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

August 2011

Podcast 121: Adam Levin, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

by Luke Landes

Today on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Tom Dziubek speaks with Adam Levin, co-founder of Credit.com and former director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs about the new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Adam discusses the goals of the bureau, how it’s an improvement over what was in place before, and some of the ... Continue reading this article…

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Warren Buffett: Buying More Stocks Amid Turmoil

by Luke Landes
Warren Buffett

There’s no doubt that the stock market has been a bit turbulent these past few days. After days when the stock market tumbles, the financial news media claims the double dip recession is here, and after days when the Dow and S&P shoot back up, stories point to the rally in 2008 that took place ... Continue reading this article…

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Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express Review

by Luke Landes

American Express continues to top J.D. Power & Associates’ list for best credit card issuers for customer satisfaction, thanks mainly to its strong rewards programs like the one that accompanies the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card. The rewards program and top-ranked customer service from American Express continues to foster appreciation among personal card owners, and ... Continue reading this article…

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Why I Still Drive My Old Honda Civic

by Luke Landes
Honda Civic

After noticing, month after month, that I include the value of my 2004 Honda Civic in my monthly net worth updates, a reader wrote in to Consumerism Commentary to ask why I haven’t given into my desires and purchased something newer or more exciting. I’ve had a bit of a storied past with cars, but ... Continue reading this article…

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TradeKing $100 Cash Bonus For New Accounts and Free Trades

by Luke Landes
3100369536_7075222b6f_b[1]

From now until August 31, 2011, the TradeKing discount brokerage is offering a $100 cash bonus for all new accounts that are funded with at least $2,500 and execute three trades. If you happen to lose money in an investment, you won’t be penalized and will still receive the bonus. $100 bonus The $100 cash ... Continue reading this article…

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ING Direct Now Offers Paper Checks

by Luke Landes
ING Direct

The internet is a-twitter with the news that ING Direct is now offering paper checks to accompany its Electric Orange “paperless checking” account. Apparently, customers have received emails from the bank confirming this long-needed enhancement, but I have not received an email yet. A box of 50 checks costs $5 through the ING Direct website. ... Continue reading this article…

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Verizon Wireless Roaming Charges Class Action Lawsuit

by Luke Landes

I received a notice in the mail stating that I could receive benefits from Verizon Wireless as a result of a class action settlement. The lawsuit alleges that the mobile phone company failed to provide free roaming as part of Verizon’s “America’s Choice II” calling plan. The plan documentation stipulated that there would be no ... Continue reading this article…

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Capital One Buys HSBC Credit Card Business

by Luke Landes
Capital One

Recently, Capital One announced they would purchase ING Direct, and from the feedback I’ve seen, most ING Direct customers are not to happy about this arrangement, primarily due to their experiences with Capital One credit cards. While I’m reserving my judgment until later because credit card operations are usually run by different management than banking ... Continue reading this article…

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Miles by Discover® Card Review

by Luke Landes

The offer you are interested in has expired. See our Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards page for other offers you may be interested in.

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Net Worth Competition: Don’t Compare Yourself With Others

by Luke Landes
Calculator

One of the most important metrics for tracking financial progress is net worth. I write about my net worth, or a modified form of it, every month when I report my balances. I’ve been in the practice of publishing my net worth updates for eight years. By watching my net worth change over time — ... Continue reading this article…

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Should You Sell When the Stock Market Tumbles?

by Luke Landes
Scream

Although stocks are opening higher this morning, yesterday brought more devastation to the stock market. Stocks are now down 13 percent over the past week and down 11 percent for the year. This is bad news for stock investors, with the worst short-term performance since the market crashed at the beginning of the recession. This ... Continue reading this article…

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The Best Back-to-School Shopping Tips

by Luke Landes
Back to School

The best way to get the most for your money when shopping for school supplies is to start early. While there are some good deals and good sales during the summer before the school year starts, you can only take advantage of them if you’re prepared. Some deals aren’t ask great as they’re advertised to ... Continue reading this article…

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Sales Tax Holidays, 2011

by Luke Landes

For several years, many states offer sales tax holidays, several dates set aside during which merchants will not charge customers sales tax. Each year, the dates and the participating states change. I’ve updated this list for 2011 as we’re approach the back-to-school shopping season. Consumers should take advantage of the few days their state offers ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 120: Television of the Future

by Luke Landes

Today on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Flexo turns the tables and interviews the podcast host Bryan J Busch about his so-called “Television of the Future.” Bryan developed a moral objection to paying for cable, because it also includes advertising, and you can’t pay for just the channels that you want, so a little over a ... Continue reading this article…

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Spirituality and Money: The Pastor and the Purse

by Ellen Cooper-Davis
Purse

This article is written by Consumerism Commentary’s new columnist, Ellen Cooper-Davis. Ellen’s column will look at the role of spirituality within the context of personal finance. This first article serves as an introduction to this new column, and your feedback is welcome. Give me your credit card statement, and I’ll tell you your theology. Well, ... Continue reading this article…

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American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card Review

by Luke Landes

The lack of a pre-set spending limit can be both an advantage and a disadvantage when it comes to spending with plastic. Charge cards often have this feature, and it can be dangerous for spenders who are tempted to spend more than they can afford. Others customers, who need the flexibility to make large purchases ... Continue reading this article…

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Ignoring Bills Won’t Make Them Disappear

by Luke Landes
Toyota Celica

This is one of my biggest financial mistakes. My failure to learn some basic skills and my willful ignorance of the trouble I was in cost me thousands of dollars and major inconveniences. When I was younger, I didn’t have that much of a positive track record with cars. In high school after receiving my ... Continue reading this article…

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Most Americans Can’t Pay for Car Repairs, 4 Tips to Help

by Luke Landes
Hail damage to a car

According to a recent survey by AAA, 62 percent of American drivers would not be able to pay $2,000 for car repairs without going into debt with a credit card or asking for money from friends or family. While the savings rate is positive, it’s not common for consumers to put aside a portion of ... Continue reading this article…

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The Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN Review

by Luke Landes

For people in certain businesses, perception is more important than reality. A real estate agent who sells high-value properties generally tries to impress his or her clients by looking the part of a high-value property real estate agent. Fancy cars, fancy meals, and fancy clothing are all part of this facade. While the American Centurion ... Continue reading this article…

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Top 5 Movie Actor Salaries

by Luke Landes
Leonardo DiCaprio

Most theatrical performers become professional actors because they have a talent or a love for what they do. They have a drive to entertain, and they can’t imagine spending their limited time on this planet doing something other than what they love. By the time they’re adults, unless they have seen outstanding success as a ... Continue reading this article…

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