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

August 2006

AOL Leaks Users’ Search Histories

by Luke Landes

AOL, your favorite company to hate and mine because they single-handedly destroyed the internet while saving the internet, leaked their users’ search history. They plugged the leak but not before the database was replicated. The CNET article contains some disturbing search requests, but it gets worse. At the moment, you can search the replicated database ... Continue reading this article…

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Another Day, Another Question

by Luke Landes

Today’s Question of the Day comes from Young and Broke who is asking her readers, “If you had $10,000, one day, and one store to spend it in, what store would you choose?” To answer the question, head on over to Young and Broke. I’ll be hosting a question later this month, and you can ... Continue reading this article…

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Some New Tips for Saving on Gasoline

by Luke Landes

I was reading through my monthly statement and related materials from ING Direct and came across some tips for saving money at the pump. Three of the tips are old hat, but two are new to me. * Plan trips efficiently. (Old hat.) I take this to mean that it’s best to do as much ... Continue reading this article…

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How Do Your Job’s Benefits Compare?

by Luke Landes

While I was meeting with one of my managers about a project I’m working on in the office, we got to talking about a little bit of history within our department. Several years ago, the group went through a major budget cutback and massive layoffs. The team I now work with (within the larger department) ... Continue reading this article…

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Regularly Scheduled Auto Maintenance, Part 2: 50,000 Miles

by Luke Landes

In April of last year, I passed 20,000 miles on my 2004 Honda Civic. I took my car into the dealer for regularly scheduled maintenance. Needless to say, this attracted a bunch of comments focusing on how much I overpaid. This time around, after passing 50,000 miles recently, I took the car to Pep Boys ... Continue reading this article…

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This Week in Consumerism Commentary History

by Luke Landes

Last year, I was talking about the following around this time: My net worth as of July 2005: $33,506 (although revised calculations put it at $33,282). This was back when I was allowed to work overtime for more money. I agreed with Bill Frist on an issue regarding drug companies’ advertisements. Here are seven reasons ... Continue reading this article…

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The Music Business, it is a-Changin’

by Luke Landes

The winners in the music business has almost always been record companies, not the artists. There are notable exceptions of course, but in the grand scheme, when a record company foots the bill for the production of an album, they also own most of the profit. Jeff Kwatinetz, the CEO of a talent management company ... Continue reading this article…

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Cell Phone Upgrade Fees

by Luke Landes

Think you’re getting a deal when you upgrade your cell phone? There are hidden fees you may be paying without knowing it. The Red Tape Chronicles did some investigating and discovered cell phone retail salespeople mocking their customers, describing how they mislead the unsuspecting: * “If someone asks me why upgrade fees are charged, I ... Continue reading this article…

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Carnival of Business #16

by Luke Landes

Welcome to Consumerism Commentary and the 16th edition of the Carnival of Business. If you’re new to this website, feel free to read about me and this blog and peruse a collection of articles from the first half of this year. There were a number of submissions this week, and below you will find all ... Continue reading this article…

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Back to School Shopping: Tax Free Holidays (Not in New Jersey)

by Luke Landes

A number of states are offering sales tax-free shopping “holidays” this year to entice shoppers to spur the economy before it’s time to go back to school. Bankrate has the full scehdule, which includes some days that have already passed. New Jersey is not on the list; however, we never have to pay tax on ... Continue reading this article…

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HOWTO Become an eBay Millionaire

by Luke Landes

If you’re considering opening up a shop to sell any kind of merchandise, you might want to skip the store rent expenses and sell out of your home. Hundreds of thousands of small business owners have created profitable businesses using eBay rather than their own storefront. Would-be marketers have caught on to the craze and ... Continue reading this article…

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New Design for Consumerism Commentary

by Luke Landes

Unless you’re reading this post via email or RSS, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve slightly changed the look of this site. Let me know if anything looks awkward. I know I’m not a master of design, but I’m pleased with the way it came out. Do your best to shoot down or placate my ego. ... Continue reading this article…

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Interesting News Articles

by Luke Landes

I don’t have the time to read through many articles while at work, but here are a few I’ve skimmed and I may want to return to at some point. * Domain names are hot [CNN] but you may have to buy “used” — and spend some hard cash — to get something good. * ... Continue reading this article…

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Around the Blogs

by Luke Landes

Here are some of the more interesting articles from the MoneyBlogNetwork and beyond this week. AllFinancialMatters doesn’t like a new bill to “aid” 401(k) participants. Free Money Finance thinks we can take some lessons on how to earn money from star professional athletes. Five Cent Nickel talks about Vanguard’s new website login. Blueprint for Financial ... Continue reading this article…

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One Place to Get Financial Advice and Thoughts

by Luke Landes

Not too long ago, the MoneyBlogNetwork added a special area to their forums where anyone — not just bloggers — can get advice, thoughts, and reactions to financial situations and questions. Check out the Personal Finance Forum within the MoneyBlogNetwork Forums. For instance, there’s a good discussion going on right now about whether to close ... Continue reading this article…

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New, Improved Process For Opening an Emigrant Direct Account

by Luke Landes

You would think that in this day and age of advanced technology, banking institutions that operate primarily online would have processes in place that don’t rely on snail-mail and centuries-old, outdated technology. I wrote about my experience opening an account at Emigrant Direct over a year ago, and it was tedious. When Emigrant Direct opened ... Continue reading this article…

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Living Through a Heat Wave: Cooling Your House

by Luke Landes

As the temperature has been upwards of 305 kelvin lately, I’ve been sweating in my apartment even while the air conditioner pumps and while wearing less clothing than what is socially acceptable in public. Hence, my electricity bill has shot up from the $40s to the $70s, with the next bill expected to be $90. ... Continue reading this article…

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The Last 401(k) Guide You’ll Ever Need, Five Tips, Part 5

by Luke Landes

I know speed is not my strength. I’m concluding this series over a week after it was started, but that’s the way things are. Last week, I found an informative series by Money Magazine providing tips for managing your 401(k). The articles reminded readers to save early and often, spread your money around, limit company ... Continue reading this article…

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Personal Income Statement, July 2006 (Net Income: $1,335)

by Luke Landes

Once again, I’ve spent less than I’ve earned. If only that had been my habit for my entire adult life. Take a look at my income and expense report included below.

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Personal Balance Sheet, July 2006 ($51,166, +3.03%)

by Luke Landes

It’s good to know that as a whole, my money is still growing. In July, my net worth increased just over 3 percent. Continue reading to analyze my numbers, as all the best financial voyeurs are wont to do.

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