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

2012

Track Your Finances on Consumerism Commentary

by Luke Landes

I wrote recently about how sharing my financial progress publicly on a monthly basis enabled me to better evaluate my life, make better decisions, and grow my wealth faster than if I had kept my progress to myself. Over time, not only did the public display of my net worth and income motivate me, but ... Continue reading this article…

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Better Bargains With Foreclosures and Pre-Foreclosures

by Luke Landes
Zillow Pre-Foreclosure

I’ve taken a cursory look at the possibility of investing in real estate near where I live, with the intent of buying a property for rental. The numbers don’t work well in my favor. I’ve confirmed this with friends experienced with renting their properties in the area; most would not do it again if given ... Continue reading this article…

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Mortgage Fraud: U.S. Government Suing Bank of America for $1 Billion

by Luke Landes
Bank of America

I never liked the term “hustle” when used to discuss making money on the side. The word has the slight connotation of fraud or taking advantage of someone, and moving quickly to do so. Now, the word “hustle” is going to be linked to something more specific and decidedly negative. This was the name of ... Continue reading this article…

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Mass Affluent: College is Worth the Investment

by Luke Landes
Questioning the value of a college education

You can be financially successful without a college degree. One summer when I was younger, fresh out of college, I worked for a touring drum and bugle corps. It’s a group of 128 adolescents and young adults and 40 staff who drive around the company in buses, performing almost every night for seven weeks, marching ... Continue reading this article…

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2013 Federal Income Tax Brackets and Marginal Rates

by Luke Landes
Tax

When you file your federal income tax return before April 2013, you’re filing your 2012 taxes, and the 2012 income tax brackets define the amount of tax you owe to the government before credits and after-tax adjustments. The first paycheck or consultancy fee you earn in 2013 falls under new rules, however. The 2013 income ... Continue reading this article…

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Virgin America Visa Signature Card Review, 15,000 Bonus Points

by Luke Landes
Virgin America Visa Signature

Editor’s Note:  Thank you for your interest, this limited-time offer has expired.  Barclays Bank may be beginning to offer its own branded cards like the recently-reviewed Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard, but in the United States this bank is more known for its branded cards. The Virgin America Visa® Signature Card is one such offer from Barclays, ... Continue reading this article…

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Welcome to Consumerism Commentary

by Luke Landes
Profile Photo

If you are new to Consumerism Commentary, start here. My name is Luke Landes, and I am the founder of Consumerism Commentary. I started this website in 2003 to hold myself accountable for my choices pertaining to my financial condition. Over the subsequent years, Consumerism Commentary has grown into one of the most popular blogs ... Continue reading this article…

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Education Majors Earn Less Regardless of Career

by Luke Landes
Teacher

As I’ve mentioned before, I studied education as an undergraduate. I knew that my career as a public school teacher would limit my potential earnings over my lifetime, though I eyed administration as a potential progression. I diverged into non-profit work, and if I learned anything from my time working at a non-profit, it’s that ... Continue reading this article…

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Go to College for Free

by Luke Landes
West Point Academy cadet

Welcome new readers. Be sure to subscribe to Consumerism Commentary via RSS. New readers should start here. I enjoyed my experience as an undergraduate at a “state-assisted, privately governed” university. As I did not live in that university’s state prior to attending, my tuition fees were higher than many of my classmates’ fees. To attend ... Continue reading this article…

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My Net Worth History

by Luke Landes

Part of the draw of Consumerism Commentary has been my monthly financial reports. Having worked in the financial reporting area of a company that happened to be in the financial industry, I recognize the importance of monthly public reporting to be accountable to stakeholders; I started publicly reporting my own finances to be accountable to ... Continue reading this article…

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Financial Voyeurism: Sharing Your Finances to Improve Your Life

by Luke Landes
Net worth balance sheet, December 2011

There’s something weird about what I’ve done here at Consumerism Commentary. Although I no longer share all the details on a regular basis, when I started this website in 2003, its purpose was to track my financial progress, to discover and share thoughts about building financial freedom, and to grow my own knowledge about money ... Continue reading this article…

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Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard Review, Sign-Up Bonus

by Luke Landes

Until recently, Barclaycard was a credit card issuer focused on branded credit cards. Retailers of various types would use Barclaycard’s services to offer credit cards that seemed to be issued by the company whose name was on the card, like Barnes & Noble. The company is at work building its brand and presence in the ... Continue reading this article…

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Robert Kiyosaki, Financial Guru, Declares Bankruptcy

by Luke Landes
Robert Kiyosaki Bankruptcy

Robert Kiyosaki has been in the business of selling books and seminars, taking advantage of the Amway pyramid scheme and endorsements from Oprah Winfrey, and built his way to wealth selling his ideas about investing. A few years ago, he teamed up with perennial mogul Donald Trump to sell more books. Kiyosaki and one of ... Continue reading this article…

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5 Most Annoying Banking Fees

by Luke Landes
Grabbing money

Fees and surcharges seem to be an unavoidable part of living in a world where banking is big business. If you keep your financial situation simple, diligently shop around, and keep an eye on your money, you can avoid may of the more common fees. In theory, you could increase your fee-avoidance ability by keeping ... Continue reading this article…

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Teaching Kids About Money

by Luke Landes
Teaching Kids About Money

Most people who learn about proper money management as an adult learn the hard way. A common thread in stories about personal financial recovery is a journey to “rock-bottom.” Often, a financial crisis is necessary to motivate people to change behavior and learn to be responsible for their financial condition and their path towards improvement. ... Continue reading this article…

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Rescheduling My Life: Using Google Calendar for Better Time Management

by Luke Landes
Luke's Daily Calendar

Time management has never been my strength. Part of my approach to time management is rooted in my disdain for over-organization. I don’t want to treat my time as if I were on an assembly line. For most of my life, however, I was somewhat bound by daily schedules, just like most people. In school, ... Continue reading this article…

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Declining Interest Rates, Declining Common Sense

by Jason Larkins

This is a guest article by Jason Larkins. Jason is the Director of Financial Education at Wise Wealth, LLC in Lee’s Summit, Missouri and the author of the website WorkSaveLive. For years I had my personal struggles with money: spending more than I made, following the status quo, and living life like I’d die tomorrow. ... Continue reading this article…

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Quicken Home and Business 2013 Giveaway

by Luke Landes

The giveaway has ended. Thank you for participating! I’ve contacted the winner by email. We may launch another giveaway in the coming months, so follow me on Twitter and follow Consumerism Commentary on Facebook to be the first to know when there is another opportunity to win a free copy of Quicken 2013. Intuit is ... Continue reading this article…

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Quicken 2013 Review

by Luke Landes
quicken-2013

The new Quicken 2013 adds an extensive mobile experience to the software. This is a must-have upgrade for long-time Quicken users. For the latest version, see this Quicken 2015 for Mac review. Starting today, the new version of Quicken is available for purchase. While Mint.com and other online services are now very popular for tracking ... Continue reading this article…

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Will My Honda Civic Drive Another 2,850,000 Miles?

by Luke Landes
Honda Civic

While I am happy I’ve kept my 2004 Honda Civic eight and a half years and haven’t felt the need to upgrade, I’m certainly not as dedicated to maintaining old cars as an automobile enthusiast. In fact, I’ve been ridiculed and insulted by people whose opinion is that eight years is not very impressive for ... Continue reading this article…

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