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avatar You are viewing an archive of articles by Smithee. Smithee formerly lived primarily on credit cards and the good will of his friends. He is a newbie to personal finance but quickly learning from his past mistakes. You can follow him on Twitter, where his user name is @SmitheeConsumer.


Customer Service: Politeness vs. Demands

by Smithee

The prevailing wisdom when dealing with customer service representatives is to just keep repeating, “Let me speak to your supervisor,” until you eventually get what you want. Every time I read this, though, I get defensive and annoyed. I can’t forget that year I spent answering the phones for Bank of America, and the myriad ... Continue reading this article…

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Set Your ATM Preferences

by Smithee

Marketing e-mails, provided they make it through Google’s top-notch spam filters, get about half a second of attention from me before they get deleted. I’ll spend a bit more time if they come from my bank, and Chase recently caught my eye with an announcement about “setting your ATM preferences” (especially since a large part ... Continue reading this article…

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Will You Pay for Hulu?

by Smithee

This is a follow-up to my earlier post last October when serious speculation started about how Hulu would charge for content. To summarize my first post: Sure, I’ll pay for Hulu, provided they get rid of the ads. One business model is plenty. This week, the news broke about Hulu Plus, a $10 / month ... Continue reading this article…

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Is Netflix Streaming a Good Deal?

by Smithee

My wife and I use Netflix‘s streaming service as one of the pillars that holds up our cable-free entertainment setup. It was also the main reason I started subscribing to a XBox Live Gold membership, though that comes with some other benefits which I always forget about until the moment I notice them. The XBox ... Continue reading this article…

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Smithee Debt Update, Mid-April 2010

by Smithee

Happy Friday. It’s been just about a month since my last debt update, and I’m feeling relatively successful at it. I’m still on track to get rid of it by July, having eradicated $1,267.39 in the last four weeks. Aside from the satisfaction of persistence, there’s actual good news: as of yesterday, my employer has ... Continue reading this article…

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Shaving: Neither Electric Nor Expensive

by Smithee

I have trouble shaving, and it seemed to be getting worse with age. It seemed that no matter what I did, I’d end up with a red bumpy neck and hairy spots I had missed. In the last eighteen years, I’ve tried every normal razor and electric razor I could find, and none of them ... Continue reading this article…

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He’s teasing you; nobody has two television sets.

by Smithee

That’s a line from one of my favorites movies, Back to the Future, during the scene where Marty McFly almost has dinner with his mother and grandparents. If there ever was a commentary on consumerism, this is near the top of my list: Lorraine Baines: Our first television. Dad just picked it up today. Do ... Continue reading this article…

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Twilight: New Moon: The LOL Edition

by Smithee

I’ve written before about how “alternate commentaries” can make old movies seem new again, mostly as a way of saving money vs. buying more DVDs. In that article I made a few recommendations from Rifftrax, among them the teen “vampire” “love” story “Twilight”. (Without resorting to any more snark, I’ll just say that there’s a ... Continue reading this article…

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The New Health Insurance Law and Your Money

by Smithee

Aside from some procedural maneuvering in the Senate, the health insurance reform bill that Congress has been working on for the last year, now falling under the Reconciliation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4872) and the Senate health bill, will soon be signed into law. How is the new law going to affect your personal finances? ... Continue reading this article…

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Smithee Debt Update, Mid-March 2010

by Smithee

The last three weeks have been pretty lousy for my push to get rid of the credit card debt before summer (summer? When did I decide that? Just now, I guess). With a total balance of about $5,500, and making payments of at least $1,300 a month, you’d think it’d be a straight path to ... Continue reading this article…

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