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2009

Kelley Blue Book’s Best Resale Value Cars

by Luke Landes

A reached another milestone earlier this week. My 2004 Honda Civic, which I purchased new in June 2004, passed 111,111 miles, after passing 100,000 in March. The car runs wonderfully still, as I expected it would years ago when I purchased it, and I don’t intend on selling it for a while, if at all. ... Continue reading this article…

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Where is the Office Gift Exchange This Year?

by Luke Landes

One thing I’ve always half-lamented, though lamented more in the past when my funds were a bit tighter, is the office holiday gift exchange. I’ve participated in everything from the Secret Santa to the grab bag to the system in which you can ruthlessly steal the gifts selected by your coworkers (up to three times). ... Continue reading this article…

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Your Flexible Spending Account: 10 Qualifying Purchases

by Luke Landes

Flexible Savings Accounts (FSAs) are often offered by companies to help their employees save money by setting aside income from paychecks to pay for health-related expenses without being taxed. For many Flexible Savings Account holders, the deadline for using the funds set aside is the end of the calendar year. Medical FSAs usually provide the ... Continue reading this article…

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Energy Efficient Appliance Upgrade, Anyone?

by Smithee

Much like the wildly popular and probably successful Cash for Clunkers program earlier this year, a portion of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is being allotted to a program for upgrading older, energy wasting appliances. None of the important details have been released yet, such as “what Energy Star rating will my new ... Continue reading this article…

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Consumerism Commentary’s Prospective Staff Writers

by Luke Landes

Announcement: We have decided to extend the period for matching your charitable contributions through the end of this week. Contribute to your favorite charity this week and forward your contribution receipt to us. We will donate a matching amount to the World Food Programme. Here are the complete details. Over the past few weeks, Consumerism ... Continue reading this article…

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Popularity of Medical Tourism Increasing

by Luke Landes

Announcement: As I mentioned last week, Consumerism Commentary is matching your charitable contributions during the remainder of November. Please read this for more details. A few years ago, we discussed medical tourism. Every visitor who expressed an opinion would visit or have visited a foreign country or territory to take advantage of reduced costs associated ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 32: Gift Cards and Financial Reform

by Luke Landes

The first guest on today’s Consumerism Commentary Podcast is Jim Sharvin, a Certified Public Accountant affiliated with the California Society of CPAs. Tom Dziubek and Jim discuss how consumers can protect themselves when buying and using one of the most popular holiday gifts, gift cards. After the break Tom speaks with Heather Booth, Executive Director ... Continue reading this article…

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Alternate Ways of Rewarding Content Creators

by Smithee

I’ve been thinking a lot since the last time we talked about my ongoing internal troubles with stealing entertainment. In general, my habits are tending more toward avoiding theft, even accidentally. I want to make sure that the creators know that the thing they made was good, and I want to help them make more. ... Continue reading this article…

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ING Direct Offering $121 Bonus for New Checking Accounts

by Luke Landes

Here’s a Black Friday sale I can appreciate. ING Direct is offering a $121 bonus for opening an Electronic Orange checking account today, Friday, November 27, 2009. This is a one-day only sale. According to ING Direct, consumers pay $121 in overdraft fees, on average, each year. Rather than charging overdraft fees, the Electric Orange ... Continue reading this article…

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Consumerism Commentary Matching Charitable Donations for Thanksgiving

by Luke Landes

On behalf of myself, Smithee, and Tom Dziubek, to all those who celebrate today, have a happy Thanksgiving. I will be spending the day with my girlfriend’s family in New York. Although there’s nothing that makes one day of the calendar inherently more special than any other day, Thanksgiving is a good opportunity to think ... Continue reading this article…

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Triage Your Finances

by Kelly Whalen

Over the past couple of weeks, six finalists have been auditioning for the opening of “staff writer” at Consumerism Commentary. Each is providing two guest articles to share with readers. After the six writers have shared their guest articles, readers will have an opportunity to provide feedback before we select the staff writer. This article ... Continue reading this article…

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Annual Benefits Enrollment: My Cost Increasing 10%

by Luke Landes

The open enrollment period for my company’s 2010 benefits came to a close yesterday. My procrastination came to an end when I logged into our benefits management website, reviewed the options one last time, and decided to stick with the same plan I’ve had since I joined the company, an HMO plan offered by Aetna ... Continue reading this article…

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Thanksgiving on a Budget

by Ray

Over the past couple of weeks, six finalists have been auditioning for the opening of “staff writer” at Consumerism Commentary. Each is providing two guest articles to share with readers. After the six writers have shared their guest articles, readers will have an opportunity to provide feedback before we select the staff writer. This article ... Continue reading this article…

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6 Items That Exemplify Conspicuous Spending

by Luke Landes

This post is part of the one day blog event “The Spectrum of Personal Finance.” In this event, comic book nerd Brian of My Next Buck, will discuss 8 different emotions (taken from the Green Lantern comic series) and relate them to personal finance. Here at Consumerism Commentary we will be looking at Avarice. To ... Continue reading this article…

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GAO Report Seems to Back Up Convenience Stores

by Smithee

We told you back in July about the Credit Card Fair Fee Act of 2009. To summarize: Visa and Mastercard skims a percentage of the retail price every time you use a card to buy something. It’s called an “interchange fee”. Allegedly, U.S. merchants pay up to six times more for this service than merchants ... Continue reading this article…

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Is a College Degree Worth the Investment?

by Debbie

Over the next couple of weeks, six finalists will be auditioning for the opening of “staff writer” at Consumerism Commentary. Each will be providing two guest articles to share with readers. After the six writers have shared their guest articles, readers will have an opportunity to provide feedback before we select the staff writer. This ... Continue reading this article…

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Avoiding Black Friday Online and Offline

by Luke Landes

Many retailers — those who have survived the rough economy — have struggled this past year. Companies are looking forward to the holiday season because they know consumers are in a tough position, too. Here is how it works: the economy is recovering, but unemployment is the last piece of the economy to improve in ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 31: Peer-to-Peer Lending and Target Date Funds

by Luke Landes

On today’s Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Tom Dziubek speaks with Renaud LaPlanche, co-founder and CEO of LendingClub and Rob Garcia, senior director of product strategy for the same company. The LendingClub teams discusses the benefits and drawbacks of peer-to-peer lending as an alternative to the traditional banking system. Also in today’s episode, Flexo and Tom Dziubek ... Continue reading this article…

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Enforcing Tax Laws Works. Go Figure.

by Smithee

Earlier this Fall, the IRS was offering an amnesty program for offshore tax cheats to come forward and admit their wrongdoing, thereby getting a more lenient punishment. Nearly 15,000 Americans who knew they were cheating came forward and admitted their bad behavior. From Reuters: While IRS officials were still analyzing the amount of offshore assets ... Continue reading this article…

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Ben Stein Offers Four Lessons From the Recession

by Luke Landes

The United States must be approaching the end of the recession when economists begin offering their retrospectives. Even if the data are pointing to an end to the recession, in technical terms, the economy is a long way from recovery. Just look around at the people out of work. Even those who have maintained their ... Continue reading this article…

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