An angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other

We received a Costco coupon book in the mail today. Costco — a membership warehouse store — has very low prices and generally does not take coupons. A few times a year, though, they send out flyers with special discounts.

Kris flipped through the book first, clipping coupons for kleenex, cat litter, and ziploc bags. When she was finished, I picked it up to look for things she'd missed.

  • On the first page, I nearly tore out a coupon for $6 off a ten-pack of toothbrushes.
  • On the next page, I was drawn to a coupon for four pounds of jelly beans.
  • Later in the book, I was tempted by a stainless steel slow cooker. ("We already have a slow cooker!" Kris muttered in exasperation when she edited this entry.)

"I've got to stop looking at this," I said, tossing the coupon book aside.

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Missing money: Finding unclaimed property

On Monday, I received a strange letter in the mail. It was addressed to my father, but sent to my home. My father has been dead for twelve years, and he never saw the house we live in now. The letter purports to be a settlement of some sort of $400 annuity. (I'm unclear on the details and don't have it with me right now.)

Though I'm deeply skeptical that this is anything but a scam, I do intend to follow up in case it's legitimate. I've heard stories of people who have "found" money of this sort. In fact, there's an entire industry devoted to lost and unclaimed money of all kinds.

In the U.S., the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) is a non-profit organization that assists in "reuniting owners with their property". NAUPA sponsors a free site called Missing Money, which allows users to search unclaimed property records from participating states. In this context, "property" simply means "stuff" — it doesn't refer to real estate. Common types of unclaimed property include: Continue reading...

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