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

2007

Holiday Gift Guide, Part 2: Clutter-Free Consumable Gifts: Food and Drink

by Sasha

Besides charitable giving, this year I’m focusing on clutter-free gifts: experiences and consumables. While experiences are great gifts, consumables give you something to open and enjoy Christmas morning. Unclutterer.com has some nice suggestions for theme-based consumable gift collections, such as bulbs and seeds for a gardener, spice collections for someone who enjoys cooking, and the ... Continue reading this article…

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Wrapped Up Two Segments for WSJ Tech News Briefing

by Luke Landes

Earlier today, I wrapped up recording a couple of segments to appear on the Wall Street Journal Tech News Briefing podcast, to be broadcast sometime soon. The segments deal with shopping for the holidays, finding deals, and being a smart and secure online shopper. I hope they can work some production magic and make me ... Continue reading this article…

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Thanks For the Bats

by Luke Landes

This is a guest post from someone who pops up in some of my more personal stories here on Consumerism Commentary. “A.” is a fourth-grade teacher in the New York City public school system. Every Halloween, my aunt lends her skills to my fourth-grade class by creating bats out of sewn felt bean bags, which ... Continue reading this article…

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Monthly Reminder: Subscribe to Consumerism Commentary

by Luke Landes

By subscribing to our RSS feed, you’ll always be aware of new content here, whether from me or Sasha. If you use Google Reader for reading news and blogs like I do, you can easily subscribe using this special link. If you use Yahoo, I strongly suggest adding Consumerism Commentary to My Yahoo. Other options ... Continue reading this article…

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State Farm to Pay Dividend to NJ Policyholders

by Sasha

In my mail recently, I received a colorful postcard from State Farm, the agency which insures my car, house, and several rental properties. I was “sorting” it directly into the trash when I noticed the word “dividend” peeking up at me. Dividend. That’s right, my insurance company has declared a dividend for its New Jersey ... Continue reading this article…

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Personal Income Statement, November 2007 (Net Income: $5,982)

by Luke Landes

Each month, I review my modified net worth in addition to my income and expenses. A monthly review helps me stay focused on improving my financial condition, and doing so in public is a way to hold myself accountable. If I have to report to the public my progress each month, I’m theoretically less likely ... Continue reading this article…

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Personal Balance Sheet, November 2007 ($121,861, +1.8%)

by Luke Landes

Following the end of every month, I take my financials from Quicken and publish a few reports online. I’ve been doing this since 2003 to keep myself accountable for my finances. The balance sheet included in this post measures my “modified net worth.” It’s a list of the present values of my assets my liabilities, ... Continue reading this article…

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Weekly Blog Roundup, Holiday Shopping Edition

by Luke Landes

My girlfriend and I managed to get almost all of our remaining “brick-and-mortar” gift shopping completed yesterday. Considering today’s snow and ice, I’m happy we don’t have to brave the crowds any longer. From now until the holidays, we will only be dealing with online stores. Here are some recent articles from the MoneyBlogNetwork and ... Continue reading this article…

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New Log-In Process Coming to EmigrantDirect

by Luke Landes

I received an email from EmigrantDirect today warning that the process for logging into their website for online banking is about to change. The new process will be similar to ING Direct’s security feature involving a unique sign-in ID, an image, and a pass phrase. If you’re a customer, you might have received this email. ... Continue reading this article…

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8 Tips for a Unsuccessful Office Holiday Party

by Luke Landes

If your office is like mine, you celebrate the holidays (but primarily Christmas) with a gift exchange of some sort as well as a party. I’ve found the office holiday experience to be hit or miss. Now, with the help of NBC’s The Office, here are some pointers for making December in the workplace awkward, ... Continue reading this article…

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Time to Run and Hide From Stocks?

by Luke Landes

The stock market has certainly been all over the place lately. A few people have told me that the constant chatter about impending doom is pushing them towards pulling out or re-allocating their investments to expose themselves less to stocks. If I can stomach short-term losses like I think I can, I intend on using ... Continue reading this article…

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Updated List of Savings and Checking Account Rates

by Luke Landes

Yesterday, I updated the list of online savings and checking account interest rates to account for a number of banks lowering their rates further.

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Ben Stein: 3 Biggest Retirement Mistakes

by Luke Landes

Ben Stein has been making the rounds through the media in support of National Retirement Planning Week, a celebration of preparedness. He recently met with Terri Cullen from the Wall Street Journal and sat down for a quick interview. Ben shared his opinion regarding the three biggest mistakes people often make in regards to the ... Continue reading this article…

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Where Did You Come From, Where Did You Go (November 2007)

by Luke Landes

Each month, I take a look at the source of visitors to Consumerism Commentary. While an increasing number of readers use RSS to stay up-to-date and I can’t always see where everyone is coming from, I can thank other blogs or websites that have sent visitors our way. Not including search engines, RSS readers, and ... Continue reading this article…

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Holiday Gift Guide, Part 1: 3 Ways to Incorporate Charitable Giving

by Sasha

‘Tis the season to think about charitable giving, and there are some wonderful opportunities to do this while giving to your friends and loved ones. Whether it’s one of your favorite causes or one which aligns with the interests of the recipient, there are three simple ways to make a doubly-impactful gift this holiday season. ... Continue reading this article…

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Year-End Tax-Saving Move: Charitable Contributions

by Luke Landes

In a recent article with tips for last-minute savings on the tax bill, CNN Money suggests qualifying for a deduction by giving to charity. Donations given to a tax-exempt organization can be deducted from your income when filing your taxes. There’s a catch, though. If your total deductions including the charitable contribution don’t exceed the ... Continue reading this article…

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Retirement Income Rule of Thumb Debunked

by Luke Landes

To retire comfortably, you’ll need to have an income of 80 percent of your maximum pre-retirement income. That’s a common rule of thumb you hear trumpeted by financial planners. Unfortunately, it’s not accurate. It may give someone planning their retirement a basis for thinking about creating income during those years, whether from part-time work or income-producing ... Continue reading this article…

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79 Cards Offering 0% APR on Purchases, Balance Transfers, or Cash Advances

by Luke Landes

Editor’s Note: Thank you for your interest, these offers have expired and are no longer available. Any indented text is excerpted directly from the issuer’s marketing. Here is an update to an article I posted about four months ago. If you’re looking for 0 percent APR offers, here are 79 of them. Warning! Taking advantage of ... Continue reading this article…

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Weekly Blog Roundup II, Market Crash Edition

by Luke Landes

What would you do if the stock market crashed tomorrow? While you’re contemplating that, here are some more articles from Thanksgiving week to keep you reading about personal finance. How Do You Calculate Compound Growth (or Interest)? AllFinancialMatters loves tackling these mathematical questions. Here he answers with an Excel function and the underlying formulas. Personal ... Continue reading this article…

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Review: Navigating the Financial Blogosphere by Russell Bailyn

by Luke Landes

A little over a year ago, Russell Bailyn, an investment adviser who crossed the barrier into the blogosphere with his Financial Planning Weblog, contacted me to let me know he was beginning work on a book. As Russell and I were both music education majors in our respective undergraduate universities, I was eager to support ... Continue reading this article…

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