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

February 2008

Big Mistakes That Cost, Part 1

by Luke Landes

It’s great to focus on the little things that save you money, like The Expensive Coffee-Related Drink Factor. Reducing small, regular expenses add up over time. But all that focus on the minutiae is for naught if you make big mistakes. Consumer Reports recently published an article that explains how much some of those big ... Continue reading this article…

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I’m Getting a Raise and a Bonus, But Maybe I Should Leave

by Luke Landes

Earlier today, my boss at the day job informed me of my raise and bonus pursuant to the annual review process. There were no surprises; the corporate world — particularly in my non-sales-generating area of the corporate world — continues to fail to impress when it comes to monetary compensation. They say the benefits are ... Continue reading this article…

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Increased 401(k) Contribution Rate

by Luke Landes

Today I increased my 401(k) contribution, a move which will bring me significantly closer to my goal for investing up to the limit allowed by the government in 2008 ($15,500). My 401(k) account is split into three portions: my before-tax contributions, my Roth contributions which are after tax, and my company’s employer matching contributions, which ... Continue reading this article…

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Jung Typology and Finance: Introversion vs. Extraversion

by Luke Landes

One of the most popular personality measurement systems is the “Jung Typology” test, also known as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MTBI) test. These are popular in Psychology 101 college courses and corporate management seminars. The object of this test is to quantify an individual’s personality along four separate dimensions. Each dimension has two options on ... Continue reading this article…

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6 Tips for a Frugal Valentine’s Day (Reprint Plus)

by Luke Landes

This article was published here on Valentine’s Day 2007. I enjoyed it so much, I decided to reprint it with perhaps a few updates every successive Valentine’s Day for the rest of my life. Enjoy. Do you want to be romantic and save money? In a world where romanticism is portrayed by the media as ... Continue reading this article…

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This Month in the Archives: Mean People, Quicken Hack, and Marital Bliss

by Luke Landes

Welcome readers from Yahoo, CBS 8 San Diego, Consumerist, and various message forums from around the internet. Please take a moment a subscribe to the Consumerism Commentary RSS feed. If you’re new here, perhaps you’d like to take a look at articles from Februaries past. From the First Half of February 2007 Americans Aren’t Saving, ... Continue reading this article…

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Tax Rebate Calculator Updated (and Blog Roundup)

by Luke Landes

I’ve updated the economic stimulus tax rebate calculator. The old version, taken from PBS Newshour, did not take into account changes included by the Congress before passing the bill. The complete details of the economic stimulus package are provided at the Library of Congress. Take a look at the new calculator to find out how ... Continue reading this article…

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Financial Attitudes: Charles Schwab’s Categorizations of Generation X

by Luke Landes

I found this in my spam e-mail box today. It’s not spam, it’s marketing from Charles Schwab. The message is interesting enough for me to post because it brings up a nuanced topic: personality categorization. When the media invokes the term “Generation X,” they’re referring to a certain age group in which everyone has enough ... Continue reading this article…

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Still Use Snail Mail? Prepare for a Price Increase in May

by Luke Landes

In all likelihood, this will be a yearly reminder. The US Postal Service is no longer required to go through a lengthy approval process to raise postage rates if the increase is below the “inflation rate.” That presents a good chance that each May, we will be required to pay about one cent more for ... Continue reading this article…

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Netflix to Support Blu-ray Exclusively

by Luke Landes

Netflix has been offering movies to rent on both high definition media formats, HD DVD and Blu-ray, will now be exclusively supporting just one technology: Blu-ray. Citing the decision by four of the six major movie studios to publish high-def DVD titles only in the Sony-developed Blu-ray format, Netflix said that as of now it ... Continue reading this article…

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File Taxes for Free With I-CAN!, But is it Accurate?

by Luke Landes

The popularity of filing tax returns online has risen in the past few years thanks to online programs that make it incredibly easy. Unfortunately, the IRS doesn’t let you file your taxes online directly, you have to go through third parties like H&R Block or Intuit to do so. My third part of choice over ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Save a Million Dollars at Any Age: 55 Years Old

by Luke Landes

Right now, I’m listening to the album, Raising Sand, by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, released last year. Robert Plant will be 60 years old in August. I imagine he’s not thinking about retirement and we’ll continue to hear new music from him until he finally keels over. Unless you are one of the few ... Continue reading this article…

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Purchased a New Camera (and Blog Roundup)

by Luke Landes

Part of being completely open with my finances on Consumerism Commentary involves sharing “major” purchases. One such purchase occurred this weekend. After quite a bit of research and waiting, I ordered a Canon Digital Rebel XTi SLR camera (10 megapixels) from Amazon.com with some additional accessories. Prices were significantly lower than what I could find ... Continue reading this article…

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How the Economic Stimulus Tax Rebate Will Affect 2008 Tax Returns (Updated January 26, 2009)

by Luke Landes

This article is for tax year 2008. For 2009 and beyond, see our roundup of 8 (or more) Ways to Benefit from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (AKA Stimulus Plan). If you’re trying to understand the recovery rebate credit or why it seems like you owe your stimulus back to the government, ... Continue reading this article…

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Actual vs. Budget Report, January 2008

by Luke Landes

For the first time in several years, I decided to design a budget for myself. I’ve never been a fan of budgets. While I used one when absolutely necessary to get myself on track initially, after recovering from low income and high expenses, I decided to ditch the idea when I was comfortable spending significantly ... Continue reading this article…

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Profile Pictures (Avatars) in the Comments

by Luke Landes

If you’ve read comments on articles here at Consumerism Commentary, you may notice that some people have profile pictures or avatars — small representative images — next to the names at the top of the comments. If you’re a frequent commenter here and you want to represent yourself graphically, it’s easy and free. Sign up ... Continue reading this article…

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How the Future U.S. President Wants to Tax You

by Luke Landes

There’s no need for me to explain in detail the favored tax policy by each of the four leading candidates for the President of the United States for two reasons. First, Jeanne Sahadi wrote an excellent tax policy summary for Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John McCain and Mitt Romney. Secondly, the candidates’ stances now may ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Save a Million Dollars at Any Age: 45 Years Old

by Luke Landes

If you’re 45 years old right now and working, perhaps you’re starting to consider when and how you’d like to retire. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine has some suggestions if retiring with $1 million is art of that game plan. Keep in mind the role inflation plays; $1 million is a good goal, but twenty years ... Continue reading this article…

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My Favorite Source for Movies? The Library

by Sasha

I’ve never been a big movie buyer, and I own a whopping three DVDs. If I can’t guarantee I’m going to watch it at least five times, I don’t want it cluttering my abode. But I do like movies, and so I opt for rentals. And there are more rental options out there now than ... Continue reading this article…

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Searching for a CD as the Rates Plummet

by Sasha

Ah, hindsight. Although I’m glad I got a 5.65 percent CD when I did, of course I wish I’d invested more and for a longer term than 6 months. But it’s not too late to still lock in a CD at an okay rate. Or so I’d hoped. Recently, it seems the pickings are slim. Emigrant ... Continue reading this article…

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