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

July 2008

5 Years of Consumerism Commentary: What Would You Like to See Here?

by Luke Landes

Five years ago today, on July 16, 2003, I began Consumerism Commentary, writing a short post about myself, the purpose of this website, and my first “public” financial update. By that time, I was about a year and a half into a corporate job, a change from my previous non-profit, arts-related life. I had already ... Continue reading this article…

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2007 New Jersey Homestead Rebate: Receive Up to $2,000

by Luke Landes

Homeowners in New Jersey are eligible for a partial rebate of property taxes paid. If you owned and lived in a house in New Jersey on October 1, 2007, you are eligible. Renters like me are eligible for a separate rebate up to $860. If you haven’t received an application, you should shortly. The state ... Continue reading this article…

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Earn the Most in New Canaan, Connecticut

by Luke Landes

Money Magazine released the results of the publication’s survey of the towns with the highest median household income. New Canaan, Connecticut tops the list with a median income of $231,138. Considering a move to help your income go farther? Don’t choose one of these locales. Considering a move to be closer to culture, leisure, and ... Continue reading this article…

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More ING Direct $25 Bonus Referrals

by Luke Landes

This is a quick Sunday night note to say that I’ve refreshed the list of $25 bonus referrals for new customers this evening. These appear to be going rather quickly and I try to keep the list updated with fresh links. For the Orange Savings Account referrals, I have on several occasions asked readers to ... Continue reading this article…

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What is the Value of a Human Life?

by Luke Landes

When the Environmental Protection Agency decides which regulations to create and enforce, just like any business deciding to pursue a project, it runs a cost-benefit analysis. While typical businesses might compare the costs of obtaining equipment and paying salaries with the anticipated income from the project, the EPA has to consider grander variables. If the ... Continue reading this article…

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Weekend Reading: Blog Roundup

by Luke Landes

Here are some articles to read this weekend. Is There a Cure for the Economy? The Spending and Saving Catch-22. “Maybe I’m crazy, but it seems like as long as the money shifts between business and consumers the economy isn’t going to improve overall. If consumers have more money they have safety and security, but ... Continue reading this article…

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The Four-Day Work Week: Is it a Good Idea?

by Luke Landes

I’ve noticed a few public employers, like Howard County, Maryland, the Hobart, Indiana Police Department, the State of Oklahoma, and the Winston-Salem Housing Authority, are implementing or discussing the idea of moving to a four-day work week. The most popular options seem to be replacing five eight-hour days with four ten-hour days and replacing ten ... Continue reading this article…

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Question From Reader: When Do You Record an Expense?

by Luke Landes

“Stat Crazy” wrote in to ask a few questions about recording personal finances in Quicken. His first question is about recording expenses. If you purchase something during the month one June 15 with a VISA card, then submit an online payment on June 28, and the card says it is paid off on June 30 ... Continue reading this article…

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Just Like Apple’s MobileMe, But Free

by Smithee

For the purposes of this article, the term “iPhone” includes “iPod Touch”, and I’m assuming that your operating systems are up to date. Along with new firmware for existing iPhone owners, and the new iPhone 3G itself, Apple is releasing this week a new service called “MobileMe”, succinctly described as “Exchange for the rest of ... Continue reading this article…

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More ING Direct Referral Links Needed: Join the Waiting List

by Luke Landes

Thanks for your quick response. The waiting list is now full. As you may know, I am allowing Consumerism Commentary to share ING Direct referral links, providing new savings account holders with a $25 bonus (and a $10 bonus to the referrer). As of right now, I’m down to four referral links for the savings ... Continue reading this article…

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TIAA-CREF Computer System: Still the Default Excuse

by Luke Landes

In January 2006, thousands of TIAA-CREF customers experienced service problems with the financial services firm when attempting to transfer funds, withdraw funds, or receive distributions. The company publicly blamed its problems on a tough transition from one computer system to another. This was the reason for my missing contribution that occurred during this period. Since ... Continue reading this article…

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Reusable Bags at the Grocery Store

by Luke Landes

I produce a lot of garbage, and I’m not talking about just my writing. Here’s one reason: Even though the grocery store is only about a block or two away from my apartment, I tend to take large shopping trips infrequently rather than smaller trips more frequently. Here are the problems with this approach. I’ve ... Continue reading this article…

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Credit Card Policies Unfair? Tell the Fed.

by Smithee

The Federal Reserve Bank issued a proposal this past May to: prohibit unfair practices regarding credit cards and overdraft services that would, among other provisions, protect consumers from unexpected increases in the rate charged on pre-existing credit card balances For a limited time, you can add your opinion to this proposal (scroll down and click ... Continue reading this article…

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Check Out the Latest Carnival of Personal Finance

by Luke Landes

If you didn’t have enough Independence Day celebration and you’re looking for more, visit Mighty Bargain Hunter for the latest edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance. The Carnival of Personal Finance (or just “Carnival”) is a weekly selection of many of the best articles written about the topic and published recently online by bloggers. ... Continue reading this article…

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The Correct Way to Pay Off Personal Debt: The Debt Avalanche

by Luke Landes
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When it comes to mathematics, certain facts are universally agreed-upon. For example, regardless of your culture or educational system, you must agree that one plus one equals two unless you mistakenly fall for an invalid proof. When dealing with money, why are people inclined to believe that one plus one does not equal two? If ... Continue reading this article…

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Weekend Blog Roundup: Surprise Visit From California

by Luke Landes

Today was the first time my mother has visited me in New Jersey after moving out to California 10 years ago. The apartment in which I now live, my eighth apartment in ten years, was the first to be visited by my west coast family. I’m more than happy to travel to California twice a ... Continue reading this article…

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Your Opinion: Do Women Find Wealthy Men Attractive?

by Luke Landes

I came across this today: Whatever the reason, experts say that at our core, there’s one reason we find wealthy men attractive: instinct. Women, research shows, rank the ability to provide as the most important quality when selecting a mate. Men, not surprisingly, prize a woman’s looks and youthfulness over her other qualities, because those ... Continue reading this article…

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Get Cash Rebates for Buying Gas With Credit Cards

by Luke Landes

Editor’s Note: Thank you for your interest, these offers expired and are no longer available. Every week, cash back credit card deals are decreasing. American Express recently emailed me to let me know that they have lowered the cash back rate on their SimplyCash Business Card from 5 percent to 3 percent on gas station purchases. If ... Continue reading this article…

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Personal Income Statement, June 2008 (Net Income: $4,364)

by Luke Landes

In June I managed to save over $4,000 of my income for myself after all expenses were paid. That doesn’t mean that my net worth grew during June, however, as I explained earlier today. While I was able to add to my savings and investments, poor performance in the stock market caused my accounts to ... Continue reading this article…

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Personal Balance Sheet, June 2008 ($155,596, -1.5%)

by Luke Landes

Last month, I shared my belief that I would not make my net worth goal for the year, and June has been a step backwards. I ended the month with a modified net worth of $155,596, over $2,000 down from the end of May. For any readers new to Consumerism Commentary, I post financial updates ... Continue reading this article…

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