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

2005

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Strategies

by Luke Landes

Just like for the older Xbox, the new Xbox 360 costs more to manufacture than Microsoft charges for the system. The retail price is $399 (which will eventually be cut down, which is the pattern for video game consoles) but the cost for all of the components is $552.27. Microsoft must believe that people who ... Continue reading this article…

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Happy Thanksgiving!

by Luke Landes

I hope everyone has a happy holiday! There are many, many things I’m thankful for. Sure, it’s great to have a job and have money coming in. Most importantly, I’m thankful for the wonderful, supportive people I’ve met online through this blog as well as through my other blogs. I met my girlfriend through one ... Continue reading this article…

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Gift Giving Among a Circle of Friends

by Luke Landes

I have a group of ten or so friends that comprise the “usual crowd.” We get together for people’s birthdays, movie nights, game nights, that sort of thing. At some point, we’re supposed to get together for Christmas/Hanukkah/etc. There seems to be an avoidance of what to do about the gift-giving arrangement. In the past, ... Continue reading this article…

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Interview With Flexo

by Luke Landes

A few weeks ago, Paul from 10 Questions asked me to take part in an interview. That interview has now been published online, so if you want to learn a little more about me, take a look.

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Dinged Rental Cars, Dinged Wallet

by Luke Landes

At the most, I would rent a car once or twice a year when I find myself traveling to remote cities for friends’ weddings, for example. Luckilly, this has not yet happened to me. According to the New York Times, it’s common for rental car companies to charge mutiple customers for the same dings or ... Continue reading this article…

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Thank Your First Commenter Day

by Luke Landes

In honor of Thank Your First Customer Day, I’d like to thank Darren R. Sussman, who was the first commenter on Consumerism Commentary (out of 1,127 comments), and he commented on the entry entitled, Owning a Home, Owing Money. Here is what he wrote: Well, of course. Buying a house is an investment, and a ... Continue reading this article…

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Regular Rundown

by Luke Landes

* Hedge funds risky to economy. * Fed may be ending rate hikes. * Honda Civic wins Car of the Year. * Out-of-state 529 plans are not tax-deductible. Here’s another reason to reconsider investing in these plans unless you know without a doubt where you’ll be sending your child to college.

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Ben Bernanke’s Only Stock

by Luke Landes

Ben Bernanke has only one stock in his portfolio: Altria Group/Philip Morris/Marlboro [MO]. This has been talked about by Jeremy Siegel, CNN Money, Henry Blodget at Slate, and the New York Times. Altria is included in a few of my mutual funds I hold for retirement. The company is also the biggest portion (4.73 percent) of ... Continue reading this article…

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HOWTO Excessively Spoil Your Kids, Part 2

by Luke Landes

Last year, I wrote about pricey gifts available for children of those with money to burn. Now that we’re back in the holiday season, I noticed a new article from CNN Money with the latest updates for the upscale gift shopper. While last year’s article mentioned the most expensive toys, this year’s list seems comparatively ... Continue reading this article…

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Downtime, Flight Time

by Luke Landes

Sorry for the downtime Consumerism Commentary readers experienced earlier today. My web service provider was having some router problems, but everything seems to be fixed… for the moment, anyway. We weren’t the only ones with computer issues; the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) had to suspend trading for some time earlier today because of a ... Continue reading this article…

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I Can See Them Sitting On My Desk

by Luke Landes

I received three checks in the mail yesterday for quasi-volunteer work I did this fall, but sadly, I left the checks sitting by my computer at home. I won’t be back home until the Sunday after Thanksgiving, so that’s about $350 I won’t be adding to my bank account until later. Why bother issuing paper ... Continue reading this article…

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Regular Rundown

by Luke Landes

* Google breaks past $400 * MIT presents its new $100 laptop, whose special features include a hand crank. * Interview with ex-head of IRS: Honest guys are getting screwed. * Gift cards have tricky fees. * States ranked by highest average closing costs when buying a house. There’s more variation in the top 10 ... Continue reading this article…

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Questions to Ask About Gift Cards

by Luke Landes

We’ve recently explored whether gift cards denote laziness. If you do buy a gift card, be careful. We’ve been trained to think that gift cards are as good as cash in the store that offers them. Now that we’ve been trained, the stores like to throw curveballs, catching us off guard. Here are some questions ... Continue reading this article…

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Are You Pursuing Your Passion?

by Luke Landes

I am struggling to determine my “dream job.” I would like to get out of the rut I believe I am in, but I’m not quite sure what to do. How do people determine their dream job? I think most individuals stumble upon it by accident, while others — possibly many more — never find ... Continue reading this article…

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The Cat Is Out Of The Bag

by Luke Landes

Jungle Magazine, a publication focusing on business education and the eminent Master of Business Administration degree, has done a good job writing up Consumerism Commentary for one of the magazine’s past issues. I believe the article was published earlier this year but only recently did it become available online. They let the cat out of ... Continue reading this article…

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Regular Rundown

by Luke Landes

* The newest redesign of MSN Money is in preview, and I’m not impressed. * Consumers use home equity to pay for holiday gifts. No surprise; they also use credit cards. Some use equity to pay off credit cards. Debt warp! * Online advertising is soaring. MSN charges between several thousand and one million dollars ... Continue reading this article…

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Don’t Stress About Investing

by Luke Landes

Kiplinger’s presents four mantras for stress-free investing. If you’ve been feeling nervous about the stock market lately, perhaps considering these ideas will put you in a relaxed state of mind. 1. Think Long Term The longer you have until your savings deadline, the more risk you can afford to take. If your goals are decades ... Continue reading this article…

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Regular Rundown

by Luke Landes

* The future looks dark for hedge funds. * Don’t ask for a big raise this year; ask for a bonus instead. * GM is still at a 23-year low. In trouble or buying opportunity? * Bernanke will keep politics out of his decisions at the Fed. * Kiplinger’s top ten online banks list doesn’t ... Continue reading this article…

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Dealing With Two Companies

by Luke Landes

I am still in the process of trying to resolve my unaccepted balance transfer to a new Discover Card with a 0 percent APR offer from my existing Wachovia Visa card (offered by MBNA). I am told this will be resolved within five business days. It’s also been a major pain dealing with the University of ... Continue reading this article…

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Gift Cards Denote Laziness?

by Luke Landes

Do you give gift cards? Liz Pulliam Weston does not like gift cards or gift certificates and she believes they say that the giver doesn’t care about the recipient’s wishes and desires. But young people seem to be happy to receive gift cards and they grow increasingly popular.

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