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October 2005

Monday Morning News: Gas Drips Below $2.50

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I paid $2.35 per gallon for gas this morning, and the country’s average is now $2.492. I feel like I’ve been tricked into believing that $2.35 is cheap after having to spend $2.70 to $3.00 per gallon these past few months. Perhaps the oil industry is pulling back after announcing huge profits in the wake of Katrina and in fear of being scrutinized for price gouging.

Hurricane repairs and insurance payments lift both personal spending and income; prices in check. This sounds like temporary relief to me. In fact, it’s not all good news. The saving rate is still negative at -0.4 percent. So while the move was in a good direction, we’re still spending more than we’re saving.

I’ve tried that (back in my days of reckless abandonment — which were neither reckless nor abandoned). It doesn’t work.

Personal Finance Bloggers, Please Read

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This is a post just for personal finance bloggers, so others may not be too interested.

I’m building a new service and I’d like to do it in partnership (think “group ownership” with everyone having an equal role) with several other people. I’ve already assumed the risk (purchased the domain name) but I’d like to get other bloggers on board. It’s a service that has some well-known “competitors,” but with help from a team I think it can be great and add a lot of value to what’s available online. Email me privately if you’re interested.

Carnival #20!

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The Carnival of Personal Finance has reached issue #20, and is hosted this week by WealthyWeb. All of the articles submitted and included are worth reading, but particularly these:

* 2million realized that 0% balance transfers (like the one I attempted) have a negative affect on a credit score.

* When it’s not rabbit season or duck season, it’s tax season. JLP is getting back into the swing of things with an article heeding us to start planning our taxes now.

* Jon from SmartMoney Daily made a great negotiating move.

Sometimes Dilbert Is Profound

by Luke Landes

I hope everyone’s having a great weekend!

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Started Saving $70/mo Today

by Luke Landes

With my latest cable bill, the last promotion I had (Digital Silver Plus with Comcast ended, and the price for the service would be going up to $85 per month. I don’t wantch too much television anyway, so I decided it was time to break away from the service. I brought my digital box into ... Continue reading this article…

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Megapolitans of the Future

by Luke Landes

I’ve been a bit busy at work today, so I haven’t had the chance to do the usual surfing. I did notice this article earlier and it’s interesting enough to mention. Business 2.0 is predicting a big boom in the “megapolitan” areas, extending to 2030. The authors of the article, Paul Kaihla and Krysten Crawford, ... Continue reading this article…

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College, The Social Financial Equalizer

by Luke Landes

The cost of higher education is huge, and I don’t see how middle class families can afford to send multiple kids to good schools without sacrificing their own finances. Take a look at the ten most expensive colleges in the United States. 1. Landmark: $37,738 2. George Washington U.: $36,400 3. U of Richmond: $34,850 ... Continue reading this article…

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Greenspan Influenced Rock and Roll

by Luke Landes

Marketplace is a program on National Public Radio, usually broadcast out of California. This week, they’ve been doing their shows from New York City and there was an interesting segment on last night’s edition. It caught my attention mainly because of my interest in music. The commentator, Ian Svenonius, described how trends in rock music ... Continue reading this article…

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Update: ING Direct’s Saving Rate Drops?

by Luke Landes

When I chcked my accounts late last night, it appeared that ING Direct had lowered the interest rate offered on its online savings account to 3.0 percent (APY). I’m not sure what’s going on, but every page on ING Direct’s website, including the Fash animation, had the lower rate quoted, and this is after previously looking ... Continue reading this article…

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Commissions Still High

by Luke Landes

A quick side note: Did you know you could subscribe to Consumerism Commentary? Simply use this RSS link in your favorite reader, such as BlogLines! It’s the perfect way to be sure you don’t miss anything. In general across a broad variety of services, competition has been driving commissions down. The internet has certainly helped ... Continue reading this article…

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Rock Beats Scissors, Cash Beats Stocks?

by Luke Landes

An analyst with JP Mogran Chase is making some predictions. Abhijit Chakrabortti believes the Fed will raise rates from the current 3.75 percent to 4.5 percent by the beginning of next year. He also foresees stocks having a flat year in 2006. Is it time to move out of the market, or is 2006 going to be ... Continue reading this article…

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ETF + 401(k) = Fees

by Luke Landes

Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) may now become popular in 401(k)s. My thought: bad idea. These retirement plans are usually funded by automatic investment, and in my case, every pay day would generate a transaction fee.

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Top Ten Online Banks

by Luke Landes

MSN Money rates the top ten online banks. The top three are Wells Fargo, CitiBank and Bank of America. For my list, simply view the latest checking and saving interest rates offered by online banks. Here is MSN Money’s list: 1. Wells Fargo 2. CitiBank 3. Bank of America 4. E-Trade 5. Huntington 6. First ... Continue reading this article…

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Bernanke’s Portfolio

by Luke Landes

Ben Bernanke is the guy who, if confirmed, will be the most visible individual and listened-to voice in regards to the United States economy. So his portfolio should tell us a little about his market philosophies. Here’s his financial disclosure form from 2003. Henry Blodget analyzed his portfolio and discovered: * He’s rich, but not ... Continue reading this article…

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Attack of the Killer Inflation

by Luke Landes

Liz Pulliam Weston at MSN Money is exploring the possible scenario in which inflation takes off in a manner like the period from 1979 to 1981. Even if inflation isn’t as high as 13.58 percent in one year, like it was in 1980 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the picture Liz draws can come ... Continue reading this article…

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Included In Carnival of Debt Reduction

by Luke Landes

Dawn was nice enough to include my post, Financial Urban Myths, in the Carnival of Debt Reduction #6. Please visit Dawn’s website, Frugal for Life, if you’re interested in saving money and living simply. Her blog is one of the few I’ve “highlighted” in the list I keep in my sidebar on Consumerism Commentary.

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Teaching Kids About Money, Part 3

by Luke Landes

I am/was a musician, so the next story from Yahoo’s feature was of particular interest to me: The cost of raising a rock star. I never wanted to be a rock star; I was more interested in teaching music. But the article lightly touches on the importance of encouraging the study of arts. Here is ... Continue reading this article…

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Teaching Kids About Money, Part 2

by Luke Landes

Previously, I mentioned Yahoo Finance’s latest feature on teaching children about money. This post continues with that feature. Lynne Ticknor acknowledges that schools often don’t have the resources to teach classes beyond core curriculum. Personal finance classes are therefore difficult to find in public schools. Thus, the responsibility falls on the parents, who as many ... Continue reading this article…

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Teaching Kids About Money

by Luke Landes

Yahoo Finance is presenting a feature on teaching children about money. Here are some of the highlights. When to Kick Your Kid Out of the House, and Other Financial Lessons for Parents. In a middle-class household, it will cost on average $184,000 to allow your one child to live to year 17. If you send ... Continue reading this article…

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