Take 5: A Roundup of Reads From Around the Web

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1. Buying New Cars is Financially Irresponsible. And I Just Bought a New Car.

[Save Outside the Box] “… I don’t even really care about cars. They mean very little to me. So why in the world did I purchase a new ride for our family? OK. Here’s the scoop.”

As it turns out, the only car this blogger recommends buying new is the one he just purchased: a Nissan Leaf. This all-electric car cost him $27,000, but generated $12,500 in state and federal tax credits, reducing his cost to $14,500. That’s not bad for a new car that requires no gas and little maintenance.

Is it time for all of us to consider turning over a new Leaf? Read the post and decide.

2. I Negotiated a $13,000 Salary Increase (and All It Took Was $20 and 4 Hours of Prep)

[The Empowered Dollar] “Whatever the reason and whether or not you’re a woman, there’s a lot of emotion behind asking for more money. That’s why I knew I had to use logic, strategy and numbers to support my case. Here are the two resources I used to help me back up my case, calm down my emotions and erase my self-doubt while negotiating up my salary by $13,000.”

The resources she used? A site that, for $20, helped her write a letter explaining why she deserved a raise. In addition to a template, it provided salaries for similar work in her marketplace, as well as compelling language to convince the boss she deserved to earn more. Then she spent four hours learning to negotiate by watching videos and practicing.

Here’s hoping none of my employees see this article.

3. How to Sell Your Smartphone Photos for $5 Each

[The Penny Hoarder] “There’s a new app called Foap that allows you to turn your iPhone photos into cash. Here’s how it works. You download the free app. You sign up for an account. You take a quality photo. You upload photo to Foap’s marketplace. Someone buys the license to your photo for $10. You make $5.”

While this new app sounds promising, this blogger didn’t mention if she has actually made money with it yet.

If you’re going to sell photos, the key is to be able to take ones that people or companies want to license. It’s worth a look, but this article would have been better if the author had proof it works. While I’ve never done it, I doubt that selling photos to stock photo houses is that easy.

4. 5 Ways You Can Save More by Waiting Until the Last Minute

[Three Thrifty Guys] “I want to share with you different areas that you too can save more money [by] just holding your horses and delaying the purchase. Of course this doesn’t work in every situation, but if it can fit into your schedule and you’re flexible, you can save some real change.”

So where can waiting mean lower prices? This author had some pretty clever examples of last-minute deals, including golf, theater tickets, plane tickets, game tickets and hotels.

The fly in the ointment, of course, is that if you really want to do something or go somewhere, gambling on last-minute deals might not pay off. But if you’re flexible, it never hurts to try.

5. The Only Fruits and Veggies Worth Growing Yourself

[Wise Bread] “While it can be easy to spend hundreds of dollars on seeds, plants, additives, and water, you can make gardening worth your investment by growing the fruits and veggies that cost the most in stores today.”

We recently did a story called “Shrink Your Grocery Budget by Growing Your Food” and got reader comments that growing your food isn’t necessarily cheap and in some cases can cost more than store-bought. We should have included some of the information in this article. Best foods to grow yourself? They suggest artichokes, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, zucchini and more. If you have a green thumb, check this one out.

What do you like?

We’re always on the hunt for talented personal finance writers and interesting sites. If you’ve got a favorite, let us know below or on our Facebook page! You can also talk to us about anything you’d like simply by hitting “reply” to your daily email update. (Not subscribed? Fix that right now!)

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