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

June 2010

Dollar-Cost Averaging

by Luke Landes

Is dollar-cost averaging (DCA) a sound investing strategy? In theory, dollar-cost averaging allows you to invest smaller portions of your money over a longer period of time, reducing the chance that you pay a price too high for any individual investment. If your ideal allocation calls for $50,000 to be invested in the stock market ... Continue reading this article…

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Your Plans for the New iPhone 4

by Smithee

We recently asked you to take a poll about your iPhone upgrading intentions, including your contract situation and which hardware features you found the most tempting. The results were sometimes surprising. 162 people answered the poll, and 48 percent of you are planning on upgrading within two months from today. That’s much higher than I would ... Continue reading this article…

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Pet Ownership: A Financial and Emotional Responsibility

by Luke Landes

My household has almost always included pets. First, let me establish the true hierarchy. It’s very clear when you live with one cat or more that they own the place, and we humans are only permitted to share living space with them because we provide food and shelter. The only years I’ve lived in a ... Continue reading this article…

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Weekend Reading: U.S. News & World Report’s My Money Blog

by Luke Landes

I am now providing a weekly article to U.S. News & World Report for their website’s “My Money” Blog, an online-only feature. So far, I’ve offered two articles. Here are the two articles I’ve written for this new blog as well as some other articles I’ve enjoyed recently. 10 Unusual Ways to Save Money. This ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 60: AmEx ZYNC Card, SmartyPig and BBVA Compass Bank

by Luke Landes

Today’s Consumerism Commentary Podcast has two parts. In the first segment, Tom Dziubek talks with Mary Hines, Vice President of ZYNC Product Management at American Express about the company’s new ZYNC charge card. In the second interview, Tom talks with SmartyPig executives Bob Weinschenk and Mike Ferrari about their company’s recent affiliation with BBVA Compass ... Continue reading this article…

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The iPhone 4: Is It In Your Near Future?

by Smithee

By now, I’m past the point of not caring what’s in the new iPhone. I “watched” Apple’s keynote presentation as it happened, and I’ve read several articles and talked to my friends and ogled the videos. I haven’t changed my mind, I still want one, and I will most likely be upgrading within 60 days ... Continue reading this article…

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The Quest For a Balanced Life

by Luke Landes

A person feels most at peace with his or herself when the major aspects of life are balanced. We look at workaholics and overachievers and wonder about all the interesting or wonderful parts of life they may be missing. My first boss was a workaholic and overachiever, and he had trouble understanding that not everyone ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Avoid Estate Taxes: It’s Easy This Year

by Luke Landes

In most years, only 0.3 percent of those who pass their estates to heirs upon their death end up leaving those heirs with a tax bill. Thanks to exceptions, credits, and thresholds, even the very wealthy can avoid the estate tax. This year is a special year, however. As of today and unless the law ... Continue reading this article…

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Power-Saving Televisions on the Way

by Smithee

I’ve always been a big fan of saving energy, both mine and my household’s, but more for efficiency reasons that a desire to “save the Earth”. If there’s nobody in a room, it just doesn’t make any sense to leave the light on. If turning off unused devices helps reduce global power consumption, then so ... Continue reading this article…

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Worry About Only What You Can Change

by Luke Landes

Two interesting articles caught my eye recently. First, on Get Rich Slowly, J.D. Roth asks when it is okay to judge someone else for their financial behaviors. J.D. describes his encounters with two friends — one friend more frugal than he is, who judges J.D.’s spending choices, and the other friend struggling financially, trying to ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 59: Microsaving, Donna Freedman

by Luke Landes

Today’s guest on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast is Donna Freedman, personal finance columnist at MSN Money (

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I Want the New iPhone & I Don’t Care What’s In It

by Smithee

Apple’s new iPhone hardware will be formally unveiled next Monday, and I’m already itching to be able to buy it. I bought the original iPhone within a few weeks of it being available, and I upgraded to the iPhone 3G just a couple months before the iPhone 3GS came out. My wife has had that ... Continue reading this article…

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Personal Balance Sheet, May 2010 ($344,474, -2.7%)

by Luke Landes

After the end of each month, I take a closer look at my personal finances. Although I’ve moved away from tracking every cent I spend, I still look at most of my purchases and expenses to ensure I’m not doing anything I consider financially unreasonable. While my spending wasn’t excessive this month, my reports do ... Continue reading this article…

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Qualifying for Vanguard’s Voyager Services

by Luke Landes

The more money you have, the more opportunities you have to save money. That is Vanguard‘s message. I’m not sure I agree with the philosophy from a consumer standpoint, but it is a way to reward loyal customers — generally customers who make the most money for the company. Yesterday I received a notification in ... Continue reading this article…

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Television of the Future

by Bryan J Busch

Hi, I’m new here. Flexo invited me to create some original videos for Consumerism Commentary, and I’m happy to present the first one, which explains how I managed to retain my (possibly saturated) television habit but simultaneously remove the monthly cable bill. At the core of the problem was the fact that we were paying ... Continue reading this article…

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Citi Dividend Card Changing Cash Back Benefits

by Luke Landes

Editor’s Note: Thank you for your interest, this offer expired and is no longer available. Several years ago, the Citi Dividend Platinum Select MasterCard was a great credit card to use for the spending you would have done anyway. At that time, you could earn 5 percent cash back on all your purchases. For a time, ... Continue reading this article…

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Information Consumerism Commentary

by Smithee

In an earlier part of the century I was suffering from information overload. TV, radio, podcasts, Twitter, Facebook, clones of Twitter and Facebook… and even with a feed reader, there were too many websites to keep up with. I was getting burned out, and I started having frequent daydreams about giving up and raising goats. ... Continue reading this article…

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