Take 5 — A Roundup of Reads From Around the Web

This week: Tax refunds as credit boosters, selling your stuff online, mulling the merits of a second home, side hustle solutions and keeping your life clutter-free.

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 already live in a vacation destination — Fort Lauderdale — I found this article interesting because I’ve often thought about a second home in a place that wasn’t so sweltering in the summer. It 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. “The Truth About Side Hustles

[Debt.com] “… just because the side hustle is more popular than ever doesn’t make it a sure thing. Plenty of people fail to realize any kind of significant earnings from their extra job, and the ubiquity of side hustlers has also opened up the market for scams and sketchy ‘opportunities.’ As easy as it is to make some cash, it’s just as easy to waste your time or end up being swindled.”

We’re huge proponents of picking up some extra dough on the side (see “50 Ways to Make a Fast $50,”) but this article has some fair points to make. If offers things you should be aware of before taking on side work and examples of when a side gig could work for you.

5. “10 Smart Ways to Keep Your Entire Life Clutter-Free

[Wise Bread] “Often the suggestions start with the idea that you need to be brutal when culling your possessions. If you’re not the type to commune with your higher self in an empty room in a mountain cabin, such decluttering advice seems far too extreme. Even if you do hope to achieve Zen mastery of your minimalist home, the cull-it-all type of advice can be wildly optimistic for anyone who has things other than decluttering going on in their lives.”

This article offers advice on less drastic and less stressful ways to rid your life of clutter by doing it gradually. It includes ideas like not adding to an existing problem, making a donation run part of your regular chores, and keeping a donation box handy. Good ideas. See the post for more, then check out our article, “6 Simple Steps to Cashing in on Spring Cleaning.”

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

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