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

2011

Spirituality and Money: How to Make Holiday Gifts Meaningful

by Ellen Cooper-Davis
Gift Present

This article is written by Consumerism Commentary’s columnist, Ellen Cooper-Davis. Ellen’s column looks at the role of spirituality within the context of personal finance. For an introduction to this column, see Ellen’s first article, The Pastor and the Purse. Your feedback is welcome. We know by reports of the annual feeding frenzy that the gift-giving ... Continue reading this article…

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Record-Setting Cyber Monday

by Luke Landes
Cyberman - Cyber Monday

Consumers in the United States spent more money online in one day, this past Monday, than they spent in any other one day in history. Online browsing and shopping resulted in $1.25 billion in sales on Cyber Monday, up 22 percent from the previous one-day record, last year’s Cyber Monday. The $1.25 billion in sales ... Continue reading this article…

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Judge Rejects Citigroup Lawsuit Settlement

by Luke Landes

The Securities and Exchange Commission, an organization designed to regulate and oversee the financial industry, is charged with acting in investors’ best interests. Most of the time, however, the SEC works on behalf of the large financial companies under its purview. As a result, when consumers demand that companies be held accountable for misleading investors ... Continue reading this article…

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American Airlines Files for Bankruptcy

by Luke Landes
American Airlines

One of the two major airlines that had not yet filed for bankruptcy or restructuring, American Airlines, gave in and filed for Chapter 11 protection today. The airline will continue to operate its business as usual; if you planned to fly American Airlines, you’ll still be able to do so without any problem. In fact, ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Spend Money on Fun

by Luke Landes
Fun Snowboarding

The point of accumulating and saving money is not to die with the most money in the bank. Yes, it can be helpful to your heirs to leave a fortune for the next generation, but not at the expense of living a fulfilled life yourself. There are many opinions about what it means to live ... Continue reading this article…

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How Much Money Did You Spend This Weekend?

by Luke Landes

From a retail perspective, this holiday weekend was successful. The National Retail Federation — an organization that represents retailers and is always happy to report good news in the industry — says that total spending over the four-day weekend from Thanksgiving to Sunday increased 16 percent over the same time period in 2010 when measured ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 136: Becoming a Landlord

by Luke Landes

Today on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Tom Dziubek talks to Paula Pant, journalist, entrepreneur and founder of the personal finance website Afford Anything. Paula talks about several landlord-related topics, including what to look for when purchasing a property, how tenants see properties different than landlords and the kind of work a landlord should expect. Consumerism ... Continue reading this article…

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One Black Friday Tip to Rule Them All: Buy Nothing

by Luke Landes

For those in the United States, tradition and media influence have established today as a day for spending time with family, over-eating, and watching television. What could be more American than Thanksgiving Day? Fast becoming a tradition for consumers is Black Friday (and to a lesser extent Cyber Monday). Retailers have discovered a tendency to ... Continue reading this article…

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Boost Your Human Capital: Start Early

by Luke Landes
Baby

Your human capital is just as important as your financial capital. In fact, it wouldn’t be a stretch to consider your human capital, your potential to become financially independent over time, more important than your net worth at any one particular time. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been writing in depth about ways to ... Continue reading this article…

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10 Cash Back Credit Card Traps

by Luke Landes
Cash Back Credit Cards

For my own finances, I’ve been a fan of credit cards with cash back programs. Some financial experts advise avoiding best credit card deals completely, even those cards that offer rewards like cash back or offer on best gas credit cards and small business credit cards. I’ve never been a fan of this approach — ... Continue reading this article…

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Personal Balance Sheet, October 2011 ($373,552, +9.2%)

by Luke Landes
Net Worth Balance Sheet, October 2011

I’ve been tracking my net worth and keeping my finances updated in personal finance management software since July 2003. I’ve done this mainly for myself. Posting my finances online helps make the numbers real. I use these monthly reports to hold myself accountable. If I write publicly about spending more in a budget category than ... Continue reading this article…

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American Express’s Small Business Saturday

by Luke Landes
American Express

I’ve avoided writing about Black Friday this year. In the community I follow, promoting the day after Thanksgiving for shopping has gotten completely out of hand. I wrote an article for PC World a few years ago, The Insider’s Guide to Black Friday Bargains, where the tips are still relevant for today’s shoppers. I’m not ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 135: Discardia

by Luke Landes

Today on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Bryan speaks with Dinah Sanders, author of Discardia: More Life, Less Stuff. Discardia is a holiday, a philosophy, and now a book that explains why life is more stressful as a result of having too much stuff, or the wrong kind of stuff. The book is filled with advice ... Continue reading this article…

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Construction Revolutionized My Finances

by Luke Landes
Construction Bulldozer

This is a guest article by Jon the Saver, a personal finance blogger at Free Money Wisdom. His mission is to spread financial wisdom and help people get their financial lives under control. In his down time he loves a mean game of Scrabble and spending quality time with his fiancee. I’m probably the only ... Continue reading this article…

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Netflix Wal-Mart Class Action Lawsuit

by Luke Landes
Netflix

A few years ago, Netflix and Wal-Mart allegedly entered an agreement where Wal-Mart agreed to exist the DVD rental business and promote Netflix’s service and Netflix would not sell new DVDs to compete with Wal-Mart. A group of Netflix customers have banded together to enter a class action anti-trust lawsuit against the two companies for ... Continue reading this article…

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TrueEarnings Business Card from Costco and American Express Review

by Luke Landes

American Express has always been great in varying their credit card offers to business owners. Whether a business owner’s priority is travel accommodations, spending power or saving money, there’s a credit or charge card designed to help out. The TrueEarnings Business Card from Costco and American Express fits into the saving money category, as it’s ... Continue reading this article…

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The $4 Million Photograph: How Do You Value Art?

by Luke Landes

Last week, a photograph by Andreas Gurksy, Rhein II, was sold at auction for $4,338,500 to an anonymous buyer. The record-breaking sale allowed Gursky to reclaim fame as the artist whose work has claimed the highest price paid for a photograph. This auction was a secondary market sale. As in most art auctions commanding high ... Continue reading this article…

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The Best Holiday Gift: A Shared Experience

by Luke Landes
Wrapped Gift

You’ll never reach the top level in Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, self-actualization, if you concern yourself with your possessions. If you focus on acquiring gadgets, showering your children with toys, or achieving other materialistic pursuits, if you do so while neglecting the pursuit of including satisfying experiences in your life, you can never reach ... Continue reading this article…

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Boost Your Human Capital: Stay Healthy

by Luke Landes
Jogging Girls

It’s easy to focus on the personal policies that help improve your net worth immediately. Saving money, investing thoughtfully, and earning income affect your bottom line immediately. This view can be shortsighted occasionally. Focusing effort on your personal human capital can have a greater affect on your net worth over the course of the rest ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 134: Budgetable

by Luke Landes

Today on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Tom Dziubek talks to Ryan Bales, founder and CEO of the personal finance website and software Budgetable. Ryan talks about how he founded Budgetable with his brother, how the software works and what he feels are the shortcomings of traditional budgeting methods. Consumerism Commentary Podcast Bank Transfer Day: S06E04 ... Continue reading this article…

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