Take 5: A Roundup of Reads From Around the Web

This week: Things you're forgetting to clean, how banks are screwing college students, an epic summer adventure idea, how to declutter your kids rooms and how to live on $12,000 a year.

Take 5: A Roundup of Reads From Around the Web

1. Surviving (and Thriving) on $12K a Year: The Reboot

[Surviving and Thriving] “I’ll be living on just over $1,000 a month this year. That doesn’t sound like much – and it isn’t – yet I plan not just to live on it, but to build a savings account.

This article is an update of one originally published in 2007 by one of my all-time favorite writers, Donna Freedman. (She also regularly writes for us.) It’s a detailed view of a $1,000/month budget, as well as a reminder of how seemingly insignificant events can often change the direction of your life.

2. You Don’t Have to Live With the Mess in Your Kids’ Rooms

[The Dollar Stretcher] “Are you constantly tripping over books, clothes, and toys in your child’s room? When you ask them to clean their room, does everything get shoved under the bed? If the answer is yes then it is time to attack the clutter and get their room in order.”

This article offers a complete, step-by-step solution for cleaning and decluttering your kids’ rooms. Steps include planning, purging, cleaning, defining space, organizing and storage ideas. Got some kids with time on their hands? This is your read.

3. An Epic Summer Road Trip: Get Into Nine National Parks for Just $80

[The Penny Hoarder] “For just $80, you can get a pass that gets you into every national park in the United States all year long, and you can camp for free or dirt-cheap at most of them, too.”

If you’re ready for a 3,500 mile, 59-hour road trip, this post offers a map of a route that will take you through nine of the nation’s most beautiful parks, as well as a link to purchase an $80 annual pass to get you into those and every other national park. Check it out, then pack the car.

4. How College Students Are Getting Screwed by Big Banks

[Debt.com] “In many cases, students are receiving their federal student aid through these bank accounts — often the only bank available on campus. Many students don’t have cars or don’t know to compare banks, so the banks can load up the fees and get their cut of that financial aid.”

Remember when the big banks would set up card tables on campus and offer T-shirts and other swag to entice young students to sign up for accounts and credit cards? While that’s no longer allowed, as it turns out, banks are still nickel-and-diming students. This article explains both the problem and the solution.

5. 9 Things in Your House You’re Forgetting to Clean

[Wise Bread] “There’s a good chance you’re rolling your eyes right now. You have a hard enough time keeping your house clean as is without me telling you that you’re forgetting to clean X-Y-Z. But these easily forgettable areas can be havens for germs and gunk.”

Not to worry: Even if you’ve forgotten to clean any of these areas, the author promises it will be fast and easy. I won’t spoil the story by listing all nine, but the list includes houseplants, light switches and doorknobs. Do you clean these? I’ve definitely cleaned light switches before, but as for the other two, nope. See the post for more.

Who do you like?

We’re always on the hunt for talented personal-finance writers and interesting sites and authors. If you’ve got a favorite, let us know below or on our Facebook page! You can also talk to us about anything you’d like simply by hitting “reply” to your daily email update. (Not subscribed? Fix that right now!)

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