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

March 2008

Question for Discussion: How Much Can You Spend Without Telling?

by Luke Landes

This is a question mainly for readers in a relationship in which finances are mostly combined or you rely on one another for income and make spending decisions together. I am wondering how much you can spend — whether as a percentage of a total budget or a hard dollar amount — without discussing the ... Continue reading this article…

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Banks Lower Interest Rates Following Fed

by Luke Landes

The Federal Reserve lowered rates again today, inspiring me to check the so-called “high-yield” savings and money market accounts to view the damage to the latest interest rates. I’ve once again updated the list of APYs reflecting the latest drops. I’m keeping a historical record, so siply scroll the spreadsheet to see how rates have ... Continue reading this article…

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Real Money, Real World: A Resource for High School Personal Finance Classes

by Luke Landes

Last year, I asked in high schools should require money management classes. My point of view is that such classes should be optional and/or lessons in personal finance can be incorporated into other classes throughout middle school and high school. Not everyone agrees with me, however, considering the state of financial distress many in this ... Continue reading this article…

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New $5 Bill Now in Circulation: Is it Time to Revalue the Dollar?

by Luke Landes

I’m a fan of paper money less than I am of coins, but I still like to take notice whenever any currency is redesigned. The $5 bill is the latest to get a make-over to thwart counterfeiters and to keep things interesting. Apparently counterfeiters prefer to bleach current $5 and reprint images of $100 bills ... Continue reading this article…

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The Cost of Buying a Home, Low Cost of Living, and Fed Cover-Up

by Luke Landes

Has anyone been watching the HBO miniseries, John Adams? Although colonial America is not my favorite period of history, I’ve been enjoying the first episodes that have aired. However, during the slower sections of the program, you may want to take the time reading articles from Consumerism Commentary’s history. From the first half of March ... Continue reading this article…

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Reminder: 5 Free USB Flash Drives (1GB) with TaxCut

by Luke Landes

Don’t forget, I have five free USB flash drives to give away to readers. I’ll likely pull the names randomly this coming weekend and contact the winners. If you’d like to be considered, click here and comment on the giveaway post as soon as possible.

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Economic Stimulus Rebate Schedule: When You’ll Receive Your Rebate

by Luke Landes

The IRS has posted a schedule indicating when tax payers, if eligible, will receive their tax payments. Keep in mind that these are estimates and the IRS could very well not meet this schedule. The schedule is based on the final two digits of your Social Security number. If you file jointly, use the last ... Continue reading this article…

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8 Benefits to a Recession or Down Market

by Luke Landes

Will politicians say the word recession? Not if they’re serious about helping their party get elected. Yet, it feels like we are in a recession — or at least, that’s what the media wants us to believe. The stock market, measured by the indexes, is certainly in a downward trend, but I suppose I agree ... Continue reading this article…

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Fed Busy Lowering Rates Over the Weekend

by Luke Landes

While I was having dinner with my father last night, the Federal Reserve lowered the interest rate at which it loans money to central banks. While my family and I were discussing the economy (among a number of other more interesting topics), Ben Bernanke was actually doing something. Will the move help? It will be ... Continue reading this article…

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New Bonus Points and Miles Offers on CitiBank Credit Cards

by Luke Landes

Editor’s Note: Thank you for your interest, this offer expired and is no longer available. If you’re looking for bonus points or miles with your credit cards (and I would only suggest doing so if you pay your credit card balances in full every month and if you travel frequently), CitiBank is launching several new ... Continue reading this article…

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Get Ready to Pay More to Fly

by Luke Landes

As gas prices approach $4.00 nationally this summer, airlines are looking for ways to keep their profit margins without increasing ticket prices. Even though the average today is still “only” $3.20, some airlines have begun to make some changes. Carriers have been scrambling for ways to “up-sell” fliers, including selling first-class upgrades, fancy alcoholic drinks ... Continue reading this article…

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Deadly Sins, Getting a Raise, and Reducing Grocery Bills

by Luke Landes

Here are some recent articles from around the web. Five Cent Nickel has the seven deadly sins that lead to debt. I would say it’s possible to fall into deep debt even without “sinning.” Even the best and most reasonable emergency fund can be insufficient to take care of a major medical expense. A guest ... Continue reading this article…

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It’s Official: New Job With a Raise and Promotion

by Luke Landes

Earlier this year, a new position opened up in my department when a co-worker left for a better job within the company. The open position is similar to my current one, with some added responsibilities, a higher “salary grade,” and the same reporting lines. I decided to put my hat in the ring for the ... Continue reading this article…

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W-4 and Your Working Spouse

by Smithee

It’s possible that this advice might be considered common knowledge, but I just learned it at age 32, so feel free to forward it to your friends who recently became part of a working couple. The first time I saw a W-4 form at age 16, I had to take it home and ask my ... Continue reading this article…

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Savings Account Interest Rates Updated

by Luke Landes

Following ING Direct’s recent interest rate drop to 3.1 percent annual yield, I’ve updated the list of high-yield savings and checking account interest rates, a list that is becoming less “high-yield.” It’s getting increasingly difficult to find good places to keep liquid savings.

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The Price of Milk Might Decline in 2008

by Luke Landes

In 2007, the price of milk at the grocery store increased 12 percent. Spending on milk accounts for 12 percent of the “average” American household grocery budget, so this was a significant increase. This year, the agriculture industry is predicting that milk prices will level out or even decrease thanks to an increase in supply. However, some ... Continue reading this article…

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Balance Transfer Fees on American Express Credit Cards

by Luke Landes

Credit cards are tightening their standards and no longer being generous with low promotional interest rates on balance transfers. In fact, many cards have balance transfer fees even with their promotional offers. This information is not always immediately apparent. I’m assembling a list of current balance transfer fees by credit card. The other day, I ... Continue reading this article…

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Giveaway: Five 1 GB USB Flash Drives With TaxCut Software

by Luke Landes

Yesterday, I received five USB flash drives containing the TaxCut software, and I intend on giving each one of these away to Consumerism Commentary readers. Last year, I didn’t receive these flash drives until April 11, a little too late for tax filing purposes. Also, last year’s drives were only 256 MB. The drives I ... Continue reading this article…

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Three Tips for More Financial Aid

by Luke Landes

When I was applying for colleges for my undergraduate degree, a scholarship agent came to our house. I think he was referred to us by a friend of mine, and even then I wondered whether this was the time of arrangement where someone gets a referral bonus. The scholarship agent entered our house with a ... Continue reading this article…

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Comcast Bills for Two Months of Service on First Bill

by Luke Landes

The author of the Debt Sucks blog explains his recent predicament with Comcast. When I received my first bill from Comcast many years ago, I faced the same situation. My first bill was much higher — almost twice as much — as the monthly rate I originally agreed to. Here’s what Debt Sucks has to ... Continue reading this article…

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