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February 2007


As a renter, over the last few years I’ve been receiving $75 tax rebates, usually by surprise, months after filing taxes. On the governor’s budget plan, the rebate for renters will increase up to $350. Low income renters will see this biggest increase, while those earning between $50,001 and $100,000 like myself will get an increase of only $5.

For renters, an estimated 18% of the total rent paid over the year goes towards property taxes. For me, at $900 a month for my one bedroom apartment, about $1,944 goes towards property tax according to this estimate. The $80 rebate is about 4% of that property tax “bill.”

Homeowners will get much larger rebates, between 10% and 20% of their entire property tax bill. [Home News Tribune: Rebate Increases Set]

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If I were a trader, I might look at yesterday’s drop as a buying opportunity for today, but with a long term view, it won’t change anything that I’m doing as far as investing this year.

Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan thinks we’re heading for a recession this year. This is not long after the Dow was setting record highs.

With the markets tanking a bit yesterday, have your investing plans changed? Was this the sign of a correcting trend or just a short-term blip?

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Each day this week, I’m selecting a random commenter to win a copy of You Call the Shots by Cameron Johnson (reviewed here). Yesterday’s winner is Clever Dude! He commented on the post about the guy living out of his car.

I only have three copies of the book left to give away to lucky readers. You qualify to win with each comment you leave on Consumerism Commentary. You don’t have to be a blogger to win, you just have to write in with a comment. As long as you include your email address so I can contact you, you will qualify. In fact, if you leave more than one comment, you’ll have that many chances to win.

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This year I’m looking back by linking to some of the more interesting posts from this week in previous years. Here are some from February 23-28, 2006:

From February 23-28, 2005:

* Feb. 27: What My Future May Hold (8 comments)

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Extreme Frugality: Living Out of Your Car

by Luke Landes

A few months ago, television watchers like myself were bombarded by commercials featuring a young man attempting to “live” out of his car for a few days. However, this guy has been doing it since July 2005. Andy Bussell lives out of his pickup truck, sleeping in the back. He wakes up, showers at the ... Continue reading this article…

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The Carnival is Up!

by Luke Landes

Yesterday, Binary Dollar posted the latest Carnival of Personal Finance, with “celebrity” mug shots. Here are some of my favorite articles: * MyMoneyForest: The Biggest Waste of Money Ever (an expensive wedding dress) * Money Under 30: What the Housing Market Means For Under 30 Homeowners and First Time Buyers * No Credit Needed: Attitudes ... Continue reading this article…

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12 Steps for the Paycheck Type to Become a Millionaire

by Luke Landes

Here is Kiplinger’s predictable 12-step program for becoming a millionaire, which inevitable contains “… and wait” somewhere. This guide is geared towards corporate workers who live and die by the paycheck. 1. Keep your eyes peeled for better ways to do your job. While Milton Wadams was slowly finding himself out of a job, thinking ... Continue reading this article…

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Then I’ll Set The Building On Fire

by Luke Landes

My girlfriend is a hopeless romantic. For Valentine’s Day, part of her gift for me included the Office Space DVD and a special edition Red Swingline Stapler. The movie is one of those films that rings true for many people working as I do in a “cube farm.” Now when my own version of Mr. ... Continue reading this article…

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Today’s Winner of You Call the Shots: Jeremy from Generation X Finance!

by Luke Landes

Each day this week, I will be selecting one random visitor to win a copy of You Call the Shots by Cameron Johnson (reviewed here). The first winner is Jeremy from Generation X Finance! Jeremy commented on a post looking for advice for dealing with debt collectors. I have four copies of the book left ... Continue reading this article…

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Seats Not Available Online

by Luke Landes

Earlier this week, I purchased my airline tickets for the upcoming trip to California my girlfriend and I will take in April. I went through a number of steps to find the best price including tinkering with SideStep.com. The lowest cost non-stop flight for the dates and times my itinerary required was split between two ... Continue reading this article…

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You Call The Shots Week: Five Giveaways!

by Luke Landes

This week, from Monday through Friday, is You Call The Shots Week at Consumerism Commentary. Each day, I will choose one lucky commenter to receive a free copy of You Call the Shots by Cameron Johnson (reviewed here). To enter for each of the five drawings, simply comment on any post on Consumerism Commentary each ... Continue reading this article…

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Advice Needed: Newly Found Debt and Debt Collectors

by Luke Landes

I received an email looking for financial advice for a young worker living paycheck-to-paycheck, who recently discovered the existence of an old debt thanks to the collectors who came calling. I wrote back suggesting negotiation with the debt collectors by showing the amount could be paid back over a period of time, but perhaps readers ... Continue reading this article…

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Money Advice From Meg Tilly: Chinese Takeout

by Luke Landes

Yesterday, I shared some quick quotations from celebrities about managing money. I liked what several of them had to say, but I’m focusing on Meg Tilly. Here’s part of what she said regarding her life after appearing in Fame. When I danced in “Fame” that was more money than I’d ever seen. It was like, ... Continue reading this article…

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Great News Footage of Rats in New York KFC/Taco Bell

by Luke Landes

This has been a hot story on the local news, and I don’t know if it’s reached the rest of the country. As people walked by the storefront of a KFC/Taco Bell restaurant in Greenwich Village, New York City, they could clearly see the fast food place infested by rats. Rats are common in this ... Continue reading this article…

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Weekly Blog Roundup, Week Off Edition

by Luke Landes

I took this past week off from my day job to spend time with my girlfriend. The time was well spent, all though we were both under the weather for the entire mini-vacation. We did manage to drag ourselves to Philadelphia to visit and tour the Philadelphia Mint. Here are some highlights from around the ... Continue reading this article…

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Money Advice From Celebrities

by Luke Landes

Why listen to what celebrities — non-experts in finance — have to say about money? Well, some of them have been around for a while and have experienced the fickleness of the entertainment industry. Here are some lessons learned. Dave Barry: “Don’t emphasize money if you don’t have much; be happy.” Eric Bogosian: “Live within ... Continue reading this article…

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Congratulations to Erin, Winner of Quicken Basic 2007!

by Luke Landes

Last week, I asked for Quicken tips and hacks in return for the chance to win a free copy of Quicken Basic 2007. The random number generator selected Erin and her comment as the winner. Here was her tip: Quicken 07 no longer supports QIF imports for most account types, but it DOES support them ... Continue reading this article…

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Survey Says: More Money Leads to Better Sex

by Luke Landes

If this doesn’t motivate you to raise your net worth, I couldn’t tell you what does. According to this research, having more money means you’re having more adventurous and exotic sex. The numbers look even better for women. In the survey, three-quarters of men cited more frequent sex and a greater variety of partners as ... Continue reading this article…

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Wachovia to Start Charging for Direct Access to Quicken

by Luke Landes

Along with my monthly checking and savings account statement, I received the following notice in the mail: Important Message for Personal Account Holders Who Use Quicken, QuickBooks, or Microsoft Money Beginning April 1, 2007, a monthly fee of $5.95 will be assessed if you access Wachovia Online Banking directly from within your personal financial management ... Continue reading this article…

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This Week in the Archives

by Luke Landes

This year I’m looking back by linking to some of the more interesting posts from this week in previous years. Here are some from February 16-22, 2006: * Feb. 16: We Don’t Need No Steenkin’ $1,000,000 for Retirement * Feb. 16: Ben Stein Protects America * Feb. 18: Comcast Neglected to Mention * Feb. 20: ... Continue reading this article…

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