As featured in The Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, and more!

2005

Less Materialistic Holiday Season?

by Luke Landes

The Center for a New American Dream conducted a poll about materialism surrounding the holidays and found some interesting results: … [M]ore than 3 in 4 Americans (76 percent) say that kids are too materialistic, and the holiday season just makes things worse. Only 28 percent of those polled say that it is necessary to spend a ... Continue reading this article…

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Just Arrived: Quinn’s Smart and Simple

by Luke Landes

I arrived home from work tonight to find on my doorstep a preview copy of Jane Bryant Quinn’s new book, Smart and Simple Financial Strategies for Busy People, which will be released on January 3. This is an interesting coincidence as I am, in fact, a busy person. I will read through the book in ... Continue reading this article…

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Efficient and Frugal Food Shopping

by Luke Landes

This is an area in which I hope to make vast improvements in 2006: my eating, cooking and food shopping habits. At the end of the year, I’ll evaluate how much money I’ve spent on food this year. I already have a good idea of the amount based on my latest income statement (dining plus ... Continue reading this article…

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Revisiting The Housing Bubble, Part 2

by Luke Landes

Part 1 on this short series about the housing bubble is here, driven by several articles from Fortune Magazine. Lately I’ve been splitting some of my longer posts into several parts — it’s better for digestion (metaphorically or otherwise). Today, about a third of new mortgages are nonstandard, fuzzy-math loans that have allowed many Americans ... Continue reading this article…

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Revisiting The Housing Bubble, Part 1

by Luke Landes

Fortune Magazine is taking a look at the hotly-debated housing bubble and offers some questions that homeowners should be asking in times of market uncertainty. Is it time to cash out? The article praises one family’s attempt to get out of the real estate market ahead of others who may do the same — mostly ... Continue reading this article…

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American Express One

by Luke Landes

Editor’s Note: Thank you for your interest, this offer expired and is no longer available. American Express is offering a relatively new (well, a few months old) credit card called One. As you spend, 1 percent of each purchase is automatically deposited into a savings account that’s currently earning 3.5 percent APY. It’s not a horrible interest ... Continue reading this article…

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Suze Orman’s Tips For 2006, Part 4

by Luke Landes

This is the final part in a short series about Suze Orman’s advice for 2006, which is not about 2006, specifically. Watch Your Identity. There’s good advice here. Don’t pay for credit monitoring services because you can do it for free. Everyone in the United States is entitled to one free credit report from each ... Continue reading this article…

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More Reading From The Blogs

by Luke Landes

Here are some noteworthy posts from other blogs that I’ve come across in the last week or so: * JLP from AllThingsFinancial intereviewed Lee Eisenberg in two parts. This is nice companion reading to my five-part review of Eisenberg’s soon-to-be-released book, The Number. * Jim from Blueprint for Financial Prosperity is compiling a list of ... Continue reading this article…

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Suze Orman’s Tips for 2006, Part 3

by Luke Landes

Continuing in a series which includes Part 1 and Part 2, here are some tips for personal money management in 2006, which will play well in any year: Protect Your Home. Even before the massive losses caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, insurers were scaling back policies to make it harder for homeowners to receive ... Continue reading this article…

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Suze Orman’s Tips For 2006, Part 2

by Luke Landes

Here are more tips for ’06 from Suze Orman, continuing a short series. Go for a Roth IRA. Fund your Roth IRA to the maximum of $4,000 (or $5,000 if you’re over 50 years old) if possible and if you qualify. Suze suggests paying off credit card debt first, and I agree. Also, fund your ... Continue reading this article…

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Suze Orman’s Tips For 2006, Part 1

by Luke Landes

I’m not the biggest fan of Suze Orman. I’ve seen her show and I don’t like the way she talks to her callers, even if they deserve a little berating. I don’t agree with all of her advice, such her suggestions for young workers in the advertising industry in New York. If I remember correctly, ... Continue reading this article…

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Carnival Monday

by Luke Landes

Good morning! I had a generally relaxing weekend, and I hope you did as well. I posted this weekend about NutriSystem’s stock and my holiday shopping. Monday is Carnival Day (for the most part) and Political Calculations is hosting the Carnival of Personal Finance. My entry on Flexible Spending Accounts is included. Also, You Need ... Continue reading this article…

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Consumerism Commentary RSS Feeds

by Luke Landes

Readers might be aware that Consumerism Commentary offers an RSS Feed of recent entries, so all readers can stay up-to-date by reading partial entries in their news readers. The RSS Feed includes only a short excerpt. However, if you are a frequent commenter (that is, your name is on this list), I’ll send you information ... Continue reading this article…

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2005′s Strongest Stock

by Luke Landes

NutriSystem [NTRI] climbed 1,500 percent this year. That’s an amazing climb. I expect that it would be impossible to keep that momentum up, but if you happened to buy NutriSystem at the beginning of the year, you’d be a happy person now. NutriSystem’s customer base is huge. Also, there are many of these customers, as the ... Continue reading this article…

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Holiday Shopping: Finally Done

by Luke Landes

This weekend I finished all the necessary shopping for friends and relatives. I think this has been the most expensive holiday season for me. A quick look, though this might not be accurate, shows that in 2004 I spent $286.03 on Christmas and Hanukkah gifts between October 1 and the rest of the year. That ... Continue reading this article…

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True Meaning

by Luke Landes

Around this time of year, we like to recognize that the holiday season is not about exchanging gifts, spending money, and supporting the economy, but more about family, peace and possibly reigion or heritage — the centuries-old “traditional” Christmas-related values. This History Channel has a nice feature online about the Real Story of Christmas, and ... Continue reading this article…

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HOWTO Retire Rich Without Much Effort

by Luke Landes

Walter Updegrave from Money Magazine shares the secret to retiring rich: Increase your savings. According to a study by Putnam Investments, your investment performance has less to do with how good you are at picking stocks and more to do with how much money you invest. In other words, saving more leads to, well, more ... Continue reading this article…

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Ben Stein Wears A Small Cap

by Luke Landes

In Ben Stein’s column this week, he offers ideas for smartly investing in small caps, which have outperformed the broader market. The article makes me want to buy $1,500 of iShares S&P Smallcap 600 Value [IJS] right now through ShareBuilder and hold onto the investment as long as possible. In the article Ben talks about ... Continue reading this article…

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Presidential Dollar Coins

by Luke Landes

The appeal and novelty of special coin series, like the State Quarters and the newly redesigned nickels seems to have worn off. Nevertheless, the U.S. Mint is planning a new series. In 2007, the Mint will begin a new series of golden dollar coins (because the Sacagawea coins caught on so well?) featuring portraits of ... Continue reading this article…

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Two New Transfers and Other Savings

by Luke Landes

Over the last few months, I started transferring 10 percent of my gross pay to my Emergency Fund again. I used to do this, but I stopped when my ING Direct Emergency Savings Account plus my Roth IRA were at a sgnificantly high level to pay for several months of expenses. I started transferring money directly ... Continue reading this article…

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