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

October 2009

Quicken 2010 Available Now

by Luke Landes

I’ve been a relatively faithful user of Quicken for the past five years after switching from Microsoft Money and other more basic personal finance management software. Even though I continue using this software to track my income and expenses and to share my finances with the world, I have never been silent about the software’s ... Continue reading this article…

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Seeking Staff Writer for Consumerism Commentary

by Luke Landes

Last Thursday, Jeff offered his final article for Consumerism Commentary, Learning and Saving. Jeff was a solid contributor, and I’m sorry to report that Jeff won’t be contributing regularly due to his other obligations. I am now looking to add an additional author to the Consumerism Commentary team which currently includes myself, Smithee, and Tom. ... Continue reading this article…

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Fulfilling a Dream for $8 an Hour

by Smithee

I just graduated a “Level One” (read: newbie) improv class. At first, I signed up for the class because I can think of few thing scarier than getting on stage with no script. I’m not known for thinking on my feet, I don’t “BS” well, and even when I know my lines, I get terrible ... Continue reading this article…

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Always Try Bargaining: Here’s How it Worked for Me

by Luke Landes

Tom Dziubek, the producer of the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, and I have been having some difficulties with the Acer Aspire desktop I purchased earlier this year. I believe the problem can be fixed, but it will take some time. The problems have unfortunately affected our recording and interview schedule, so when an interview on Friday ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 25: Sandra Hanna, Smart Cookies and Neal Frankle, Wealth Pilgrim

by Luke Landes

Today’s podcast features Sandra Hanna, the “savvy spender” among the Smart Cookies. Smart Cookies is a television program on the W Network. Sandra is one of five hosts on the show. Each with their own specialty offers financial makeovers. The Smart Cookies have also written a book, The Smart Cookies’ Guide to Making More Dough ... Continue reading this article…

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TV Ad Volume May Finally Be Moderated

by Smithee

This is something I’ve wanted to see happen for my entire life. I never thought it would, and I’m only mildly political so I never pushed for it, but we may see a new law that says a TV commercial can’t be “louder than the program it accompanies”, nor can it be “excessively noisy or ... Continue reading this article…

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Friday Discussion: The Need for and Cost of Health Care Reform

by Luke Landes

I visit a doctor once a year at the most, and I hardly require prescription medicine. The cost of my health insurance premium is about $800 this year for my HMO plan. My employer pays a larger percentage of the total premium, but the prices increase each year by a percentage much higher than inflation. ... Continue reading this article…

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Overkill At the United States Mint With New Coin Designs

by Luke Landes

In 1909, the U.S. Mint decided to honor assassinated President Abraham Lincoln by putting his likeness on the obverse of the lowest denominated coin in regular circulation, the cent. This new design, introduced for the centennial anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, replaced the “Indian head” cent. The model for this design was most likely not a ... Continue reading this article…

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Learning and Saving

by Jeff

There are a lot of things in the world I know nothing about. Not knowing about something can be very expensive. Allow me to illustrate… The brake light came on in our car a couple of weeks ago, and we started looking around at different places we could have them checked. We were a bit ... Continue reading this article…

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How is Your 401(k) Retirement Account Performing?

by Luke Landes

I’ve been investing in a 401(k) retirement account since I joined the ranks of the corporate employed seven years ago. I started with a small percentage of my income, just enough to take advantage of the full company match. As my income increased, I diverted a larger percentage to the 401(k) with the hopes of ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Prepare for the Demise of the Dollar

by Luke Landes

Since the middle of the twentieth century, the U.S. dollar has been the currency that has dominated the world. Governments have held dollars in reserve, and borrowed dollars when necessary, because this currency can buy just about anything, anywhere. In particular, dollars can easily buy oil, a commodity currently necessary for the progress of developed ... Continue reading this article…

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The Real Cost of a Sandwich

by Smithee

The staff of cockeyed.com (it might just be this one guy named Rob, and sometimes his friends), has a series called “How Much is Inside?” which attempts to figure out how much mundane items should cost. Recently, they tackled the sandwich. He weighed and measured and inspected every ingredient in your average turkey & cheese, ... Continue reading this article…

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Best of Consumerism Commentary, September 2009

by Luke Landes

Thank you for reading Consumerism Commentary. This website continues to be a success, thanks to visitors who participate in discussions, ask questions, and share stories. Join the community Subscribe to the RSS feed Add Consumerism Commentary to Google’s home page or Google Reader Free daily digest of new Consumerism Commentary articles via email Free somewhat-weekly ... Continue reading this article…

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The Pareto Principle: When to Apply, When to Ignore

by Luke Landes

In the late nineteenth century, an economist named Vilfredo Pareto noticed that 80 percent of the land in Italy was owned by 20 percent of the population. About a half century later, a management consultant named Joseph Juran discovered Paerto’s observation and developed the concept of “the vital few and the trivial many,” and used what came ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 24: Unconventional Path to Becoming a Millionaire

by Luke Landes

Our guest on today’s podcast is Jen Smith, the “Millionaire Mommy Next Door.” By age 40, Jen had become a self-made millionaire and she and her husband are now financially independent, stay-at-home parents. In our interview, Jen describes her path from minimum-wage jobs to financial freedom. Jen has appeared on The Montel Show and shares ... Continue reading this article…

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Flexo’s Investment Portfolio, 3Q 2009

by Luke Landes

Earlier this year, I added my investment portfolio to the group of reports I publish on Consumerism Commentary on a regular basis. Every three months, I share my investment balances and performances. I include Quicken’s calculation of the year-to-date average annual rate of return for an idea of how each investment is performing this year. ... Continue reading this article…

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Personal Balance Sheet, September 2009

by Luke Landes

Now that I am working with an accountant, I have been making some changes to the way I track my finances. By the end of the year, I hope to have all of my business-related finances in QuickBooks. Although I am not quite at that point, I am working to separate my personal finances from ... Continue reading this article…

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Facial Recognition and Billboards

by Smithee

I have a fascinated/disgusted relationship with targeted advertisements. On one hand, I’ve seen enough Playtex commercials in my lifetime that I could probably draw you their logo from memory, and I’ve never been in the position to decide, “should I buy the Playtex version, or a different brand?” All those ads in my face have ... Continue reading this article…

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Is It Possible to Save Too Much Money?

by Luke Landes

For most humans, life is much shorter than we would like, and for many of us saving even ten percent of our income will never result in a state of wealth within our lifetime. There are too many forces working against this endeavor: a lack of sufficient opportunity, inflation, and unplanned events to name a ... Continue reading this article…

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Changes in Estate Tax Law Affect When People Die

by Luke Landes

Between March 1917 and January 1984, there have been thirteen major changes in the rules for the estate tax, a tax paid by heirs for wealth inherited. Of these thirteen changes, eight were tax increases and five were tax decreases. In 2001, A study by the University of British Columbia and the University of Michigan ... Continue reading this article…

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