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Traffic Cameras, Salad Dressing and Capital Losses

This article was written by in Link Sharing. 11 comments.


The snow is falling hard in my corner of New Jersey. After Christmas in Queens, New York, I rushed home last night to stay ahead of the storm. The current weather reports are calling for 12 to 18 inches of the white stuff on the ground by the time the storm has passed. We’ve stocked up on food to make life easier for us. I’d like to avoid leaving the house if possible.

I’d encourage everyone in the area to stay safe, as well.

Here are some recent articles from the Yakezie for you to read, particularly if you are stuck in a snow storm.

NJ City Collects Over $1 Million in 3 Months From Red Light Cameras. As mentioned on KNS Financial, the town of Linden has contracted a company to manage cameras that automatically take pictures of cars whose drivers violate red lights. Is this about improving safety or about earning money? In the past three months, the contractor sent out 20,000 tickets for a town with 40,000 residents. I agree that towns should do as much as necessary to ensure safety at intersections, but I’m not comfortable with automated cameras and contractors doing the work of police. How do you feel about these traffic law enforcement cameras?

Why Choosing Debit or Credit is Like Picking Salad Dressing. Len Penzo often can’t decide which dressing he wants on his salad when he dines out. If you use a debit card, often a merchant will ask you if you want to use “debit or credit.” This is a misnomer, of course. The retailer really wants to know if you want to use a PIN to verify your transaction (over the debit or check card network) or sign to verify (over the credit card network, on which most debit cards can be validated). In some cases, when you choose “credit,” you don’t have to sign if the purchase is small enough. Both methods operate with your bank account the same way, but you might qualify for more rewards if you choose the signature option when using your debit card.

Is it time to sell year-end capital losses? If you want to use losses on your income tax return to offset gains, lowering your final tax bill, it’s not a bad idea. In the article, Money Reasons explains the rules for using this tax offset. I don’t think this is a good overall strategy for investing; buy when holding stock in a company will be better than not holding stock; sell only when the investment is no longer good (or you need the cash). Getting into the habit of looking to mitigate taxes even if it’s not a good investment decision could result in poor performance over the long run. Personally, I stick to index mutual funds and don’t plan to sell often.

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Published or updated December 26, 2010. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar MR ♦295 (Nickel)

Thanks for the mention!

I usually don’t have too many losses, but I did have some lingering from 2008. I also like to use any losses in my kid’s accounts to offset any gains that they have, and since I invested in the same stocks in all accounts, they had some smell stocks in their portfolio than needed cut loose too.

Hopefully, in 2011 I won’t have any losses!

Hope you had a great holiday!

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avatar Yana

On “Salad Dressing”:

Chase has a promotion called Chase Picks Up the Tab. I signed up officially for it at a branch, and was encouraged to remember to sign for the purchases rather than entering a pin. It is normal for me to use a debit card and call it a credit card, signing, but I had to remember to change my ways for this one. The official rules declare that if you win (up to $200) by using the debit card, you win the amount of purchase. I make many purchases that are under $10. Not much prize potential there. There is an alternate method of entry without a purchase requirement, and the prize is a $200 check. One can enter frequently, and that is what my husband and I have been doing. Meanwhile, I am defying the banker’s instructions to call it credit when I use the card, and also defying my own ordinary habit. I accidentally used the card to pay for an online service – I had thought I could use PayPal, but the merchant sent me a Google Checkout invoice. That was a nuisance, as I prefer PayPal and don’t like giving a phone number as requried for Google Checkout, but I did it and stupidly used the Chase card for a $16 purchase! I pray I don’t win on that one. LOL

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avatar eric ♦1,549 (Half-Dollar)

My sister just got hit with a red light camera ticket. I’m sure she agrees with you ;)

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avatar Juggler314

The only way the red light camera’s pass muster is that they specifically *don’t* do police work. At least in nyc if you run a red light with a camera you get a “fine” from the finance department, it’s got nothing at all to do with the NYPD. They do this because it wouldn’t pass muster in court very easily (plus it would clog up the courts – I got one that was totally unwarranted, just not worth fighting). They don’t go on your license in NY because of this, and thus don’t carry points and the relatively low fine ($50, vs $115 for most parking tickets) most people just pay it.

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avatar Investor Junkie

In reality it’s just another “tax”. Anything to increase revenues without actually increasing taxes.

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avatar krantcents

Traffic cameras are the new revenue source! There a stop sign in Los Angeles that has one of those Traffic cameras. I think one of those cameras caught me on my bicycle a couple weeks ago. Theuy couldn’t give the ticket. No license plates!. I feel your pain regarding the snow storm. I am an ex New Yorker who moved to Los Angeles a long time ago. .

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avatar Evan

I have gotten hit with multiple red light camera tickets and they are SO FRUSTRATING. There is something really “I don’t care about your civil rights” with those things installed.

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avatar Investor Junkie

Evan,
Expect more of them in Nassau and Suffolk next year.

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avatar KNS Financial ♦404 (Nickel)

Hey Flexo, how much snow did you end up with? I’m not even sure about us, but my aunt in Elizabeth got hit with about 32 inches! Anyway, thanks for including my link about the red light cameras!

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,370 (Platinum)

No problem. If I had to guess, we got 12 to 18 inches here as far as I can tell.

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avatar KNS Financial ♦404 (Nickel)

It looks like the entire state got really beat up!

I think I’m going to dig our cars out today. I’m off for the entire week, but I think my wife is going to make me do it!

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