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Debt Reduction

Number One Frugality Tip: Don’t Be a Woman

by Luke Landes

I will admit that the title of this post is a bit inflammatory. I should specify that the more accurate number one frugality tip should be “Don’t be a woman (or a man, but in our society, mostly a woman) obsessed with beauty.” Newsweek illustrates this by breaking down the cost of female beauty maintenance ... Continue reading this article…

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Reader Question: Find Better Loan to Pay Off Student Loan?

by Luke Landes

Occasionally, readers email me with questions about their own personal finances. Considering I share so much of my own, it’s always interesting to get a peek into the issues other people are concerned about. In fact, right now, I am actively seeking reader questions to serve as launching points for a discussion I plan to ... Continue reading this article…

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Which Comes First: Paying Off Debt or Starting Emergency Fund?

by Luke Landes

Taking the first few steps to ensure your future financial stability can be daunting. There is so much to do, trying to decide where to start can result in wasted time, and wasted time is wasted money. Eliminating debt is often the first priority, and rightly so. If debt is in the form of credit ... Continue reading this article…

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Tips for Auto Loan Refinancing, Add Yours

by Luke Landes

Occasionally, Consumerism Commentary readers email me with financial questions. If you want to see a topic discussed here, you can do this as well. Just email me at flexo or tips at this domain name. I can’t answer every email personally, but I’ll do my best to connect you with the resources you need. Last ... Continue reading this article…

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I am Debt Free as of Today!

by Luke Landes

For several years, interest rates on high-yield savings accounts were high enough to justify choosing to leave extra money in savings accounts rather than using that money to pay off certain debts faster. I was paying only the minimum payment on my consolidated student loan. The loan’s interest rate was 4.25 percent and I had been ... Continue reading this article…

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Take Control of Your Finances Part 6: Get Out of Debt

by Luke Landes

Debt is like indentured servitude. You work and earn income, but you hand over that income to someone else. With debt, your finances are controlled by someone else, not you. For example, credit card companies have the right to change your interest rate at almost any time with advance notice. In fact, CitiGroup recently raised ... Continue reading this article…

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Smithee Update: October 2008

by Smithee

I’ve been naughty. I went a little nuts a few weeks ago and bought a whole bunch of audio/visual equipment. I didn’t do this just for fun, though. It’ll probably end up looking like an investment someday. I got a mixer and a bunch of microphones that we’re going to use to create alternative movie ... Continue reading this article…

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The Correct Way to Pay Off Personal Debt: The Debt Avalanche

by Luke Landes

When it comes to mathematics, certain facts are universally agreed-upon. For example, regardless of your culture or educational system, you must agree that one plus one equals two unless you mistakenly fall for an invalid proof. When dealing with money, why are people inclined to believe that one plus one does not equal two? If ... Continue reading this article…

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Get Ready to Consolidate Your Student Loans

by Luke Landes

If you have variable rate student loans, mark July 1, 2008 on your calendar. After that date, you can lock in interest rates 3 percentage points lower than what’s available now. I’m not eligible for lowering the rates on my student loans because I’ve already consolidated and I have no new student loans to add ... Continue reading this article…

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Study: Payday Loans Cause More Bankruptcies

by Luke Landes

A new study by researchers at Vanderbilt University Law School and University of Oxford reveals a strong correlation between approvals for payday loans and bankruptcy filings. Considering that people who are rejected for payday loans have other (limited) options for credit, it’s surprising that the rate of bankruptcy isn’t as high with this group. It’s ... Continue reading this article…

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The Case Against Mortgage Pre-Payment

by Guest Author

This article was written for Consumerism Commentary by Adfecto, a mid-20s guy with a masters degree in engineering. He aspires to be wealthy and writes frequently for his own blog, Adfecto Abundantia. When I purchased a home it was not a lifetime commitment. I view a person’s choice of housing first as a financial decision ... Continue reading this article…

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$52,050.74: A Farewell to Student Loans

by Sasha

Ah, student loans. The things that remember you long after you’ve completely forgotten the entire college experience. Although I finished college in 1997 and graduate school in 2000, loan payments to Sallie Mae have been a constant fixture ever since, like a little wound I’d nurse which just wouldn’t stop bleeding. Even when making double ... Continue reading this article…

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Seven Home Equity Tips, Part 4: Know Your Interest Rates and Terms

by Luke Landes

The most basic piece of knowledge one needs in order to be in control of their finances is the importance of awareness. Many people will go through their lives blissfully ignorant of their own financial details. Why? For one, ignorance is bliss. The more financial trouble you are in, the easier it is to ignore ... Continue reading this article…

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Seven Home Equity Tips, Part 2: Use Equity to Build Assets

by Luke Landes

If a home equity loan is not ideal for paying off credit card debt, what other options are there for making the most of the cash that would otherwise be locked away? David Bach has a suggestion, and it is his second tip out of seven for dealing with your home equity. 2. Use home ... Continue reading this article…

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Seven Home Equity Tips, Part 1: Don’t Pay Off Credit Card Debt With Loan

by Luke Landes

Does it make sense to use a home equity loan to pay off credit card debt? As with anything, the answer is sometimes. While proponents of certain mortgage payoff acceleration loans might disagree, David Bach is offering some good reasons to let your home equity build without the burdens of extra loans or lines of ... Continue reading this article…

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Paying Off Debt: 6 Steps to Building a Better Snowball

by Luke Landes

The “snowball method” for paying off debt isn’t something out of the movie Clerks. It is a way to organize your outstanding debt in such a way that the funds you have available for paying off debt are optimally distributed in the manner that will allow you to pay off that debt quickly and cheaply. ... Continue reading this article…

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Another Case of Misleading Statistics

by Luke Landes

Everybody Lies. That’s the mantra from House, a simple but entertaining television show, whose premises are strangely applicable to personal finance. Recently, Liz Pulliam Weston evaluated a survey about consumer credit card debt that used a mistaken assumption to create misleading data about average household debt. When a survey says 90 percent of Americans are either ... Continue reading this article…

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Question for Readers: Get Rid of Debt Before Investing for Retirement?

by Luke Landes

Joe sent me a question about priorities. He feels his chosen career path is not one destined for the big bucks, but in pursuit of said career, he has racked up some debt. Fair enough, that’s a common situation. He also has some decent retirement investing options laid out in front of him by his ... Continue reading this article…

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Go to College Without Going Into Debt: Impossible?

by Luke Landes

According to the Motley Fool UK, the Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) has stated that unless parents are in the fortunate position to provide their children with “absolute financial support” during higher education, that students must accept debt as a fact of life. (Students Must Accept Debt, Motley Fool UK.) The rising cost of a ... Continue reading this article…

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My Struggle: Spending on Food is Really About Motivation

by Luke Landes

Donna Freedman’s MoneyCentral article reminds me of an issue with which I consistently fail each time I’ve made the attempt over the last few years. In the article, the author provides some success stories for those who have saved money by “brown-bagging” their lunch rather than buying each day. Here is one example: “I never ... Continue reading this article…

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