Take 5: A Roundup of Reads From Around the Web

This week: the future of health care, frugal flavor boosters, how to fix online reviews, how to win negotiations and relationship mistakes everyone makes.

Take 5: A Roundup of Reads From Around the Web

1. The Future of U.S. Health Care? FSAs & HSAs

[Credit.com] “With the election of Donald Trump as president, the future of Obamacare is uncertain. But whatever changes come to the way Americans pay for health care, one thing seems certain: A growing number will pay with their own money using pre-tax dollars through health savings accounts or flexible spending accounts.”

I’ve been using an HSA account for years now, and more and more Americans are joining me; according to this article, nearly 20 million now. If you’re not acquainted with these health care savings accounts, or confuse them with another type of account, the FSA, this is your read. You might also want to check out “10 Tips to Maximize Your High-Deductible Health Plan.”

2.Transform Your Meals From Bland to Grand with Frugal Flavor Boosters

[The Dollar Stretcher] “It’s hard for home cooks to achieve the triumvirate qualities of fast, inexpensive and tasty. Mixes and canned goods are fast and often cheap, but they can get boring and predictable. Adding just a little bit of a leftover or a common staple dresses up an ordinary dish for mere pennies, plus you don’t have to go out and buy anything special. Here are a few flavor boosters to help your go-to convenience foods go glam.”

This post is chock full of cool, simple tips to make otherwise-bland dishes more interesting. Ideas include adding mustard to mac and cheese, oregano to frozen pizza and barbecue sauce to baked beans. See the story for more. And when you’ve improved your cooking, use it to make some money. Find out how in “How to Turn Your Love of Cooking Into Extra Cash.”

3. Here’s Everything Wrong With Online Reviews — and How to Fix Them

[Money] “It’s like a new version of Murphy’s Law: Everything that can be rated will be. As a result, almost everyone may be influenced by online reviews before they buy, yet because what’s considered a good rating varies so widely from site to site — not to mention the huge problem of fake reviews — that every review and ratings system must be taken with a large grain of salt.”

This lengthy, but entertaining, article reveals how the common five-star system in use today for everything from Uber to Amazon is broken, and some ideas for making it better. For example, the author points out that an Uber driver can literally lose his job if his rating averages below 4.5 stars, but when you’re ranking a hotel stay or shirt you bought online, that’s a very high rating. In short, “if everything is five stars, then nothing is five stars.” Good read: Check it out.

4. How to Win a Price Negotiation

[Debt.com] “Negotiating the price of a good or service can save you a few dollars to thousands of dollars. In the United States, consumers do not negotiate prices as often as [in] other countries. Turkey, Egypt and the Middle East are the negotiation centers of the world.”

We’ve written about negotiation before (“13 Tips for Success in Any Negotiation“), but it never hurts to learn more. This post suggests six tactics to make yourself a better negotiator, including managing your emotions, finding common ground, counter-offering and more.

5. 8 Relationship Mistakes Everyone Makes

[Wise Bread] “Even though it’s not the easiest topic of conversation to engage in, I’m a staunch advocate for laying our problems out on the table with people we trust. Among close friends, we can talk about what’s going on in our lives, receive feedback and advice, and, most importantly, recognize that we’re not alone in the problems we face with our significant others. After all, the truth will set you free, right?”

Ever do things just to please your partner? How about not having a life or your own, or snooping on each other? I don’t know about you, but I’ve probably committed most, if not all, of the infractions listed in this article at least once. Give it a read for a quick reminder of what makes a healthy relationship.

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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