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

April 2009

A Home of My Own: Why We Buy

by Luke Landes

About the author: This is a guest article by Matt Wallaert, a behavioral psychologist and the Lead Scientist at Thrive, a free financial advisory website that helps people organize their finances and plan for the future with personalized feedback from its behavioral advisory engine. I’m an owner. While I rent an apartment in New York ... Continue reading this article…

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Guest Authors Will Be Featured This Week

by Luke Landes

While I am on vacation this upcoming week, several guest authors will appear on Consumerism Commentary. Smithee and I will be joined by Matt Wallaert from Thrive, Jeff Rose from Good Financial Cents, Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil, the author of Financial Fidelity, The Weakonomist from Weakonomics.com, and Ginger from Girls Just Wanna Have Funds. Please ... Continue reading this article…

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Basics of 2009 Energy Efficient Tax Credits

by Smithee

As a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (see our roundup of ways to take advantage), 2009 and 2010 are good years to make some of the “green” home improvements you may’ve been considering. I’ve had a little trouble, however, navigating and understanding the many tables and footnotes, so I’m condensing ... Continue reading this article…

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Why Be Wealthy? Focus on Real Goals, Not Net Worth

by Luke Landes

Even though I share my financial reports every month, I don’t see increasing my financial wealth as a goal. The accumulation of money is not a destination. I am not aiming for any particular measure of financial worth, such as ten million dollars of net worth or one million dollars of passive income each year. ... Continue reading this article…

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GM’s Pendulum Swings the Other Way With the PUMA

by Luke Landes

After a few years of not catching onto consumers’ shifting tastes towards more environmentally friendly vehicles, General Motors has teamed up with Segway to develop the PUMA, or Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility, a tiny self-balancing, two-wheeled vehicle powered by electricity. The PUMA can reach speeds of thirty-five miles per hour. It’s an interesting concept, ... Continue reading this article…

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Tax Tips for Procrastinators, Lazy People, and Late Filers

by Luke Landes

According to TurboTax, New York City is the third worst city in terms of procrastination. I can identify with this; I am one of the world’s worst procrastinators, a level I’ve accomplished through lots of practice. This year, I filed my taxes in the middle of March, the earliest I have ever completed the process. ... Continue reading this article…

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Smithee’s New Long-Term Goals

by Smithee

My goal was never to have all the money I could get my hands on. On the other hand, I’ve never solidified my financial goals. Up to now, it’s mostly been about what I don’t want, rather than what I do: I don’t want more rooms in my house than I can use I don’t ... Continue reading this article…

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Tip’d, Social Bookmarking for Finance, Adds New Features

by Luke Landes

The social bookmarking website for finance fanatics, Tip’d, is adding several new features: The Tip’d Socialtickers are pages that track any given stock ticker across a variety of social networking websites. The GOOG StockTicker page aggregates posts about Google from Twitter, Technorati, Delicious, and of course, Tip’d. The site displays a convenient stock price chart ... Continue reading this article…

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The Carnival is Up!

by Luke Landes

Today’s Carnival of Personal Finance is hosted by ABCs of Investing. The host was kind enough to include my recent article, Number One Frugality Tip: Don’t Be a Woman, among the group selected for “Editor’s Picks.” In addition to the other Editor’s Picks, I enjoyed The Purpose of Money, Opening a Roth IRA for the ... Continue reading this article…

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Why I Am Not Blogging Full Time

by Luke Landes

I do not normally write about blogging here. For me, writing about blogging is like singing a song about the songs one sings rather than singing a song about something inspiring in itself. Nevertheless, this is a blog in which I write about my experiences with money, and blogging has played an increasing role in ... Continue reading this article…

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Several Changes Coming to Consumerism Commentary

by Luke Landes

In a few weeks, I will be bringing a number of enhancements to Consumerism Commentary. I am not sure yet whether to roll out all new features at once or to gradually introduce the changes; I plan to see how inspiration strikes over the next week or two. As I have previously announced, I have ... Continue reading this article…

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The Recession Finally Hits My House

by Smithee

I work for a small Interactive Agency of twenty-four people. This is a company that managed to survive the dot-com bust and, like any company, has good times and bad times. Our president always makes every effort to keep great people, even if it means cutting her own salary. I consider myself lucky to have ... Continue reading this article…

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Are You a High-Yield Interest Rate Chaser?

by Luke Landes

Over the last decade, on-line savings accounts have grown into prominence, first with new internet-only banks offering high-yield accounts thanks to their low overhead costs, and followed by old-fashioned brick-and-mortar banks offering on-line accounts to give the newcomers competition. For more than one year, I’ve been tracking and charting interest rate changes for a number ... Continue reading this article…

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Number One Frugality Tip: Don’t Be a Woman

by Luke Landes

I will admit that the title of this post is a bit inflammatory. I should specify that the more accurate number one frugality tip should be “Don’t be a woman (or a man, but in our society, mostly a woman) obsessed with beauty.” Newsweek illustrates this by breaking down the cost of female beauty maintenance ... Continue reading this article…

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Personal Balance Sheet, Net Worth, Income, and Expenses, March 2009

by Luke Landes

If you have been following Consumerism Commentary, you might be aware that I publish a monthly report of my financial well-being, and I have been doing so since 2003. Here is my latest balance sheet, whose bottom line represents my “modified net worth.” That number has increased in March by 12 percent. Rather than provide all ... Continue reading this article…

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FNBO Direct Currently Offering 1.10%, Considering SmartyPig with 1.75% APY?

by Luke Landes

A little over a year ago, I introduced SmartyPig to Consumerism Commentary, a savings account with a higher rate. Their current rate yields 1.75 percent, by far the highest among high-yield online savings accounts. Accounts held with SmartyPig are fully backed by the FDIC. SmartyPig’s philosophy is designed to focus on goal-oriented saving, and the bank ... Continue reading this article…

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Watch Out for the Making Work Pay Credit (2009 Economic Stimulus)

by Luke Landes

Smithee has been keeping me up-to-date with a major part of the 2009 economic stimulus, the $400 for individuals or $800 for couples tax credit. Here are some things to keep in mind about this stimulus going into effect today, called the “Making Work Pay” credit in the law that established it. Smithee says the ... Continue reading this article…

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Most Popular on Consumerism Commentary, March 2009

by Luke Landes

First, if you haven’t yet this week, check out the latest Carnival of Personal Finance, hosted by Wide Open Wallet. There are some excellent articles this week including the host’s “Editor’s Picks,” Why Lending Club Isn’t for Most People, and Is Buying a Repossession Capitalizing on Someone Else’s Misfortune? Now to the monthly administrative businesses. ... Continue reading this article…

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