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Consumer

Still Use Snail Mail? Prepare for a Price Increase in May

by Luke Landes

In all likelihood, this will be a yearly reminder. The US Postal Service is no longer required to go through a lengthy approval process to raise postage rates if the increase is below the “inflation rate.” That presents a good chance that each May, we will be required to pay about one cent more for ... Continue reading this article…

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Netflix to Support Blu-ray Exclusively

by Luke Landes

Netflix has been offering movies to rent on both high definition media formats, HD DVD and Blu-ray, will now be exclusively supporting just one technology: Blu-ray. Citing the decision by four of the six major movie studios to publish high-def DVD titles only in the Sony-developed Blu-ray format, Netflix said that as of now it ... Continue reading this article…

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Purchased a New Camera (and Blog Roundup)

by Luke Landes

Part of being completely open with my finances on Consumerism Commentary involves sharing “major” purchases. One such purchase occurred this weekend. After quite a bit of research and waiting, I ordered a Canon Digital Rebel XTi SLR camera (10 megapixels) from Amazon.com with some additional accessories. Prices were significantly lower than what I could find ... Continue reading this article…

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Hedging Bets on Blu-Ray But Still Disappointed (and Blog Roundup)

by Luke Landes

Last year, I decided to become a “late early adopter” by taking the jump to high-definition entertainment. I upgraded my equipment, including a Toshiba HD DVD player. While cognizant of the HD format wars, I went ahead with HD DVD because the equipment was better priced for the mass market. I thought thought that due ... Continue reading this article…

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Inflation Watch: Consumer Prices Rose 4.1% in 2007

by Luke Landes

If you perceived a painful sting each time you opened a wallet in a grocery store or at a gas station last year, it wasn’t just you. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has informed the public that the Consumer Price Index for 2007 is 4.1 percent, the highest inflation rate since 1990. The increase is due ... Continue reading this article…

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Misconceptions About the Transition to Digital Television

by Luke Landes

Whenever the subject turns to high definition television, I’ve always found a few people who are disappointed because they believe they need to sell their television and upgrade to high definition by February 17, 2009, they day the lights go out on analog broadcasts. This is a significant misconception, an incorrect assumption that is encouraged ... Continue reading this article…

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New $25 Sharebuilder Bonus Promotional Offer

by Luke Landes

Updated June 28, 2010. If you’re a long-time reader of Consumerism Commentary, you may remember that I earned over $175 in bonuses over a year ago by using a number of promotional offers for opening accounts at ShareBuilder. Now that ING Direct has acquired ShareBuilder, they’re bringing back the $25 bonus. Simply open a new ... Continue reading this article…

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Buy Holiday Items Now and Save Lots

by Luke Landes

Now is most likely the best time for finding great deals on holiday items like Christmas tree ornaments and decorations. While I’m inclined to say that holiday tchotchkes are generally overpriced to begin with, I’ve spotted discounts up to 75 percent off of the regular price over the past few days. Most people, particularly those who ... Continue reading this article…

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Eco-Friendly Ball for New Year’s Eve

by Luke Landes

Last night, my girlfriend and I, along with millions of other people, watched the “ball drop,” the traditional count down to the new year. I happened to catch Ryan Seacrest mention that the “ball” is all new this year, and those who manufactured the shining orb took a more eco-friendly approach. So I looked up ... Continue reading this article…

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Christmas Kittens: Not A Bargain

by Sasha

In the course of my holiday shopping, I happened into my local pet shop for some supplies and a catnip-filled stocking or two. While there, I couldn’t help but wander towards the wall full of wriggling puppies, each more adorable than the last. As usual, there were a few display tanks full of kittens, generally ... Continue reading this article…

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UPS Stealth Delivery

by Luke Landes

Last week, I ordered some new high definition audio/video cables and an HDMI powered switch to prepare for the Blu-Ray player I’ll be receiving as I spend Christmas with my girlfriend’s family. I placed the order with MonoPrice.com, and I expected the delivery yesterday. As I normally do, often without thinking, I directed the cables ... Continue reading this article…

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PriceProtectr Just Saved My Girlfriend $100

by Luke Landes

Unfortunately, I forgot to mention PriceProtectr during my recent Wall Street Journal interview, but I can’t praise this free service enough. This website keeps a private database of your purchases, in store or online, and monitors the price of the items. Many stores offer a price match policy, in which the customer would be entitled ... Continue reading this article…

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Wall Street Journal Podcast: Finding Deals Online

by Luke Landes

Last Friday, the first portion of my latest interview with the Wall Street Journal Tech News Briefing E-Report was published for podcast listeners. Today, the second half of my rambling was broadcast, this time about finding deals online. Here are the time stamps relevant to the interview. 07:10 E-Report introduction 07:25 Best place to find ... Continue reading this article…

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Holiday Gift Guide, Part 4: Frugal Homemade Gifts

by Sasha

Homemade gifts can be so much more than the sum of their parts, which makes them a great frugal gift option. They are redolent of effort, of “I thought of you all year and worked on this for you” versus “I realized I needed a gift for you ten minutes ago and picked this up ... Continue reading this article…

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Holiday Gift Guide, Part 3: More Clutter-Free Consumable Gifts

by Sasha

I got a little carried away with consumable gifts in the food and drink category in my last entry, but that’s to be expected. This time around, my favorite ideas for non-edible consumable gifts: * Soap and Bath Products – They make a great gift basket, but are easily used up, so they don’t contribute ... Continue reading this article…

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Wall Street Journal Podcast: Safe and Smart Online Shopping

by Luke Landes

I mentioned the other day that I participated in an interview for a Wall Street Journal podcast, the Tech News Briefing E-Report. This service is seemingly accessible only to paid Wall Street Journal subscribers only1, but the RSS feed and the podcasts within are open to the public. To listen to the podcast episode containing ... Continue reading this article…

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Ten Tips for the Holidays: Avoiding Credit Card Traps

by Luke Landes

It’s not unusual for even the most savvy credit-card-carrying consumer to fall into some of the most popular traps for spenders set by credit issuers. I write about using credit cards wisely, but unfortunately, many who don’t get penalized with interest and fees. Even those who always pay their credit card bill in full are ... Continue reading this article…

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Holiday Gift Guide, Part 2: Clutter-Free Consumable Gifts: Food and Drink

by Sasha

Besides charitable giving, this year I’m focusing on clutter-free gifts: experiences and consumables. While experiences are great gifts, consumables give you something to open and enjoy Christmas morning. Unclutterer.com has some nice suggestions for theme-based consumable gift collections, such as bulbs and seeds for a gardener, spice collections for someone who enjoys cooking, and the ... Continue reading this article…

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Thanks For the Bats

by Luke Landes

This is a guest post from someone who pops up in some of my more personal stories here on Consumerism Commentary. “A.” is a fourth-grade teacher in the New York City public school system. Every Halloween, my aunt lends her skills to my fourth-grade class by creating bats out of sewn felt bean bags, which ... Continue reading this article…

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Black Friday and CVS Savings

by Sasha

My “Black Friday” shopping started yesterday at 8 a.m. after I’d readied my 26-pound turkey (we had 22 people planned for Thanksgiving this year) for its 6-plus hours in the oven. Instead of crawling back to bed whilst the scent of roasting turkey filled the house, I had a mission in mind. Earlier in the ... Continue reading this article…

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