Take 5: A Roundup of Reads From Around the Web


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This week: student loan scams, grocery store secrets, how a border tax may affect you, frugal tips for the depressed and surprising ways oil affects your life.

1. 5 Ways to Spot a Student Loan Scam

[Credit.com] “Not only can student loan repayment be difficult to understand, it can crush your budget, and whenever there’s confusion and desperation, there’s someone trying to make money off it.”

How do you spot a scam? According to this author, signs include come-ons that are too good to be true, high up-front fees, advice that’s too forceful, fake labels  like “Obama Loan Forgiveness Program,” and attempts to cut you out of the picture and control the loan. If you’re thinking of enlisting help to deal with your student loans, this one is a must-read.

(We’ve also written about dealing with student loans, and even have a place on where you can go for legitimate help, so check out our resources as well.)

2. 6 Things You Need to Know About Grocery Store Aisles

[The Dollar Stretcher] “The fact that most people tend to go to the grocery store once or twice a week makes grocery shopping quite the routine, which can make it easy to fall into a habit of doing the same thing over and over again.”

If there’s one thing we’ve thoroughly explored on this site, it’s saving on food. Still, there’s always something new to learn. This article points out that fresh food is typically kept around the perimeter of a grocery store, while prepackaged food tends to be stocked more in the middle. Why? Because fresh foods require more maintenance, so they put them where they’re easier for staff to service.

If you want to learn more about saving money by “reading” the layout of your local grocery store, this is a good place to start.

3. Why Ryan’s ‘Border Adjustment’ Import Tax Is So Controversial

[AOL] “The proposed border adjustment is arguably the most revolutionary idea in corporate tax reform movement in decades and – if approved – would transform the corporate income tax code into something similar to the European value-added tax or VAT.”

There are a lot of interesting things afoot these days, and that includes various proposals to overhaul the tax system. Republicans want to cut income taxes on business, but to do so, they’ll need to find offsetting revenue. One proposal, the centerpiece of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s corporate tax reform, is to charge a tax on everything imported into the United States, from oil to clothing, a move that could ripple through the economy in the form of higher consumer prices.

At the moment this plan lacks broad support, but you should still have a working knowledge of this and other ideas out there, because one day soon you may be experiencing one of them.

Read this post, then check out our recent article, “How the Trump Tax Plan Will Affect You.”

4. 7 Ways to Save Money Even When You’re Depressed

[Debt.com] “Abigail Perry is 38 years old. She’s been living with chronic depression and a disability from a neurological disease since she was 19. Try as she might, the standard money-saving and frugality tips just didn’t apply. So she wrote a book about her efforts …”

While this article obviously addresses those suffering from depression, what it also does is offer ideas for anyone to lead a less stressful life. Tips include not trying to do too much, taking a day of rest when needed, buying staples automatically and not being overly concerned about things like couponing and budgeting.

For more ideas on ways to stay calm, see “5 Simple and Frugal Ways to Calm Your Stress.”

5. 8 Surprising Ways Cheap Oil Impacts Your Wallet

[Wise Bread] “When it comes to oil prices, there just doesn’t seem to be a bottom these days. Crude oil is selling for about $30 a barrel, and that’s having a major impact on both the global economy and Americans’ pocketbooks.”

When I read this story, oil was selling for a little north of $50 a barrel, not $30. Still, relative to where it’s been in the past, oil is cheap. So in what ways does that affect you? Not surprisingly, it controls what you pay for gas. It also makes oil company stocks less expensive. But that’s just the beginning. As it turns out, oil shows up in everything from shipping costs to plastics prices. Check out the article for more.

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

Stacy Johnson

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