Take 5: A Roundup of Reads From Around the Web

This week: Using a tax refund to boost your credit score, successful online selling, buying a second home, rising car insurance rates, and five things you need to pack for your next trip.

Take 5: A Roundup of Reads From Around the Web

1. “How Your Tax Refund Can Help You Score Better Credit”

[Credit.com] “If you’re getting a tax refund this year, you’ve got three major options when it comes to using the money: You can save it. You can invest it. Or you can splurge. But break things down a little further, and that check (back) from Uncle Sam can help you build credit, too. For serious.”

Every year, including this one, we do stories on the best uses for a tax refund, and every year one of the things we list is paying down debt. This article expands on that idea by exploring various debts to attack with that refund check, from credit card balances to opening a secure credit card. It also suggests another idea we’ve promoted: using that money to create or add to an emergency fund.

2. “10 Tools for a Successful Online Sale”

[The Dollar Stretcher] “Haven’t used the old console in a few months? Selling your unused stuff online is a great way to make extra cash. Here are some tips to make sure you get the best deal out of it:”

We’ve done lots of stories on this topic, including the best sites for selling online and how to make money buying locally and selling globally online. This article gives the basics for setting up your online sales, including advice on writing the ads, taking pictures, negotiating and staying safe.

3. “Do You Really Want to Own a Second Home?”

[AOL] “If you’re going to vacation in the same spot every year, it could be cheaper to own than to rent, but this isn’t always the case. And money is not the only issue. Here are some pros and cons to consider before you purchase a second home.”

Although I live in a vacation destination — Fort Lauderdale — I found this article interesting. I’ve often thought about a second home in a place that wasn’t so sweltering in the summer. It literally lists the pros and cons of vacation homes, from having a regular place to go (pro) to having to go to the same place (con). If you’re thinking of a second home, this might be a good first step.

4. “Your Auto Insurance Premiums Are Going Up”

[Debt.com] “Filing a claim after an accident will drive up premium costs, experts say, making Americans more expensive to insure. Californians have it the hardest: filing a $2,000 or higher claim results in a 63 percent increase in premiums.”

Despite the title, this article isn’t about all rates going up; just the rates of those unlucky enough to be involved in an accident. Nonetheless, it’s interesting reading. The way rates in some states, like California, can skyrocket after even a minor accident, is enough to keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.

5. “5 Low-Cost Travel Items That Can Save You Big on Your Next Trip”

[Wise Bread] “Traveling can be great fun, but sometimes it requires a bit of creative thinking to figure out how to finance your next trip. Luckily there are some cost-effective purchases that can help you save money in the long run.”

The five things you need to pack? A tent, a water filter, a luggage scale, good shoes and a travel credit card. A tent wouldn’t do me a lot of good for the trip I take most often — New York City — but there is some logic to some of this stuff on some trips. Check out the article and see if you agree.

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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