14 Reasons Why Monitored Home Security Systems Are For Suckers

It seems like I’m always being bombarded with countless ads from companies offering home burglar alarm installation and monitoring services. Maybe that’s because 83% of homes in the US don’t have a security system in place to ward off potential thieves.

Are those homeowners crazy? Or crazy like a fox?

I took the plunge and got one not long after moving into my current home and it certainly provided peace of mind

Continue reading 14 Reasons Why Monitored Home Security Systems Are For Suckers

The Trouble with Buying Movie Tickets Over the Internet

We all come across things in life that are wildly popular, even though it makes little sense to us.

Take “Duck Dynasty” — going into its fourth season, it’s one of the hottest shows on cable television.

I recently watched a couple of episodes for the first time and, frankly, I don’t see what all the buzz is about.

Then there’s sushi; it’s loved by millions of people the world over. I

Continue reading The Trouble with Buying Movie Tickets Over the Internet

Why Extended Warranties for New Tires Are A Waste of Money

Awhile back I bought four new tires for my 1997 Honda Civic. The tires came with a pro-rated 65,000-mile guarantee and were $74 each, or just under $300 for the entire set.

As the salesman was tallying up the bill he asked me if I would like to purchase the extended warranty for my brand new tires.

“And how much is that?” I sheepishly asked.

“It’s only $9.95,” came the salesman’s immediate reply.

“Is

Continue reading Why Extended Warranties for New Tires Are A Waste of Money

Yet Another Reason Why I Hate Buying Tickets from Ticketmaster

Most of you know I’ve had a hate/hate relationship with Ticketmaster for a long time now.

After all, this is the company that wrote the book on ridiculous consumer fees that, many people argue, only serve to exploit their hapless customers; it’s a practice that’s all the more galling because of their current market dominance which, if you ask me, borders on a monopoly.

Last weekend, Ticketmaster gave me yet another excuse

Continue reading Yet Another Reason Why I Hate Buying Tickets from Ticketmaster

When Pigs Fly: How I Fought My Parking Ticket and Beat City Hall

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.”

“How much?”

“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

9 Movie Theater Extras That We Could All Do Without

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

How I Stupidly Got Ripped Off by Not Getting Multiple Estimates

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

9 'Oops' Moments That I Ultimately Paid For (One Way or Another)

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.

Oops.

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)

The 6 Biggest Consumer Electronics Markups (and How to Fight Back)

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)

How to Find A Low-Priced Plumber That Won’t Rip You Off

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

Question of the Week:

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.