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

July 2011

According to Wells Fargo, My Name is Business Customer

by Luke Landes

I chuckled when I received my replacement business debit card in the mail yesterday. Although I never had any problems with my account, and I’ve always received mail from Wells Fargo addressed properly, at some point, someone in the bank decided the name of the owner of my business accounts is “Business Customer.” As Wells ... Continue reading this article…

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Extreme Couponing Fuzzy Math

by Luke Landes
Walmart Grocery Shopping

I’m a big fan of saving money on necessary spending. Grocery shopping is expensive, and food and household staples present an excellent opportunity to find coupons and save money with every visit. The savings can be substantial if you’re willing to put in the time to find the right coupons, dumpster-dive to collect other people’s ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 117: Yaron Samid, BillGuard

by Luke Landes

Today’s guest on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast is Yaron Samid, founder and CEO of the personal finance security service BillGuard. Yaron talks to Tom Dziubek and discusses how BillGuard works, fraudulent credit and debit card transactions, how BillGuard detects these potentially fraudulent transactions and how it notifies their customers. Consumerism Commentary Podcast #117 Yaron Samid, ... Continue reading this article…

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Rewards Cards Cost Mom and Pop Stores More

by Luke Landes

I’ve been using rewards credit cards for many years now. I initially used cash back credit cards to turn what was mostly necessary spending or purchases I would have made with cash or a debit card anyway into hundreds of dollars back in my hands — or by bank account — each year. Now I ... Continue reading this article…

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Citi Dividend Card for College Students Review

by Luke Landes

Editor’s Note: Thank you for your interest, this offer expired and is no longer available. The credit cards that were available to me while I was in college were a far cry from the student credit cards available today. While many issuers offered free gifts for signing up, like tee-shirts and Frisbees, the cards came ... Continue reading this article…

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Man Gives Derek Jeter’s Baseball to Team, Criticized for Everything

by Luke Landes
Baseball

The other day, Derek Jeter achieved his 3,000th hit, a major baseball milestone. The hit happened to be a home run, and the fan who recovered the ball, Christian Lopez, has been in the news — well, the sports news, anyway. Players like to be able to claim milestone baseballs for their own collection, so ... Continue reading this article…

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Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

by Luke Landes

Awhile ago, I wrote about Southwest Airlines and the credit card they have been offering to their frequent fliers. Although I’ve never been on a Southwest flight, this airline is always highly recommended by my friends and family. They just never seem to fly direct from where I am to where I need to go. ... Continue reading this article…

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Netflix Increases Subscription Price for Some Customers

by Luke Landes

My Facebook feed exploded the other day with news that Netflix was changing its pricing scheme. For some customers, those who subscribe to unlimited streaming and DVD plans, the new price would be a 50 percent increase. I subscribe to Netflix. A few months ago I re-instated my account to take advantage of the streaming-only option ... Continue reading this article…

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Bank of America Settles Overdraft Fee Lawsuit

by Luke Landes
Bank of America Lawsuit

If you qualify for the Bank of America overdraft lawsuit settlement, you may have already received a postcard in the mail from the bank. Here is information on the overdraft lawsuit, only one of many class action lawsuits against Bank of America. If you recently received a check from Bank of America for about $98, ... Continue reading this article…

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Look At Your Medical Bills Before Paying

by Luke Landes

My dentist’s office is changing billing procedure. I should note that my dentist is not part of an insurance network. It may be a cliché, but I have heard people who say that any dentist who aligns his office with insurance carriers is one you want to avoid. That doesn’t mean that I have to ... Continue reading this article…

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The Cost of Summer Camp

by Luke Landes

While growing up, my brother and I both benefited from experiences at summer camp, both day camps and sleep-away camps, at various points in our childhood. My memories from summer camp have stayed with me, and the experiences have shaped who I am. I first heard Pink Floyd at summer camp, from a counselor playing ... Continue reading this article…

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Despite Big Valuations, There is No Tech Bubble

by Luke Landes

I’ve always been a fan of Marc Andreessen. By the time the World Wide Web came into its own, I had already been a long-time user of and creator on the Internet. Marc’s Mosaic changed the way in which the Internet was viewed. It was fascinating, and I had to be a part of it. ... Continue reading this article…

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Excellent Credit, Denied Mortgage

by Luke Landes

Even with a credit score above 800, it’s still possible to be denied for a mortgage. Looking at the mortgage industry as a whole, for a period of time, lenders were too lax, offering mortgages practically regardless of qualifications. The pendulum has swung the other way, and even qualified individuals and families are having a ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 116: Meet a Thousandaire

by Luke Landes

Today’s guest on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast is Kevin McKee, a personal finance blogger who uses humor to educate young people at Thousandaire.com. Flexo and Bryan talk to Kevin about the costly mistakes that forced him to learn how to manage his money, whether student loans are good debt or bad debt, and why he ... Continue reading this article…

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What is Value? It’s Often a Lie.

by Luke Landes

“Buy now! A $2,000 value, only $79.95! This week only!” What is value, really? When a product is on sale, why do we say that product is worth more than we pay? It’s psychological. We’re getting a deal. We presume the company is taking a loss in order to bring us a special offer, figuring ... Continue reading this article…

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Citi Forward Card for College Students Review

by Luke Landes

There once was a time where credit card issuers would line up at the campus breezeways, enticing thousands of students to apply for cards by offering gifts to attract their view of the stereotypical college student. Typical incentives included a free duffel bag, tee-shirt, or Frisbee, and with shiny objects in view and no experience ... Continue reading this article…

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Should We Discourage Some Students From Attending College?

by Luke Landes

Pair a recession with escalating college tuition prices and the result is overall skepticism of post-secondary education. As the public begins to question the long-term viability of investing in the stock market after a crash, they criticize the perceived value of a degree when the job market is difficult and loans are oppressive. There is ... Continue reading this article…

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Government Ranks Colleges by Cost

by Luke Landes
college-costs

In a domain once reserved for U.S. News & World Report, the government is stepping in to rank United States colleges by affordability, as mandated by Congress. This ties right into zeitgeist; thousands of families are thinking about college as we head deeper into summer, and high school students and their parents are evaluating their ... Continue reading this article…

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Ink Cash Business Card Review

by Luke Landes
Chase Ink

If you’re a small business owner in need of a credit line, you may want to consider a credit card focused on small businesses. Not only can the money you earn off of credit card rewards help keep your business in the black, but using your small business credit card makes itemizing your purchases a ... Continue reading this article…

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Investor Performance Won’t Match Advertised Returns

by Luke Landes

Mutual funds use annual returns as advertisements to attract investors. Investors are customers for managed mutual funds, and the better the annual returns, the more likely the fund will be to attract investors. Track the actual investor performance for someone who invests in a mutual fund, it often diverges greatly from the advertised performance. This ... Continue reading this article…

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