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avatar You are viewing an archive of articles by Smithee. Smithee formerly lived primarily on credit cards and the good will of his friends. He is a newbie to personal finance but quickly learning from his past mistakes. You can follow him on Twitter, where his user name is @SmitheeConsumer.


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 […]

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Smithee Debt Update, Mid-May 2010

by Smithee

Happy Vacation-makes-finances-a-bit-messy Friday! It’s been about a month since my last credit card debt update. Since then, we managed to pull off something akin to a coup or a miracle. With help from my wife’s bonuses (which are only considered miraculous because mis-management at her company makes those difficult to realize), we were able to […]

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Legacy Credit Card Debt: Gone

by Smithee

I mentally separated my two credit cards into “Legacy Debt” and “Newer Debt”. The former has been with me on a variety of cards, banks, and interest rates since 1997, but in the last couple of years I consolidated it onto one card that I haven’t used to purchase anything. I’ve been paying it off […]

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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 […]

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Set Your ATM Preferences

by Smithee

Marketing e-mails, provided they make it through Google’s top-notch spam filters, get about half a second of attention from me before they get deleted. I’ll spend a bit more time if they come from my bank, and Chase recently caught my eye with an announcement about “setting your ATM preferences” (especially since a large part […]

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Will You Pay for Hulu?

by Smithee

This is a follow-up to my earlier post last October when serious speculation started about how Hulu would charge for content. To summarize my first post: Sure, I’ll pay for Hulu, provided they get rid of the ads. One business model is plenty. This week, the news broke about Hulu Plus, a $10 / month […]

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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 […]

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Smithee Debt Update, Mid-April 2010

by Smithee

Happy Friday. It’s been just about a month since my last debt update, and I’m feeling relatively successful at it. I’m still on track to get rid of it by July, having eradicated $1,267.39 in the last four weeks. Aside from the satisfaction of persistence, there’s actual good news: as of yesterday, my employer has […]

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Everlasting Fun Ball: a Toy for Dogs

by Smithee

As you might know, I live alongside three ridiculous dogs. We take turns being in charge, but most of the time I end up feeling like their servant with titles like “Emergency Backup Food Giver” or “Guy With the Food That Smells Better Than Mine.” The eldest of our three dogs has a friendly relationship […]

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Shaving: Neither Electric Nor Expensive

by Smithee

I have trouble shaving, and it seemed to be getting worse with age. It seemed that no matter what I did, I’d end up with a red bumpy neck and hairy spots I had missed. In the last eighteen years, I’ve tried every normal razor and electric razor I could find, and none of them […]

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