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

Government to Regulate Credit Card Swipe Fees

by Smithee

It will be at least a month until we know what the final financial overhaul bill looks like and exactly what proposals are being made, but one smaller provision that exists in similar formats in both pieces of legislation is a change to the way debit and credit cards are handled in stores. Currently, the ... Continue reading this article…

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Local or Online Stores: Pay More for the Personal Touch?

by Luke Landes

About a month ago, I spoke with Tom Dziubek about frugal photography for the Consumerism Commentary Podcast. The frugal philosophy is simple: always pay the least for the level of quality you want. In a field like photography where electronic equipment is the focus, your best friends are Amazon.com, eBay, Craigslist, and specialty stores like ... Continue reading this article…

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Discover Bank’s IRA CDs: High Interest Rates, FDIC Guarantee

by Luke Landes

With thirty years or so until retirement, I haven’t considered investing in certificates of deposit in my retirement accounts, money I would hopefully have no need to touch for decades. Despite recent problems, the stock market is expected to provide the best returns, even with risk, over a long period of time. But not everyone ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 57: Beneficial Bank’s Education-Themed Banking Concept

by Luke Landes

Today’s guest on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast is Gerry Cuddy, President and CEO of Beneficial Bank. Tom Dziubek talks to Gerry about the two new banks that Beneficial recently opened in NJ and how their financial literacy approach differs from other banks. Consumerism Commentary Podcast #57 Beneficial Bank, Gerry Cuddy Production/Segment: S03E05 / 75 Adobe ... Continue reading this article…

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New Credit Card Statement Design Means Lower Balances

by Smithee

According to an online poll conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (which exists to encourage you to set up a payment plan, but that doesn’t necessarily make their data suspect), Americans are more likely to pay more toward their credit card debt since their statements were re-designed to show just how awfully long ... Continue reading this article…

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Wall Street Reform Bill Passes Senate

by Luke Landes

In December of last year, the House of Representatives passed a bill designed to reform the financial industry, introducing more consumer protection and more regulation of Wall Street firms and other financial businesses. The Senate also tackled the controversial topic of financial reform, passing its own version of the bill yesterday. Though not an attractive ... Continue reading this article…

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Contact a Taxpayer Advocate to Help Resolve Tax Issues

by Luke Landes

A year ago, the first-time home buyer credit was still rather new, and the IRS began allowing taxpayers to amend their 2008 tax returns to receive the credit early. At that time, if documentation was in order, it took about six weeks to receive a check for the $8,000 credit. That didn’t last long. Within ... Continue reading this article…

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SmartyPig Raises Interest Rate Today

by Luke Landes

In March, I opened a savings goal with SmartyPig, and I’ve been sending $172.20 from my ING Direct account every two weeks since then. My savings goal is to expand my collection of photography equipment to include a full-frame digital camera. I originally identified the Canon EOS 5D Mark II as my planned purchase, but ... Continue reading this article…

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18 Year Old Buys Investment Property With Hog Money

by Luke Landes

Lindsay Binegar, now nineteen years old, has been raising hogs on her family farm in Highland County, Ohio, since she was at least four years old. That was the age at which she showed her first hog and earned $100. Since that time, Lindsey entered hogs in competitions, saving every penny she earned from these ... Continue reading this article…

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New Small Business Health Care Tax Credit

by Smithee

Yesterday the IRS issued the first set of rules for small businesses to benefit from a tax credit signed into law as part of the Affordable Care Act. Detailed guidelines with examples are available (PDF), but to summarize: the credit is available to small employers that pay at least half the cost of single coverage ... Continue reading this article…

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