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 whats been going on in the world of money and personal finance. Heres what caught my attention over the past week
Two years ago today, I launched Len Penzo dot Com as a little hobby to help fill all the spare time I had at my disposal after stepping down as a Little League president several months earlier.
When I started, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing really. Come to think of it, I still don’t!
Anyway, after my first full month of writing, only 72 unique visitors had stopped by to check out one of my first sixteen articles — most of them close relatives, I’m sure. Kind of depressing — not the number of visitors, the quality of those first sixteen articles.
The good news is that, since then, over a quarter-million unique visitors have dropped in to have a look at this little ol’ blog at one time or another, in the process making more than a half-million page views! I know. I can’t explain it either, but the gurus at Google stand by their numbers. So thank you all for reading! I really and truly appreciate it. π
You know, if I could make this a full time job, I surely would. Maybe someday.
Blogs I’ve Been Following This Week
Pop Economics – The Characteristics of a Successful Entrepreneur. What I found most disconcerting about this article was not that I lack one of the three vital components that would make me a successful entrepreneur. Nope. It was that Pop considers folks who are 39 years-old to be, well — and maybe I’m being just a bit oversensitive here since I am 46 — old. The emphasis is his, by the way, which I can only assume means he thinks 39 is old-enough-to-wear-adult-diapers old. I’m sorry, but I am certainly not old. If you’ll excuse me now, I think I’m going to go downstairs and grab me an ice cold Ensure.
Car Negotiation Coach – How to Find the Best TV Price. This article was terrific. You know, in applying for my dream job as a feature writer for the Consumerist, I submitted an article to them on this very topic and it went something like this: 1) write down the prices of all the televisions you are interested in buying; 2) pick the lowest price. Genius, huh? I didn’t get the position.
First Gen American – Babci’s Rules of Personal Finance. Do you ever get behind a car with a vanity license plate and think to yourself, “What the heck does that mean?” That’s how I felt when I read the title of this post. Is “Babci” pronounced “Baby-C?” Or is it “Baby 101?” Or maybe it’s just “Babsee.” I don’t know. I don’t know. And while I don’t agree with all of these rules, I thought this was a really fun and informative read!
Fiscal Fizzle – Don’t Lock Yourself Into an Expert’s Advice. It’s been awhile since I’ve featured Wojo and the pecuniary pepper here. I have to say, I found this particular post to be full of, well, sage advice. Of course, after I thought about it, I was more confused than before I read it. I mean, the article is an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, engulfed in a conundrum, and shrouded by a mystery. What do I mean? Well, assuming Wojo is an expert — and he must be because, after all, he has a blog — then do I follow the advice in his post and, therefore, ignore what he says? Then again, what if I choose to ignore his advice? That would mean I should actually follow his advice, which is to, um, ignore his advice. Huh? What? Hold on, I think I forgot to take my meds again.
And Here’s Some Other Posts You Might Enjoy…
Millionaire Nurse Blog – Tax Compromise and You!
Money Crashers – What Hurts and Affects Your Credit Score?
Darwin’s Money – Donation Requests at the Checkout Counter Annoy Me — Do You Give In?
Investor Junkie – You’re Still an Idiot Even After College
Bucksome Boomer – Keeping Your Financial Health Intact After Divorce
Little House in the Valley – Beautiful Bungalows
Everyday Tips and Thoughts – Which is Better? Living Debt Free in A Modest Home Or Having A Large Home and Large Mortgage?
MomVesting – How to Avoid Work at Home Scams
Military Wallet – Christmas Gift Ideas for Military Members
Frugal Confessions – Frugal Gift Giving Ideas on a Small Budget
Wealth Pilgrim – What Is My Small Business Worth? 3 Easy Steps
The Way-Back Machine: Past Posts Of Mine You May Have Missed
From November 2009:
A Primer to Help You Unravel the Meaning of a Dollar – No magic here. Just some fun facts about the dollar bill.
By the Numbers
Here are some traffic numbers to mark my second anniversary here at Len Penzo dot Com:
520,324 Total page views since my first blog post on December 11, 2008.
262,137 Total unique visitors over the same period.
381 Articles written.
4776 Total blog comments posted, not counting spam.
116,439 Spam comments received and destroyed.
1.81 The average number of pages people looked at each time they visited during November.
207 The average time (in seconds) people spent here per visit last month.
Credits and Debits
Debit: The Associated Press reports that a confidential US cable predicts that Cuba will be insolvent within two years, if not sooner.
Debit: According to the AP: “It is no secret that Cuba’s financial situation is increasingly dire. Raul Castro has warned that the state can no longer afford to subsidize nearly all forms of Cuban life. The government provides free health care and education , and nearly free transportation, housing and utilities. All Cubans also receive a ration book that provides them with some basic food, though not enough to live on.” But it all sounds so, well, Utopian.
Credit: For a first-hand account of life in Cuba from a reporter who visited it earlier this year, check out this outstanding piece in The American Thinker.
Debit: Meanwhile, back here in the US — which seems to be trying its level best to move toward the Cuban economic model — the federal government ended the month of November by spending $150-billion more than it collected. That’s the 26th consecutive monthly budget deficit, which is a record.
Debit: For his part, incoming House Speaker John Boehner has said he will cut Congressional office budgets by five percent, saving the taxpayer about $25 million. Really? A whole five percent? I understand the symbolic nature of the move, but this is not exactly the type of cuts I had in mind from our newly-elected politicians.
Credit: If we’re going to save this country from an eventual financial collapse, the cuts are going to have to really hurt. So unless we want to continue in this economic malaise, things are going to have to get worse before they get better. That means our federal government needs to be drastically scaled back, commercial and investment banks — along with the stock and real estate markets — need to stop being propped up by the Fed’s reckless and deceitful monetary policy, and certain states who have promised much more than they can ever hope to deliver will need to go into bankruptcy so they can void their government union contracts and get a fresh start.
Debit: Until then, I will continue to fear for the future of America and, especially, my children.
Other Useless News
In other news, here are the Top 10 referring sites over the last 30 days whose readers checked out the most pages per visit (minimum of 50 referrals):
1. Everyday Tips and Thoughts (3.2 pages per visit)
2. Wisebread (2.41)
3. Kiplinger (2.38)
4. The Simple Dollar (2.32)
5. Get Rich Slowly (2.17)
6. Time Magazine: It’s Your Money (2.12)
7. Mint (2.10)
8. The Millionaire Nurse Blog (2.06)
9. Money Help for Christians (2.05)
10. MSN: Smart Spending (2.03)
Thank you to everyone who refers their readers to this little ol’ blog! I really really really really really really really appreciate it! π
Here’s a friendly reminder for ya: if you happen to enjoy what you’re reading – or not – please make sure you follow me on Twitter. And, if you’ll be so kind, don’t forget to subscribe to my RSS feed too! π
Letters, I Get Letters
Crystal from Budgeting in the Fun Stuff said:
“Is it just me, or have you seen a million posts and articles on holiday tipping this week? Not only are there about 20 people you are supposed to tip, but 10-15% is considered cheap?! It seems silly in an economy with 10% unemployment that you should fork over more cash than ever to salaried people like your kids teacher.“
Those aren’t tips parents are giving their kids’ teachers, Crystal. It’s grade insurance.
Meanwhile, Candy wrote in regarding a guest article that ran here earlier this week entitled “Donate? Humbug! 8 Reasons Why My Favorite Charity Is Me,” saying:
“Ebenezer sounds like a real horse’s (derriere). Tell me you didn’t pay him for writing that article.”
I didn’t pay him, Candy. He donated it.
If you have a question you’d like to ask, or a comment you’d like to make regarding some of my irritating opinions, please feel free to drop me an e-mail at: Len@LenPenzo.com
I’ll feature the most interesting question or comment I get each week here on Black Coffee assuming I get one, that is.
If you’re lucky enough to be the only question in the mailbag I’ll highlight your letter, whether it’s interesting or not. π
This week I had articles featured at the following carnivals:
Carnival of Personal Finance @ Prairie EcoThrifter (Editor’s Pick – Hooray!)
I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.