Usually, the only warm-blooded creature in the house that ever bothers to get up and acknowledge me when I come through the front door is my dog, Major.
So I knew something was wrong when I walked through the door and the Honeybee greeted me with a big kiss.
Needless to say, I cut right to the chase: “OK, what happened?”
“I got a parking ticket.”
“Thirty-five bucks. But I’m innocent!”
“Uh huh. That’s
Continue reading When Pigs Fly: How I Fought My Parking Ticket and Beat City Hall
Readers: With Ironman 3 breaking box office records last week, I thought it was the perfect time to repost this popular selection from the Len Penzo dot Com archives. — Len
Let me tell you, sometimes this working-for-a-living thing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been in one of those high-pressure do-or-die phases that requires me to be at the office from six
Continue reading 9 Movie Theater Extras That We Could All Do Without
Whether we realize it or not, we manage financial risk whenever we take the time to get multiple price estimates from competing contractors. Those who do often get rewarded for their efforts.
As for those who don’t, well … they often end up getting burned.
I learned that lesson the hard way last month after I stupidly decided to forgo the estimates and award a backyard hillside renovation job to the guy
Continue reading How I Stupidly Got Ripped Off by Not Getting Multiple Estimates
Last week I needed to venture into my attic to check on some rat traps, so I grabbed my flashlight to help me navigate my way through the rafters. As luck would have it, the flashlight wasn’t working; the last person who used it forgot to turn the darn thing off, so the batteries died.
Anyway, with no spare C-cells in the drawer and an unplanned trip to the store in
Continue reading 9 ‘Oops’ Moments That I Ultimately Paid For (One Way or Another)
What do a grocery store, a funeral home and a college bookstore have in common? They each sell products with some of the highest markups in retail.
While we don’t want to think of a funeral as a financial transaction, the reality is that we all pay a premium for products that are produced for a fraction of the cost. Though there’s nothing we can do about the price gap between
Continue reading The 6 Biggest Consumer Electronics Markups (and How to Fight Back)
I’m not a plumber. In fact, I’m not very handy around the house at all.
If I can’t fix something with a hammer or screwdriver I prefer to pay somebody else to do the work. That’s why I decided to get a professional to reroute and install new plumbing hardware during our kitchen remodel.
Of course, we needed estimates. After making a few calls to local plumbers, the Honeybee presented me with
Continue reading How to Find A Low-Priced Plumber That Won’t Rip You Off
I’m very fortunate that the Honeybee and I rarely have a disagreement regarding money. In fact, I can only remember it happening once in over 16 years of marriage — and it was all due to a silly misunderstanding.
A recent study affirmed the conventional wisdom that says money is the most likely point of conflict in a marriage. This is especially true when one spouse tends to be a spender
Continue reading How to Tell If You’re Dating a Deadbeat
You’ve got to hand it to scam artists. They often succeed in spite of themselves.
If I had a nickel for every time I retrieved a message from my inbox warning me that my PayPal account has been limited, or that my credit card has been suspended, well, I’d have at least $100 bucks in my pocket right now.
Don’t scoff. That’s 2000 nickels!
This afternoon it happened again. I got an “urgent”
Continue reading The Embarrassing Anatomy of a Phishing Scam
(Readers: In February 2012, I received a heart-breaking message in my inbox from Spedie, a long-time reader and frequent commenter here at Len Penzo dot Com. Her husband abandoned her and their marriage — but not before he callously drained the household checking and savings accounts of every last penny. This is her story.)
I’d always considered myself pretty street smart. You know, the kind of girl that didn’t have an
Continue reading True Story: How to Cope When Your Spouse Skips Out with All the Cash
Like most people, I have very strong opinions when it comes to tipping rates for various services that expect them. For example, I staunchly believe that 15% is completely acceptable for good restaurant service.
It used to be that tipping was meant to reward and encourage your server for exemplary service. Unfortunately, with the advent of tipping pools, mandatory gratuities and general tip inflation, that seems to be the exception rather
Continue reading How to Avoid Paying a Mandatory Gratuity for Bad Service