Take 5: A Roundup of Reads From Around the Web


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This week: Avoiding bankruptcy, how to save more, switching mobile phone carriers, dealing with expired debt and eliminating clutter.

1. How to Avoid Filing for Bankruptcy

[Credit.com] “Filing for bankruptcy is a huge decision that can financially hurt you for several years. Depending on your financial situation, bankruptcy doesn’t always have to be your only option. Here are some tips to help you avoid using the ‘B’ word.”

Ideas to avoid bankruptcy in this article include using a budget to get a handle on your spending, avoiding further debt, making extra money, negotiating and seeking professional help.

While the advice offered has merit, in my opinion the title of this article should have been “How to Avoid Debt Trouble” instead of “How to Avoid Filing for Bankruptcy.” Once you’re so far gone that bankruptcy becomes a realistic possibility, you should be talking to a professional, not just following simple tips like those in this article. Check this one out, then read “Ask Stacy: Should I File Bankruptcy? If I Do, Should I Feel Guilty?

2. 9 Reasons Why You Can’t Save and How to Overcome Them

[The Dollar Stretcher] “It’s something that we all believe in, yet so few of us manage to do it. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in March 2016, personal savings was 5.4% of disposable personal income. We give many reasons for not saving more. Here are some of the most common ones and what we can do to overcome them.”

Who hasn’t said any of these things to themselves? “I’ve never been able to save,” “I don’t make enough to save,” “My bills are too high to allow me to save,” “My partner makes it impossible to save.” Those are just some of the bad excuses we use when we fail to put money aside. This article names nine, then tells you how to stop making excuses and start saving. Check it out, then see “5 Little Tricks That Can Help You Save Cash.”

3. Why You Can’t Always Use Your Old Phone With a New Carrier

[Money] “After unlocking your phone from your current carrier’s network, you face one more hurdle: making sure your new carrier accepts it. The rule of thumb is that AT&T customers should have an easy time moving their phones to T-Mobile and vice versa. Verizon and Sprint customers will have a harder time.”

The short reason it’s hard to move some phones to some carriers is because they use incompatible technology. Verizon and Sprint use something called CDMA, and AT&T, T-Mobile and pretty much everyone else around the world uses GSM. The good news? As every carrier moves to LTE, carriers will become consistent and using an old phone with a new carrier will get easier.

Need help finding the best deal on mobile phones? Check out our awesome and objective cellphone comparison page.

4. 5 Ways to Handle Expired Debt

[Debt.com] “Expired debt is just one other form of debt you’ll have to deal with. It’s the type of payment that has passed the statute of limitations. That means a creditor can’t sue you or pursue you for it any longer, although many of them will still try.”

I’ve written about this topic before (see “Ask Stacy: Do Unpaid Bills Expire, or Will I Owe Them Forever?“), but it never hurts to refresh your memory. If you’ve got an old debt you’re worried about, check it out.

5. My 16 Favorite Ways to Get Rid of Clutter

[Wise Bread] “I hate clutter. It actually hurts my brain. However, even if I were Mari Kondo fancy, and could afford to throw away everything in my house that I don’t love, my inner tree-hugger would feel guilty about putting perfectly usable items into the landfill.”

While many of these tips are what you’d expect (donate, yard sale, recycle, gift), there are some that will get you thinking (upcycle, swap, leave stuff where the poor and/or homeless can find it). If you’ve got stuff lying around that you don’t use — and who doesn’t — give this one a read.

Don’t forget to share your thoughts and reactions in comments below or on our Facebook page!

Stacy Johnson

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