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The enduring enigma of the Costco hot dog.

Welcome to Thursday, my friends. There’s a very real chance that today I will (at long last) buy a new car. Well, a new used car, but still. My 2004 Mini Cooper (which I bought in 2009) has been great, but it’s time to upgrade. After 100,000 miles in eleven years, I’m looking to move to a 2018 or 2019 Mini Countryman.

There are two great low-mile models available locally for $30,000. That seems like a fortune, but it’s cheaper than the $45,000 these vehicles sell for when new. Later this morning, I’m headed out to look at both Minis. And there’s a solid chance that I might purchase one.

Before I go car shopping, however, here are some of my favorite recent stories about personal finance. Enjoy!

The enduring enigma of Costco’s $1.50 hot dog and soda combo. [Mental Floss] — “When Costco president W. Craig Jelinek once complained to Costco co-founder and former CEO Jim Sinegal that their monolithic warehouse business was losing money on their famously cheap $1.50 hot dog and soda package, Sinegal listened, nodded, and then did his best to make his take on the situation perfectly clear. ‘If you raise [the price of] the effing hot dog, I will kill you,’ Sinegal said. ‘Figure it out.'” True story: I am a die-hard fan of the Costco hot dog. I’m sad, however, that they did away with the Polish dog a few years ago. So delicious.

Nobody knows what their bond fund is worth. [Institutional Investor] — “The prices for stocks, which trade on an exchange, are available in real-time. But bonds still trade over-the-counter, meaning a dealer and an investor negotiate a price, whether on a screen of over the phone. As a result, there is no central place to go for bond prices.”

A complete capsule wardrobe for men. [Permanent Style] — “This is a wardrobe for someone that wears a jacket most of the time for work, sometimes just knitwear. And isn’t reduced to a T-shirt and sweatpants at the weekend. Also, its aim is to create as many different outfits as possible, for a relatively small number of situations. In any capsule there is a tension between those two things, and I’ve aimed for the former.” [Note: I would love to link to something similar for women. If you know of a good resource, drop me a line!]

A bird feeder will bring you joy. [Wired] — “Owning a bird feeder as an adult has been incredible. While there are tons of options to choose from, a clear window feeder opens you up to another world of bird voyeurism.”

Nearly twenty years ago, my ex-wife and I bought a home that was perfect for attracting birds — and observing them. We made friends with some of them (for real). Kris still lives there, and her Facebook feed is filled with bird photos.

I used to love watching the birds too. Here, from December 2008, is a nine-minute video of the blue jays fighting over peanuts in our yard.

Kris still gets to watch this nearly every day. I only see it now and then when I stop by to visit her.

Okay, my friends, that’s plenty for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with more fun and games related to personal finance. See you then!