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

May 2011

Ebates Review

by Luke Landes

There is more to maximizing cash back than just using the right rewards credit cards. Many card issuers also offer marketplaces or online shopping portals where, if you use your appropriately branded credit card, you can earn 1 percent to 7 percent cash back or more. That’s in addition to the 1 percent to 5 percent cash back credit ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 107: Building a Better Budget

by Luke Landes

Today’s guest on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast is J.D. Roth, author of Your Money: The Missing Manual and the personal finance blog Get Rich Slowly. A few weeks ago, J.D. gave a presentation at an Oregon public library about building and maintaining a budget that works. He adapted the presentation into an article. Today, J.D., ... Continue reading this article…

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American Express Gold Card Review

by Luke Landes

Editor’s Note: Thank you for your interest, this offer expired and is no longer available. While the credit card market continues to change due to new regulations, American Express and its line of charge cards have not. For decades, American Express has offered three different charge cards, each well known because of their color. Whether ... Continue reading this article…

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May 6 Giveaway: $100 Amazon Gift Card

by Luke Landes

I thought it would be fun to end the first week of Giveaway May at Consumerism Commentary with a bigger giveaway. Like many of the prizes I’m offering this month, this takes the form of a gift card from Amazon.com. I generally choose Amazon.com because they sell a wide variety of items, both necessities and ... Continue reading this article…

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Use Technology to Save Gas Money

by Luke Landes

The last time average gasoline prices reached $4.00 a gallon, people were agitated. I wasn’t immune either; I’ve commented on the rising prices as well. Although I’ve been thankful that gas prices in this country are lower than many other places in the world, and has prices in New Jersey are generally lower than average, ... Continue reading this article…

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Yahoo Finance Looking for Savers: Be On TV!

by Luke Landes

Yahoo Finance is producing an ongoing series of videos for their Financially Fit column. Each video focuses on an individual’s story. For example, they follow a New York City resident who saved $14,000 throughout the past year by downsizing his apartment and by choosing staycations rather than traveling. Personally, I don’t really consider “not spending” ... Continue reading this article…

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TradeKing Review

by Luke Landes

Launched towards the end of 2005, TradeKing is a relatively young discount brokerage when compared to many of their competitors. TradeKing, more than any other brokerage, is more in tune with today’s social networking and social media trend. This online trading network is somewhat of a forum just for investors, where they can connect with ... Continue reading this article…

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Cinco de Mayo Giveaway: $75 and a Smartphone Cover

by Luke Landes

Happy Cinco de Mayo! I’m continuing Giveaway May at Consumerism Commentary today with some help from Sustainable Personal Finance, another great money-related website. SPF is helping me increase the giveaway for today. In addition to my $50 Amazon.com Gift Card set aside for today’s winner, the individual randomly selected from among those who complete today’s ... Continue reading this article…

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Federal Government Sues Deutsche Bank for Mortgages

by Luke Landes

As the real estate market was starting to crumble, more banks were using the Federal Housing Authority’s guarantees to continue offering mortgage loans, when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were tightening the reins on their guarantees. This was common practice among banks. With loans fully backed by the FHA and therefore the United States government, ... Continue reading this article…

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Citi Diamond Preferred Card Review

by Luke Landes

Editor’s Note: Thank you for your interest, this offer expired and is no longer available. When looking for a new credit card to place in your wallet, there are a variety of factors you should always consider. First of all, credit cards are not for everyone. In order to take advantage of the rewards that ... Continue reading this article…

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May 4 Giveaway: $50 Amazon Gift Card

by Luke Landes

This is the third giveaway for Giveaway May at Consumerism Commentary, and I’m just getting started. I have a pile of Amazon.com gift cards to offer to readers and I’ll be doing so every weekday this month. The giveaways are short, though. To reward those who visit every day, the giveaways are announced at 6:00 ... Continue reading this article…

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US Bank Offers Free Rewards Account, Then Cancels Offer

by Luke Landes

Xenocid is having a frustrating experience with US Bank. A customer service representative moved his account into a new tier, offering a free account with cash back rewards when using his debit card. Xenocid promptly received a letter saying they would start charging $25 per month for this free account. Here’s his side of the ... Continue reading this article…

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Goal Progress After April 2011

by Luke Landes

I last evaluated my progress towards my goals at the end of January, so it may be time to have another look. At the beginning of 2011, I set financial and personal goals for the year to keep me focused on improving not only my finances but other aspects of my self. Goal 1. I ... Continue reading this article…

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Giveaway: $50 Amazon.com Gift Card

by Luke Landes

Don’t fret if you didn’t win yesterday’s giveaway. This is Giveaway May at Consumerism Commentary, so every weekday this month, I will have something new to giveaway. Yesterday, I selected a winner randomly from among those who properly entered by leaving a comment answering the question within the allotted time frame. Today’s challenge will be ... Continue reading this article…

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Concierge Medicine: Differentiated Healthcare for the Rich

by Luke Landes

Earning or having more money might not universally increase happiness or health. Wealthy people can be sad or sick just like those who are less financially fortunate. More money does provide more access to “stuff,” though, and people often like that “stuff.” Businesses that cater to the rich with services for which they might be ... Continue reading this article…

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Personal Balance Sheet, April 2011 ($761,127, +15.0%)

by Luke Landes
Net Worth Balance Sheet, April 2011

In 2003, I started Consumerism Commentary to teach myself more about personal finance and to track my progress as I strove to be financially secure. This was already a few years after my personal “rock bottom.” At the turn of the century, after a few years of letting my net worth as well as other ... Continue reading this article…

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Your Earliest Money Memory ($50 Giveaway)

by Luke Landes

Today is the first day of Giveaway May at Consumerism Commentary. Every weekday this month, I will be giving away a prize to a Consumerism Commentary reader. Keep reading this article to find out how you can win a $50 gift card from Amazon.com. Yesterday, Kate Levinson appeared as a guest on the Consumerism Commentary ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 106: Emotional Currency, Kate Levinson

by Luke Landes

Today’s guest on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast is Kate Levinson, author of Emotional Currency: A Woman’s Guide to Building a Healthy Relationship with Money. Among the topics discussed, Kate talks about the differences between masculine and feminine approaches to money as well as the importance of emotions in financial decisions. Consumerism Commentary Podcast #106 Financial ... Continue reading this article…

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Giveaway May at Consumerism Commentary

by Luke Landes

This coming month is going to be “Giveaway May” at Consumerism Commentary. Every weekday, I will feature a new giveaway for readers. It will be simple to enter, usually just requiring a comment and one other action (such as subscribing to the RSS feed, following me on Twitter, or liking Consumerism Commentary on Facebook). Each ... Continue reading this article…

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