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

June 2008

Waste of Money: Excessive Oil Changes (Every 3,000 Miles?)

by Luke Landes

When I graduated college almost ten years ago and was moving out of the dorms on campus, my father picked me up in his graduation gift to me, a “new” (to me) 1988 Toyota Celica. From this point on, it was my responsibility to care for and maintain the car, but I didn’t really know ... Continue reading this article…

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The Benefits of Target Retirement Funds

by Guest Author

About the author: The following is a guest article written by Kevin from No Debt Plan. He writes to help readers eliminate debt, learn how to budget and save, and move themselves towards financial freedom. The first investment we made in one of our Roth IRAs was in a Vanguard Target Retirement fund. Generally target ... Continue reading this article…

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Fidelity and Vanguard Creating Investments to Compete With Annuities

by Luke Landes

Fidelity and Vanguard, monsters in the world of mutual funds, are busy creating new products catering to the vast number of baby-boomers approaching retirement. These products are designed to compete with annuities, insurance products with guaranteed income, but are investments products so they offer no guarantees. Like target retirement funds, the asset allocation of these ... Continue reading this article…

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New ING Direct Bonus Referral Codes

by Luke Landes

I’ve once again updated the list of $25 ING Direct Referral Bonus Links. (Ed. note: ING Direct became Capital One 360 in 2013.) Thanks to Consumerism Commentary readers who have contributed their links to the site for the benefit of other readers. If you are not a current customer of ING Direct and you’re interested ... Continue reading this article…

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Target Retirement Funds (Also Known As Lifecycle Funds)

by Luke Landes

Target retirement funds are increasing in popularity. The funds, and they may be called “lifecycle funds” or “target date funds” or “age-based funds” or a variety of other terms are mutual funds comprising other mutual funds. The allocation percentages of the constituent mutual funds change as time progresses, theoretically becoming more conservative as you approach ... Continue reading this article…

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McCain Proposes Summer Gas Tax Holiday (Again)

by Luke Landes

The presidential candidates are fighting hard for your vote, and the economy seems to be one of the top issues. To soothe jitters over an economically turbulent near future, Senator Barack Obama proposed a second economic stimulus payment, similar to the one proposed and passed by President Bush and Nancy Pelosi earlier this year. It’s ... Continue reading this article…

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One Hundred Pushup Challenge and Midweek Blog Roundup

by Luke Landes

I’ve decided to join my colleagues like J.D. by taking the One Hundred Pushup Challenge. I started on Monday and I plan to continue with my second day of training Wednesday evening. I’ve been meaning to improve my health and fitness — I promise myself to do so every year but find it hard to ... Continue reading this article…

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Guide to Starting Your First Job

by Luke Landes

A reader was kind enough to forward to me a helpful article published by the New York Times, guiding new graduates in the right direction as they take on their first real full-time job. Many graduates have had experience in the work force before, but it’s not until graduation when they can truly begin focusing ... Continue reading this article…

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Obama Proposes Second Economic Stimulus Package

by Luke Landes

Click here to understand how Obama’s new 2009 economic stimulus plan might affect you. Presidential candidate and Senator Barack Obama is calling for a second economic stimulus package to help boost the economy where the first attempt may have failed. This second stimulus plan, supported by the Democrats in Congress, will provide a $50 billion ... Continue reading this article…

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Don’t Forget to Have Fun

by Luke Landes

Almost always, exorbitant salaries come with serious responsibilities and high levels of stress. It’s important for your psyche to be able to take a moment a blow off steam. On Saturday, I was at Shea Stadium to watch interleague baseball between The New York Mets and The Texas Rangers. I purchased tickets a few months ... Continue reading this article…

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Carnival of Personal Finance #157: Third Anniversary Edition

by Luke Landes

Welcome to the third anniversary edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance! It’s hard to believe the Carnival has been in operation for so long, traveling to so many different locations week after week, yet here we are, starting the Carnival’s fourth year with a presentation of some excellent articles. Last year’s second anniversary was ... Continue reading this article…

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What’s Your Neighborhood’s Walk Score?

by Luke Landes

If you’re moving into a new neighborhood, it’s usually easy to drive around (or walk around if the new neighborhood is a city) to find amenities and stores within walking distance. If you agree that walking is a necessary exercise, the ability to walk to destinations should be a large factor when deciding where to ... Continue reading this article…

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Quicken 2009 Beta Open to Volunteers for Testing

by Luke Landes

August 25 update: Quicken 2009 is now available for purchase. Consumerism Commentary readers get good discounts here. I’m a heavy user of Quicken, so I’m considering signing up for the “beta test program” of the new version that will be released later this summer. If you’re approved for the beta test program, you will receive ... Continue reading this article…

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McCain vs. Obama: Your Future Tax Bill

by Luke Landes

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center released a report yesterday that explains in detail the effect that a McCain presidency and an Obama presidency would have on the tax bill for American households. The data are stratified by income range and reflect a wide difference in stated policy between the two candidates. In addition to making ... Continue reading this article…

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New $25 Bonus Promotion Code for ShareBuilder Accounts

by Luke Landes

Updated June 24, 2010. Last month, I praised ShareBuilder for its low fees in a list of the best true discount brokerages. In the past, ShareBuilder has offered free money in the form of account opening bonuses to attract new customers, but these promotions have been missing since ING Direct purchased the brokerage. ShareBuilder has ... Continue reading this article…

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How Much The iPhone 3G Really Costs You

by Luke Landes

For techies, particularly those who like Apple products, the new iPhone 3G is starting to look nice. The current iPhone already has a mess of cool features, but Apple’s adding speed, GPS, support for Exchange, and many other features to attract new consumers, particularly business consumers. Most importantly, the price for the entry level iPhone ... Continue reading this article…

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How I Could Find $10,000 Per Year if Necessary

by Luke Landes

Recently, JLP discovered that if he needed to, he could “find” an extra $13,000 per year by cutting back some of his discretionary expenses. By eliminating beer, soda, and a number of other unnecessary but nice expenditures, the savings can add up quickly. (I’m a bit surprised that JLP spends $50 per month on beer. ... Continue reading this article…

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The Carnival is Up!

by Luke Landes

The latest edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance is live on Prime Time Money. There were many great articles this week, so it’s worthwhile to look through the submissions. In addition to the Editor’s Choices, check out One PB&J a Day Brings a Home Within Reach?, A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned… Sometimes, ... Continue reading this article…

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Question of the Day: How Much Vacation Time Do You Use?

by Luke Landes

I’ve been at my current company for six years now. That’s quite an accomplishment as I intended to work for this company for a short time while seeking out something more meaningful. As I’ve stayed with the company while moving around to a variety of departments, I’ve accrued to privilege of taking an increasing number ... Continue reading this article…

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It Was Hot on the Farm, and Weekend Blog Roundup

by Luke Landes

The SPF 50 seemed to do the trick. On Saturday, my girlfriend and I spent seven hours in 100+ degree heat and humid air to experience a number of musical performances at the Appel Farm Arts and Music Festival. To tie this into personal finance, I’ll simply say that it was an expensive day. I ... Continue reading this article…

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