Check Writing Tips

While there’s currently a lot of concern about identity theft, the hijacking of electronic accounts, and other forms of modern day fraud, not as much attention is being paid to good, old-fashioned, low-tech fraud. So… As a followup to my previous post on being careful about who you pay with a check, I thought I’d […]


State Sales Tax Holidays

Eleven different states (plus the District of Columbia) will be offering sales tax holidays in the coming weeks as shoppers stock up on back-to-school items. Note that the tax-exemption applies mainly to things like non-luxury clothing, books, school supplies, and sometimes computers. This is a great deal for those of you who can take advantage […]


Recent Slowdown

Just a quick note to explain the recent slowdown in activity here at FiveCentNickel. First off, I was out of town much of last week and didn’t have internet access. Second, my primary computer (a PowerBook G4) has been in for service, thereby making it difficult for me to work on the site in my […]


Appeal Your Health Insurance Denials

Over the past few years, I’ve received a few denials of coverage from health insurance companies, and each time I’ve appealed the decision. Doing so doesn’t take much effort, and the payoff can be substantial. In one case, I had just started a new job and didn’t yet have an insurance card despite the fact […]


Yes, Virginia, There is a Two Dollar Bill

A funny thing happened at lunch the other day… While waiting at the counter for the cashier to take my order, I overheard an interesting exchange between the guy next to me and the cashier that was helping him. He ordered his sandwich and then went to pay with a couple of two dollar bills. […]


$4.60 Worth of Laziness

A bunch of overdue library books just cost me $4.60 in fines. Fortunately it’s only a dime per book per day, or it could’ve really hurt. While it’s cheaper than buying all those books, and it ultimately supports a worthy cause, I still find it a bit irksome. Maybe I need to create a new […]


Free Access to Consumer Reports (and More)

I never make a major purchase decision without doing a bit of background research. Thus, I was pleased to learn awhile back that I could get free online access to ConsumerReports.org (as well as a large number of other publications) through my local library’s web site. As it turns out, many other public libraries do […]


Google Currency Converter

Maybe this is old news to some of you, but I just ran across yet another cool Google function… Currency conversion! Simply enter the conversion of interest (e.g., 1 USD in Euros) in the Google search box and out pops your answer. Google lists a few examples of acceptable query formats, including: 3.5 USD in […]


Washing Machine Repair, Part Deux

Well, it turns out that I was wrong about our washing machine… The motor was shot, and the repair estimate was $270! Actually, we had already incurred $70 of that for the visit plus the repairman’s time diagnosing the problem. This left us in a bit of a quandary — lay out an additional $200 […]


Washing Machine Repair

When I got home from work last night, my wife informed me that our washing machine is broken. It seems to go all the way through to the spin cycle, but then it won’t spin. You can hear the motor whir, but it’s accompanied by a grinding sound and the tub just sits there. My […]