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


Consumer Reports’ Best Cars of 2010

by Luke Landes

When Consumer Reports tests new cars, their staff shop just like consumers. They stop into dealerships and buy cars without giving any indication they intend to test the cars for a major magazine. Rather than receiving specially tuned or improved vehicles, the magazine takes to its test center the same cars ordinary shoppers would buy. ... Continue reading this article…

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Needs Versus Wants: The Great Spending Debate

by Kelly Whalen

This article is presented by Kelly Whalen, Consumerism Commentary staff writer. It’s fairly straightforward to figure out the difference between a need and a want. Needs are basic: food, shelter, clothing, water, warmth. We can also add to that our emotional needs: love, friendship, and care. Wants seem easy to define. Wants are all the ... Continue reading this article…

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Eat Like the Locals and Profit Twice

by Smithee

My wife and I went on a mini-vacation this past weekend (our first using only cash), and while we didn’t specifically plan to limit spending on meals, we managed to do better than I had hoped. Of course she knows about my serious push to do what I can to erase my credit card debt, ... Continue reading this article…

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Future Tech Will Force Us To Be Smarter

by Smithee

Charles Darwin is often misquoted when referring to the concept of “survival of the fittest”, but his writings specify adaptability as the trait that individuals should strive for if they want to survive (and reproduce). In order for our wallets to survive in the future, we’re going to have to learn to be more adaptable ... Continue reading this article…

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My Current Spending Vices and Devices: Photography and Coins

by Luke Landes

Although my income has increased over the past few years, my spending has increased as well. After living the better part of the decade watching just about every dollar leaving my bank account, saving as much as possible, and living within my means, I’ve recently begun allowing myself to spend more freely. I’m sure to ... Continue reading this article…

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What the iPad Is and Is Not

by Smithee

I’m an Apple fan, which I define as being anybody who takes time out from the workday two or three times a year to watch their media events and keynote speeches. I’m happily using a Mac Mini as our entertainment hub at home (Boxee, Front Row and Hulu Desktop? Yes, thanks), I use a MacBook ... Continue reading this article…

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More Toyota Cars Recalled: Time to Buy Shares of TM?

by Luke Landes

Another day, another recall. Normally, automobile recalls are not much of a problem. A recall usually involves bringing your car to a dealership, subjecting yourself up to some sales pitches, getting your car fixed, and driving home. Toyota’s recent string of recalls is more complicated because some of the problems do not have solutions yet. ... Continue reading this article…

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Buying a Second Car

by Kelly Whalen

If my husband had a car to drive to work and had taken my son to school, I would have saved three hours of my day. Yes, three hours. We are a family of six with one car. This is the result of a decision we made a few months ago when our second car ... Continue reading this article…

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Discounts Via Social Media: A Surprising Way to Save

by Kelly Whalen

This article is presented by Kelly Whalen, Consumerism Commentary staff writer. Kelly is celebrating her one-year blog anniversary this week. Everyone loves a good deal, but finding time to comparison shop at various stores can be time consuming. As a parent of four kids I’m not keen on taking the kids to multiple stores just ... Continue reading this article…

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Start the Decade Off Right: Cut Out Unnecessary Expenses

by Luke Landes

Ten years from now, how do you want to look back on this decade? In terms of my finances, it would be hard to top the last ten years. This was the decade my net worth as I measure it for Consumerism Commentary soared from below zero to $300,000. Sure, that progress pales in comparison ... Continue reading this article…

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TV Everywhere Might Just Be a Big Bully

by Smithee

My family turned off our TV service a few weeks ago, and we’ve been fine so far, watching things through Hulu, iTunes, or Netflix, wherever it’s cheapest. When we get it through iTunes, we’re paying for each episode, when it comes through Netflix, we’re paying a monthly subscription fee, and when it’s “brought to us ... Continue reading this article…

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Should All Amazon Shoppers Pay Sales Tax?

by Luke Landes

I almost participated in a boycott of Amazon.com. This was almost a decade ago when Amazon filed for a patent for its 1-Click ordering process. The patent was struck down in 2007 but I didn’t notice. In the face of Amazon’s low prices and, in my state, exemption from sales tax, my convictions didn’t stand ... Continue reading this article…

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12 Last Minute Gift Ideas

by Kelly Whalen

This article is presented by Kelly Whalen, Consumerism Commentary staff writer. With only one more day until Christmas you may still be in the market for a few last minute gifts. If you are like me, the idea of driving through traffic and elbowing through crowds to find gifts is not going to bring you ... Continue reading this article…

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Gifts That Avoid Both Extra “Stuff” And Clichés

by Smithee

There comes in a time in a person’s life when they have everything they need. While not necessarily rich, the house is well-furnished and they’re not hurting for clothes. Maybe this someone has even come out and said, “I don’t know what I want, I just know I don’t need any more stuff.” What do ... Continue reading this article…

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Life Without Cable TV: Week One

by Smithee

(No, I don’t plan on writing about this on a regular basis, just when an interesting milestone occurs.) It’s been a full week since my family turned off the TV service and to summarize: we’re doing fine. As expected, I’m discovering some of the “known unknowns” of being a person without cable but who still ... Continue reading this article…

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No More Cable TV For Me

by Smithee

Well, we went and did it. As of today, the Verizon FiOS TV service we’d been mostly enjoying for almost three years is suspended. We’re not replacing it with cable or satellite television, either. The normal TV service is effectively turned off. I’m scared and nervous and excited all at once. It’s been nearly seven ... Continue reading this article…

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Persistence Pays Off

by Kelly Whalen

This article is presented by Kelly Whalen, Consumerism Commentary staff writer. As consumers we often face situations that are both expensive and frustrating. These can be problems of our own doing, such as overdraft fees or closing of an inactive credit card, or problems that are caused by the company’s we are paying, like a ... Continue reading this article…

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High Tech Coupons: Yowza!!, Where, and Google’s Favorite Places

by Luke Landes

The recession has inspired a focus on saving more money among Americans, even if this focus is likely temporary, giving way to excess spending once employment returns to a sustainable level and credit becomes readily available. But for a short time, frugality has permeated the country’s consciousness. It has popped up everywhere, including technological innovation. ... Continue reading this article…

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Kelley Blue Book’s Best Resale Value Cars

by Luke Landes

A reached another milestone earlier this week. My 2004 Honda Civic, which I purchased new in June 2004, passed 111,111 miles, after passing 100,000 in March. The car runs wonderfully still, as I expected it would years ago when I purchased it, and I don’t intend on selling it for a while, if at all. ... Continue reading this article…

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Energy Efficient Appliance Upgrade, Anyone?

by Smithee

Much like the wildly popular and probably successful Cash for Clunkers program earlier this year, a portion of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is being allotted to a program for upgrading older, energy wasting appliances. None of the important details have been released yet, such as “what Energy Star rating will my new ... Continue reading this article…

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