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More Maintenance on the Civic

by Luke Landes

My 2004 Honda Civic LX is still a wonderful car. I passed 30,000 miles last month and, as I want to keep current with maintenance, I took the car in for tire rotation, an oil change, a new air filter, and a brake inspection. Last time, I took my car to the dealer and spent ... Continue reading this article…

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Can a 25-Year-Old Retire At 50?

by Luke Landes

That’s the question tackled by Walter Updegrave in his CNN Money column, Ask the Expert. Here are the given facts: the individual is 25 years old, contributes 10 percent to his 401(k) and maxes out his Roth IRA. Will that be enough to retire in twenty-five years? Walter thinks he has a lot of work ... Continue reading this article…

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In The Event Of An Emergency

by Luke Landes

CNN offers good advice when it comes to determining what to do when disaster strikes: * Get yourself safe, then busy. Water, food and shelter first, and accept any offers of short-term help in the form of cash. * Get to a bank. In a pinch, any bank. Without identification, they’ll work doubly hard to ... Continue reading this article…

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401(k) Withdrawal Break for Victims

by Luke Landes

Those affected by Katrina will be allowed to withdraw money from their 401(k) plans, free of any penalties. The IRS has decided (and will announce shortly, according to the article) that they are going to allow this. In situations like those that Katrina has wrought upon thousands of people, simple cash or otherwise liquid emergency ... Continue reading this article…

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Gas-Guzzlers Downshift

by Luke Landes

Coult it be that American consumers have started turning thier backs to gas-guzzling monster machines? From CNN: * Large SUV sales are 11.2 percent lower than they were at this time last year, according to AutoData. * In the “beige book” released Wednesday, the Federal Reserve reported a shift to vehicles that use less gas. ... Continue reading this article…

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Honda Civic 2006 Redesign

by Luke Landes

I drive a 2004 Honda Civic, but the new 2006 models look rather nice. I won’t be upgrading any time soon, but take a look at the new dashboard. Me like shiny lights. Our test car came with a very smooth automatic, but we’d prefer the manual for an extra measure of power. Fuel economy ... Continue reading this article…

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ING Direct Adds Account Linking Feature

by Luke Landes

This may be old news, as I don’t know when this feature was added, but it is definitely appreciated. I was reading the seven simple solutions for managing your money from Kiplinger, and it inspired me to automatically deposit my paycheck (through Direct Deposit) into an savings account rather than my checking account. I found ... Continue reading this article…

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Katrina Donations Scams

by Luke Landes

There are an increasing amount of Katrina-related donation scams out there. Please, please educate yourself before giving. If you are not already familiar with the organization to which you choose to give, a certain amount of due diligence should be done. Check ScamBusters as a starting point. The Better Business Bureau can only be trusted ... Continue reading this article…

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What More Could Be Said

by Luke Landes

The country is obivously still reeling from Katrina. While talking about anything else makes little sense, with every blogger already writing about the event, evaluating governmental response, placing blame, and/or declaring on how they will give money to support those seeking refuge, I feel like the topic has been talked out. The logical conclusion of ... Continue reading this article…

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Price Gouging at the Pump?

by Luke Landes

Hurricane Katrina, as it shut down refineries in the Gulf of Mexico, is cited as the reason for the sharp increase in gas prices in the last 48 hours or so. My faovrite gas station has its prices blocked out on its display board, and I assume this means they are no longer selling unleaded ... Continue reading this article…

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Government Seizes Valuable Coins

by Luke Landes

Several coins created by the U.S. Mint in 1933, worth about $1 million apiece, were seized by the government. The double eagles, originally worth $20, are highly valued because they were never circulated. A few years ago, one sold for $7.59 million, but that one coin is also the only 1933 double eagle legal to ... Continue reading this article…

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Hawaiian Gas Caps

by Luke Landes

When we talk about gas caps, we are usually referring to the round knob that you remove when you stop to fill up your tank and sometimes forget to replace before driving away. But there’s a new kind of gas cap in the Aloha State. Hawaiians have now been assured by law that they will ... Continue reading this article…

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New Personal Finance Blog on the Horizon?

by Luke Landes

Weblogs, Inc. will apparently be starting a personal finance blog, most likely with the hopes of generating ad revenue. I’ll be keeping my eyes open to see what direction their blog takes. It makes sense; personal finance blogs have received some friendly press from the Wall Street Journal print and online editions lately. A smart ... Continue reading this article…

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How Much Will I Spend On Gas This Year?

by Luke Landes

I’m in the mood for some calculations. I paid $2.47 per gallon for gasoline last night. What will it cost me to drive to work this year, assuming $2.50 is the average I’ll pay? I drive 80 miles to and from work (combined) each day. To make the calculation easy, let’s say each year I ... Continue reading this article…

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Stupid Investment of the Week

by Luke Landes

On MarketWatch, Chuck Jaffe presents his Stupid Investment of the Week. In this case, it is the STAR Trader Workshop. If workshops like these have superfans, I am the farthest from one. Luckilly, Chuck lost only time and not money by attending an introductory workshop. This seminar, as advertised on television infomercials, is supposed to ... Continue reading this article…

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Don’t Regret

by Luke Landes

Jeanne Sahadi regrets her past mistakes of inaction. We can all learn from her mistakes, I believe. In the article, she mentions three actions she wishes she had taken which would have improved her financial situation. Use a Roth IRA to save for a down payment. Roth IRAs are generally thought of accounts for retirement, ... Continue reading this article…

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Vacation In Total

by Luke Landes

So, how much did I spend on my vacation to Williamsburg, Virginia? Let’s take a look.

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Natural Gas Bills in NJ

by Luke Landes

The company that provides electricity to my apartment is PSE&G (a division of PSEG, which is merging with Exelon, just to confuse matters more). They successfully lobbied the state of New Jersey to be allowed to raise customer prices, so I’ll be looking at a 10.6 percent increase in my heating bills.

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And We’re Off

by Luke Landes

We’re about to get into the car to drive down to Williamsburg, Virginia, for a mini-vacation, returning Monday afternoon. Unfortunately, I’ll be bringing my computer with me — I have school work to do while we’re gone — so it’s likely you’ll still hear from me occasionally over the next few days.

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Frugal Wines

by Luke Landes

If you like wine and you like saving money, you might enjoy this article. The New York Times is featuring an article describing some great wines under ten bucks. In the white category, several come from South Africa. Some of the reds on the list come from the United States. There’s a winery in Williamsburg ... Continue reading this article…

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