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Consumer

Today’s Top Three Consumer Mistakes

by Kimberly Palmer

This is a guest article by Kimberly Palmer. Kimberly Palmer is the author of Generation Earn: The Young Professional’s Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back, which was published by Ten Speed Press this week. The following post has been adapted from the book. I’ll admit it: I was recently suckered into spending more than ... Continue reading this article…

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Consumer Question: 10 Items for $10

by Luke Landes

Here’s one of the reasons I don’t enjoy shopping for groceries. Items are priced in such a way it can be difficult to compare. Without keeping a price diary, it can be difficult to tell when a sale price is good. It’s a lot of work to shop right. Personally, I no longer sweat the ... Continue reading this article…

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An Oil Change Every 3,000 Miles is a Waste of Money

by Luke Landes

When I graduated college, my father surprised me with a car: a very used 1987 Toyota Celica. I didn’t know much about owning a car at the time, and the Celica required quite a bit of car. For example, it required not only replacing engine oil occasionally, it required filling engine oil from time to ... Continue reading this article…

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BP Lowers the Price of Gasoline for Some

by Luke Landes

BP, whom we all know as the featured star in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, has understandably seen a decline in retail sales of gasoline. While retaliation by boycotting BP-branded has stations originally seemed to be more symbolic than effectual, apparently enough people are avoiding the brand to bother local station owners. In an ... Continue reading this article…

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Amazon Kindle, Chapter Three

by Smithee

Amazon’s 3rd-generation Kindle e-reader, set to be released on August 27th, had me worried for a little while. My gadget-y friends and I often wonder aloud about upcoming features and technology advances, and many of them assumed Amazon would try to make it more like an iPad. As a happy owner of a 2nd-generation Kindle, ... Continue reading this article…

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Which Wine Do I Want to Buy?

by Smithee

I enjoy a good glass of wine, but I don’t know how to find one. I haven’t been buying wine long enough to have memorized a group of “go to” bottles. I probably made the mistake of buying Bolla Pinot Noir three times before I finally learned that I don’t like it. Between my unreliable ... Continue reading this article…

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The New Financial Regulation Law and Your Money

by Smithee

Flexo posted a good review of the major changes in the Wall Street Reform bill that passed through Congress yesterday, and mentioned that it will be some time before we know exactly how the regulations which are now possible will be written. But there are some reasonable guesses we can make, and I thought it ... Continue reading this article…

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YouTube Leanback: Another Option for Free TV

by Smithee

This week YouTube released a beta of an interface called Leanback, open for anyone to try right now. It starts out full-screen and immediately starts playing videos it thinks would interest you based on your YouTube contacts’ activities like rating and choosing favorites. I presume it will also, if it doesn’t already, suggest videos based ... Continue reading this article…

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Sales Tax Holidays, 2010

by Luke Landes

This year, many states throughout the nation will offer a sales tax holiday, a period of time during which merchants will not charge customers sales tax. For a few days each year, you can buy certain items without paying the state sales tax. This is a great way to find the purchases you would buy ... Continue reading this article…

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Your Plans for the New iPhone 4

by Smithee

We recently asked you to take a poll about your iPhone upgrading intentions, including your contract situation and which hardware features you found the most tempting. The results were sometimes surprising. 162 people answered the poll, and 48 percent of you are planning on upgrading within two months from today. That’s much higher than I would ... Continue reading this article…

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The iPhone 4: Is It In Your Near Future?

by Smithee

By now, I’m past the point of not caring what’s in the new iPhone. I “watched” Apple’s keynote presentation as it happened, and I’ve read several articles and talked to my friends and ogled the videos. I haven’t changed my mind, I still want one, and I will most likely be upgrading within 60 days ... Continue reading this article…

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Power-Saving Televisions on the Way

by Smithee

I’ve always been a big fan of saving energy, both mine and my household’s, but more for efficiency reasons that a desire to “save the Earth”. If there’s nobody in a room, it just doesn’t make any sense to leave the light on. If turning off unused devices helps reduce global power consumption, then so ... Continue reading this article…

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I Want the New iPhone & I Don’t Care What’s In It

by Smithee

Apple’s new iPhone hardware will be formally unveiled next Monday, and I’m already itching to be able to buy it. I bought the original iPhone within a few weeks of it being available, and I upgraded to the iPhone 3G just a couple months before the iPhone 3GS came out. My wife has had that ... Continue reading this article…

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Television of the Future

by Bryan J Busch

Hi, I’m new here. Flexo invited me to create some original videos for Consumerism Commentary, and I’m happy to present the first one, which explains how I managed to retain my (possibly saturated) television habit but simultaneously remove the monthly cable bill. At the core of the problem was the fact that we were paying ... Continue reading this article…

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How Does Fraud Detection Work on Your Cards?

by Smithee

You probably know that your debit and credit cards have someone watching over them for indications of fraud and/or theft, and we’ve written here before about making sure you tell the bank in advance of a trip so that they don’t mistakenly block your card. I’ve personally seen this system work well, and also not ... Continue reading this article…

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Government to Regulate Credit Card Swipe Fees

by Smithee

It will be at least a month until we know what the final financial overhaul bill looks like and exactly what proposals are being made, but one smaller provision that exists in similar formats in both pieces of legislation is a change to the way debit and credit cards are handled in stores. Currently, the ... Continue reading this article…

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Premium Gasoline Possibly Switched With Ethanol E-85

by Luke Landes

When I drive up to a gas station, I have a number of expectations. First, if I see a price advertised for regular-grade gasoline, that’s the price I expect to pay for regular-grade gasoline. That wasn’t the case a few years ago when my local gas station decided to implement price discrimination for customers who ... Continue reading this article…

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FCC Considering Regulation to Stop Surprise Phone Bills

by Luke Landes

As the story goes, I was about fifteen when I started getting involved with online communities. At that time, however, being online meant using a slow modem to dial various bulletin boards over a regular telephone line. My problem was that I didn’t realize that I was dialing long distance phone numbers. My parents weren’t ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Intelligently and Responsibly Buy a Car

by Luke Landes

Car companies want you to buy their products on impulse. They would, generally, prefer that the step of thinking is removed from the consumer’s process. This is evident in the commercials you see around the holidays in which a spouse is surprised when he or she notices a gift wrapped in a large red bow ... Continue reading this article…

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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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