It’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy a little joe…
Welcome to another rousing edition of Black Coffee, your off-beat weekly round-up of what’s been going on in the world of money and personal finance. Here’s what caught my attention over the past week…
Let’s get right to it this week. I’ve got a hot date with the Honeybee and I can’t be late.
Blogs I’ve Been Following This Week
Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance - Las Vegas Vacation Tips. There are some great money saving tips here from my girlfriend, Barb. For some reason, though, she left off the biggest one of them all: stay away from the slot machines and gambling tables. Too bad I can’t practice what I preach.
L Bee and the Money Tree - Requiem for a Nightgown. Would you buy a used nightgown from the Salvation Army? Yes, used. Lauren (a.k.a. “Queen L Bee”) did and it was the best buck she ever spent! Up to now, anyway. And before you get too grossed out, the nightgown was crotchless. Hey, I’m just stating the facts, folks. You know, I vaguely remember the best buck I ever spent … but that’s another story for another day. By the way, no, Lauren is not related to the Honeybee. But after reading a few of her posts, she really should be.
Hope to Prosper - The Plight of Small Business in America. It’s not easy running a small business. In this piece, my buddy Bret eloquently explains why that’s so.
Krantcents - It Pays to Be Skinny. Believe it or not, I read this story while munching on some kettle potato chips. Oh yes, I did. Apparently, people who are skinny earn about nine percent more, on average, than their, um, more rotund counterparts. I got to tell you, that little depressing financial morsel really gnawed at me all day. So later on I reread Larry’s post while I was enjoying my evening donut — just to make sure I didn’t miss any key points. Bad move. After reading the article a second time I got so depressed that I went back to the kitchen and got myself a bowl of Chunky Monkey. The moral of the story: I probably won’t be getting a raise this year because of this article.
Daily Money Shot – My Way Isn’t Right. And Neither Is Yours. Says Jana: There’s something that irks me. I’ve been struggling with how to phrase it properly, but then I gave up on that so I’ll just sum it up this way: It’s the “all or nothing” attitude that many bloggers convey. For the record, folks … I have no idea what she’s talking about.
And Here’s Some Other Posts You Might Enjoy
Budgeting in the Fun Stuff – Life Is Too Short to Spend Ironing Sheets
Money Beagle – Walmart: Save a Few Pennies, Waste a Lot of Time
Money, Life and More – How to Pull Your Free Annual Credit Report
Millionaire Nurse Blog – Student Loan Repayment: Just for Moving!
Financial Samurai – What’s Your Ideal Income and Amount of Work for a Day?
My latest roundtable appearance on Average Joe’s weekly financial podcast, Two Guys and Your Money, can be heard on Episode 2: Planwise Financial Planning Tool Creators Interview.
By the way, you can listen in every week for a chance to win some fantastic prizes!
This week, Joe is giving away a real gold ingot from the vaults at Fort Knox. Or something like that.
The Way-Back Machine: Past Posts Of Mine You May Have Missed
From May 2009:
Does Buying Your Gas in the Early Morning Really Save Money? – With the dog days of summer upon us, this post addresses the conventional wisdom. Or is it really just an old wives’ tale?
Credits and Debits
Debit: European officials continue to warn that Greece’s austerity program designed to get it back in the black is “hugely off track.” Without further aid, the country could run out of money as soon as August 20.
Debit: In fact, economists at Citigroup now say there is a 90 percent chance that Greece will leave the euro within the next 18 months. That’s up from their previous estimate of between 50 and 75 percent.
Debit: US politicians seem oblivious to the fact that they are recklessly motoring down the same fiscal highway as Greece. Last month, the federal deficit crossed the $1 trillion mark for the fifth consecutive year. I know.
Debit: Meanwhile, public sector workers in Spain recently took to the streets to protest the loss of their Christmas bonus as part of the latest austerity measures being implemented there. Unions say a general strike is inevitable if plans to rein in the debt continue.
Credit: At least one public servant at the protest admitted she was there during her half-hour morning coffee break. I’m not making this up; 30 minutes for one coffee break. And they’re taking to the streets over the loss of a Christmas bonus?
Debit: This is why I worry for my kids’ futures. After the government hands out expensive new entitlements to its citizens and civil servants, it becomes incredibly difficult to take them back without some degree of civil unrest.
Debit: Speaking of new entitlements, nearly one in ten employers now plan to drop health coverage when key provisions of Obamacare take effect in 2014; another 10 percent aren’t sure. I strongly suspect those numbers will be increasing.
Debit: Obamacare might even end up raising the price of a Big Mac. The CEO of McDonald’s left open the possibility after telling reporters that the new law will eventually cost his company as much as $420 million annually.
Credit: Poo-poo that if you want — but somebody’s going to have to come up with the cash because McDonald’s can’t print their own money. Well, that is unless Mayor McCheese ends up being appointed as the next Fed Chairman in 2014.
Credit: It’s the same idea when our government raises corporate taxes on their profits. It sounds like an easy and painless solution, but those costs more often than not end up being passed down to their employees or customers.
Credit: I’m still thanking my lucky stars I didn’t buy into the initial mania surrounding Facebook stock. The company continues to disappoint investors after a poor earnings report on Friday sent shares plummeting 11.7 percent.
Debit: After peaking at $45 on their first day of trading, Facebook shares were going for $23.71 at Friday’s closing bell. Overall, Facebook shares are down 38 percent from its $38 opening price.
Credit: Hey, if you think a lot of Facebook investors are peed-off right now, how do you think founder Mark Zuckerberg feels? His net worth dropped $1.6 billion on Friday alone. Poor guy.
Credit: Finally … a Memphis man was paid three slices in return for acting as a lookout during the robbery of a Domino’s pizza delivery man two weeks ago.
Debit: It turns out the same dude was also an accomplice in the robbery of a second pizza delivery guy ten days later. There was no word on how many slices he got for the second hold-up.
Credit: You’d think the guy would at least try to convince the rest of his pizza-pinching posse to toss in a side of hot wings or Cinna Stix. Just sayin’.
By the Numbers
Here’s a few tasty morsels on Domino’s pizza:
400 million Pizzas delivered by Domino’s last year. (That’s more than one pizza for every man, woman and child in the US.)
11 million Pizzas Domino’s delivered on Super Bowl Sunday.
41 Equivalent trips to the moon Domino’s delivery drivers cumulatively log each week.
39.17 Seconds it took “World’s Fastest Pizza Maker,” Pali Grewal, to make three pizzas. (That’s an official world record.)
3 Dots on the Domino’s logo. The original plan was to add a new dot for every new store that opened, but the owners stopped that practice after the first three.
350 Number of pizza slices eaten in the Unites States each second.
46 Slices of pizza, on average, Americans eat annually.
21,456 Slices of pizza I’ll probably eat this year. (Approximate.)
Sources: Domino’s Pizza
The Question of the Week
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Other Useless News
Here are the top 5 articles viewed by my 2472 RSS feed and weekly email subscribers over the past 30 days (excluding Black Coffee posts):
- A Few Thoughts from Aunt Doris: The Secret to Long Life
- 100 Words On: Why Lazy People Shouldn’t Automate Their Finances
- Uh Huh. The 3 Biggest Lies Stock Brokers Tell Their Clients
- The World’s Greatest Grilled Chicken Marinade Recipe
- 10 Surefire Tips for Keeping Pet Medical Costs Low
Each month I post some of the more curious search terms visitors entered into Google’s search engine (according to Google Analytics) that led them, somehow, some way, to Len Penzo dot Com:
- tawny kitaen and other before and after sexy celebs
- heinz ketsup (sic) + sex, unique pictures
- len penzo photo
- will girls think i’m ghetto if i drive a 2001 camry?
- i own 26 shares of coca cola how long before i become a millionaire?
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Letters, I Get Letters
Every week I feature the most interesting question or comment — assuming I get one, that is. And folks who are lucky enough to have the only question in the mailbag get their letter highlighted here whether it’s interesting or not!
Tim Sanders left the following rebuttal on Len Penzo dot Com after he read my article explaining why corner lots are for suckers:
You are an idiot. You had to use the lawn three times in order to get to 21 reasons. Also, you (say) there is no privacy, lots of pedestrians and cars, but then you go on to say that it is more vulnerable to burglary? At least have legitimate reasons if you are going to criticize. I just wasted 3 minutes of my life.
Heh. Actually, you wasted four minutes of your life because I just deleted your comment, so there.
I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.