Clever Posts Of The Week -July 25th

Posted by Brock | July 25, 2014.

I have to tell you, Clever friends, I’m excited.  My brother (who I don’t see nearly as often as I’d like) and his family are coming to our house this weekend, and then we’re headed off together for a mini-vacation at a water park destination.  I’m excited, their excited, and our kids are definitely excited.  Let’s just hope I can stick to my guns and prevent another  water park lunch disaster.   It’s going to be a great time!

I hope you’ll have almost as equally as awesome of a time checking out my favorite posts from this week:

  1. Blogger fined for ranking too well in Google from Money Bulldog
  2. How I Make Thousands From Side Hustles from Money Smart Guides
  3. What Are My Options If I’m In Debt And Need to Pay it Off? from Suburban Finance
  4. Tips For Building The Self-Restraint Needed To Pay Off Debt from Money Ahoy

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

Clever Dudes Are Self Reliant: Water Heater Edition

Posted by Brock | July 23, 2014.

fixing a water heater

My neighbor mentioned a few nights ago that on his list of things to do for the evening was to take a look at their water heater. Apparently it wasn’t working, and they had no hot water. My neighbor is the kind of guy that will take a look at pretty much anything before calling a repair person, and his wife had given him that evening to do so before she called a professional the next morning.

He described to me how his water heater was acting:

  • It would begin running
  • He could hear gas puffed into the chamber
  • The igniter fired, activating the burner
  • It would run for about 20 seconds and then completely shut down
  • This process would repeat three times, and then an error code would be displayed on the LED.

I had the exact same issue with my water heater several years ago, and with some additional conversation we determined that we have the exact same water heater. Recalling my experience with this problem, I told my neighbor that we paid the $80 fee for a service call to have someone come to our home and diagnose the problem.

My wife and I both rolled our eyes as I told the story of how the professional fixed our problem. He had opened the service door at the bottom of the water heater, pulled out a piece of sandpaper, and rubbed down the end of a thin metal pole that ends up in the middle of the flames when the ignitor fires.  He explained that the end of the pole gets dirty and the heat sensor no longer senses that the burner is successfully lit.

3 Effective Methods to Protect Your Van From Theft

Posted by Clever Dude | July 23, 2014.

While most parked vehicles are a temptation for an opportunistic thief, vans and their valuable contents can be seen as a gold mine.

That’s why you should be especially vigilant in the precautions you take. These 3 steps to protecting your van can significantly reduce the potential for crime, and help you recover costs if you’re unfortunate enough to be targeted.

1. Make Your Van an Unappealling Target

The first step towards crime prevention is deterrence. You might be surprised at the risks people don’t realise they’re taking. Always be sure to:

  • Lock the doors and close the windows – even if you’re only leaving the van for a couple of minutes.
  • Only park in busy, well-lit areas. If you’re parking on a road, turning the wheels into the kerb makes for a slower getaway.
  • Remove all valuable items from sight. Even leaving a phone charger suggests there might be a phone inside. Better yet, remove items from the van entirely overnight.
  • Choose security features that are highly visible to act as a deterrant.

2. Make Your Van a Fortress

There’s a wide range of security products you can install to reduce the chances of being a victim of theft.

  • Alarms are the most obvious choice, and come with most vans as standard. Stickers that say “This vehicle is alarmed” are a great deterrent, but a sticker which specifies the alarm model is risky: the thief may know a way around it.

How Spending $13 Cost Me $600 Bucks

Posted by Clever Dude | July 22, 2014.


[Guest article today]

The recent ‘Clever Posts of the Week – July 11th’ post on immediately caught my eye because of the one post that was entitled “How Saving 50 Cents Cost Me 500 Bucks.” The reason it jostled my attention is that I too have been in a similar situation in which a few bucks turned into a couple hundred that I ended up owing.

From the “50 Cents” article, the financial problem stems from forgetting to fill up the spare tire when it’s needed the most but my mistake goes way beyond this stupidity because it basically sums up what happens when you give a young, inexperienced kid a new credit card and the ability to purchase the video games they love.

It was my fault.

No one forced me to buy a video game I had loved as a kid; I simply let the nostalgia get the best of me, but because I didn’t really understand the weight of missing just one payment. it really snowballed into something that became way bigger than it needed to be.

A Nostalgia Trip

I really started off on the wrong foot because I wanted to buy a video game from my childhood that finally became available online. For me the perfect “entry” into using my new credit card was to buy this cheap $13 game as a way to “test” the waters with credit payments.

That’s where I messed up …

There IS Still Kindness In This World

Posted by Brock | July 21, 2014.

Together Pic


Image courtesy of hin255 /

I’ve been spending a fair amount of effort recently observing human behavior and really wondering, “What is wrong with people these days?” Although there are exceptions, it seems that most people are content to bury their heads in their phones and deal with their fellow humans through social media. Many of us fail to remember that every single person we encounter during the course of the day has their own unique story that we are completely unaware of. We react to someone’s attitude or tone by only the shallow surface of the situation.

With all the conflict going on in the world recently; an airliner shot down over the Ukraine, strife in Israel, and countless other situations, I had an encounter yesterday that reminded me that there is still good in this world. There are still people out there that do kind acts for no other reason than to help out a fellow person who might be having a bad day.

I had been in Walmart for over an hour grocery shopping, and was anxious to get home. All the checkout lanes were stacked with customers three deep, and my beloved self-checkout lanes were clogged with people who seemingly didn’t know how to operate them efficiently.

“You should have to be certified to use these things,” I thought to myself as I watched someone struggle with what to do with produce that had no UPC symbol.

Why It Pays To Plan Your Funeral In Advance

Posted by Clever Dude | July 21, 2014.

taps funeral

Have you given much thought to how your funeral costs will be covered?

Are you relying on savings to pay for the service? Do you expect your family to foot the bill? Perhaps you have an “I don’t care, I’ll be pushing up the daisies” attitude?

Whichever way you currently look at it, you’re certainly not alone.

Indeed, this playing it by ear approach is common in people over the age of 50, with research revealing three quarters have yet to make ANY plans for their funeral.

While we understand locking horns with your mortality is hardly an exhilarating way to spend a weekend, this lack of preparation can cause financial and emotional problems for your loved ones.

Gemini Adams, a grief expert and author of Your Legacy of Love: Realise the Gift in Goodbye, has recommended people think ahead.

She said: “When it comes to preparing for the “worst” typically we’re encouraged to write a will to share our financial assets, but what our surviving loved ones really need is a continuing bond.”

However, with the cost of funerals rising at a rate of seven per cent per year, the price of a funeral could be around £25,000 in 30 years, which can be enough to taint even the strongest bond.

When you add in other death-related costs such as probate, headstones and flowers, the price of a funeral now stands at an eye-watering £7,622.