Take 5: A Roundup of Reads From Around the Web

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1. This Cosi restaurant is the best stalker ever

[The Consumerist] A couple of years ago, I shot a TV report called The 5 Best Companies for Customer Service. The Cosi restaurant chain wasn’t on the list. But it would be this year. When one customer complained that his soup cup wasn’t filled to the top, a manager offered him a free meal at any Cosi location. Then it got weird: “The manager tracked him down using LinkedIn and had more soup delivered to his office.” Unsolicited soup!

2. Should you charge your child interest on loans?

[Bargaineering] I don’t have children, but when I read this headline, I was prepared to be appalled. Charge a child interest? But this post makes a compelling argument for writing a loan contract for your child. “Charging interest can be a way to help your child learn a valuable lesson, while at the same time keeping him or her from turning to payday lenders and other unsavory types.”

3. Are sports clinics for your child worth the cost?

[MoneyNing] Speaking of your kids, here’s something else you should think twice about doing: paying for them to attend an intensive sports clinic. Many parents use these pricey places as glorified babysitters. But while they check out a babysitter’s qualifications, they don’t often do the same for a sports clinic. The writer worked at these clinics and concedes, “Many of these services can run up quite a bill.”

4. 7 tips for flying with children

[Money Crashers] One more kids’ post, just because I find it fascinating. I expected to see advice like, “Buy an iPad and load it with expensive children’s apps.” Nope. Instead, head to the dollar store. Says the wise writer: “I don’t want to bring any of my kids’ pricey toys on the plane because they could get easily lost – and besides, my kids love getting new stuff.” Smart and cheap.

5. In with the old: 4 vintage frugal resources

[Wise Bread] Personal finance websites don’t often look back on the pre-Internet era with fond memories. And indeed, it’s much easier to find the information you need to save money and build wealth when it’s at your fingertips rather than at the library. But here’s a neat walk down memory lane, from the USDA’s Home and Garden Bulletin to archival film footage.

Of course, maybe I’m just a sucker for this sort of stuff – I once promoted 5 Classic Cars for Less Than $15,000 and to this day, I’ve never bought a new car.

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