Clever Posts Of The Week – October 31st

Posted by Brock | October 31, 2014.

Welcome to a Halloween edition of Clever Posts Of The Week!  My son is past the age of trick-or-treating and is heading off to a friend’s house for a small gathering.  It’s just me and the wife at home handing out candy.  Tomorrow, we’ll be heading to a costume party of our own – should be a good a time!  What do you have planned for Halloween weekend?  Are you dressing up?

While you’re waiting for the doorbell to ring, check out my favorite posts of the week!

  1. 3 Biggest Drivers of Retirement Savings Success from Money Smart Guides
  2. What’s Saved on Your Work Computer Right Now? from Money Propeller
  3. Blame it on the economy from Reach Financial Independence
  4. Never Cosign a Loan from Save And Conquer
  5. Financial Independence Ruined My Life from Messy Money

CleverDude was included in the following carnivals recently:

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Customer Service: A Tale Of Two Stores

Posted by Brock | October 29, 2014.


Image courtesy of stockimages at

I want to play a game with you today. I’m a big proponent of voting with my spending dollars. If a business treats me right, I keep spending my money there. If they treat me badly, I take my money elsewhere. I’m going to tell you two real experiences of mine, gradually revealing more detail, and I want you to see how fast you can determine which store will get my business again, and which one won’t.

Store #1 : AT&T

My family and I went to the official AT&T store to investigate upgrading our phones. When we’ve walked in this exact store in the past, an army of people in blue shirts would rush to us asking if they could help us, or telling us they would be right with us. Today, there were very few employes in the store, but there was a large number of customers. One person did state to us from across the store that someone would be right with us.

Store #2: Champs

My son wanted a back sack, and he found one he liked at Champs. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the one he picked out in stock. At the suggestion of the employee, he paid for the item to be shipped to our home. Two days later we received a phone call from Champs stating that the back sack my son ordered was no longer available, and that we should take our receipt back to the store for a refund.

Just How Safe Is Online Property Exchange Software?

Posted by Clever Dude | October 28, 2014.

One huge convenience of living in a digital world is being able to rid ourselves of the annoyances of paperwork. Never again will we need to worry about filling out forms in triplicate or making sure those sheets of carbon transfer paper copy everything onto the yellow and pink sheets of paper below them. One area of life that was especially notorious for its baffling level of paperwork was property transfers. Finally, property exchanges can take full advantage of available technology to significantly reduce the amount of paperwork involved.

Property Exchange Australia Ltd, or PEXA, aims to reduce the manual work involved in property exchanges and thereby reduce the amount of errors and failures in real estate transactions. PEXA is already live in Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales, and Western Australia. By the end of 2015, all states will have joined the platform.

PEXA gets rid of one of the most annoying aspects of exchanging property, the need to coordinate with everyone involved so they can physically attend the settlement. Beyond the added convenience, PEXA allows practitioners to pass on to their customers the savings from the reduced paperwork, errors, and costs traditionally associated with physical settlements.

But is online property exchange software reliable and safe? First of all, PEXA isn’t software, but an entire network that can provide property exchange services to all states and financial institutions. There’s no need to worry about the platform crashing during a transfer because PEXA’s backup servers are immediately activated in the unlikely event of a crash. The process will continue seamlessly with no delay. Even if your office loses power during a settlement, you can simply access PEXA from another location that has power and internet access. None of the work will be lost.

Is Any Sale Really Final?

Posted by Brock | October 27, 2014.


Image courtesy of Idea Go at

“Just to let you know, all Halloween sales are final,” said the cashier as she handed me the receipt. Nodding our heads in agreement, my wife and I walked out the store with a bag full of decorations. I had pulled the bins of fall items we already owned out of the attack earlier in the afternoon, and my wife and I decided we wanted to enhance our decorations for the upcoming Trick or Treat festival.

One of the items we had found was a battery operated spider that attaches to the top of a door frame. When someone comes near it, a motion detector would cause the spider to drop down on a string, it’s eyeballs would flash, and then it would emit a scream as it began to retract the string and climb back up to its perch.

I’m not much of a holiday decoration guy, but even I had to admit it was pretty cool.

The next morning, as we were putting up our decorations, my wife attempted to turn on the spider by flipping the switch on the underside of the spider. Unfortunately, whatever attached the switch unit to the body of the spider broke, and the switch fell inside the product. We could not get it out, and there was no way to repair the spider without breaking it.

With the product and receipt in the bag, we returned to the store.

Clever Posts Of The Week – October 24th

Posted by Brock | October 24, 2014.

While getting ready for the day, I stretched in front of my bathroom mirror.  In my early morning fog, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to where I was extending my arms, and I ended up hitting the light fixture on the wall above the mirror…..and knocked it out of the wall.  I have no idea how these things are attached, but apparently my theory that they would be attached to a stud was completely wrong.  The fixture is now hanging loose, but not loose enough for me to see what’s behind it, how it’s supposed to be secured to the wall, or what’s wrong with it.  I’ll give you three guesses as to who is going to be shutting off the circuit to the bathroom and taking apart a light fixture this weekend.  :)

What do you have on tap, other than reading the below personal finance articles?

  1. Are You A Saver Or A Spender? from Money Smart Guides
  2. House Hunting: How Much We Spent from Suburban Finance
  3. How Many Mortgage Payments Can Be Missed Before Foreclosure from Modest Money
  4. Make your own junk food! from Savvy Scot
  5. What Do You Tolerate to Save Money? from Prairie Eco Thrifter

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FREE Software That Can Save You Headaches and Money

Posted by Brock | October 22, 2014.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

My dad doesn’t talk much during my weekly phone calls with my parents, but he does pop on the line every now and then to get the abbreviated version of what’s going on. On one particular night as the conversation with my mom was winding down I heard the, “click” indicating he had joined us.

“I need you to take a look at my computer the next time I see you. It’s super slow, and things keep popping up. It all started after a weird phone call,” he said.

About eight years ago the improbably happened, and my very old school father got access to email through his job at the time. He took to it as well as the online world very easily. We begin exchanging emails frequently, had conversations in the middle of the day via instant messenger, and within the last year we’ve even started using skype. But as technologically savvy as he’s become, there’s still a few things he needs to learn.

He went on to tell me how he got a phone call one day from someone claiming to be from Microsoft telling him that they had been getting errors reported from his computer. If my father would follow some directions to grant them access to his computer, they would look around. Even though his computer had been running fine at the time, he complied. Within a minute they delivered the bad news. His computer was full of viruses, but he was in luck! They were willing to sell him the software to clean his computer for $99. He hung up on them, but they called back. After several rounds of this, they stopped calling.