Sunday, March 8, 2009

PF Spotlight: Punny Money

(Update: As of March 16, Nick and Punny Money have returned. Oh, happy day! His latest post discusses the new Burger King 'burger shots' in his normal sarcastic tone. Check him out, he's still as funny as ever.)

Ah, alas, it is with a heavy heart that I write this particular spotlight. I've wanted to feature one of my favorite blogs, Punny Money, since before I even started this blog. Unfortunately, it seems that Nick, the proprietor of Punny Money, has gone on an unannounced hiatus.

One of the greatest things about Nick's blog is the hilarious cartoons he's been including with his posts. The artwork is fairly simple, largely stick figures and other interesting cartoony aspects. But his twisted sense of humor, and ability to find the funny even in the oddest of places led to some truly, truly funny cartoons. Add in the detailed and insightful articles he wrote, and it's a wonderful blog.

While I hope that Nick will be back to writing and drawing for Punny Money soon, but in the meantime you can check out some of my favorite articles from his blog:

Adventures in First-Time Homebuying - Nick wrote a series of articles about the joy and peril of buying a house. It's easily one of the most comprehensive and complete series of homebuying articles I've seen, covering everything from mortgage rate explanations to finding a realtor to getting a loan and closing. There are over twenty articles in the series, and they make great reading, even if you aren't currently in the market for your first house.

How to Save Your Safe Deposit Box From All the People Trying to Steal It - Nick details some of the risks of safe deposit boxes, mainly the risk that your bank might declare it abandoned and auction off the contents. He doesn't really come up with a solution (other than putting baking soda labeled as cocaine into your box, so that the police will track you down if your box is declared abandoned...), but the cartoon is hilarious, and the risk of losing your important documents and other deposits is, sadly, real.

Eat Your Money's Worth at Any All-You-Can-Eat Buffet
- Exactly what the name says, techniques to maximize the economic benefits of buffet eating. Some of the basics: don't starve yourself, eat the meat first (and second, and third...), and take some time off before you gorge again. Pretty good tips, and useful if you like buffets.

Fight Thieving Restaurants With Checksum Tips - Nick's most commented-on post, it details a method to prevent the wait staff at restaurants from adding more money to the tip than you intended. The basic idea is to make the last digit of the total (the penny column) equal the sum of the dollar digits. So, if your bill (with desired tip) came to about $54.62, you'd add the 5 + 4, and change the last digit to a 9, making the total you actually write $54.69. Then, if anyone tried to add more to the tip, the math wouldn't work, and you'd realize instantly that something was wrong.

The reason it's the most commented on post is pretty simple; just about everyone has an opinion on the issue of foiling tip inflation. Numerous commentators wrote in to call Nick cheap and paranoid (accusations that weren't helped by the fact that his example had a tip amount of 10%). Angry waiters and waitresses wrote about the number of times that people would give them poor (or nonexistent) tips, and decried the implications that their profession was crooked. Several loyal readers and money nerds commented about how neat the concept was, and expressed their support of the idea. Nothing like raising some controversy to spark an involved conversation.

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