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

December 2007

Holiday Gift Guide, Part 4: Frugal Homemade Gifts

by Sasha

Homemade gifts can be so much more than the sum of their parts, which makes them a great frugal gift option. They are redolent of effort, of “I thought of you all year and worked on this for you” versus “I realized I needed a gift for you ten minutes ago and picked this up ... Continue reading this article…

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Get Rich Slowly to Host Carnival of Personal Finance

by Luke Landes

Monday’s Carnival of Personal Finance will be hosted by Get Rich Slowly. If you’re a blogger who has written about personal finance in the last week or so, submit your best article to the Carnival before Sunday evening.

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The Candidates’ Income Tax Plans: Republicans

by Luke Landes

I started taking a look at the proposals for revision of the income tax code being tossed around by the latest presidential candidates yesterday. The Democrats are in favor of continuing the Bush administration’s tax cuts, but only for certain individuals. They also support a number of tax cuts that I’ll write about in the ... Continue reading this article…

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Updated List of Savings and Checking Account Rates

by Luke Landes

After yesterday’s drop in the target interest rate by the Federal Reserve Board, many banks reacted by dropping the interest rates offered on savings and money market accounts. I’ve updated the list of online savings and checking account interest rates with the changes.

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The Candidates’ Income Tax Plans: Democrats

by Luke Landes

Now that we’ve looked inside the financial reports of the major candidates for President of the United States, let’s take a look at the Democrats’ plans for reworking the income tax system if elected. They are as one would predict, very similar. Hillary Clinton wants to eliminate the “Bush tax cuts” for those earning more ... Continue reading this article…

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Holiday Gift Guide, Part 3: More Clutter-Free Consumable Gifts

by Sasha

I got a little carried away with consumable gifts in the food and drink category in my last entry, but that’s to be expected. This time around, my favorite ideas for non-edible consumable gifts: * Soap and Bath Products – They make a great gift basket, but are easily used up, so they don’t contribute ... Continue reading this article…

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2007: The End of TIAA-Cref for My Investments

by Luke Landes

At the end of the year, I will be ceasing my investment in TIAA-Cref funds for retirement. There are less expensive options at Vanguard, and TIAA-Cref’s customer service record has been spotty. I haven’t had any problems lately, but other people still face difficulties. My original post about my problems with TIAA-Cref from almost two ... Continue reading this article…

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$1,000,000 in Pennies in New York City

by Luke Landes

If you visit Rockefeller Center in New York before the end of the year, you’ll see an “art installation” consisting of $1,000,000 in one-cent coins. Silda Wall Spitzer, the wife of Gov. Eliot Spitzer, joined more than 300 elementary and middle school students from New York to unveil the “Penny Harvest Field,” an exhibition featuring ... Continue reading this article…

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What’s in the Candidates’ Wallets?

by Luke Landes

Money Magazine has an eye-opening look inside the personal financial reports of the leading presidential candidates, including asset allocations and income sources. The article points out anything out of the ordinary with the candidates’ holdings and even offers money management suggestions from a financial adviser. Hillary Clinton. Net worth: $34.9 million. 2006 income: $12.1 million. ... Continue reading this article…

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This Month in the Archives: Whining, CFO of Your Own Life, and Flex Accounts

by Luke Landes

New to Consumerism Commentary? Make up for lost time by taking a look through articles posted here in prior years. From the first half of December 2006: * Sometimes Financial Decisions Must Consider More Than Just Money * Whining About the Lack of Interest in Their House? * Baby Boomers Plan to Work in Retirement ... Continue reading this article…

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Here Comes the Roth 401(k)

by Luke Landes

Starting in January, my company will begin offering Roth 401(k) retirement accounts for employees. Later this month, I will be able to adjust my current contribution amounts to take advantage of tax diversification through the Roth 401(k), but I won’t be able to increase my total contribution if it affects my company stock fund purchases. ... Continue reading this article…

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Weekly Blog Roundup, Standing On Line Edition

by Luke Landes

I accompanied A. to a Scholastic Book Fair at one of their warehouses yesterday to find books for her fourth-grade class. Scholastic relies on volunteers to make these warehouse sales successful, and it looked like they were having a hard time this weekend. Once she found everything she needed, we stood on line for two ... Continue reading this article…

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Wall Street Journal Podcast: Safe and Smart Online Shopping

by Luke Landes

I mentioned the other day that I participated in an interview for a Wall Street Journal podcast, the Tech News Briefing E-Report. This service is seemingly accessible only to paid Wall Street Journal subscribers only1, but the RSS feed and the podcasts within are open to the public. To listen to the podcast episode containing ... Continue reading this article…

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Welcome Readers of CNN Money

by Luke Landes

Consumerism Commentary was mentioned on CNN Money, along with Get Rich Slowly, as one of the best blogs for improving your financial picture. To those of you visiting from article or possible the print magainze, welcome! Consider subscribing to the RSS feed for updates or starting with some of these articles and pages: About Consumerism ... Continue reading this article…

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Bloggers: The Carnival of Personal Finance is Looking for Hosts

by Luke Landes

Attention, bloggers. The Carnival of Personal Finance is seeking locations for its first quarter 2008 tour. If you would like to be the host of the Carnival on your blog, please read these requirements and submit your information. Monday’s Carnival will be hosted at Money Smart Life. If you’ve written an article about personal finance ... Continue reading this article…

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Math Anxiety Could Hurt Your Finances: 5 Ways to Get Over It

by Sasha

I just ran across a cute article by TODAY Financial Editor Jean Chatzky which really spoke to me as a hater of all things mathematical. According to Chatzky, math anxiety, one of the biggest roadblocks to getting one’s finances together, affects half of all Americans at some level. It can result from any early numerical ... Continue reading this article…

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Ten Tips for the Holidays: Avoiding Credit Card Traps

by Luke Landes

It’s not unusual for even the most savvy credit-card-carrying consumer to fall into some of the most popular traps for spenders set by credit issuers. I write about using credit cards wisely, but unfortunately, many who don’t get penalized with interest and fees. Even those who always pay their credit card bill in full are ... Continue reading this article…

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J.D. From Get Rich Slowly is Debt Free!

by Luke Landes

Please join me and 154 other visitors (as of now) in congratulating J.D. from Get Rich Slowly who is now debt-free except for his mortgage. That’s a great accomplishment!

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Credit Cards for Balance Transfers: Low Promotional Interest Rates and Fees

by Luke Landes

Last week, following the list of 79 credit cards offering 0 percent APR, John made the following point: Awesome list Flexo. However all of them are not devoid of Balance Transfer (BT) fees. That is something to watch for especially when the BT fees are not capped. Would be great if this list could be further ... Continue reading this article…

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Livin’ it Up: Young Philly Couple Charged With Identity Theft

by Luke Landes

Jocelyn Kirsch and Edward K. Anderton live in Philadelphia but they’ve been spending their time in Paris, London, Hawaii, and Seattle thanks to their neighbors. The neighbors aren’t quite as happy, however. The two were using their expensive apartment to assist in stealing the identities of the other people living in their building as well ... Continue reading this article…

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