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

July 2009

California IOUs: Buying, Selling, and Inherent Value

by Luke Landes

The state of California is in poor fiscal shape. Without an agreed-upon budget, the state has resorted to sending people and businesses IOUs rather than the money owed. California has distributed $335 million in the form of these documents. The IOUs look like checks with “Registered Warrant” printed in the top corner, carry an interest ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 12: Stupid Financial Advice and 5 Myths of Personal Finance

by Luke Landes

The twelfth episode of the Consumerism Commentary Podcast features an interview with Ramit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You to Be Rich, the book, and I Will Teach You to Be Rich, the blog. Ramit, Tom Dziubek, and I discuss some of the stupid financial advice we have found online as well as the ... Continue reading this article…

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10 Purchases That Can Harm Your Credit

by Luke Landes

Do you live your life as if everything you do could be made public? I once heard a suggestion that you should judge every decision you make based on whether you would like to see this decision on the front page of the New York Times. That is a good theory, but I can’t say ... Continue reading this article…

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Unplanned Expenses and Your Budget

by Jeff

While a budget in one form or another is a must-have financial tool, it’d quickly become big and ugly if you tried to anticipate and include every expense you might run in to. You’d quickly lose interest and wouldn’t stick with your budget, right? A budget is a basic recorder of recurring expenses, and trying ... Continue reading this article…

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Evaluating My Progress Towards 2009 Goals

by Luke Landes

Now that the halfway mark of 2009 has passed by, it wouldn’t hurt to review the financial mini-goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year and determine how far I have strayed from my path. For me, these goals are only milestones. They help my gauge my progress but numbers in my ... Continue reading this article…

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Take a Financial Health Day to Organize Your Finances

by Luke Landes

Ron Lieber, a columnist for the New York Times, spent one day focusing on the financial tasks that he had been neglected. He calls this day a “fiscal health day,” like the mental health days everyone needs to take once in a while to remain a functional human being. I think this is a great ... Continue reading this article…

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Vacation vs. Social Networks

by Smithee

Summertime is traditionally when most people take their annual vacations, and since the social media explosion, more aspects of a given person’s vacation will end up as photos on Flickr, or “wish you were here” messages on Facebook. I’m a big fan of openness (with the obvious exception of my use of a pseudonym on ... Continue reading this article…

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

by Luke Landes

We have reached the half-way mark for 2009, and time certainly does fly when you keep busy. As long-time readers know, the original purpose of Consumerism Commentary was to keep myself accountable for my own financial decisions and to blog about interesting things I find on the web. I freely admit that Consumerism Commentary has ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 11: Jon Gaskell from SmartyPig and New Consumerism Commentary Contributor, Jeff

by Luke Landes

Today’s guests in the eleventh episode of the Consumerism Commentary Podcast are Jon Gaskell from SmartyPig and Consumerism Commentary’s newest contributor, Jeff. SmartyPig is a unique banking application that works closely with West Bank to offer surprisingly high interest rates but presents limitations to its customers. In this interview, Tom Dziubek and SmartyPig founder Jon ... Continue reading this article…

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Flexo’s Investment Portfolio, 2Q 2009

by Luke Landes

Happy Independence Day to anyone celebrating today! I’m celebrating by spending time with friends later and sharing my investment portfolio with readers now. Last month, I began sharing my investment portfolio more in-depth than I have in the past. This is part of a renewed effort to make myself more familiar with the investments I ... Continue reading this article…

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Best of Consumerism Commentary, June 2009

by Luke Landes

Monthly subscription reminder 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 ... Continue reading this article…

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Still Having Problems With TIAA-Cref? Tell Us Now

by Luke Landes

On July 20, TIAA-Cref will be holding its annual participant meeting. There is an effort underway to encourage the company to be more socially responsible and accountable to its customers, and representatives will be attending the meeting to bring any common problems directly to the board’s attention. Are you having customer service problems with TIAA-Cref? ... Continue reading this article…

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Dealing With Financial Mistakes

by Jeff

My wife and I went way over our budget in a couple of categories during June. Part of it was to be expected because I’m commuting to a new internship, and part of it was planned, but unfortunately, most of the over-spending can be chalked up to a simple fact: we made some spending mistakes. ... Continue reading this article…

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Discover as the Most Forgiving Credit Card

by Smithee

Bankrate.com recently completed a study of 20 different credit cards from 10 different issuers and concluded that if one of your priorities is a card which will forgive your human errors, Discover is probably the card to apply for (or not cancel). Looking at the fine print for one platinum card and one rewards car ... Continue reading this article…

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Kiplinger’s Best 529 College Savings Plans

by Luke Landes

Although I do not have children, I am considering starting to save for college. With the cost of tuition rising well above levels of inflation, the sooner I get started, even before any children exist, the higher the chance my child or children will be able to go to school without an insurmountable pile of ... Continue reading this article…

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