Category Archives: Denver Post Column

LaPedis: A husband’s gift quest results in a lesson in counterfeits

My wife recently decided that she wanted one of those “fancy purses.”

When I say fancy, I mean high-end and designer, the sort of fashion accessory that may require a second mortgage.

I cannot justify spending more on a purse than I did on my first car, but my wife really wanted this. So I was on the hunt.

In order to satisfy both of our needs, I thought I might try putting my deal-finding skills to the test.

Well I’m here to tell you that this mission was easier said than done. So far, I have purchased two designer knockoffs and came dangerously close to overpaying for a third.

Of course, I am no purse expert. It wasn’t until this experience that I learned how the market for designer handbags is overrun with counterfeits.

What’s the harm in buying a fake, you might ask? Especially if you can get it at a fraction of the price of an authentic designer bag?

After doing some research, I found that buying fakes does quite a bit of harm. Not only does it undercut the retailer, it fuels a black market economy that circumvents taxes, duties and safety regulations meant to protect the consumer.

My personal quest to find a discounted Chanel or Louis Vuitton handbag began at an online auction held by Roller Auctioneers of Denver. They had a number of designer handbags in this auction.

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Banking on a better financial experience

I was walking through Cherry Creek North the other day when I realized that there are more banks than bars.

Have I been sleepwalking for the past five years? How could I have missed this? I thought Starbucks was taking over the world. But, much to my chagrin, it appears to be the banks.

You might wonder why I would be disappointed to see so many banks. Well, it’s because I have had too many negative interactions with them in my more than 30 years of doing business in Denver. Read More…

LEDs are best bet for cutting your energy bills

Whenever I come across an article claiming to have the newest money-saving strategy, I feel compelled to read on. I’m always excited to find new opportunities that will save me, my family and my friends some cash.

That’s why I can write with confidence about the easiest way to conserve energy — and save money — in your home or business: new light bulbs.

In most households, the big money goes toward one of two things: gas or electricity. Let’s discuss electricity. Read More…

How to win in small-claims court

Imagine being a lawyer like those on “L.A. Law” or “Boston Legal,” where opposing counsel quakes when you walk into the courtroom.

How great would it feel to crush your opponent and win your case?

Most of us don’t have the funds or legal know-how to pull off a dramatic courtroom exchange like those on TV. But there is always small-claims court.

Small claims court was established to provide equal public access to the courts. This addition to the judicial system in the 1960s ensured that everyone would be able to have their day in court to solve modest monetary or property disputes. Read More…

Ask, ask again before hiring contractor

Many of us live with parts of our homes that we might like to renovate but haven’t.

Maybe you want to refinish your kitchen or basement, but something is holding you back. If it’s the fear of having someone in your home, and trusting them to get the job done without taking advantage of you, your hesitation is understandable.

My goal here is to offer some basic advice to help prevent people from pulling out their hair during a home project — or even worse, having to take out a second mortgage because a renovation ran over budget. Read More…

Overlooked resources could lead you to unclaimed cash

Sometimes the easiest way to wrangle a few extra dollars is when someone gives them to you for free.

That’s right: There’s approximately $33 billion in unclaimed money out there from old savings accounts, uncashed checks, utility deposits, refunds, rebates, stocks, safe-deposit boxes and inheritances, according to the U.S. Treasury Department and other government agencies. And the best part is that it takes only a few minutes for individuals to check and see whether any of those unclaimed dollars belong to them. Read More…

It’s yard-sale season: Here are some tips from a pro

What is the one way you can make money and clear clutter at the same time? Have a yard sale or garage sale. Not just any sale but one that will clean out your home and fill up your bank account.

When I was 7, my mom helped me with my first garage sale. Back then, I thought it was amazing that you could put stuff you didn’t need or use out on the lawn, and people would give you money for it. Read More…

Everybody, in the Dumpster! The diving’s fine

What do the end of Colorado’s ski season and the conclusion of the college school year have in common?

A way to make money — but not for the skier or the college student.

We live in a very wasteful society. The individual who believes that one’s person trash is another person’s treasure is the one who can pocket extra dollars this time of year.

Searching and gathering this loot could have you going down alleys and looking into trash bins, which isn’t for everyone. So, if you are the kind of person who doesn’t enjoy getting dirty while going through other people’s trash, this money- making idea is not for you. Read More…

Getting the highest price for your stuff

You want to generate money quickly, so here’s the $64,000 question: What should you sell?

The answer will affect whether you make a profit on your valuables. And, given the economy’s slow resurgence, every dollar counts. Using valuables or collectibles as a financial safety net is possible, with a few guidelines. Read More…

Storage Unit Auctions Can be Load of Treasure or Trash

People who are good at buying and reselling other people’s goods have found yet another way to make money in a bad economy. Storage-unit auctions have been going on for almost as long as there have been storage facilities.

Many people make a living out of attending storage-unit auctions; some do it as a sideline. Either way, it can make big money. But remember, if it were easy, everybody would be doing it.

How does a storage-unit auction happen and why? Unfortunately, that is an easy question to answer. Typically, the person renting the unit doesn’t pay rent for 90 days. On the 91st day, the owner of the storage facility places the contents of the unit up for auction. These auctions can be a treasure trove of valuable items, or you can wind up purchasing a unit full of junk. Read More…

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