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

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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

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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

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How to Tell If You’re Dating a Deadbeat

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

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The Embarrassing Anatomy of a Phishing Scam

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

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True Story: How to Cope When Your Spouse Skips Out with All the Cash

(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

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How to Avoid Paying a Mandatory Gratuity for Bad Service

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

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Gee, Thanks: 4 Presumptuous Gifts That Can Strain A Budget

Merry Christmas my a$$. If this means I'm going to be coughing up $750 per month for the next 7 years, I would rather have gotten a nice tie … or some underwear and socks.

I remember the worst gift I ever received. It was a vacation to the Bahamas that an old girlfriend of mine gave to me. It was one of those too-good-to-be-true ultra-low-cost package “deals” that was

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15 Reasons Why Waterbeds Are For Suckers

Sometimes people buy things that they eventually end up regretting. I know I’ve got a long list.

I’ve already explained why corner lots and whirlpool tubs are for suckers.

Today, I’ve got two words for anybody out there who is currently considering spending $1000 or more of their hard-earned money on a waterbed: buyer beware. That’s because, when you add it all up, there are far more disadvantages than advantages.

Believe

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4 Smart Reasons Why College Isn't for Everyone

Don't laugh; after running the numbers he most likely decided it made little sense to attend a traditional American college.

Some things in life are painfully overrated.

Take camping, for instance. Or iPhones.

I’ve never understood the allure of luxury cars or the Baby Boomer generation’s collective fascination with Bob Dylan either.

And although it pains me to say this — because it will probably ruin any chance I’ll ever

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