Take 5 — A Roundup of Reads From Around the Web

This week: How to stop living paycheck to paycheck, taxes for expats, habits that lead to divorce, how much to pay for wedding music and how to get store clerks to give you a deal.

Take 5 — A Roundup of Reads From Around the Web

1. “8 Ways to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck”

[MSN.com] “Are you stuck in the all-too-common habit of living paycheck to paycheck? You don’t need me to tell you that it’s a self-defeating cycle. You simply can’t get ahead this way. But escaping isn’t easy, especially if your paycheck is tight. Change involves not just the hard work of making new habits but, at a more-basic level, changing your ways of thinking.”

This MSN story is actually a Money Talks News story. We’re highlighting it in case you didn’t know that in addition to seeing our stuff on our site, you can also read and watch some of our most popular stories on some of the world’s most popular websites, including MSN, Yahoo, AOL and others.

So how do stop living paycheck to paycheck? You work on your attitude, make saving painless, spend less than you make, cut housing costs, stop eating out, say “no” to the kids, track your expenses and stop buying new cars. See the post for more.

2. “Tax Considerations for Those Retiring Outside the U.S.”

[The Dollar Stretcher] “Many retirees looking for a lower cost of living, quieter lifestyle, better weather, or other advantage retire abroad. While becoming a retired expat can bring benefits, it also creates financial questions that must be addressed.”

We’ve written about living abroad in articles like “Want to Retire Abroad? Here’s How to Do It,” but we haven’t really done much on the tax implications. In this article, the writer interviews a CPA specializing in American expats. If you’ve considered living outside the country, it’s a must-read. For example, did you know that if you claim residency in another country, you might be eligible to exclude the first $100,000 of your earned (but not passive) income?

3. “The 5 Financial Habits Most Likely to Lead to a Divorce”

[AOL] “The digital economy has made it easier than ever to spend money and engage in bad financial habits. Shopping, investing and gambling promise instant gratification at the click of a mouse. Need more money to indulge in online consumption? No problem. Sign up online for a credit card, and get approved and start spending in a few minutes.”

This article lists potential financial problems that can lead to divorce, including too much debt, bad credit scores, shopaholic spouses, online investing and gambling. They all lead to relationship stress. And as we all know, too much stress is bad for romance.

4. “How Much Is Too Much for Wedding Music?”

[Debt.com] “A Los Angeles wedding planner told Forbes that ‘a nostalgic band like Earth, Wind & Fire may cost around $150,000 while a hip-hop artist like Snoop may get $300,000 or more for a wedding.'”

When I got married five years ago, we paid a pretty penny to get a local cover band. Well, at least I thought we did until I read this article. I do love Earth, Wind & Fire, though …

5. “6 Ways to Convince a Store Clerk to Give You a Deal”

[Wise Bread] “Sometimes they’ll pass along an exclusive coupon, and sometimes they’ll drop clues on the best day of the week to shop, or the products they can mark down for you. By knowing the right questions to ask, you can easily maximize your savings on your next shopping trip. Here’s what you need to know.”

We’ve done “15 Golden Rules for Saving on Every Purchase,” but I can’t remember doing a story specifically on what to say to store clerks. This article suggests asking about mark-down days, seeking floor models and closeouts, asking for coupons, using expired coupons, negotiating and asking about upcoming sales. See the post for details.

Note: This is officially the final Take 5 column. We started this more than five years ago and have published every Friday since. While I won’t miss the extra work, I will miss curating and writing it. Goodbye, old friend!

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

Stacy Johnson
Stacy Johnson @moneytalksnews
I'm the founder of Money Talks News and have spent the last 40+ years in the personal finance trenches. I'm a CPA, author of a few books and multiple Emmy recipient. I'm ... More

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