Quick Meal Ideas to Help You Avoid Eating Out

March 27, 2015 Permalink 0

quick mealGoing out to eat is a huge struggle of mine. In fact, my entertainment/eating out budget category is the one I tend to go over in every single month. When I first started budgeting in January 2014, I tended to go over this budget category by a few dollars each month, but since then it’s gotten progressively worse.

As my life has gotten busier, my eating out budget overage has gotten larger. In fact, until I started freelancing online in the second half of 2014, I would only go over my budget by about $20 or less each month. Last month I went over my budget by nearly $200!

After reflecting on why I keep going further and further over budget for eating out, I realized it’s because I don’t keep any easy, quick meal ingredients on hand for nights when I am especially busy and don’t have time to cook. After I realized that, I decided to make a list of quick meal ideas so I can try to do better at not eating out as often out of pure convenience.

Reusable Containers: Budget and Eco Friendly

March 24, 2015 Permalink 0

Today we have a guest post from a new blogger, Kristi Muse. Take it away Kristi!

6776525554_fa27cfdfbf_zCompanies make their biggest profits off of consumers who pay more for convenience items.  Convenience marketing is especially targeted towards busy parents. Single serve yogurts, juices, snack packs, etc. all cost more than the bulk packaging on the same shelf. The reason these items sell, although they cost significantly more, is because people want, and will pay for, convenience. They want to be able to just grab a bag of chips on the way out of the door. Although innocuous enough at the store, these items eat away at budgets in a big way.

If you are trying to save money or would like to have extra room in your budget to pay down debts, I urge you to stop purchasing those convenience items. There’s an easy way to still have the convenience of single serve items, without the exorbitant cost. It just takes an ounce of extra effort. By making a one-time purchase on reusable items, you can save a lot of money down the road.

Reusable Squeeze Pouch

Parents love the squeeze pouches. They are wholesome snacks that can be thrown in the diaper bag and taken on the go. Because they are minimal mess and easy clean up, they are a parent’s dream come true. The squeeze pouches at the store are so expensive though. Don’t worry, you don’t have to give up on the convenience of food pouches altogether to save money. Pick up a package of the refillable ones instead. They’re freezer and dishwasher safe, and you’ll be able to fill them with your own home creations or store brand fruits and veggies. By preparing them yourself, your bank account will thank you.

Why I May Drop Out of the Sharing Economy

March 23, 2015 Permalink 0

IMG_0646I started the year with a fun goal: To partake more in the sharing economy. I wanted to try travelling, food delivery, car sharing, unique gifts and dog sitting, among other things, in this new economy that has so much potential.

I not only wanted to spend this year as a consumer exploring services from individuals that were previously only offered by businesses, but to sell my services too. Heck, I’ve watched friends’ dogs for free for years, why not make some extra money at it as a dog sitter?

The extra cash isn’t worth the time, for the most part.

While I don’t consider myself an expert as a service provider in the sharing economy, peer-to-peer, collaborative or whatever else this area is called, I have used it plenty and have an idea of what to expect as someone on the selling end. I’ve used Lyft, Webvan, DogVacay and have sold or given away a few things on Craigslist.

I’ve worked for DogVacay.com and Rover.com as a dog sitter for a year, and I’ve come to realize that it’s not the money-making story I thought it would be. I’m not saying that the sharing economy leads to income inequality, or that it is the best way for anyone to make some extra money. But for me, it comes down to the payout versus my time.

Sharing economy numbers

Here are some numbers from my workload in the sharing economy: I charge $45 a night for boarding a dog for a night. Of that, I get $38.25 per night and DogVacay gets $6.75.

I don’t begrudge DogVacay its cut. That’s fine and acceptable. Their online booking process is fantastic and leads to some gigs every few months.