bernice exclusively for All content is for informational purposes only and must not be substituted for any professional advice.

Living a healthy, relatively stress free life is one of the best health insurance policies that you can give yourself. While living healthy is no excuse for not buying some online cheap insurance quotes, it will do wonders to keep you from having to use your insurance and spend your hard earned money on doctor’s visits. Here are four tips to help you balance your busy life without sacrificing your health.

Simplify Your Life

Cut back on extra work and volunteer projects so that you aren't overwhelmed with work and have time to devote to relaxation. Automate your finances by signing up to have your health insurance, car payments and utilities automatically drafted from your checking account.
Get Enough Sleep

Everybody is different, but most sleep experts recommend that adults get between six and nine hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. If you have problems sleeping, go to a specialist to find out what you can do to help you get an adequate amount of sleep.
Make Time for Intentional Physical Exercise Daily

Getting at least twenty minutes of activity a day is a good start for people who don't exercise regularly. A brisk walk will help tone your body and can help to clear your mind and distress. Make sure that you don't exercise within three hours of your bedtime or you will be too stimulated to fall asleep. If you are a regular at the gym, try taking the intensity of your workouts up a notch. If you are currently overweight, getting fit will help you to qualify for cheap insurance which is a win-win for you; smaller clothes and a smaller insurance premium.
Make Time for Family and Friends

Everyone has loved ones or close friends, and it's very important to have meaningful time with them to develop and maintain relationships. Fifteen minutes is just over one percent of your total day, but imagine how your relationship with your partner could improve with an investment of just a quarter of an hour each day. If you are a parent, try carving out another fifteen minutes for your kids; as time allows you can spend fifteen minutes with each one individually or together. The same applies to friends; try spending half an hour a week catching up with friends and you'll be amazed at the happiness that is brought to your life.

Following these tips and striving to live a healthy and
balanced lifestyle is the best insurance you can have for your overall long term health. You'll live your life happier knowing that you are fit and in control of your life, not the other way around.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

An Analysis of a 2 Broke Girls Episode

If you're interested in personal finance and you haven't been watching 2 Broke Girls, what in the world is wrong with you? that's probably okay.  However, the show, at least tangentially, revolves around ideas that have a lot to do with money, and, for this reason, here's a post about it.

For those unfamiliar with the show, the two main characters are Max, a gruff, sassy waitress who makes cupcakes for (mostly) fun, and Caroline (pronounced Care-oh-line, so you know she's uppity), a saccharine-sweet, suddenly bankrupt daughter of a Bernie Madoff-like character.  Despite the tough-girl front that Max puts up, you can tell that she, slowly and grudgingly, is coming to like her new friend Caroline, mostly because every episode seems to feature Max feeling slighted by something Caroline does, Max writing Caroline off for being like every other person who has ever mistreated her, and Caroline making a GRAND GESTURE that gets Max to like her again.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why I'll Probably Never Buy Season Tickets Again

Even though my Chargers are looking quite a bit better than they did when I wrote this, they will still almost certainly not make the playoffs.  The biggest reason for this is Tim Tebow loves God, God loves Tim Tebow, and Tim Tebow is in the same division as the Chargers.

Seriously, if the game's close, the dude can't seem to lose.

Anyways, my point in all this is that the Chargers haven't had the great season that I (and many others) were pretty sure that they would.  Based on my belief that they would have a great season, I purchased a partial (4 game) season ticket package for several tickets under the hopes that I would be able to sell the extra tickets that I wasn't able to use.*

Had the Chargers had the tremendous season that I had expected, I probably could have made some money off of my extra tickets.  As it turns out, nobody wants to pay full-price to see a bad team play (and if that bad team is playing another bad team, as happened when the Chargers played the Chiefs, it gets really bad: I ended up selling some tickets with a face value of $70 for only $10 a piece).

I tried selling on Craigslist.  I tried selling on eBay.  I tried shaking down friends and acquantances, all to no avail.

While it makes me too sad to come up with a specific number, I easily lost several hundred dollars on my extra tickets.  And that is why, after my very expensive experiment in selling tickets, you can count me out of that particular game.  I'll be leaving the ticket-selling to the professionals, and I'll happily let some other sucker lose their money.

In short, if you are not absolutely certain that you will be able to use all the tickets you buy when you buy a season ticket, you probably shouldn't buy them.  I learned that the hard way.

*If you're wondering why I bought season tickets instead of just a single game ticket, here's the reason: my family really wanted to go to what turned out to be a super-expensive game if you bought the tickets in the secondary market (the Packers/Chargers game).  Because the Chargers organization knew that this was going to be a popular game, they didn't let people only buy tickets to that game; you could only buy tickets to this game as part of a package.

While I saved my family members money on this particular game by buying the season ticket package, I sure lost a heap of money on all the other games.  Oh well.  You live, you learn.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Personal Update

This came up in an image search for "Theatre."
I guess I'd pay to watch this happen,
though maybe not for 90 minutes.
Last month I made a commitment to myself with the end goal of writing a full-length play during the month of November.  I did not achieve that goal by a long shot.

However, I did make some progress on the playwrighting front.  Spurred on by Cordelia, I joined the Impossible League.  While I haven't been super active over there as of yet, one of the other members happened to know somebody who happened to be running a short play competition (the due date for which was, unfortunately, only a couple of days away).  I hurriedly wrote a short play, and I submitted it.  I found out today that it was not accepted for the festival, and I'm pretty much at peace with that.  While I think the idea I had was a good one, I think that I found out about the contest too late in the game to really flesh out the script and iron out the wrinkles, so to speak.

I did also make a submission to another playwrighting contest, but this one did not require a script.  For this one, all I needed to do was to submit a sample of previous work and to write a page or two on what sort of play I would write were I chosen.  While I don't want to give any ideas away, I think I have a good shot at this one.  I haven't heard back from them yet, but I expect to in the next week.

Finally, as part of another set of goals I set out for myself a few months ago, I am in the midst of applying to a Ph.D. program in theatre.  I am applying to a well-regarded, albeit local, school.  I've already contacted former professors for references, and my big issue now is writing my statement of intent (fortunately, I already took the GRE a few years back, so I'm good on that front - 1400, what what! [for what it's worth, that score is already out of date as they retooled the scoring system for the GRE a few months ago]).  In any case, continuing my education is something that I'd really like to happen, so I hope that my passion and propensity for the material will shine through in my essay.

Photo by Rob Boudon.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday Links

Always the Planner featured a guest post about how to stay in shape while not spending a bunch of money.  I figured this post would be about, you know, not eating, but I was pleasantly surprised when it was more helpful than that.

J$ wrote an article about how the Green Bay Packers have started selling more team stock.  Why anybody would want to make a soup that tastes like the Packers is beyond me.

Kay Lynn Akers asked the question, "Are you piddling away your money?"  Mostly, I poop mine out, so this didn't really apply to me.

Couple Money had a post that considered the financial and academic benefits of going to school online.  None of these benefits included the money you could save by no longer needing to buy clothing or personal hygiene products.

Hank Coleman wanted us to consider how much money we spend on our vices.  I don't live in Miami, so, again, this isn't a problem for me.

My Multiple Streams considered AT&T stock as an investment.  To use my joke from above, I'm not sure why anybody wants soup that tastes like cell phones, but who can really tell?  Also, AT&T can suck it!

Punch Debt in the Face revealed how the author lost the money he had gambled while he was on a recent Vegas trip.  Psh, like losing $20 really proves that gambling isn't a profitable money-making scheme.

Jeffrey Kluger suggested that instead of levying a "sugar" tax on consumers of soda, the tax should be on the producers of soda, thus encouraging them to develop and sell healthier alternatives.  I suspect prices would just creep up, but what do I know?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

3 Year-End Money-Saving Tax Tips

If you've got some money and you're in the business of saving as much of it as you can legally,* here are a couple of ideas on how to do so.

1)  Max out your traditional IRA - If you are under 50 years old, you are eligible to put as much as $5,000 into a traditional IRA account.  The nice thing about a traditional IRA is that you are investing money in the account post-tax, but the government sees it as a pre-tax investment.  Thus, when you file your taxes, you will receive money back for the amount that you invested in your traditional IRA that you've already paid taxes on.  Bear in mind that the above $5,000 limit is the limit for any and all IRA accounts you may have (that is, if you have both a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA, the total you can invest in both combined for 2011 is $5,000 - e.g., $2,500 in the Roth, $2,500 in the traditional).

2)  Harvest losses - The market is picking back up, but if you have stock or mutual fund investments in a non-tax-advantaged acccount (i.e., not a retirement account), you can sell off some of your investments at a lower price than you bought them for in order to offset taxes that you will pay for profits from other investments.  While you will definitely lose money on your investment, you will pay less in taxes.  Five Cent Nickel does an excellent job of explaining this concept here.

3)  Donate to a charity or non-profit - Now wait a minute, you say.  I'm reading this because I want to keep my money, not give it to the poor!  That's a fair enough attitude, Ebenezer, but it is worth noting that money donated to charities and/or non-profit organization (such as THEATRES) is money that you can deduct from your taxable income and therefore pay less money in taxes on.

*If you're more interested in saving money illegally, I recommend not hiring the man in this video.

Photo by soukup.

This post was featured in the Carnival of Personal Finance #340.

Monday, December 5, 2011

AT&T Can Suck It! (And Also, Thanks AT&T for Being Reasonable)

When in Rome, make sure not to get charged for roaming.
(Wordplay!  Zing!)
A few weeks ago, I encouraged you to double-check your invoices, particularly while travelling via cruise.  My reasoning behind this advice was that Norwegian Cruise Lines double-charged me, my wife, and my brother for an excursion that we took.  However, it turns out that there were even more accounting irregularities due to our vacation.

When I was up at my family's house for Thanksgiving, my grandma complained about how high their cell phone bill with AT&T was the previous month.  Being the personal finance blogger extraordinaire that I am, I asked to take a look at their bill.  The culprit, it turns out, was my brother.  He had single-handedly made their bill go up by nearly $90.

Now, right away, I know what you're thinking, and no, my brother did NOT download Aqua's Barbie Girl 90 times through iTunes.

How did he make their bill go up so much you ask?  Well, he made and received some phone calls while he was on the east coast prior to our cruise.  And he was charged 79 cents a minute in roaming charges for the privilege of being a part of those phone calls.

Let that sink in for a moment.  Somebody, in 2011, was charged for roaming.  ROAMING!  That's like building a fire in your fire place, and then receiving a bill in the mail a few weeks later for using smoke signals.

To AT&T's credit, it was actually pretty easy to get this cleared up.  I called them up, expressed my incredulity that anybody could get charged for roaming (it's not even a thing anymore!), and they credited my grandparents' invoice the amount that had been charged.  It turned out that my grandparents had just kept renewing a very old cell phone plan (that I think they originally signed up for in 1999) under which roaming charges still applied.  With their permission (and at the firm suggestion of the AT&T customer service representative, who claimed that he would only issue a credit for roaming charges one time), I updated their service plan online to a newer, comparable plan.

But the kicker is that neither my grandparents or my brother were going to call AT&T about it!  If I hadn't been there, they would have just paid the extra cash and gone on their merry way.  Somewhat fortunately, neither my grandparents or my brother are really pressed for cash, but I can't help wondering how many people see extra charges on their bills, figure that those charges are fair, and pay them.

How much money do big companies receive just because people don't call them on it?

How about you?  Do any of you still get charged for roaming?  Do you realize that we are no longer in the year 1999?  Let me know in the comments.

Photo by tejvanphotos.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Links

Are you interested in irritating your customers?  Make your product look a lot like one of your other products.

One of my pipe dreams is to own a book store.  I say this a pipe dream because I don't think people can make much of a living selling books.  With this in mind, Bookshop Blog asks, "What Compels Someone to Own a Bookstore?"

Chase decides not to evict a soon-to-be 104 year old woman, mostly because the people it hired to do so refused.

Andrea at So Over Debt wrote about different reactions to crises.  If you're interested in personality types, this makes for some interesting reading.

Meadow DeVor wrote about how she paid off just under six hundred grand in less than three years.  It's a pretty amazing story.