The Refund I Didn’t Know I Deserved

Posted by Brock | August 28, 2015.


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Author’s Note: Sometimes I like to lighten it up a little here at The Dude, and today is one of those days. Here’s a story about a little surprise I got in the mail last week. Enjoy!

I assumed the letter from Target Optometry was one of those gentle reminders that it was time for our yearly eye exam. But when I opened it, I found a check along with this note:

I am reaching out to you due to a programming error, which resulted in an error in the price you were charged on your eyewear purchase in regards to your premium Anti-Reflective lenses. I regret this error and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. New procedures are in place to prevent this type of error from happening in the future.

I cocked my head, and wrinkled my face as I thought about when we purchased glasses from Target. It wasn’t this year because we purposefully went somewhere else as we were not happy with the exam at Target. I dug out my receipts and confirmed that we purchased the glasses in March of 2014, over 17 months ago.

I unfolded the letter again to find out how much they had overcharged my wife’s sunglasses. I remember that they were quite expensive, so I was hoping it was sizable. I groaned a little, and then laughed as I read the digits: $12.24.

I’m Putting My High School Student On A Lunch Budget!

Posted by Brock | August 26, 2015.


In just a few days my son will be starting his junior year of high school. He’s about to embark upon the journey of a new school year where he’ll be taking new classes, making new friends, and making new memories. There’s something else new that he’ll be dealing with this school year.

My son will be on a lunch budget.

When I was in high school, we didn’t have the choices that he has. There was simply lunch. That’s it. My son’s high school cafeteria looks more like a restaurant. They have the base hot lunch, but they also have several other options to choose from. Sometimes my son eats the base lunch, sometimes he chooses one of the options. Sometimes he eats the base lunch plus gets some ice cream, or an extra drink to take with him for the afternoon.

His first two years in high school I took the approach that I wanted him to be able to get whatever he needs to satisfy the hunger of a growing teenage boy. But throughout his sophomore year I started seeing days where he would buy upwards of $8 to $10 worth of food (I can see how much he spends, and what he buys through an online tool). I’m all for him getting his fill, but I also have to be mindful of my own budget. So, this year there’s going to be a limit regarding how much I’m willing to fund his lunch account.

What Should I Do With a FREE Gym Membership?

Posted by Brock | August 24, 2015.

free gym membership, free membership, fitness

I enjoy going to the gym. I really enjoy the full service health club I belong to, and I don’t mind the monthly payment because I use my membership every day. However, something happened last week that has me contemplating canceling my membership.

I won a year membership to a different health club.

A local television station is running a contest each time our regional NFL team has a televised preseason game. When the right commercial is broadcast, contestants can send a text message to the television station to enter, winners to be notified at noon the following Monday.

Sitting in my office last Monday, I received a text message stating I had won a year membership to a newly opened health club. I contacted the station as instructed, and am awaiting the details to be mailed to me. I’ve seen commercials listing the prizes, and the prize is listed as a $480 value.


I know some people that go to that health club, and they like it a lot. Mainly because it’s price point is fairly inexpensive compared to the club I belong to now. Of course, it doesn’t have a lot of the amenities of my current club, but it does have almost everything that I use. My initial thought was that I would dump my current membership, and use my free membership for a year. I can decide what to do after the free year is up.

Teens And Money: A Lesson in ATM Fees

Posted by Brock | August 21, 2015.

atm fees, teaching your teenager, teen advice
I was looking through my son’s bank transactions recently when I noticed something that required a discussion. I saw that he had withdrawn money from his account, and was charged a $2.50 ATM fee.   When he received his debit card, I explained that he had easy access to his account using an ATM and his PIN, but we hadn’t talked about how to avoid fees.

He knew he had paid the fee, as a message had popped up on the ATM. At that moment he didn’t think he had a choice because he was in a hurry and needed cash. He didn’t know that withdrawing cash from an ATM might actually cost him money. In fact, he was double surprised at the message because there was a sign on the convenience store he was in that stated, “No Fee ATM.”

I explained to him a few of the finer points of using an ATM.

Bank Fees vs. ATM Owner Fee

There are two different ways that a person can be charged a fee when using an ATM:

  • The ATM Owner : Someone owns the ATM. That entity makes money by charging people a convenience fee to use the ATM. The sign he saw on the outside of the convenience store was stating that the ATM owner did not charge any fees to use the ATM.

Health Care System Fail : It’s Your Money and your Health at Stake

Posted by Brock | August 19, 2015.

healthcare issues, healthcare, health problems

As your stereotypical male, I don’t go to the doctor often. I believe that if given ample opportunity the amazing human body can usually heal itself.  I don’t go for an office visit unless something has been nagging me for weeks, or a body part has ceased to function. My lack of enthusiasm is reinforced by the fact that almost every time I do decide to make a venture into getting some medical treatment I’m reminded of just how messed up our health care system is.

Take my most recent experience as an example.

While I may be reluctant to go to the doctor when ill, I do place a high value on my annual preventative exam. While making the appointment, I was told I should come in and have blood drawn a few days before the physical so the doctor could go over the results with me. I asked if a Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test would be done as part of my blood work. The person I spoke to indicated they would have to check on that, and get back to me.

When a nurse called back, she said that they did not do the PSA as the standard blood work for two reasons:

  • It was likely not covered by insurance
  • The doctor favors a physical examination of the prostate

The Cost of Crashing: How to Protect Your Auto Insurance Premiums After a Collision

Posted by James | August 18, 2015.

auto insurance, car collision, auto insurance policy

If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a collision, often your second thought after confirming everyone is OK, is what will this do to my premiums?

After your vehicle has been towed to a specialist auto repair center such as Glendale collision shops or somewhere similar that is approved, you can turn your attention to finding out what is going to happen to your auto insurance premiums once you make a claim.

The news might not be as bad as you think

If this is your first accident and it has been determined that you were at fault for the collision, this will mean that your insurer is going to have to pay out for the damage or compensate the driver of another vehicle if that is relevant to the accident.

If the insurer has to pay out for a claim, the obvious assumption is that they are going to raise your premiums when it comes to renewal time, but this might not always be the case.

You might find that some insurance are bit more forgiving than others and if the incident was relatively minor, with no injuries and minimal repair damage, they might exercise a forgiveness policy if it is your first accident.

Ask your auto insurer if they operate a policy like this and if they do, the premium news might not be as bad as you first feared.

Not at fault