Richer by the Day » Review

Richer by the Day
Ongoing ramblings about personal finance, and all related topics. If it has to do with money, it will be covered here.

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Filed under Consumer Protection, Review

Welcome to Richer by the Day, a blog about personal finance, investing, and all things money. Take some time to read my latest blog posts, browse the categories and archive, and subscribe to my feed via RSS or Email. You can also stay up to date by following me on Twitter. If you find the information here useful, you can help support this site by visiting our advertisers and sponsors. Thanks for visiting!

Consumer Reports, the product testing magazine from Consumers Union is famous for separating the great products and services from the lousy ones.  They are decidedly pro-consumer and so I created a little experiment to put their own customer service to the test.

Last year I received an offer in the mail from Consumer Reports.  It was basically a flyer with some tips from past issues and a “no-obligation free trial” of the magazine.  According to the offer, I would receive a sample issue of the magazine plus two free books, How to Clean Practically Anything and the 2009 Buying Guide.

The offer said that my free books were truly FREE and that

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More on this topic (What's this?)
What is an Accounts Receivable?
Payment Methods
Read more on Invoice at Wikinvest

Filed under Review, Saving

There are many different types of energy audits you can perform in your home.  I wanted to determine the cost of unused electronics, known as phantom energy use.  This includes both the cost of devices turned off, but still using power and those that are on (or in standby mode) despite not being used.

I focused my efforts on things that I could change with little or no impact to my life.  An example is the TV I have in my guest room.  Leaving it unplugged, versus plugged in but off, wouldn’t affect my life since that TV is only used when visitors are here.  Plugging it in before they arrive would take minimal effort.

The Device for Testing

For my testing, I used the P3 International Kill a Watt, model P4400.  This energy monitor allows you to measure the kWh (and more) of any devices connected to it.  By using a power strip, you can measure multiple devices.  Since it cost about $21, I was hoping to be able to identify

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Filed under Ads, Consumer Protection, Review

There will probably be a huge surge in interest in the Hyundai Assurance Program after its advertisement during the Superbowl.  Here’s an overview of the program and analysis of whether it’s worth considering.

How It’s Advertised:

Buy a new Hyundai and you can return it within a year if you lose your job with no impact on your credit rating.

Program Details from Hyundai:

Eligible Events to Return Your Vehicle

  • Involuntary Unemployment
  • Physical Disability
  • Loss of Driver’s License due to Medical Impairment
  • International Employment Transfer
  • Self-Employed Personal Bankruptcy
  • Accidental Death

Other Terms

  • You have to lease or finance the purchase through Hyundai
  • The covered event must happen in the first year
  • Your loan must be current and at least two payments must be made
  • If you have more than $7,500 in negative equity, you pay the difference


The first feature of the program that strikes me is that in order to be eligible

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More on this topic (What's this?)
but do they give you a ride home after?
Read more on Hyundai Motor Company at Wikinvest

Filed under Book Review, Books, Giveaway, Review, Taxes, Wealth

The latest book review here at Richer by the Day is Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You with the Bill) by David Cay Johnston.

Author David Cay Johnston followed a similar formula that brought success to Perfectly Legal when writing his next book, Free Lunch.  He again uses extensive research, a breadth of topics, and largely maintains political neutrality throughout Free Lunch, which explores the giveaways, tax breaks, and subsidies that are taking away from the majority to make the über-rich even more so.

Free Lunch covers more topics than time permits me to mention, though everything from Profession Sports Franchises to Eminent Domain, Title Insurance to Exploding Student Loan Debt and many topics in between were included.  Many titans of industry, including Buffet, Bush,

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Giveaway, Retirement, Review, Saving, Wealth

 The latest book review here at Richer by the Day is Passion Saving by Rob Bennett.

Note to Readers: I was given a complimentary copy of the book by the author, but believe that my review was not influenced by the fact in any way.

Passion Saving is billed as an alternative to the way many of us traditionally try to save, which author Rob Bennett refers to as the Sacrifice Saving method.  He contends that the spending urge is simply too great to overcome.  Rather than fight this urge, we are supposed to redirect it towards saving to achieve more desirable results.  The goal is to transform saving into as emotionally satisfying experience as spending.  Passion Saving is basically about motivation.  If you can’t get motivated to save following traditional methods, then following the Passion Saving method

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More on this topic (What's this?)
The First is $100,000 is The Hardest
How to value dividend stocks
Read more on Triarc Companies at Wikinvest

Filed under Book Review, Books, Investing, Review

The latest book review here at Richer by the Day is A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton Malkiel.

In this book, the author systematically disproves virtually all methods of predicting future stock performance.  He goes beyond discrediting both technical and fundamental analysis to include more exotic methods as well.  He shows how consistently beating the average return of the market is rare, if not impossible.  Mr. Malkiel presents a reasonable and believable case for efficient market theory.  Rather than prove that the market always sets the price correctly,

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Career, Giveaway, Review

The latest book review here at Richer by the Day is Your Money or Your Life by by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin.

Your Money or Your Life is one of those classic personal finance books that everyone seems to have read. After finally getting around to reading it myself, I can see why it is so popular. While there are certainly some portions of the book which are outdated, the majority of the content is as relevant today as when the book was written in the early 90s.

One of the main concepts introduced in the book is how to define “enough.” I found this information particularly useful because I’ve been feeling guilty, or at least in the minority, that I don’t want any more than I already have. I’ve been living on the “enough” peak for a while now. Understanding that after a certain point having additional possessions

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Filed under News, Review, Saving is a new service that allows you to prepay for gasoline, “locking in today’s prices.” As more an more people come to the seemingly inevitable conclusion that gas prices can only continue to rise, it’s no surprise that a company came along to take advantage of this line of thinking. I seem to remember another item that could only go up and up in price: real estate. Prepaying for gas at today’s prices seems so savvy because the thought of a decline in gas prices is so unbelievable to most people today.

Obviously if gas prices start to fall, is going to start making more and more of a profit as people pay more than the market price for gas. Prepaying only locks in today’s “low prices” if prices continue to climb. If they fall, then prepaying is locking in today’s “high prices.” I suspect that is hedged for either move in the market. Since their public business model only seems to profit with falling prices, they are probably using some of the money you give them to buy oil futures expecting price increases. If that’s true, they stand to profit either way.

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More on this topic (What's this?)
Pickens: Water is the New Oil
Three Scenarios For The Economy
Read more on Oil at Wikinvest

Filed under Ads, Review, Saving

Budweiser has been running an ad showing an old refrigerator being moved to the garage when the new one is purchased. It says that although it doesn’t have a water dispenser or an ice-maker, it has plenty of room for what’s really important, i.e. Cold Beer. While the ad is entertaining and does make a good point about reuse and storage capacity, it fails to consider one of the main reasons we replace appliances today: improved energy efficiency. We will only see our electric bills go down if we replace appliances with more energy efficient ones. Adding a new appliance, even one that is energy star compliant, while still running the old one will cause our electric bill to go up.

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More on this topic (What's this?)
Anheuser-Busch Takeover Now More Likely
Anheuser-Busch (BUD) Deal Finalized
Read more on Energy, Anheuser-Busch Companies at Wikinvest

Filed under Real Estate, Review

Many real estate sites can give you a profile of a town, or even a neighborhood, but none tell you about your actual future neighbors. To fill that need comes the site Rotten Neighbor. There you can see negative (and positive) comments made about people in your neighborhood. More than just barking dogs and lack of yard maintenance, you can get the inside scoop on other items that may devalue property that you are considering. Nation sex registry data is also included to show if dangerous predators live nearby. Foreclosure data is also available. Knowing the good and the bad about a potential neighbor may influence your interest in a property and may even cause you to reconsider the price you’ll offer. Not knowing this information could end up costing you both while your living in the home and when you try to sell.

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