Take 5: A Roundup of Reads From Around the Web


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This week: Words not to use in a job interview (or anywhere else), how to avoid car payments, what a brick wall can teach you about money, six types of financially toxic people, and unique ideas for teen summer jobs.

1. Guide to Getting Rid of Car Payments Forever!

[The Tortoise Banker] “From time to time, I hear friends and clients complain about bone-crunching car payments. I’m talking multiple-$500+-payments-that-suck-the-life-right-out-of-you payments. I notice the grimace on their face as they talk about how it’s tough to ‘keep up’ and just wish they could go away for good.”

Having never experienced either a new car or a car payment, I was curious to see what this author would suggest.

He starts with the same advice I’ve been giving for decades: Never lease a car and never buy a new car. But he then suggests a novel approach to car buying

The process starts by simply saving $250 monthly. After four months, you buy a $1,000 beater. After a year, you sell the beater, recouping much of the cost, then use the proceeds and your accumulated savings to step up to a $3,000 car. After a year driving that, you repeat the process, stepping up to a better used car.

While this may not appeal to many who can’t or won’t wait years to drive a respectable car, it’s sound logic. Check out the post for details.

2. How I Teach My Kids About Money and Life By Using Bricks

[The Wisdom Journal] “I frequently show a very large brick wall to my kids, telling them that every decision they make is like a brick in the wall of their lives. Good decisions put a brick in place, bad ones pull or leave it out. Pulling a few bricks here and there doesn’t crumble the wall, though it is noticeable. But pull out too many and the wall crumbles and you have to start all over.”

What a great metaphor. The author goes on to use the same idea to understand how we deal with our financial lives. No budget? A missing brick. No control over spending? Missing brick. He concludes with a list of “bricks” we all need in order to be structurally sound financially, as well as a reminder that walls can also be rebuilt. Good stuff.

3. 8 Unique (and Fun) Summer Jobs for Teens

[Three Thrifty Guys] “I was a fairly ambitious teenager. One summer, I wrote a couple of nearby golf courses asking for a job. I told ‘em that I’d work for free – all they had to do was give me free golf. Sounds like a deal, huh? I thought so. Fortunately, of the two letters I sent out, one called me.”

So, what unique job ideas does this author suggest? One I really liked was “Craigslist lister” — someone who helps people, particularly older people, find things around the house to sell, then put up a listing on Craigslist. Other ideas included all-in-one-remote programmer, dog walker, smartphone tutor and house cleaner. Check out the article for more.

4. 6 Types of Financially Toxic People

[Tie the Money Knot] “The reality is that when it comes to money, there are a variety of different approaches that people take, and habits that they possess. Some people are highly responsible, some are not. These differences can cut across many dimensions, to the point where some people can pretty much be classified as having toxic money personalities.”

Hopefully you won’t fit any of these classifications. They include “The Extractor” — someone using sneaky tactics to slither out of group expenses. Then there’s “The Moocher” — someone who’s always borrowing. And “The One-Upper” — someone who always has to outdo others.

See the article to make sure you don’t fit in any other toxic category.

5. 10 Words to Never Use in a Job Interview

[Wise Bread] “First impressions count, and doing your homework on the company you want to work for is a given. But what else can you do, or not do, to improve your odds of getting the job?”

This article is really not as much about getting a job as a reminder of how important it is to use proper English, at least if you want to appear intelligent and articulate.

About 20 years ago, a news director pulled me aside after a broadcast and explained that the “t” in the word “often” is silent. I’ll never forget that. And to this day, it’s hard not to judge others I hear mispronouncing it.

“Often,” however, wasn’t one of the words this author suggested banning from an interview. Words he did suggest avoiding included “try,” “hate,” “honestly,” “perfectionist,” “irregardless” and “amazing.” If you can’t guess why, read the article.

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!)

Stacy Johnson

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