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June 2006


You may remember that I had been looking for a new apartment. At the time, my girlfriend and I were planning to live with each other. Since then, we have decided to delay cohabitation.

In any event, I searched for affordable one-bedroom apartments near my office, but I didn’t find anything that convinced me it was worthwhile to move from my current location. My noisy neighbors have moved out, and for the moment, my lack of overtime frees me up to take care of my chores during the week, such as laundry. This in turn will allow me to visit my girlfriend’s new apartment over the weekend.

I’ve renewed my lease for a year, but if I decide not to continue living here — either to move in with Amy or to transfer to a new job — I will break my lease. I’ve considered the implications, and it’s not horrible as long as I can plan ahead.

With the new lease, my rent is increasing to $901 a month. The photograph at the top of this post is a picture of the apartment complex where I live.

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Rasing4Boys is hosting the Carnival of Personal Finance on Wednesday next week. If you’re a blogger and you’ve written about personal finance recently, please consider submitting an article.

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ING Direct raised the interest rate the bank offers on its savings accounts, resulting in a 4.35% APY. This is good news, hot on the heels of the Fed’s raising of interest rates yesterday. Millions of people will benefit from ING Direct’s move, as this particular bank is one of the most popular for “online savings accounts.”

If someone is starting a new savings account, I would suggest one of these banks instead. ING Direct has lagged behind the pack in terms of interest rates for along time now.

Meanwhile, HSBC Direct is up to 5.05% APY.

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Here’s what’s been happening on the MoneyBlogNetwork and beyond in the past week.

Five Cent Nickel was on vacation but he opened his blog to guest writers. “Frugal” wrote about leverage, the secret of making big money. Mighty Bargain Hunter laments the loss of a discount grocery store.

AllFinancialMatters says men don’t know jack about retirement. Free Money Finance wants you to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck. Blueprint for Financial Prosperity agrees with Robert Kiyosaki regarding mutual funds and the real winners.

For another perspective, Moomin Valley says Kiyosaki is wrong.

Kira from Penny Foolish has $400 in her emergency fund, but she’s thinking of beefing it up after considering her employment situation. Three to six months of living expenses is a good target.

Amanda from Young and Broke writes about shopping for car insurance. My rates were lowered this year, by about $15 a month.

That’s it for this week’s wrap-up. It was a busy week for me, and unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to write as much as I like to. To those celebrating the American holiday this weekend, enjoy!

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Caption Contest: Warren Buffett and Kelli Swanson

by Luke Landes

Here’s another caption contest. What do you imagine is going on between Warren Buffett and Kelli Swanson? Leave your photo caption in the comments below. The winner gets a cookie.

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Fed Up

by Luke Landes

The Federal Reserve Board raised the federal funds rate to 5.25 percent today. Consumers like us will eventually see that increase in mortgage loan and credit card interest rates. While I don’t have a mortgage and I don’t pay interest to credit cards at the moment, I do have student loans that have been affected by ... Continue reading this article…

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Quicken 2007?

by Luke Landes

One of my banks (Wachovia, where I have a checking account) is already offering downloads for Quicken 2007. The software’s not out yet, and I’ve come across only one report of a beta test for Macintosh users. I don’t expect there to be many improvements in the software compared to Quicken 2006, which I have ... Continue reading this article…

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The Free Market vs. The Poor

by Luke Landes

Stephen Dubner, the author of Freakonomics, noted that Warren Buffett (who I’ve been writing much about lately, it seems) made a comment on a talk show recently describing one particular failing of market systems, particularly the free market system enjoyed in this country. Buffett’s comment: “A market system has not worked in terms of poor ... Continue reading this article…

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Selling a Car While Upside-Down

by Luke Landes

A few years ago, I woke up. It cost me more to go to work than I was making, thanks to commuting, living expenses, and a non-profit salary. I was the one not profiting. Life was great when I simply ignored the mounting debt. There was only so long that could last, though. There are ... Continue reading this article…

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Caption Contest: Bill Gates and Bill Clinton

by Luke Landes

Here are Bill Gates and Bill Clinton, both smirking. Let’s see some creativity in the comments below and add a caption to this intimate photograph.

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Busy Day at Flexo’s Place of Work-ship

by Luke Landes

I apologize for not having much to write today. I’m sure there is much to write about, but today and the next few days I expect to be swamped with work in the office, where I realized that thanks to no overtime being offered, despite an 8 percent higher salary this year, I’m making less money ... Continue reading this article…

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The Carnival is Up!

by Luke Landes

The Carnival of Personal Finance is up at Mighty Bargain Hunter. Lots of great articles are included, as usual.

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Warren Buffett Gives Most of His Money to Bill Gates

by Luke Landes

It seems that Warren Buffett is domainating the news lately. According to Fortune Magazine, he’s planning to give away 85 percent of his wealth, mostly to Bill Gates through his foundation. Buffett has pledged to gradually give 85 percent of his Berkshire stock to five foundations. A dominant five-sixths of the shares will go to the world’s ... Continue reading this article…

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Bid for Lunch With Warren Buffett Update

by Luke Landes

If you’ve been bidding on eBay’s auction for lunch with Warren Buffett, you may want to know that the highest bid is currently $455,100. That’s the highest price this annual event has raised is the few years of its existence. The auction opened yesterday and will end on the June 29, so get our your ... Continue reading this article…

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Around The World

by Luke Landes

Here’s what been happening in the personal finance blogosphere this week, starting with the MoneyBlogNetwork. Mighty Bargain Hunter, who is hosting next week’s Carnival of Personal Finance, has calculated whether it is better to lend money through prosper.com or deposit the funds in an ING Direct account. JLP from AllFinancialMatters evaluates fixed immediate annuities. Free ... Continue reading this article…

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Dustin Diamond (Screech)’s Strange Land Contract

by Luke Landes

You may remember Dustin Diamond as “Screech” from the television show, Saved By The Bell. I heard about his situation a few days ago. He appeared on Howard Stern’s satellite radio show and begged his fans to buy his tee-shirts so he could pay off his house, as he has run into sorry financial times. ... Continue reading this article…

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Caption Contest Winner

by Luke Landes

So far, I think Jim is the leader in the first caption contest, but as we’re taking entries ad infinitum, you will never miss your chance to play along.

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Chrysler Employee Discount

by Luke Landes

Remeber how GM was not performing well last year and decided to stimulate sales by offering employee pricing, as a gimmick incentive? It was a temporary fix, but it didn’t make people want to own GM cars in the long run. Now Chrysler wants to give the same gimmick a try, starting in July. [I]nvestors ... Continue reading this article…

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Your Friends Will Marvel At You

by Luke Landes

You will be the toast of the town! Stay up to date with Consumerism Commentary by subscribing to our full content via your RSS reader or email. With RSS, you’ll be the first on the block to be alerted about new posts here, and with email, you’ll have the content in your inbox waiting for ... Continue reading this article…

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Keven Federline Supports the Penny

by Luke Landes

A few months ago, I noted people are looking to get rid of the penny. Pennies cost more to make than they’re worth and price inflation has rendered them mostly pointless. However, Mr. Britney Spears, also known as Kevin Federline, has come out in favor of keeping the penny. Normally, no one would care, but ... Continue reading this article…

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