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Consumer

Top Ten Used Cars Under $10,000

by Luke Landes

Updated: Here are the Top 10 cars of 2008 and the Best American Cars of 2009. If you have $10,000 available to spend on a car, cars.com has suggestions for you with a recent top ten list. Here’s their methodology: [W]e crunched retail values for late-model used cars and factored in reliability ratings, safety equipment ... Continue reading this article…

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Dangers and Benefits of Dollar Stores

by Luke Landes

My girlfriend is a fan of some dollar stores, notably Dollar Tree, while I can take them or leave them. In a good dollar store, you can find everyday items with high enough quality to be sufficient at a price you don’t mind spending. At the other end of the spectrum, dollar stores are able ... Continue reading this article…

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Back to the Dealership for Regular Maintenance and More

by Luke Landes

My 2004 Honda Civic is quickly approaching 75,000 miles, and it’s time to take it in for some maintenance. I haven’t been to the dealer since my maintenance at 20,000 miles a little over two years ago. Since then I’ve been getting my oil changes and tire rotations at the local Pep Boys. I’ve used ... Continue reading this article…

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Is a Wal-Mart Back-to-School Sale Newsworthy?

by Luke Landes

Last year, I asked whether a CNN article describing a sale at Wal-Mart was newsworthy. At worst, it seems like free advertising. Some commenters pointed out that Wal-Mart’s actions, as the world’s biggest retailer, are important indicators for the economy. Wal-Mart’s public relations agents are too busy defending the company’s image, so I suppose it’s ... Continue reading this article…

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Think You Pay High Fees?

by Luke Landes

UBS apparently offers some investment accounts for which the fees can constitute an effective $8,800 per trade. They’ve been sued by the New York Attorney General and will now pay $21.3 million to settle those charges. I can’t help but wonder, taking all the fees charged in the 3,000 affected accounts, and subtracting the $21.3 ... Continue reading this article…

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My Car Gets 15 Miles Per Chicken

by Luke Landes

If you’re tired of complaining about gas prices, no matter who is doing the complaining, you may be happy to hear about a new alternative fuel. Chicken fat (tallow) is the latest product to be considered for biodiesel. Tyson is hoping that the technology works out; corn prices increased to follow its energy-related demand, and ... Continue reading this article…

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Stupid Investment of the Week: Rich Dad Academy

by Luke Landes

Related: Analyzing a Kiyosaki cornerstone: Is Your Home an Asset or Liability?. Chuck Jaffe, a writer with MarketWatch, set his sights on the Teach Me to Trade seminar last year, and ordained the event his “Stupid Investment of the Week.” This year, he attended Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad Academy,” and came to the same conclusion. ... Continue reading this article…

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The Issue of Gas Prices: Complainers vs. Complainers

by Luke Landes

Just like any major media issue in this country, the issue of gasoline prices has two sides: those who complain about the prices, and those who complain about the complainers. The facts support both sides of the argument. Simply, gas prices have increased sharply over the past few years, but are still less than prices ... Continue reading this article…

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Whole Foods CEO Internet Scam

by Luke Landes

The Chief Executive Officer of Whole Foods, John Mackey, has been posting on internet message boards, promoting his company’s stock (example) and pointing out the faults of others in the same category (example). I find it unlikely that a few messages affected the stock’s price to a significant degree, but that’s not the point.

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Cash vs. Credit Card: Gas Stations Charging Different Prices

by Luke Landes

I noticed something disturbing last night. I pulled into my favorite low-cost gas station, which happens to be Valero. It’s my favorite simply because it’s the least expensive in the area and it’s right on my route home from work. Apparently they have begun charging 6 to 8 cents more per gallon for payments with ... Continue reading this article…

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Really Inexpensive DSL Service From AT&T

by Luke Landes

I’m willing to bet that if you’re reading this website, you are connected to the Internet at a speed faster than a dial-up connection. Perhaps you’re reading from work on a T-3 or you’re reading from home on a cable or DSL connection. Perhaps you’re at school and you’re sharing your college’s OC-12. If that’s ... Continue reading this article…

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Teens Want to Be Like Me and Drive Honda Civics

by Luke Landes

A good friend of mine recently replaced her older car with a 2002 Honda Civic. Out of the seven of my friends I was spending time with the other night, three of us have Civics. We’re not alone. CNN Money reports that Honda Civics are the top cars for teenagers. Thinking back to my teenage ... Continue reading this article…

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500 GB Maxtor Hard Drive for $99, But My Experiences are Not So Good

by Luke Landes

I saw what I thought was a great price for a hard drive: a 500 GB disk, 7,200 RPM and a 3 year warranty for $99 at Fry’s. Then I realized I was looking at a Maxtor brand drive. In the last several years, I’ve found Maxtor drives to always be available for less money ... Continue reading this article…

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Businesses I’d Promote for Free (Hint: They’re All Local)

by Luke Landes

Free Money Finance mentioned there are a few companies he loves and would be willing to promote with no compensation. He asked others to do the same, so I tried to come up with a few that have gone above and beyond for me in terms of customer service. Jay’s Cycles. I purchased a bicycle ... Continue reading this article…

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Bank of America Will Offer No-Fee Mortgages

by Luke Landes

According to USA Today, Bank of America will soon begin offering no-fee mortgages. That means they won’t charge for applications, appraisals, loan originations, title insurance, flood certifications, and even private mortgage insurance. I was thinking about this last night, and it occurred to me that this is simply the next step in a pyramid scheme. ... Continue reading this article…

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7 Things Auto Body Shops Won’t Tell You

by Luke Landes

Thanks to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance via MSN Money, here are 7 things your auto-body shop won’t tell you. In fact, I could have used this article a few month ago when my car was in for repairs after an accident. 1. That fender bender will be a major expense. If the accident is your fault ... Continue reading this article…

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4 (Plus 1) Great Credit Cards Offering 0% on Purchases

by Luke Landes

For people who are responsible with managing money, sometimes it makes sense to pay for large purchases with a 0 percent APR loan or credit card. The reasoning is fairly simple. If you have a card that is offering an introductory rate of 0 percent on purchases, and if inflation for the year is running 3 percent to ... Continue reading this article…

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I Buy Generic Brands and Store Brands Sometimes

by Luke Landes

When I was in college, some of my poorer friends (that is, unsubsidized by the government or their parents) would get their products as cheaply as possible. I have distinct memories of afternoons with certain friends and the beverage of choice for lunch being “No Frills Cola.” These days, I don’t go so far, but ... Continue reading this article…

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I Got a Nintendo Wii

by Luke Landes

On Sunday, I purchased a Nintendo Wii. It wasn’t for me. My girlfriend, celebrating her thirtieth birthday, wanted the game system as a gift. Not knowing much about the current state of demand and supply for the game consoles and assuming any frenzy ended with the past holiday season, we went shopping on Saturday. Our ... Continue reading this article…

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Redesigned 401(k) Statement Includes List of Fees

by Luke Landes

A few days ago, I received a redesigned quarterly statement for my 401(k) account. It contains the usual sections, including a summary, transaction detail, a pie graph of my asset allocation. It clearly stated my account performance, not including deposits as performance, for the first quarter: 3.41 percent. The statement also includes for the first time ... Continue reading this article…

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