Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Punny Poll #16: Who Could Possibly Replace Bob Barker on "The Price is Right?"

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: ,

the awesomest old dude on tv to retire

“I will be 83 years old on December 12, and I’ve decided to retire while I’m still young.”

With those words, Bob Barker announced that his reign as the Awesomest Old Dude on Television will end in June 2007 when he steps down as the host of The Price is Right.

Bob has been hosting the show since 1972–years before some of his most faithful followers (including yours truly) were even born. Everything I knew about money before I started this website, I learned from him. And now he’s leaving me!!!

If anything less than a full week of prime time programming is devoted to Bob’s final appearance, I plan on calling for a world-wide boycott of CBS. Who’s with me? Who’s with me???

Of course, the Price must go on, even without Bob in charge. Apparently the show’s producers have been looking for potential replacements for years. Take a look at a few possible candidates for the new face of Price and pick which one (if any) should be picked to fill Bob’s big, money-filled shoes. Or comment with your own pick!

How would cutting Saturday mail delivery affect you?

View Results

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Borders Bookstore 30% Off Coupon, Expires November 5th

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics:

30 percent off me

Here’s a quick deal for all you literate readers (sorry, illiterate readers): a printable 30% off coupon to Borders. You’ll have to go to a store to use it, and you’ll need to spend at least $10. But it looks like you can even use it on sale items.

Hurry! The coupon expires Sunday, November 5th. Don’t get stuck reading the ingredients list on potato chip bags again!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Five Year Guaranteed Light Bulbs? How Can I Lose???

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: ,

this kind of bulb wastes energy and kills bunnies

The concept is simple. You buy something relatively inexpensive, and it has a five-year guarantee. Thus, if it stops working within five years of purchase, you get either a refund or replacement from the manufacturer. Sounds like you come out a winner no matter what…

…Unless that item is a GE compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb.

Here’s the story. Thanks to my wonderful neighbors and their generous offer to split a Sam’s Club membership, we now once again have access to crazy quantities of bulk items. Right now in our shed are 27 Christmas hams, 219 barrels of pretzels, and enough CFL bulbs to light up a black hole. I spent some time in the last couple days merrily replacing all the 150-watt bulbs (come on, previous residents–150 freakin’ watts???) with less blinding, far more energy efficient 13-watt CFL bulbs.

In addition to their greater efficiency, CFL bulbs typically last five times longer than conventional light bulbs. In fact, GE is so sure their CFL bulbs will last five times longer than the typical one-year life span of normal bulbs that they’ll replace a CFL bulb for free if it dies in the first five years. How totally nice of them, right? Read the fine print on the back of the box…

Guaranteed to last 5 years based on rated life at 4 hours consumer use per day at 120V. When used in accordance with package and bulb directions, if this bulb does not last for the time period guaranteed (based on 4 hours average usage per day/7 days per week) return bulb, proof of purchase, register receipt, and your name and address to GE Consumer & Industrial, General Electric Company, Nela Park, Cleveland, OH, 44112. General Electric will replace the bulb.

From GE’s guarantee, we learn a few interesting facts:

  1. GE owns a whole entire park. I want a park…
  2. If you use your CFL bulbs an average of 4 hours and 1 second per day or more and try to return it, you’re a dirty liar. Hell has a special place for people who commit CFL bulb fraud.
  3. More importantly, you must surrender your proof of purchase and receipt when asking for a replacement. So if a second CFL bulb from your Sam’s Club 8-pack dies later on, you have no proof of purchase or receipt. Not that it matters since you’d be wasting your money shipping the bulb back…
  4. Most importantly, you ship your broken bulb to GE at your own expense. Keep in mind that bulbs are fragile (even broken ones!) and they don’t exactly fit in a standard envelope. The cost of a GE 13-watt CFL bulb at Sam’s Club? $1.36 ($10.88 for an 8-pack divided by 8). The cost to mail a broken bulb to GE? Assuming the package, bulb, and padding weigh only five ounces, at least $1.35; and that’s without counting the price of packaging and padding! The return shipping costs more than the original bulb!

ge five year guarantee is a little light on value

And so GE’s five-year CFL guarantee is rendered utterly worthless.

Yes, utterly.

Worthless.

All that said, CFL bulbs turn out to be a great deal in the long run. Just don’t read too much into their guarantee. And should one of my GE CFL bulbs bite the dust in the next five years, I actually will ship it back to them and ask for a replacement… but not before smashing the bulb into a million tiny pieces so that it fits in a 39-cent envelope.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The New Personal Finance Blog Search Engine

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: ,

personal finance blog search engine results for monkey

Thanks to the fine folks at Google, you can now create your own search engines that pull results from sites you pick. So if you wanted to create a search engine that covers all the big green cockroach websites out there, you’d stick big-green-cockroach.com, green-roachies.com, and omg-cockroach-green-wtf.com into your engine and bam!–only results from the green cockroach websites you choose!

Wouldn’t it be nice if someone put together a search engine that generates results exclusively from the personal finance blogosphere? (Yes, that would be nice!)

Well, call me Mr. Nice-Pants, because here it is!

Personal Finance Blog Search Engine

Simply visit that page, enter your personal finance search query, and you’ll get results from all the best personal finance bloggers on the internet. None of that worthless information from so-called “professional finance writers” or “knowledgable sources” or “Pulitzer Prize-winning publications.” Nope, just personal finance bloggy goodness!

But perhaps you don’t like Punny Money and you’d like to do some Personal Finance Blog Searching somewhere else. There are a few ways you can do this:

Visit the Google Custom Search Engine Page

Here’s the Google Custom Search Engine Page for the Personal Finance Blog Search. The URL isn’t anything memorable though, so you’d want to bookmark it.

Include the Search and Results on Your Own Site!

At least 43 times cooler than visiting Google’s site is integrating the Personal Finance Blog Search Engine into your own website. Here’s how you do it.

  1. You’ll need two pages on your website. Copy and paste the code from this first file on one page (your search query bar page), and copy and paste the code from this other file on the other (your search results page).
  2. Edit one part of the first file. Change “SEARCH RESULTS PAGE LINK HERE” to the full URL for your search results page (e.g. http://www.example.com/search-results ).
  3. Put your pages on your site. When you perform a search on the first page, it’ll show you the results on the second!

WordPress users (I’m not sure about other blog platforms) will have to take a couple extra steps to get the in-site search results working. LiewCF has a good explanation of the work you’ll need to do to get the results to display on your WordPress site.

Include the Search on Your Own Site, Show the Results on Google’s

An easier middle ground between the two techniques above is to include the search query box on your own site, but have it display the results on one of Google’s search result pages. The results will be the same, but the query sends your visitors away to another site… something search results would probably do anyway!

To include the search query box on your site, just copy and paste the code from this file right here into any page you wish. You’ll get your search box, and entering a query sends you to a Google page filled with matching personal finance blog results.

Want to Be Included in the Personal Finance Blog Search Engine Results?

Being included in the Personal Finance Blog Search Engine results means that searchers will see your blog before they see, say, CNN Money’s website.

If you’d like your personal finance blog included in the Personal Finance Blog Search Engine, simply comment here. Please include your website URL only in the box which asks for it, not in the body of the comment (or my spam catcher will kill your comment), and ask to be added. Only blogs which are primarily (50% or more) personal finance (including personal debt reduction, personal frugality, and other categories closely linked with personal finance) will be included. If your blog isn’t related to personal finance, it probably wouldn’t come up in the search results even if it were included.

Once I see your comment, I’ll check out your blog and include it in the search results. Then you can post the search query box on your own site if you like and help your visitors find the information they need within the personal finance blogosphere.

Does Punny Money Make Money From This?

Nope. Not a dime. While custom Google search engine creators have the option of running their own advertisements on results pages, I am not using that option since it doesn’t cost me anything to maintain the search engine. If you choose to run your Personal Finance Blog Search Engine queries on Punny Money, your results will also be shown on a Punny Money page which shows some ads of mine and some of Google’s, but you could do the same thing yourself!

So start searchin’ already!

Search Personal Finance Blogs:


Friday, October 20, 2006

Yummy Money: Cheap and Delicious Japanese Miso Soup

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics:

miso soup because you-so hungry

Miso sorry that Yummy Money has been on hiatus for such a long time, but now it’s back with another tasty and cheap recipe real people like you can make. Today we’re going to take a crack at one of my favorite Japanese dishes–miso soup.

If you’ve ever been to a Japanese restaurant, you may recognize miso soup as that cloudy broth with little white cubes you sometimes get with your entree. While you won’t find cans of it in your Safeway’s soup aisle, miso soup is fairly simple to put together from four ingredients you can round up at any Asian food market.

Miso Soup

Ingredients

miso soup, you-so tired of this joke already

  • 4 cups dashi stock. You can find jars of dashi stock granules, which is made from cooking dried seaweed and fish, in any Asian food store. Follow the directions on the package for preparing it so that you end up with 4 cups of broth.
  • 2 tablespoons miso paste. Again, hit up the Asian store for this. Miso is simply soy bean paste, and it helps give the soup its yummy taste. Some people prefer to use more miso paste, so adjust the amount to your taste.
  • 2 ounces tofu, cubed. I think they sell this everywhere now, but it’ll probably be a bit cheaper at the Asian market. Chop it into tiny cubes like you see in the soup at restaurants.
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onion. If you don’t know what this is, you’re in trouble.

Preparation

  1. Make your soup stock in a saucepan according to the package or jar. Bring it to a boil for the next part.
  2. Toss in your tofu cubes. Wheee!
  3. Carefully pour about a cup of the stock into another bowl. Add your miso paste to this bowl and allow it to dissolve.
  4. Put the stock with the dissolved miso back in your pan and immediately turn off the heat.
  5. Add the chopped green onions.
  6. Serve. (Why do recipes always tell you to “serve?” Do they really think you might forget this part?)

Serves four for $2.00 or less!

One of the best parts of miso soup is that you can take the basic soup and add all sorts of extras to make it more of a meal. Mushrooms, noodles, shrimp, potatoes, and various veggies are just some of the foods you can throw in your miso soup.