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Decline Your Own Credit Card With MasterCard’s Help

by Luke Landes

If you can’t control your own credit card spending, MasterCard is partnering with Citi to come to your rescue. The two companies are announcing a new credit card featuring a service called inControl. This will allow card holders to customize spending limits by category, by country, or by several other criteria. The service is already ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Not Get Hired: Drink or Hold Alcohol

by Luke Landes

My job interview for my current corporate position included, for some reason, discussion of visiting bars on the Jersey shore to listen to mediocre cover bands. While in my future manager’s office, we were not actually drinking. It’s a good thing there was no alcohol during the interview, because rather than winning the job, if ... Continue reading this article…

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How To Combine Finances for Couples

by Luke Landes
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When a couple marries or otherwise commits to be in a long-term relationship with each other, the question of whether to combine money usually arises. The debate about whether what could be called “his money” and “her money” should become “our money” is endless. Different arrangements work for different couples, and this article doesn’t address ... Continue reading this article…

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Reducing the Cost of Dentist Care

by Luke Landes

How often do you visit the dentist for preventive care? Since graduating college, I’ve been getting regular check-ups and cleanings twice each year. I’ve seen the results of neglect, and I have no desire to lose my teeth any time soon. I’ve also seen results of bad dental work, so it’s imperative not only to ... Continue reading this article…

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New Financial Regulations in the Wall Street Reform Law

by Luke Landes

Updated: The media are calling the new Wall Street Reform Law, recently signed by President Obama, the most significant reform of the financial industry since the Great Depression. It looks to tighten the reins on a industry that helped cause the recent recession by requiring the Federal Reserve to create and enforce regulations on the ... Continue reading this article…

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Turn Off Your Air Conditioner and Save Summer Money

by Luke Landes

Last week, the New York metropolitan area experiences a heat wave with temperatures above 100°F for several days. The hazy, hot, and humid weather kept people in the air-conditioned indoors as much as possible. Con Edison, the power company that provides electricity to New York City, called customers asking them to preserve energy by turning ... Continue reading this article…

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Home Buyer Tax Credit Extension

by Luke Landes

Good news, everyone. The home buyer tax credit extension, after failing in the Senate last week, was finally passed by the House of Representatives earlier this week and the Senate late last night. The bill that includes the extension has been signed into law by President Obama on Friday, July 2. Originally, before the extension, ... Continue reading this article…

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Buy a Meal at Panera, Pay What You Want

by Luke Landes

In the movie Clerks, the convenience store cashier, Dante, occasionally takes a break from manning the counter. Rather than ensuring every customer paid for his or her items, he leaves a sign: “Please leave money on the counter. Take change when applicable. Be honest.” Dante believes customers assume they are being watched and will leave ... Continue reading this article…

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Pet Ownership: A Financial and Emotional Responsibility

by Luke Landes

My household has almost always included pets. First, let me establish the true hierarchy. It’s very clear when you live with one cat or more that they own the place, and we humans are only permitted to share living space with them because we provide food and shelter. The only years I’ve lived in a ... 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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Getting a Better and Cheaper Shave

by Luke Landes

One successful retail business model is the concept in which a company sells a main device at a discounted price while the necessary, refillable or replaceable supplies for that device are sold at a premium. One example is the ink-jet or laser printer; the printers are generally priced to be bargains, occasionally included for free ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Teach Kids About Advertising

by Luke Landes

As I sat down to write this article, a commercial for an upcoming movie appeared on the television. Here was my thought process throughout the minute-long trailer. One: I recognize that voice. That’s Ben Stiller, who is adequate in comedies but better in movies that are slightly off mainstream. Two: The music in the background ... Continue reading this article…

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Is Netflix Streaming a Good Deal?

by Smithee

My wife and I use Netflix‘s streaming service as one of the pillars that holds up our cable-free entertainment setup. It was also the main reason I started subscribing to a XBox Live Gold membership, though that comes with some other benefits which I always forget about until the moment I notice them. The XBox ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Invest With Inflation on the Way

by Greg McFarlane

This is a guest article by Greg McFarlane, the author of Control Your Cash: Making Money Make Sense, a financial primer for people in their twenties and thirties who know nothing about money. People have feared inflation ever since… well, since the dollar’s last rampant bout of inflation in 1977. However, there’s every reason to ... Continue reading this article…

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The New Health Insurance Law and Your Money

by Smithee

Aside from some procedural maneuvering in the Senate, the health insurance reform bill that Congress has been working on for the last year, now falling under the Reconciliation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4872) and the Senate health bill, will soon be signed into law. How is the new law going to affect your personal finances? ... Continue reading this article…

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Use Less Soap and Detergent in the Washing Machine

by Luke Landes

Doing laundry is one of those chores that’s rather easy, but I find myself avoiding it as much as possible. As a result, I end up doing large loads every seven to ten days. Even for these full loads of clothing, I usually only fill the detergent cup about half way. Even at that point, ... Continue reading this article…

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Take a New Inventory of Your Credit Cards or Pay New Fees

by Luke Landes

I’m growing more concerned about my relationship with credit card issuers. We’ve been getting along mostly well for several years. I charge many of my expenses, pay my bills on time, collect some rewards, and they don’t levy any additional fees. These companies are certainly making money off of me through the interchange fees they ... Continue reading this article…

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How To Handle Requests For Financial Advice

by Luke Landes

I don’t have to remind myself that I’m not an expert when it comes to money. While my choices have improved over the past few years, I still make mistakes at about the same rate I always have. Even recently, I thought I could outsmart the public and take advantage of Toyota’s recent bad news. ... Continue reading this article…

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Realistic Expectations For Making Money Through Blogging

by Luke Landes

When I started Consumerism Commentary in 2003, after about eight years of writing on the internet in a smaller, more personal capacity, I only had two goals: to track my finances while working to improve my money situation and to learn more about personal finance by finding articles, sharing links, and adding occasional thoughts of ... Continue reading this article…

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