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

January 2009

A Glimpse at Future Credit Card Statements

by Smithee

Every Tuesday, Smithee presents an article about his own experiences with credit cards and observations about the credit card industry. Back in mid-December we told you about some of the changes that would soon be enforced on credit card issuers, my favorite of which is a new layout and design to the statements so that ... Continue reading this article…

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Is it Time to Add a Significant National Gas Tax?

by Luke Landes

Consumerism Commentary readers: Please complete this readership survey for a chance to win a $50 Amazon.com gift card! At the pump, gas prices are “low” now. Remember last May when Chrysler was offering a $2.99 gas guarantee while the price per gallon continued to climb towards $4.00? It seemed like a good deal at the ... Continue reading this article…

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Carnival of Debt Reduction: Tips via Twitter Edition

by Luke Landes

Welcome to the Carnival of Debt Reduction, a traveling weekly roundup of the best articles in the blogosphere covering credit cards, consumer debt, mortgages, and the elimination thereof. Here is more information about the Carnival of Debt Reduction, founded by Mighty Bargain Hunter. Through this past week, many bloggers submitted articles to be featured in ... Continue reading this article…

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Take This Reader Survey, Win a $50 Amazon.com Gift Card

by Luke Landes

I’ve designed a short survey to help me understand more about Consumerism Commentary readers. No matter how often you read this website, I would like to hear from you. The survey asks a few questions about demographics, reading habits, and preferences. There are about 20 questions, and it should take no longer than 3 minutes. ... Continue reading this article…

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Visa Black Card Review

by Luke Landes

Editor’s Note: Thank you for your interest, this offer expired and is no longer available. Related: Comparing the Visa Black Card With American Express Platinum and Centurion Cards. Visa is introducing a new credit card catered to consumers who spend $50,000 or more a year. The Visa Black Card looks similar to the American Express ... Continue reading this article…

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Free Download: Suze Orman’s 2009 Action Plan: Keeping Your Money Safe & Sound

by Luke Landes

Suze Orman, the guru of personal finance gurus, is offering her latest book, 2009 Action Plan: Keeping Your Money Safe & Sound, for free. Through January 15, you can download this 209-page book without paying a cent. Here is the download link for the free PDF version of this book. The book tackles credit, retirement ... Continue reading this article…

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New Carnival of Personal Finance Schedule, Carnival Coming Here

by Luke Landes

I have announced the new Carnival of Personal Finance schedule for the first three months of 2009. The Carnival of Personal Finance is a traveling celebration of the week’s best articles about personal finance throughout the blogosphere. Each Monday, a different blog hosts the Carnival, and the hosts bring their own style and flair to ... Continue reading this article…

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New Chase $100 Bonus Coupon for Checking Accounts, Expires February 27, 2009

by Luke Landes

Chase $100 Bonus Coupon for Checking Accounts I am not interested in opening a new checking account that requires either direct deposit or five or more debit card purchases each statement period. But if these terms sound good to you, and you have at least $100 ready for your first deposit, you will qualify for ... Continue reading this article…

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Barack Obama’s 2009 Economic Stimulus Plan

by Luke Landes

Updated March 20, 2009: The stimulus plan has become a law, and we’ve rounded up the many ways you can benefit. President-Elect Barack Obama pitched his economic stimulus proposal to Congress earlier this week. Here are the main points. The total cost is $775 billion over two years. Tax cuts and breaks will account for ... Continue reading this article…

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New $20 Discounts on Intuit Quicken 2009 Products

by Luke Landes

Quicken 2009 has been available since last fall. I’ve been meaning to upgrade my version of Quicken 2008 Home & Business, but I don’t think my computer can handle any software changes until I reinstall the operating system. I’ve been using Quicken to manage my finances for the last several years. I used to use ... Continue reading this article…

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HSBC Direct Drops Interest Rate to 1.55% APY

by Luke Landes

HSBC Direct must have heard that I was planning to transfer some of my savings to the bank, which until yesterday had been offering 3.0 percent APY. Following other banks that lowered interest rates for the new year, HSBC dropped their interest rate 13 percent to 2.6 percent APY and is now 1.10 percent APY as of June 2010. ... Continue reading this article…

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3 Major Ways to Scrimp and Save in an Economic Recession

by Luke Landes

When the economy is growing and consumer confidence is high, it is common not to think twice about saving money and reducing expenses. If you are saving money every paycheck, investing in a 401(k) or other accounts for retirement, and spending less than you are earning there isn’t much motivation to reduce your expenses further. ... Continue reading this article…

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Smithee Update: January 2009

by Smithee

Every Tuesday, Smithee presents an article about his own experiences with credit cards and observations about the credit card industry. So, nobody’s perfect. After my recent embarrassing splurge that included a digital camcorder, an audio mixer, three microphones and a new Apple MacBook Pro, I was feeling pretty down on myself. My credit card debt ... Continue reading this article…

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ING Direct Referral Waiting List Now Open! (Update: List is Full)

by Luke Landes

Once again, I’ve refreshed the list of ING Direct $25 referral links. By using one of these links, a new customer can receive a $25 bonus for opening a new savings or checking account if the initial deposit is $250 or more. As these are “referral” bonuses, the person who provided the link will receive ... Continue reading this article…

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Flexo’s Financial Goals and Resolutions for 2009

by Luke Landes

One lesson I learned this past year, after setting financial goals for 2008 and evaluating my progress as of last week, is that I shouldn’t set goals that are heavily dependent upon forces beyond my control, such as the stock market at large. My main target of a $210,000 “modified net worth” assumed the stock ... Continue reading this article…

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Most Popular on Consumerism Commentary: December 2008

by Luke Landes

One of the best methods of reading Consumerism Commentary and staying up-to-date with the latest articles and posts is through RSS subscription. By subscribing to the Consumerism Commentary RSS feed with feed-reading software such as Google Reader or aggregators such as My Yahoo, you’ll always be aware of new content here. If you prefer to ... Continue reading this article…

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Personal Income Statement, December 2008

by Luke Landes

On Saturday I posted my final balance sheet for 2008 and wrote about my progress this past year. Each month, I take a look at my income and expenses as well to get a fuller picture of my finances. This post contains my income and expense report. December continues to be one of the most ... Continue reading this article…

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Personal Balance Sheet, December 2008

by Luke Landes

The stock market found a way to trash my net worth goal last year. Had the S&P index and my company stock increased in 2008 like they did in 2007, I would have surpassed my net worth goal for the year. Investments have a way of being volatile over short periods of time, and that ... Continue reading this article…

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401(k) Contribution Limits for 2009

by Luke Landes

If you contribute to a 401(k) plan, you may be happy to hear that this year’s contribution maximum is increasing. In 2008, the tax code allowed employees to contribute up to $15,500. Anyone who turned 50 years old in 2008 could also add a catch-up contribution of $5,000 above this limit, bringing the maximum to ... Continue reading this article…

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Filing Your 2008 Taxes With the Economic Stimulus (Recovery Rebate Credit)

by Luke Landes

If you didn’t received a payment from the economic stimulus that was devised by the United States government last year and your situation now qualifies you for the credit, you should claim this amount when filing your 2008 taxes. On the 2008 tax filing forms, there is a line designated to enter this amount, listed ... Continue reading this article…

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