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…
Thank goodness I’m all better this week. For the record, that flu bug stretched out over 72 hours or so. Thank you to everyone who dropped me a get-well-soon email — they really lifted my spirits! Okay, onward and upward …
Blogs I’ve Been Following This Week
Yes, I Am Cheap – Stepping Out on Faith. If you worked in a job you loved, with people you loved working with, at a company that treated its employees with respect, you’d probably be dancing on the moon — especially in this tough economy we’re currently living in. Well, unless you’re Sandy, that is; she quit. That definitely takes a lot of courage.
Hundred Goals – The Job I Quit Before I Was Hired. Then there’s Steven, who decided to quit his new job two hours after starting it. I know. Well, to his credit that’s still about 1 hour and 56 minutes longer than my kids often last after taking on odd jobs around my house for a little extra spending money.
Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance – What Not to Wear to a Business Meeting. Meanwhile, Barbara Friedberg ran into business troubles of her own after realizing her slovenly sartorial appearance probably didn’t sit too well with one of her scheduled appointments.
Don’t Quit Your Day Job – Should Engineers and Business Majors Pay Higher Tuition? Says Paul: Between math problem sets, programming assignments, homework, and studying — it’s enough to make many engineers long for the Liberal Arts school. Tell me about it. Then again, as an electrical engineer myself, you also forgot to mention the biggest drag of them all: the depressing dearth of female students in every class. At times I felt like I was living in a monastery. In fact, on average, the only majors who get less action on a college campus than the engineering students are, well … okay, there aren’t any.
And Here’s Some Other Posts You Might Enjoy…
The Girl with the Red Balloon – Lusting for a New Rental House
Money Beagle – The Kidney Stone of Automobiles
Hope to Prosper – Money Fail: Lenders of Last Resort
Fabulously Broke in the City – What if Money Wasn’t in the Picture at All?
Squirrelers – Saving Money on Watching Movies
Financial Samurai – Fix the Car or Buy a New One?
Millionaire Nurse Blog – Management: Are You Afraid to Take that Step?
Debt Free Adventure – The Whole Armor of Personal Finance
Cash Flow Mantra – Preparing for Options Expiration
JoeTaxpayer – Goodbye Penny, Goodbye Dollar Bill
The Way-Back Machine: Past Posts Of Mine You May Have Missed
From March 2009:
Essential Tips for Lowering Your Grocery Bill – There are many methods for cutting the grocery bill that go way beyond shopping at discount grocery stores, taking advantage of in-store specials, and using coupons. I hope, with the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, you’ll find some of these tips helpful.
Credits and Debits
Debit: Have you noticed the price of gasoline has been creeping up again? It has. In fact, this week the price of oil topped $100 per barrel for the first time in four months.
Debit: That’s certainly not good news for the cash-strapped city of Detroit. The city is expected to run out of money by April 2012 unless it makes “drastic reforms” including layoffs and additional union concessions. Good luck with that.
Debit: The trouble with excessive government spending is it becomes extremely difficult to roll it back after the laws of economics finally catch up with reality, especially when it comes to union pay and their unsustainable government pensions.
Debit: And as the events of the past week have shown yet again, belated attempts at austerity more often than not end up in riots and violence committed by those who still feel entitled to those unconscionable taxpayer-guaranteed benefits.
Debit: At the federal level, the US national debt passed $15 trillion on Wednesday. Well, actually, by the end of the day the debt officially stood at $15,033,607,255,920. And 32 cents. That was $56 billion more than the day before. This is beyond surreal, isn’t it?
Debit: More than $4 trillion has been added to the National Debt over the past 34 months alone.
Debit: In other news, a Pensacola, Florida protester was arrested for felony burglary after he allegedly robbed his neighbor’s home of a couch, a recliner, and four wicker chairs and then took all that furniture to his “Occupy Pensacola” encampment outside the City Hall.
Credit: I realize that most Occupy Wall Street protesters — whether they want to admit it or not — believe in wealth redistribution. But isn’t stealing your neighbor’s furniture going just a bit too far?
Debit: Finally, MSNBC is reporting that the rotten economy may be killing our sex lives. I know. Let the record show that, for my own selfish interests, I’m not going to make any sex-and-marriage jokes here that might tick off the Honeybee. (Remember, I was an engineering major in college.)
Credit: According to psychologist Gail Saltz, financial difficulties don’t foster a strong libido: “If you can’t spend any money doing anything fun, if that’s sucked out of the relationship, you’ve got no playtime.” Well, well, well … that sure was an interesting choice of words by the good psychologist, wasn’t it?
By the Numbers
36 Days until Christmas.
2 The number of US paper currency bills currently in circulation that do not feature a US president. ($10 – Alexander Hamilton; $100 – Benjamin Franklin)
30 billion Amount of Monopoly money printed each year by game’s manufacturer, Parker Brothers.
$974 million Amount of money printed by the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing last year. (That’s not to be confused with the money created out of thin air by the Fed.)
95 Percentage of money printed by the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing each year to simply replace old and worn-out bills.
9 Lifespan (in years) of the average $100 bill. (The lifespan of a $1 bill is 22 months.)
$250,000 Amount of counterfeit US money that is found each day.
91 Percentage of copper in a US quarter. (The other nine percent is made of nickel.)
1 Percentage of all US paper currency currently in circulation that is $2 bills. (When is the last time you spent one of those?)
The Question of the Week
Other Useless News
It’s that time again. Based upon your emails and — as you shall soon see — other clues, this has become my most-popular Black Coffee monthly feature. According to Google Analytics, here are some odd search terms that got people to Len Penzo dot Com over the past 30 days (of which, at least one was clearly more calculated than the others):
- Lou Penzo personal finance
- Len Ponzo
- Len Pebzi
- i found $200 at the ATM should I return it
- I owe 5 million dollars and I can’t pay it
- can I change my ss number because mine is too easy to remember
- average annual pay for a top secret janitor
- can I live good with 100 dollar income a month in Ethiopia
- There’s a stop sign in my yard
- kellogg’s corn pops tv commercial guy with the whip
- I wasted money on big purchase regret engagement ring
- hey, Len Penzo will this search criteria show up in your google analytics data?
- can courts make you put your child in private cathlic [sic] school?
- can I buy organic fruits and veggies right from a spanish farm?
- Why are people who drive Hondas always right
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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!
This week, Expensive Car Driver had something he apparently wanted to get off his chest:
I am 20 years old and work a full time retail job and part time sales job. I drive a top level Mitsubishi Eclipse with every option. Around $30,000. Am I so deluded as to think it impresses chicks or makes people think that I’m rich? NO! I DON’T GIVE A FLYING F*** WHAT PEOPLE THINK ABOUT MY CAR!!
I know you’re not interested in driving a chick magnet, but if you ever change your mind, I may be willing to trade you straight up for my 1997 Honda Civic. Frankly, I’m getting tired of all the attention.
I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.