Take 5: A Roundup of Reads From Around the Web

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This week: How to be interesting, why you should have already started saving for next Christmas, 10 ways to make side money, 15 jobs for high-schoolers, and the nine biggest home repair scams.

1. The 9 Biggest Home Repair Scams

[Len Penzo dot Com] “I’ve had numerous people come to my house offering ‘great deals’ on home repair services over the years. You know the type. Most of these guys wouldn’t know what a contractor’s license looked like if it hit them in the head.”

The scams that make Len’s list include dealing with termites, chimneys, roofs, driveways, heating and cooling, basements, plumbing, mold and painting. Before you take the next offer from a traveling shyster, better give this one a read.

2. 10 Things I’ve Done to Make Extra Money

[Making Sense of Cents] “I’ve done a lot over the years to make extra income, and it helped me improve my life. Besides doing things that aren’t really jobs, such as using Ebates for cash back, investing with Lending Club, and using credit card rewards to earn free vacations, there are tons of other things I have done in order to make extra money.”

So what has this author done? Her list includes entering giveaways, freelance writing, baby-sitting, surveys, pet-sitting, selling stuff around the house, and renting rooms in her house. Read the post to see how all of those side gigs worked out.

3. 15 Best Part-Time Jobs for High School Students

[Money Crashers] “During my first two years of high school I was a paper delivery boy, leaving at 4 a.m. every morning to deliver newspapers. I also went out once or twice a week in the evening to collect money from my customers. For the last two years of school I had a retail job, behind the counter at a mom-and-pop drugstore. These jobs taught me how to manage money, how to handle responsibility, and how to deal with the general public. They were invaluable experiences and provided me with some much-needed autonomy and spending money, too.”

Like the story above, this list includes baby-sitting, along with working at animal shelters, grocery stores, car washes, pizza delivery, lawn care, retail and that old standby, restaurants. See the article for more.

4. Now Is the Time to Start Saving for Next Christmas

[Money Q & A] “We give generously to our friends and family members each holiday season. That’s fine until you reach for your credit cards to give the gifts and spend months paying the balances off. Far too many people give from their heart even when their wallet can’t afford it. Don’t make the same mistake this year.”

While it’s hard to think about next Christmas, it is smart. This author suggests you start by making next year’s list now, then by creating and donating to a special savings account. He even suggests starting the present-buying process.

Good advice? Of course. Will I follow it? Unfortunately, not a chance.

5. 6 Ways to Always Have Something Interesting to Say

[Wise Bread] “No matter the situation, having something interesting to say is an asset. It attains that elusive quality of making yourself appear much smarter and more interesting than you actually are.”

We’re not all smart and interesting? Well, that’s an interesting way to start an article.

This post offers several apps, sites and even bathroom books for those who need conversation starters but don’t have time to actually read anything in its entirety. (One wonders, however, how those who don’t read much will read this.)

Looking for bite-sized chunks of easily digestible news and information? Then this one is for you.

Who do you like?

We’re always on the hunt for talented personal finance writers and interesting sites and authors. 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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