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August 2008

4:45 PM update: The waiting list is again closed. Thank you to everyone who responded promptly. We now have more than 100 people on the waiting list.

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 nine referral links for the savings account. You can find those links here.

I’m re-opening the waiting list for readers who are hoping to provide their referrals to other Consumerism Commentary readers. Please leave a comment below or email me if you’d like to be added to the short waiting list. I won’t be able to respond to everyone, but if you leave a comment or send an email, you will be added. Once it is your turn, I’ll send you instructions for sending the referrals directly to Consumerism Commentary for posting.

If you’re not currently an ING Direct customer, here’s how you can earn up to $525 by opening an account.

Note: Please don’t send links directly to me yet. Once it’s your turn on the waiting list, I will send you instructions for supplying the referrals.

4:45 PM update: The waiting list is again closed. Thank you to everyone who responded promptly. We now have more than 100 people on the waiting list. Subscribe to Consumerism Commentary (rss) to be informed when the waiting list is open again.

Update: The waiting list is now open. If you’d like to share your own ING Direct referral links, read this information. I’m now looking for Consumerism Commentary readers to share links by adding their names to the waiting list.


This morning, I posted an article on one of my favorite blogs about personal finance, Get Rich Slowly. The article follows my ongoing transformation from an external to an internal locus of control philosophy and explains why an internal point of view is more beneficial to achieving financial goals.

Please read Financial Success Comes From Within and participate in the discussion.


A former high-powered, strongly motivated boss of mine did not believe in sleep. In order to be the best in the world at what we do — and this was the goal, no doubt — sleep is an obstacle to be overcome. I disagreed, as it seemed to me at some point, bodies and minds will find what they need whether or not you try to control them.

While he was in his office until four in the morning many nights, trying to work, I was getting the sleep I needed to be effective during waking hours. Our disagreements about this as well as some other philosophies of life eventually led to my departure from the organization.

Scientific studies have long proven the importance of a good night’s sleep, but there’s some new research that links sleep deprivation and serious illness.

A 2008 research project at the University of Chicago’s medical school kept young, healthy volunteers awake for all but four hours a night for six nights running. The result: The levels of subjects’ hormones shifted – in particular a hormone called leptin that affects appetite. They became ravenously hungry, scarfing down pizza and ice cream long after they would have felt full normally, and their blood sugar shot up to pre-diabetic levels – an ominous result after less than one week of inadequate sleep.

…[T]he World Health Organization (WHO) has gathered data from around the globe showing that sleep deprivation depresses the immune system, to the point where WHO is considering labeling chronic sleep deprivation a carcinogen, comparable to tobacco and asbestos.

Sleep deprivation also results in an overestimation of health; people deprived think they have more control than they do.

One experiment at U. Penn’s medical school kept subjects up until 4 A.M., woke them at 8 A.M., and then gave them a series of tests designed to measure memory, alertness, and the ability to react quickly to new information. The researchers were startled to find that subjects’ mental acuity declined markedly after just one night and kept dropping with each successive night of four hours’ sleep. Even more worrying: The study’s volunteers were unaware of their impairment. One woman, so fatigued that she could barely say her name, was nonetheless certain she was able to drive home.

In addition to these studies, entrepreneurs surveyed about their sleep habits have claimed to come up with many of their ideas while asleep. So it seems that sleeping is good for business.

Here are five free ways to improve sleep and five more free ways to improve sleep. Get Rich Slowly also has a brief guide to better sleep.

Make Sleep Work For You, Anne Fisher, Fortune Small Business, August 25, 2008.


The Carnival is Up!

This article was written by in Carnival. 4 comments.

Broke Grad Student is hosting the latest edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance, highlighting the best personal finance articles as well as the Beijing 2008 Olympics. My recent article on Consumerism Commentary, Financial Tips for Students Entering College, earned a “gold medal” as an Editor’s Pick.

There were many interesting articles in this week’s Carnival. In addition to the rest of the Editor’s Picks, here are a few more worthy of attention. Be sure to peruse the entire Carnival. There is a wide variety of articles so you’re bound to find something that interests you.

For more information about the Carnival of Personal Finance, visit the Carnival’s website. In a few days, the Carnival will begin looking for hosts to round out the last three months of 2008.


Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps

by Luke Landes

I’ve done a good job of sharing my disdain for Dave Ramsey’s popularization of a method of getting out of debt that caters to unmotivated individuals, the “Debt Snowball” method. That doesn’t mean I don’t agree with his principles or his intentions. I just think he, as one of the most popular “gurus” in personal ... Continue reading this article…

19 comments Read the full article →

Quicken 2009 Available Today, Discounts for Blog Readers

by Luke Landes

Are you looking for Quicken 2010? Quicken 2010 is available now and here are the latest products. The new versions of all the Quicken products are available to purchase starting today, and shipping of the new software will begin on September 9. Intuit, the company that develops the Quicken software and owns the brand, is ... Continue reading this article…

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Support Entrepreneurs in Developing Countries With Kiva

by Luke Landes

Kiva is an international non-profit organization that facilitates “microlending” for the purpose of its mission, alleviating poverty across the world. The organization allows those who wish to contribute to lend money in small amounts to entrepreneurs in the developing world. Kiva’s website lets you browse entrepreneurs’ profiles to select the recipient of your micro-loan and ... Continue reading this article…

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Weekly Blog Roundup: Psychology of Credit Cards, Vanguard, and Freezers

by Luke Landes

Here are some interesting articles from the MoneyBlogNetwork and beyond. I enjoyed these posts and I believe others will as well. The Psychology of Credit Cards? Get Rich Slowly shares the story of a reader who has switched from debit card to credit card but has lost the ability to keep track of his spending ... Continue reading this article…

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WTDirect Sign-Up Bonus and Promotion Code: Earn Up to $250

by Luke Landes

WTDirect is offering a bonus for new customers who open a savings account. Above the 3.31 percent APY interest rate, WTDirect is offering a sign-up bonus of up to $250. You’ll have to deposit a significant sum, however, and keep the funds deposited in the bank for 60 days. The bonus is different depending on how ... Continue reading this article…

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Telemarketers Can’t Talk to the Dead

by Smithee

I was speaking with a co-worker who used to be a telemarketer, and she told me that if I’m ever again harassed by any strangers on the phone trying to sell me things I don’t need, I should just say, “Mark me down as deceased.” You don’t even have to pretend to be a different ... Continue reading this article…

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More $25 Bonus Links for New ING Direct Customers

by Luke Landes

Once again, I’ve refreshed the list of $25 bonus referral links for new ING Direct customers. I usually keep about ten unique links for the Orange Savings Account listed, and in most cases, they are all used within a week. Remember that these links are only valid for new customers who deposit at least $250 ... Continue reading this article…

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The Path to Mediocrity: Doing What Works For You and Other Self-Limiting Philosophies

by Luke Landes

General advice for an imaginary average person Personal finance advice comes in many forms, running the gamut from Dave Ramsey’s philosophies on getting out of debt to Suze Orman’s no-nonsense anti-stupidity spending advice. Opinions vary wildly as you stroll down the promenade from the broker, a salesperson, to the financial planner paid by the hour ... Continue reading this article…

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Twitter Poll: Do You Work in the Same Field as Your Degree?

by Luke Landes

While I haven’t decided whether I’m making a habit of this, earlier today I asked Twitter users whether their current job is related to the field in which they earned a bachelor’s degree. The unique thing about Twitter is that responses are limited to 140 letters and spaces, so it’s a challenge to condense a ... Continue reading this article…

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Why I Will (Probably) Never Buy a Condominium

by Luke Landes

The “condominium” (or “condo” for short) is generally seen as the missing link between renting an apartment and owning land with a house. Commonly, at least in my experience, a condominium is an apartment building in which the units are individually owned but the common spaces are jointly owned by all individual owners. There is ... Continue reading this article…

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Your Emergency Fund: What Qualifies as an Emergency?

by Luke Landes

Having an emergency fund, money set in an easily accessible location like a savings account earmarked for certain situations, is one of the first steps to being financially secure. This is common advice, particularly among financial advisers. Ideally, one wouldn’t tap the emergency fund at all. That sacrifices some earning power because even high-yield savings ... Continue reading this article…

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Donating Old Clothing and Blog Roundup

by Luke Landes

It’s been a long time since I’ve gone through my clothing and eliminated items which are no longer appropriate for wear. For most of my life so far, my habit of keeping clothes for a long time — until recently, I still had a few items left from high school (1994) — was out of ... Continue reading this article…

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Is Finding $6,000 in Saved Expenses Better Than a Raise?

by Luke Landes

As I mentioned earlier, Consumer Reports makes it sound easy for the average family to find $500 a month in saved expenses. Scott Burns calls this the “power of attentive spending.” Pay attention to the little details and you can end the year with $6,000 more in your pocket than you would have otherwise. The ... Continue reading this article…

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Can You Eliminate $500 of Your Expenses Each Month?

by Luke Landes

I may have fallen back into old habits. Several years ago, when I was refreshing my life and beginning to control my finances, I made deep cuts into my expenses. I took on three roommates, paying only $325 a month for my portion of rent. I didn’t own a car and relied on mass transit ... Continue reading this article…

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Home Improvement Cost vs. Value (2007)

by Smithee

As first-time homeowners, we watch more than our share of DIY Network / HGTV / buying and selling home shows. My wife and I work as a team: she concentrates on making home improvements, and I’m concerned with making sure things don’t fall apart. I also worry sometimes that any project we undertake might be ... Continue reading this article…

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Inspect Your Home Inspector

by Guest Author

This article was written for Consumerism Commentary by Antelope, an entertainment lighting designer working hard to achieve financial security. In the last year, my wife and I have sold a house in one city, and bought and sold another house in another city. After a bad experience with a home inspector when we were buying ... Continue reading this article…

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