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Debt Reduction

No More H&R Block Tax Refund Anticipation Loans

by Luke Landes

One of the most popular services available surrounding tax season is also one of the most expensive. Refund anticipation loans (RALs) are great products from a lender’s point of view; they are low risk and they are expensive. From a customer’s point of view, they provide a means to get cash when a household files […]

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Wells Fargo Direct Deposit Advance

by Luke Landes

Consumerism Commentary reader Yana wrote in yesterday to let me know about some changes in the terms for Wells Fargo’s Direct Deposit Advance service. At first, I was surprised that this service exists. At its core, the credit product offered by Wells Fargo is basically a payday loan, though it comes from a reputable financial […]

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Your Opinion: Is Debt Slavery?

by Luke Landes
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I’ve written several times on Consumerism Commentary, and other people have written and said many times as well, that debt is slavery. In fact, there is a popular book on the topic aptly titled, Debt is Slavery. It’s a convenient metaphor; if slavery is working without the benefit of enjoying the fruits of your labor, […]

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Student Loan Debt Surpasses Credit Card Debt

by Luke Landes

According to the latest statistics from the Federal Reserve and the publisher of FinAid.org, the total amount of money Americans have borrowed on government and private student loans at $830 billion has surpassed the total American consumer balance on credit cards, only $827 billion. As the Wall Street Journal mentions when sharing this information, this […]

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Our New Budget Could Mean Extra Car Payments

by Smithee

Last week I talked about the need for my wife and I to decide on a new savings goal. We had been saving ten percent of our paychecks each month in the Joint Savings Account, which allowed us to do some fun things and avoid credit cards, but wasn’t really a place for money to […]

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No More Credit Card Debt, Now We Need a New Budget

by Smithee

I’ve had thousands of dollars in credit card debt since 1997. I remember applying for a job in March of 2001 which I calculated would help me erase my credit card debt in about twelve months. I didn’t get that job. Nobody got that job, in fact, the entire web design sector was crashing, and […]

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Payday Loans Fees and Interest Rates: Fair Comparison?

by Luke Landes

I consider payday loans one of the worst forms of debt. That being said, in states where these services are still legal, they provide a way for struggling individuals to afford necessities like food and housing until their next paycheck, for a fee. Unfortunately, many borrowers don’t simply use their paycheck to pay back the […]

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Good and Bad Uses of Leverage

by Luke Landes

Earlier this year, I suggested starting the decade off right by paying off debt. In general, debt is something that should be eliminated. Credit card debt is expensive and often unnecessary, personal loans generally carry a cost to personal relationships as well as interest, and mortgages hang around forever and make you a renter who […]

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Smithee Debt Update, Mid-June 2010

by Smithee

Happy Friday. It’s been about a month since my last credit card debt update, and I’m pleased to report that I’m still committed, and the plan continues to work. The weather is getting annoyingly warm, which is usually the time I start engaging in (metaphorically) self-destructive behavior, but I’m in the home stretch now, and […]

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Smithee Debt Update, Mid-May 2010

by Smithee

Happy Vacation-makes-finances-a-bit-messy Friday! It’s been about a month since my last credit card debt update. Since then, we managed to pull off something akin to a coup or a miracle. With help from my wife’s bonuses (which are only considered miraculous because mis-management at her company makes those difficult to realize), we were able to […]

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