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Consumerism Commentary



Consumerism Commentary offers daily articles focusing on personal finance and living.



Last Build Date: Sat, 25 Mar 2017 18:49:08 +0000

 



How to Best Handle Old Credit Card Accounts

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 18:34:13 +0000

One of the best things you can do to build awareness of your financial condition is to view your credit report. Your financial condition — as perceived by potential lenders — can cost or save you thousands of extra dollars throughout your credit repayments, such as the life of a mortgage, for instance. You can […]

The post How to Best Handle Old Credit Card Accounts appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Blue Cash Preferred Card® from American Express Review – 10% Cash Back at Restaurants

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 15:00:09 +0000

When the Credit Card Act was passed years ago, many thought it would be the end of credit card rewards programs. Despite increased costs of operations, credit card issuers continue to beef up their attempts to attract new customers, with bonuses for signing up and growing perks. The best cards you’ll find today seem to […]

The post Blue Cash Preferred Card® from American Express Review – 10% Cash Back at Restaurants appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Here Are 4 of the Biggest Risks When You Invest

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 14:34:32 +0000

No investment is without risk. You may feel safe when you do what financial advisers consider the “right thing” — invest in a broad stock market index fund with a long-term view — but there is risk there as well. Unfortunately, to build wealth over time, investors need to accept a significant amount of risk. […]

The post Here Are 4 of the Biggest Risks When You Invest appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Should I Quit My Job? Ask These 8 Questions First

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 18:00:36 +0000

So, you think you want to leave your job. Now what? Job dissatisfaction is a worldwide experience, and the occasional desire to quit is universal. When unemployment is high, however, employees of all types can be wary about leaving one job. Employers have all the power in the relationship, and people often feel that staying […]

The post Should I Quit My Job? Ask These 8 Questions First appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Will P2P Platforms Continue to be Solid Investments?

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 18:22:22 +0000

In your personal finance journey, you may or may not have come across peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms. The great news is, these have proven to be solid investments over the past few years, providing much higher returns than what you could earn on bank investments. But we have to wonder:  will P2P platforms continue to […]

The post Will P2P Platforms Continue to be Solid Investments? appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




The Best Budget Tools for Tracking Your Money

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 18:06:11 +0000

Budgeting doesn’t come naturally for everyone. Some of us need a little assistance with tracking our income and spending. That’s where budgeting tools come in. There are several front runners in this space. Many of them offer a wide range of features to help you manage your money better. Here are four of the best […]

The post The Best Budget Tools for Tracking Your Money appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




What is Apple Going to Do with All That Cash?

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 13:30:24 +0000

In 1977, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak incorporated a little start-up company called Apple Computer. For the first 25 years of Apple’s existence, they were simply a personal computer company, one which plugged in millions of Americans across the country. For the last 15 years, however, Apple has been everything else. They’ve been music players, […]

The post What is Apple Going to Do with All That Cash? appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




The Obamacare Mandate is Dead — Will There Be a Trumpcare Mandate?

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:14:49 +0000

Former President Barack Obama signed an order into law back in March 2010, which later became known as Obamacare. He did so with the hope that it would revolutionize the way Americans handled their healthcare.  However, if Obamacare was to ever survive, it required a large number of healthy individuals to sign-up for healthcare. To […]

The post The Obamacare Mandate is Dead — Will There Be a Trumpcare Mandate? appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Thinking About Travel Hacking? Watch Out For the 5/24 Rule

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:51:41 +0000

So, you’re thinking about adding some plastic to your wallet. You want to take advantage of as many bonuses and offers as possible, and you definitely want to earn cash back where you can. You may even be thinking about travel hacking, where you open a number of new accounts in order to reel in […]

The post Thinking About Travel Hacking? Watch Out For the 5/24 Rule appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express – 35,000 Starwood Points Review

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 23:42:50 +0000

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is continually one of the best-reviewed cards from this issuer. Card owners are also the most likely to rate high on customer satisfaction surveys. This is probably due to the fact that the card offers excellent incentives and a low interest rate. NEW LIMITED TIME OFFER […]

The post Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express – 35,000 Starwood Points Review appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Buy It Right or Buy It Twice: When It’s Worth Paying More for Quality

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 14:48:51 +0000

Whether or not you should pay more for quality is a decision that comes up often when shopping. The answer varies depending on the product.For some purchases, paying more is a giant waste of money which would be better spent elsewhere. For other items, it’s well worth the additional investment up front to ensure a […]

The post Buy It Right or Buy It Twice: When It’s Worth Paying More for Quality appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Humana: Yet Another Player Pulling Out of Obamacare

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 19:02:04 +0000

After pulling out of a merger deal with Aetna, major insurance company Humana announced that it will drop out of the Affordable Care Act exchange in 2018. The company had already been scaling back its plans available on the exchange. For 2017, it was only selling policies in 11 states. Although Humana has been a […]

The post Humana: Yet Another Player Pulling Out of Obamacare appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




A Sign of the Times: Amazon to Begin Accepting Food Stamps

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 19:46:56 +0000

There are over 44 million Americans currently receiving SNAP benefits, better known as food stamps. This financial assistance was designed to provide nutritious food to qualifying citizens, and about 54% of beneficiaries are children and the elderly. However, there are a number of struggles that SNAP recipients can face as far as actually spending these […]

The post A Sign of the Times: Amazon to Begin Accepting Food Stamps appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Am I Required to Report My (Unconventional) Income to the IRS?

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 18:37:28 +0000

Ah, taxes. They’re unavoidable, often painful to think about, and take a nice chunk out of everything that we earn. (Thanks, Uncle Sam.) If you are a W-2 employee, your employer skims your taxes off of your paycheck, so you never even see that money — but what if your income sources are more, ahem, […]

The post Am I Required to Report My (Unconventional) Income to the IRS? appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Trump Nixes the Fiduciary Rule Today… Is This A Good Idea?

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 15:38:29 +0000

If you’ve been paying attention to financial news, you’ve probably heard mention of the fiduciary rule. This rule was approved last year under the Obama administration, with the goal of increasing transparency within the investment realm. It was designed to force advisors to suggest investment products to their clients that were more affordable, rather than […]

The post Trump Nixes the Fiduciary Rule Today… Is This A Good Idea? appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




The Latte Factor: Your Spending Reflects Your Priorities

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 15:29:58 +0000

The concept of the Latte Factor is one of the most divisive in personal finance. Money gurus get so worked up over whether the Latte Factor is a valuable lesson in money management, that one might think the issue were as important as the national debt. Most of the time, passionate responses pertaining to the […]

The post The Latte Factor: Your Spending Reflects Your Priorities appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Getting Out of Debt: Make That New Year’s Resolution Work

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 16:00:21 +0000

Along with losing weight, getting out of debt is the most popular New Year’s resolutions in the United States. This resolution, like all others, unfortunately tends to be forgotten within weeks. Well, if you resolved to get out of debt this year — and haven’t yet abandoned that idea now that we are at the […]

The post Getting Out of Debt: Make That New Year’s Resolution Work appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Millennials Don’t Use Credit… But Should They?

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 13:05:00 +0000

A recent survey by Bankrate showed that many millennials don’t carry credit cards on a day-to-day basis. In fact, just 33% of those surveyed in the 18 to 29 crowd even owned a credit card at the time of the survey. People in the 30 to 49 category carried significantly more plastic, with about 55% […]

The post Millennials Don’t Use Credit… But Should They? appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Can You Afford to Stay Home With Your Kids?

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 16:37:03 +0000

This is a guest article by Mike Collins, creator of Wealthyturtle.com. He shares with us how he and his wife decided to become a single-income family, and he offers some useful advice for those struggling with the same decision. Most new parents will at least consider the idea of living on a single income so […]

The post Can You Afford to Stay Home With Your Kids? appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




H&R Block Online Tax Filing Review

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 12:00:12 +0000

With W-2s and other tax forms now appearing in our mailboxes (or inboxes) daily, chances are that taxes are on your mind. If you believe you’ll owe money to the government, it makes sense to put off filing as long as possible, up to this year’s filing deadline. If you expect to receive a refund, […]

The post H&R Block Online Tax Filing Review appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Would You Rather Receive a Refund or Owe More Taxes?

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 13:00:00 +0000

If you haven’t noticed, it’s tax time. I have noticed, not only because of the endless emails I receive reminding me of this grand celebration, but also because of the people with whom I interact. As those I know complete their tax returns, I observe their pure joy as they realize they’ll be receiving a […]

The post Would You Rather Receive a Refund or Owe More Taxes? appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Where Can I Buy Bitcoin Online?

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 16:50:11 +0000

Full disclosure alert, I’m a bit of a bitcoin junkie.  Globally, access to bitcoin is much easier with dozens of funding methods for international investors. However, the US of A has yet to embrace the bitcoin, so being able to buy and sell the cryptocurrency is a lot harder than you might think. When bitcoin started […]

The post Where Can I Buy Bitcoin Online? appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




The Philadelphia Soda Tax Is Now In Effect – Time to Start Drinking Water

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 18:10:53 +0000

Last year, the city of Philadelphia decided to pass into law a “beverage tax,” which taxes the sugary drinks you consume at the rate of 1.5 cents per ounce.  At the time, there was some considerable outcry from residents of the city. Nevertheless, the government stuck to their guns. Well, at the turn of this new […]

The post The Philadelphia Soda Tax Is Now In Effect – Time to Start Drinking Water appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




The Financial Checklist Manifesto

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 14:00:55 +0000

There are so many different ways to organize, prioritize, and classify your tasks and responsibilities. You’d probably need a couple years just to sort through all of them on your own. You can have an organizer on your computer, your phone, in your pocket, or a notebook. If you’re short of paper, you can just […]

The post The Financial Checklist Manifesto appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




US Conforming Loan Limits (Finally) Rise for the First Time Since 2006

Fri, 30 Dec 2016 19:16:26 +0000

If you are a homeowner or have looked at buying a home in the near future, you probably know all about conforming loans. While the limits for these types of loans have remained stagnant for the past decade, steady increases in the housing marking have prompted this ceiling to rise for the first time since […]

The post US Conforming Loan Limits (Finally) Rise for the First Time Since 2006 appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Why Do I Have More Than One Credit Score?

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 13:17:59 +0000

At some point in your life, you’ve talked about your credit score. In fact, you’ve probably talked about it many, many times. What it is, how to improve it, how much you paid to get it… But what if I told you that “it” is really just one of dozens of potential scores out there, […]

The post Why Do I Have More Than One Credit Score? appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




How to Create the Ultimate CD Ladder

Fri, 23 Dec 2016 12:30:19 +0000

The low interest rates offered by even the highest-yield savings and money market accounts are disappointing for savers. Even as the Fed starts to raise rates, savings account yields haven’t budged. So, do we just give up the idea of earning anything on our savings? Well, not necessarily. One alternative is to create what’s called a CD […]

The post How to Create the Ultimate CD Ladder appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Credit Karma is Offering 100% Free Tax Software – Look Out Turbo Tax

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 15:47:43 +0000

The first time I filed my very own taxes was with Turbo Tax, back in 2003. I was 18 years old at the time, attending college, and it was the first year my parents could not claim me as a dependent. I had earned a fair amount of income from my jobs on campus (and […]

The post Credit Karma is Offering 100% Free Tax Software – Look Out Turbo Tax appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Today is the Day to Finish Your Gift-Buying… It’s Free Shipping Day!

Fri, 16 Dec 2016 19:17:56 +0000

Well, we’re less than two weeks from Christmas, which means the shopping pinch is upon us. If you’re like me, you’re probably nowhere near done with your Christmas shopping – still have three people to shop for, and we are coming down to the wire. This year, though, I’m avoiding that last-minute, mad dash at […]

The post Today is the Day to Finish Your Gift-Buying… It’s Free Shipping Day! appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




The Price of Oil is on the Rise. Is That Good for You?

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 20:52:24 +0000

After a lull in the price of a barrel, we are seeing the cost of oil begin to once again increase. With it comes increased revenue and, in turn, money being pumped into both the stock market and the economy. So, is this good news for the average person? Well, the immediate answer is no, probably […]

The post The Price of Oil is on the Rise. Is That Good for You? appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Which Credit Card Should Be Your First?

Tue, 13 Dec 2016 03:50:10 +0000

Getting your first credit card is a significant financial milestone. Maybe you’re a college student jumping into personal finance for the first time. Or maybe you’ve just never had a reason to get a credit card before. Regardless, you may be overwhelmed with all the options that are out there. When it comes to getting […]

The post Which Credit Card Should Be Your First? appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




How One Cafe is Changing Financial Wellness for Chicagoans

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 05:15:18 +0000

Last week, I walked into a hip coffee shop nestled between Ann Taylor Loft and Urban Outfitters. Located in a family-friendly Chicago neighborhood on a cheerful, bustling street, the cafe didn’t appear to be anything other than typical. However, I soon learned that Next Door Cafe was offering a lot more than your run-of-the-mill espresso. […]

The post How One Cafe is Changing Financial Wellness for Chicagoans appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Year End Reminder: Change Your 401(k) Contribution Level Now

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 14:00:26 +0000

At the end of the year, most people in the United States are thinking about the holidays and the potential credit card bills for gifts and family visits. One good way to control this potentially stressful month is to take some time to breathe and get your own finances in order. There are several actions […]

The post Year End Reminder: Change Your 401(k) Contribution Level Now appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Will a Bonus Make You Pay Higher Federal Taxes?

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 15:05:02 +0000

With the holidays approaching, many companies are preparing their bonus checks. However, some employees who are looking forward to their bonuses are also concerned about tax consequences. I gave up this “extra” part of my corporate pay, in exchange for the benefit of working for myself, when I left my day job a few years […]

The post Will a Bonus Make You Pay Higher Federal Taxes? appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Will Traditional Retirement Accounts Allow You to Retire Early?

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 14:07:00 +0000

If you plan to retire early, you may be wondering whether it makes sense to invest in traditional retirement accounts, such as employer-sponsored 401(k)s/403(b)s and IRAs/Roth IRAs. The speculation comes into play because there’s an early withdrawal penalty when you take money out of these accounts before age 59 ½. I argue that it’s still […]

The post Will Traditional Retirement Accounts Allow You to Retire Early? appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Can You Earn More With a Fidelity CD Ladder?

Fri, 25 Nov 2016 17:40:40 +0000

It’s been a long time since banks offered savings accounts with decent returns. The Fed may raise interest this year, meaning rates could finally rise. In the meantime, what do you do? If you’re looking for a quick way to create an investment vehicle that is FDIC insured, and promises greater returns than online savings, […]

The post Can You Earn More With a Fidelity CD Ladder? appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




A Penny Saved is $1,000 Earned

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 15:33:46 +0000

Are you the type of person who picks up coins on the street? Even pennies? Well, I’d encourage you to step up the habit — and the rest of you may want to take up this hobby, at least for the next few weeks. Ally Bank has a fun scavenger hunt promotion going on right […]

The post A Penny Saved is $1,000 Earned appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Amazon Prime: Is It Worth the Cost?

Mon, 14 Nov 2016 21:36:50 +0000

In 2006, I was receiving about five deliveries a week from online shopping orders. What can I say? I was an online shopaholic. Amazon Prime was only a year old at the time, and I became tired of hoarding filler items in order to qualify for the $25 free shipping minimum. To me, receiving free […]

The post Amazon Prime: Is It Worth the Cost? appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Trump’s Childcare Plan: How the DCSA Will Affect You

Sat, 12 Nov 2016 07:22:49 +0000

Whether you’re taking care of multiple children, a disabled spouse, or elderly parents, you’ve likely experienced the high cost of dependent care firsthand. With expenses from babysitters to after school programs, it can be difficult to stay ahead of all your other financial obligations while spending on dependent care. To help make dependent care more […]

The post Trump’s Childcare Plan: How the DCSA Will Affect You appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




11 Ways to Start Preparing for the Holiday Shopping Pinch

Wed, 09 Nov 2016 23:26:00 +0000

Does your New Year usually start with a resolution to pay off all that debt you racked up during the holiday shopping season? If so, you’re certainly not alone. Holiday retail sales increased 3% in 2015, and many consumers carried that extra spending into the new year in the form of new debt. The key […]

The post 11 Ways to Start Preparing for the Holiday Shopping Pinch appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Today’s Best Bank Deals, Promotions, and Bonuses

Mon, 07 Nov 2016 15:44:29 +0000

When opening a bank account, there are a few things you should be looking for: low (or no) fees, the highest interest rates possible, and promotional bonus offers. With the latter, you can often score free money without doing anything extra, which is a win in my book. After all, promotional bonus cash is better […]

The post Today’s Best Bank Deals, Promotions, and Bonuses appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Personal and Professional Development: 17 Hacks to Help You Keep Up

Fri, 04 Nov 2016 19:31:00 +0000

We all have those times when it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day. Between juggling work responsibilities, being there for the family, and maintaining relationships with friends, life stretches us thin. Spending time on personal and professional development can feel like a luxury that we simply cannot afford. But in reality, most […]

The post Personal and Professional Development: 17 Hacks to Help You Keep Up appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




401(k) Contribution Limits for 2017

Wed, 02 Nov 2016 06:03:20 +0000

The 401(k) contribution limits and maximums are increasing in 2015, and there are other tax changes to 401(k) to note.

The post 401(k) Contribution Limits for 2017 appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




A Review of the Personal Capital Financial Advisory Dashboard

Tue, 01 Nov 2016 12:00:07 +0000

Looking for a way to simplify how you manage your finances, from your spending to your credit cards to your investments? Personal Capital’s financial dashboard may be just the tool for you. This all-around financial management tool is easy to use, tracks all of your financial information, and offers investment advising, to boot. The free […]

The post A Review of the Personal Capital Financial Advisory Dashboard appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




2017 Federal Income Tax Brackets and Marginal Rates

Fri, 28 Oct 2016 16:20:09 +0000

As tax year 2016 comes to a close, your focus is probably on filing that tax return after the new year (remember that your deadline is April 17, 2017). The IRS may end up confusing some people, though, as they just released the tax brackets, deduction limits, and marginal rates for tax year 2017. Keep […]

The post 2017 Federal Income Tax Brackets and Marginal Rates appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




How to Budget for Annual Expenses

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 12:50:00 +0000

Certain expenses can sneak up on you, especially if you don’t run into them too often. For example, a new passport costs $110, but renewal only comes around once every 10 years. Other recurring bills like property taxes, car registration, and insurance payments can also make an unexpected dent in your wallet when they pop […]

The post How to Budget for Annual Expenses appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




33 Great Work-From-Home Jobs (That Are Legitimate)

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 12:30:00 +0000

A reader recently wrote in asking about part-time, work-from-home jobs. The good news is that these jobs are easier than ever to find. The bad news is that they may also be more competitive than ever! Telecommuting is becoming easier, as technology advances and businesses see the advantages of hiring a remote workforce. In fact, […]

The post 33 Great Work-From-Home Jobs (That Are Legitimate) appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Think Only the Rich Have Accounts at Goldman Sachs? Think Again

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 12:35:00 +0000

You’re probably familiar with Goldman Sachs, at some level. The multinational banking firm, best known for investment banking, goes all the way back to 1869. But did you know that they also have a web-based arm known as Goldman Sachs Bank USA, or simply GS Bank? It’s an online bank that pays far higher rates […]

The post Think Only the Rich Have Accounts at Goldman Sachs? Think Again appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Can Betterment Portfolios Earn You An Extra 15 Percent?

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 15:40:07 +0000

What if you could increase your after-tax investment returns by 15% over 30 years? Betterment is claiming you can do just that with their Tax-Coordinated Portfolio. What’s more, they claim that it can even work across several accounts at the same time. Interested? Read on… Who is Betterment? Betterment is a robo-advisor. In fact, it […]

The post Can Betterment Portfolios Earn You An Extra 15 Percent? appeared first on Consumerism Commentary.




Fidelity Study Finds Millennials are Moving Back Home in Droves

Fri, 14 Oct 2016 14:19:13 +0000

Ah, millennials. They are the first generation to grow up with iPhones, FaceTime, and GPS apps. Most of their banking is done online and, thanks to Amazon, the majority of web purchases arrive at their doorstep within 2 business days. They hit the generational jackpot when it comes to convenience and ease, it would seem. […]

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