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Is Debt Relief Better Than Bankruptcy?A lot of people have debt. Some are struggling, while others including myself are working hard to pay it off. If you’re struggling with your debt, I know that you possibly have considered bankruptcy or debt consolidation before. Do you consider debt relief a better option than bankruptcy? Do you think bankruptcy will help you out? There are arguments for both sides. It depends on your situation. There are a few things that you should consider.

Pros & Cons of Debt Consolidation

We all know what debt consolidation is right? It is taking one big loan to pay off your other debt. One drawback of debt consolidation is that you are not out of payments. You will still owe money.  You still have to make a debt payment every month. It may be a smaller payment so it might be more manageable.

One key benefit of debt consolidation is that it can address other kinds of debt that bankruptcy can’t eliminate. Some of those types of debt are alimony and child support. With debt consolidation, you’ll have someone that will take you by the hand and guide you through the debt repayment process. That can be a good thing especially if you’re stressing about payments.

One of the main things you need to ask yourself about any debt consolidation program is if you can stick with it or not. Certain statistics show that only 55% of the people who sign up for a debt relief program make it all the way through. So, 45% of people will spend months or years going through the debt repayment process and then give up. That’s crazy. Not only does that cost them money, but it could slow the process of them getting better credit.

Pros & Cons of Bankruptcy

People have different thoughts when it comes to bankruptcy. Some say they will never file for it. Others don’t mind. If they get into a financial situation, they will do what they have to do. The main benefit of bankruptcy is that you basically owe nothing once it’s done. As started earlier, with debt consolidation, you still have to make payments every month to the consolidation company. If you file bankruptcy, you don’t have to pay any more.

The next thing is a huge con. A bankruptcy will knock your credit score down by 200 to 250 points. That’s not something that I’d want to happen. I’ve worked very hard over the last couple of years to raise my credit score to over 700. I wouldn’t want one decision to mess it up.

If you decide to go the debt consolidation route, it is usually reported, but creditors as settled on your credit report. It will impact your score by only 50 points. Your bankruptcy will not only mess up your score; but it will also do something else. Future creditors who see a bankruptcy on your credit report will know that you ran away from your debt. Some of them would be less likely to trust you in the future.

If you have a lot of debt, you want to try to pay if off. If you are struggling, then debt relief may be the better option for you. Just make sure you can stick to the plan. It takes discipline. If you really are having problems, then you may be better off filing for bankruptcy. Before you make any decision review your situation.

Four Ways to Be Productive Throughout the DayMany people wake up in the morning a little tired. The day hasn’t even started yet. It can be tough getting everyone out of the house and ready for the day sometimes. Then you may have to wait in traffic because of your work commute. By the time you get to work, you may be thrown off. This doesn’t have to be you, though. There are ways for you to incorporate some more productivity into your day. In this post, I want to go over four of them.

Pre-plan some things

I’m a planner by nature. I have a planner that I update every week. With a little pre-planning, your day will get much better. It’s good to plan your day the night before. You can take 5-10 minutes and go over things that you want to accomplish.

You can also take ten minutes to make your lunch for the next day. Instead of dumping out the leftovers, you can eat them for lunch. By making your lunch the night before, you will have more time to do other things in the morning.

You should also look at the weather at night. It will give you an idea of how the next day will go. For example, if it’s supposed to rain, you will be ready for it, instead of being caught off guard the next morning.

Take a break

Taking a break at your job is critical. Working non-stop every day is the quickest way to get burned out. We’ve all been there before. Going outside for a breath of fresh air can do wonders. It breaks the cycle of sitting at a computer all day. You will come back feeling refreshed, and you will be ready to finish the day. Depending on your work schedule, you may need to take two breaks. That should be fine. The break will get you re-energized.

Eat well & sleep well

Eating right and getting a good night’s rest is the next thing on the list. A lot of people struggle with both of those. There was a time where I was an insomniac. I was up until 3 AM almost every night. Thankfully, times have changed. I go to sleep between 12 – 12:30 AM on most nights.

Eating healthy meals, practicing some relaxation ritual, and getting a good night’s sleep are all things that can help you to become more productive. It might not be easy when you are initially trying to change your habits, but if you keep at it, your habits will change. You will become more productive throughout the day. When you are well rested, you have more energy, and your memory is better. That will make your work easier for you.

Technology

The last tip on helping you to become more productive is to rely on technology. Some people may not be the biggest fans of technology, but they need to relax. Technology isn’t going anywhere. It’s only going to get more advanced. You might as well embrace it. There are apps for a lot of different things these days. You can use your phone or tablet to file important documents, take notes and add meetings to your calendar.

Saving Money on Food While UnemployedIf you are currently struggling when it comes to looking for a job, you might not have the most money to spend right now. Your money will likely be going to necessities. One thing that everyone needs is food. Food can be one of your biggest monthly expenses. If you’re not careful, that cost could easily balloon to several hundreds of dollars each month. If you’re working, that wouldn’t be as big of a problem as it would if you’re not working. With a little bit of planning and sacrifice, you can cut this expense down to under $200 a month.

Buy cheap food

If you are unemployed, you shouldn’t be splurging on groceries at Publix or Kroger’s. You should have a strategy and start off with cheap food that will fill you up. Ramen noodles are one of those types of foods. A lot of people used to eat ramen noodles during their college years. I’ve eaten them a few times. They were not my favorite, but they did save money. You can get a box of ramen noodles pretty cheap. They will fill you up pretty fast. Also, you can spice up your noodles by adding different ingredients to them. Spices, meat, and mushrooms are just a few things that you can add to your noodles.

Other staple foods are bagels and sandwiches like peanut butter & jelly and tuna.

Stop eating out

The next tip to save money is to stop eating out. For many people that is easier said than done. Eating out is a guilty pleasure for some, but if you are unemployed, you have to stop doing that. There are a few reasons why you should do this.

The first reason is that the food is expensive. You can prepare a meal at home for $5 to $7. AT a restaurant, many meals will cost you $10 – $20.

Another thing that you must consider is tipping. Most people tip between 15 – 20% when they go to restaurants. That money can add up, especially if you go out multiple times each week. If you’re unemployed, you simply don’t have the money to do that. Practice some discipline and eat at home. This doesn’t have to be permanent. You are only doing this until you get another job.

Save money on groceries

The best way to save money on groceries is to start saving and using coupons. Coupons can drastically reduce your grocery bill. You can get coupons by searching for them online, by signing up for your favorite grocery store rewards program and also by getting the Sunday newspaper. Your Sunday paper will have a section full of coupons. The sooner that you start saving, the better. You can expect to save as much as 10% to 30% on your groceries by collecting those coupons.

Snacks

The next tip is to purchase some cheap snacks. Popcorns, crackers, and chips are great candidates. Those items will help you avoid the late night trips to the fast food spots. In the past, I made several trips to fast food restaurants. I spent a lot of cash. I could have avoided that by having snacks.

As you can see, there are several ways to save money on food while you’re unemployed. They may take a little bit of planning and discipline, but anyone can do them.

Blue Apron Review

My excitement at opening the Blue Apron delivery box was only matched by my disappointment at the passionless bland flavor of the meal.  In case you haven’t heard of it, Blue Apron, Inc. is an e-commerce food delivery business. Pretty much the business model is it delivers recipes and ingredients to make meals at home. You order the meals via their website and ingredients come a few days later. I recently had a chance to try it for the first time. Today’s post will be my Blue Apron review.

The Basics

In my case, the Blue Apron package was delivered by Fed Ex. The package had three different meals in it. One of the first things that impressed me was how organized the packaging was. All the ingredients were correctly labeled. There were meat, vegetables and different seasonings for each recipe. To make sure that the food doesn’t expire or go bad during delivery, two ice packs are included in the package.

The Meals & Instructions

The package came with three different meals. They were Moroccan chicken with prunes and brown rice, chipotle-glazed meatloaf with crispy potatoes and spicy shrimp coconut curry with green cabbage and rice. All three of those recipes were new to me. Blue Apron has inserts for each dinner. The insert has the meal name, a small breakdown going over the meal and step by step instructions.  Even if you don’t consider yourself a cook, you should be able to follow these instructions verbatim. The instructions even have pictures of each step when you’re cooking.

Prep & Cooking Time

Each meal has about 10-15 minutes of prep time. If you’re not familiar with cooking these foods, you are going to need it. The cooking time for each meal is between 25-45 minutes. That’s nearly standard cooking time for me. So the total prep and cooking time is substantially longer than the advertised time.

Spicy Shrimp Coconut Curry

For my Blue Apron Review, I selected the spicy shrimp coconut curry. With the instructions, it was relatively easy to make. The meal said that it would make enough for two servings. That was all right with me. I opened the package and organized the ingredients and started cooking. With the instructions, I was able to cook the meal without any problems. Below are a few pictures of the items and the finished product.

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To me, the meal was just okay. It was kind of bland. I usually like a little more flavor.

Thoughts On Pricing and Value

As part of my Blue Apron review, I did some research on pricing. For three meals each week, the price is $59.94. The prices for the family plan are even higher – $69.92 for 2 meals per week.  I’m sure that if I go to the store on my own, that I’ll be able to purchase more than three meals worth of food. I’m the king of finding deals at my local grocery store.  Also, Blue Apron also doesn’t have any meal choices beyond fish, meat, and vegetarian.   So Blue Apron doesn’t accommodate vegans at the moment.  Delivery dates are flexible, you can skip deliveries if you don’t want the food that week. Here is a screenshot of the pricing.
Blue Apron review pricing

My Blue Apron Review Conclusion – Only Worth It If You Are Busy

If you are super busy or need help coming up with new meal ideas, then Blue Apron may be worth it. For my lifestyle, it’s not worth it at all. I can get more bang for my buck when I shop on my own. That said, some people have run the numbers and found that Blue Apron can actually be LESS expensive than buying from a supermarket (clicky), especially when you factor in the fact that supermarkets don’t always sell in single portion sizes.  Blue Apron may therefore be a good solution if you travel a lot or otherwise aren’t interested in buying stuff that’s just going to sit in the back of your refrigerator.

Blue Apron is offering $30 dollars off first orders – click on the ad the left or use this link.   You can always cancel after your first order if you don’t like the price or you aren’t happy with the meals.

If you liked this article, please share it on social media or leave us a comment!

More of Blue Apron at Cleverdude and Thousandaire.

Just as you do, there are many other people who have been given some thought on how they are able to cut their expenses and save some cash. A quick online search will provide you with plenty of money saving tips, but here we have provided you with 5 factors you need to consider.

  1. Shop Online

You can save a ton of money by shopping online, and for more reasons than you may initially consider. For example, if you want to do your grocery shopping online it can stop you picking up all of those impulse buys that you could otherwise live without. Consider this, how many times do you buy unneeded items simply because they are right there in front of you. It might seem like you are buying at a discount, but spending something will always cost you more money than not spending anything. A great online shopping site is Coupon Sherpa, you can find plenty of great deals online. The same can be said for Groupon as well.

  1. Join a Cashback Shopping website

Another method of saving money is by taking your online shopping a step further and using a cashback site. There are a lot more of these sites popping up these days because retailers often incentivize them to seller their products and services. The cashback site will then take their profits from the retailer and essentially pass you back a portion of it. A pretty simple and effective method for online shoppers.

  1. Stop Going to the Car Wash

When the spring and summer months hit it’s amazing how many people flock to the local car washes. Some will opt to hit the coin vending washes rather than the more expensive drive through washes. However, you should wash your car the old fashioned way, with a hose, bucket of water, and a sponge! Simple tasks that you can do around the house for free should always be optimized for saving money.

  1. Pack a Lunch

Spending money to buy lunch everyday is much easier, and quicker, than packing your own…but it certainly is much more costly as well. Spending time is much cheaper than spending money. Sure, you have to buy the stuff at the grocery store and wake up an extra 10 minutes earlier in the morning to pack the lunch, but in the long run your finances will thank you for it.

  1. Shop Around for your Insurance Needs

The internet makes shopping so much easier, and that includes shopping for and saving money on your insurance needs. It doesn’t matter if you need life, health, or car insurance. Simply go online and input some superficial data, and within 10 minutes you can have a dozen insurance companies competing for your business.

 

Defining Your Goals Before Job HuntingLooking for a new job is not always the easiest. It can take a lot of time depending on what you’re trying to do. Job hunting can be stressful especially if you need a new job as soon as possible. I’ve been in a situation where it took me a year to find a full-time position. I had part-time work during half of that time, but it was still a very stressful time. One of the mistakes that some people make is to rush and end up in a job that is not really for them. To help you avoid that, it’s good to define what you want with a new job before you start searching. Let’s look at a few ways that will help you identify your goals.

Goal Mindset

The first thing that you should do is get into the goal mindset. Your goals should help direct your job search, not the other way around. At times, people take what they can get and then find themselves stuck. Is that how you want to spend the next 30-40 years? Do you want to be stuck somewhere that you don’t like for the majority of your adulthood? I’m not sure about you, but that’s not how I want to live my life. I’m sure most people probably feel like that. You need to come up with some goals and then let them steer your job search.

Be Proactive, Not Reactive

The second thing that you need to do is to be proactive. If you see a job or position that you may be interested in, reach out to them. If there is a company that you may want to work for, check to see if they have any future openings. Some companies don’t always advertise their jobs to the public. By searching for a business or employer that you want to work for, you are being proactive. You may be waiting forever if you want them to find you. Get in a proactive mindset. Take some time to search for employers that fit your criteria, and that will help you progress your career.

What are your skills?

Do you know what your skills are or do you just put something generic on your resume? Take a look at what your skills really are. Jot them down on a piece of paper and list them best to least. This is done to show you what you are good at. Write down anything you can do such as troubleshooting to coding. In this exercise, there are no right or wrong answers.

Experience

The next step is to consider the different job experiences that you have had. Some job experience might not be needed for certain positions. It also doesn’t need to be just job-related. If you’ve done community service or have experience being in an organization in college, make sure that you include it.

Connect

The final thing is to connect your skills with your experiences. I’m sure you will now see career ideas opening up that you probably haven’t thought of. Is one your skills working on websites? Maybe you could help a company update their web page. Make connections between your skills and experience. When you do this, you will be well on your way to defining your new career goals.

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When you shop for a new auto insurance rate, there are a lot of factors to consider. Either we enjoy being covered by this policy or we’re just too lazy to shop for a new one and sometimes when we are complacent on this, it could cost us money in the long run.

Over the course of the past few years, technological growth has increased as car manufacturers create vehicles with advancements such as enhanced safety features and in some cases, even driverless cars. Now if cars are being made to be safer, can the auto insurance companies survive? When the future becomes a total reality, would we still need liability insurance for our car? There are a couple of situations wherein we would need insurance coverage such as theft or when another vehicle crashes into your parked car.

Now even with all these innovations, insurers can definitely evolve with the pace of technology and thrive within. There are still a lot of things a car can and cannot do so there won’t be much impact at this time yet, although there are a few accidents that can be eliminated with a driverless vehicle such as:

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We all dream of becoming millionaires one day and enjoying all of our wealth. Some of us might read books and articles on tips for how to become a millionaire while others of us try the get rich quick approach in hopes of turning our $100 into $100 million overnight. Unfortunately, this option takes us further from our goal rather than helping us achieve it. The real way to become a millionaire and retire early is part hard work and part habit. In this post, I will show you 3 habits that you need to embrace so that becoming a millionaire and retiring early becomes a reality for you.

3 Habits For Growing Your Wealth And Retiring Early

#1. Use Time To Your Advantage

This is probably the most critical habit for us to embrace, using time to our advantage. You need to make sure you don’t waste time. How do we waste time? A few examples include getting lost on Facebook, Twitter, watching TV, etc. I’m not saying you can’t use any of this technology any more, but what I am saying is to make sure you limit it. This is what the most successful people do and you should too.

Spend your time doing something useful. Read, take a class, enjoy a hobby, start a side business, hang out with your family. Any of these options help you grow and become a better person. They also help you to realize what is really important in life.

When you realize this, your priorities shift. You stop overspending on things that aren’t important to you and focus more on the things and experiences that matter. This is the first step in getting your spending and focus under control so you can grow your wealth and retire early.

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