Take 5: A Roundup of Reads From Around the Web

This week: Seemingly savvy buys that aren’t, things your bank should tell you that they don’t, cheaper ways to buy sports tickets, how to travel the world for free and how free credit monitoring might mean a bigger tax bill.

1. Data Breach Victims: Will You Have to Pay Taxes on Free Credit Monitoring?

[Credit.com] If your personal information has been “compromised in a data breach in the last few years (which is highly likely), you’ve probably received an offer for free identity theft protection services, free credit monitoring tools or a combination. Getting something for free sometimes raises the question, ‘Will I need to pay taxes on this?’

Often when you receive something of value free, the value you receive becomes taxable income to you in the year you get it. For example, when you win a contest, the value of the prize is generally taxable. So is the cash value of free credit monitoring taxable? You’ll have to read the post to find out.

2. 7 Ways to Travel the World for Free

[The Dollar Stretcher] “Your friends have just come home from a trip to New Zealand or Europe. You wish you could do the exact same thing but have no money or you’re on a budget. I’m here to tell you that there are great opportunities for you to travel the world for free. It just takes a little planning and a little perseverance.”

When I saw this headline, I was sure I was about to be advised to join the Navy. Happily, however, that wasn’t one of the options. Instead, this author suggested ideas like working on cruise ships, teaching English and using crowdfunding. Check out the article for more.

3. 5 Cheap Alternatives to the Box Office: Here’s Where to Buy Sports Tickets

[The Penny Hoarder] “… buying tickets through the secondary market helps you save time and avoid long lines. I typically go to at least 15 to 20 games during a given year, and these strategies help me save $150 to $200 per year.”

I’m not a big sports fan, but I’m aware how much a seat in the stands can cost. This article suggests using scalpers, StubHub, SeatGeek, ScoreBig and eBay. Check it out for the details, then check out our article, “9 Great Apps for Sports Fans.”

4. 4 Things Your Bank Won’t Tell You When You Get a Mortgage

[Debt.com] “Your bank will likely never tell you [that you] can get a better deal elsewhere, even though you probably can. When you work with a bank, you are limited to their programs and their products.”

That’s one of the things your bank won’t tell you. Other things they might keep secret include the fact that time isn’t on your side, that you’ll need to put a lot down to get the best mortgage deal and that you’d better hope your prospective new home appraises. Understand all that? If not, check out this post, as well as stories we’ve written on the subject, like the “9 Golden Rules of Mortgage Shopping.”

5. 5 Things That Seem Like Savvy Buys But Are Actually Terrible Splurges

[Wise Bread] “We all have an instance in which we thought we were making a smart purchase, but ended up paying unintended consequences.”

“Interest-free” credit, life insurance on kids, credit monitoring, cable TV and joining a gym. Do you know how these seemingly good expenditures can backfire? You will after you read this post.

Stacy Johnson

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