Five Ways To Get The Most Value From Netflix

It seems like everybody has Netflix these days, doesn’t it?  I remember subscribing to Netflix before most anybody knew what it was.  I can’t tell you the number of people I explained it to.  You clicked a few buttons on your computer, and a couple of days later a DVD showed up in the mail.  That was before they did any type of streaming.  Ah, the good old days!  Now, if I’d only been smart enough to buy their stock and hold onto it at the time!  Oh well.  In any case, Netflix is bigger than ever.  Here are five ways to get the most value from Netflix and your subscription.

Review Your Plan

Netflix has a pretty solid menu of options.  You can stream online.  You can get DVDs.  Or, you can get both.  Then, you look at how many devices you want to use or how many DVDs you want to have out.

Netflix will default you to their standard streaming plan.  This is great for most people.  Heck, it’s what we use.  But, make sure that you’re selecting the plan that’s right for you.  Also, make sure to check up on your plan now and then.  You never know.  What was perfect yesterday may not be the best fit tomorrow.

Setup Multiple Devices

If you stream, then make sure you setup Netflix on every possible device you own.  Plans limit to how many you can stream simultaneously, but you can set it up on as many as you want.

I recommend setting up all your devices at once.  Phones.  Tablets.  Smart TVs.  Roku devices.  Whatever.  Get them all set up.  Because, let’s face it, when you’re in the mood to watch something, you don’t want to take the time to log in or have a family member unable to use it because they don’t know the password.

Share Your Account

Have you ever considered being sneaky and having multiple households share an account?  Go ahead.  Netflix knows you do it.  They really don’t care, for the most part.  Now, if every house on the street is sharing an account, they might have  a problem.  But, if it’s just you sharing with your parents, they probably won’t care.

Use Downloads

Streaming plans let you download some programming to watch offline.  This means you can watch Netflix on a plane or wherever you might not have a streaming connection.  They do limit you to the number of devices per plan in which you can download content.  But, even so, this is a really cool option.

Stay On Top Of Content

You won’t use Netflix if you don’t know what’s there.  Netflix has tons of original programming.  Plus, they shuffle in and out content from other studios all the time.  Keep track of what they have coming up.  There are sites everywhere that track the comings and goings.  Additionally, if you rate content, Netflix will build custom recommendations and let you know in advance.  Either way, if you know what’s coming, you may use the service more regularly.

Readers, do you have a Netflix subscription? How do you get the most value from your Netflix plan?  Let me know your tips in the comments below.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Use These 7 Leftovers Tips To Avoid Wasting Food

Leftovers.  Just reading the word probably made some of you groan.  That’s a pretty common reaction.  We crave variety including in what we eat.  And, let’s face it, not all meals are all that exciting the first time around!  This can make the second go-around downright unappealing.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way!  You can make leftovers a lot more appealing, and also make sure that food doesn’t go to waste.  Here are a few simple tricks.

Store Leftovers In A Clear Container

One reason that leftovers go bad is they get forgotten about. This is almost sure to happen if you can’t see what you’re keeping.  We try to put as many our leftovers as possible in clear glass dishes.  This avoids food turning into science experiments!  Who needs that?

Create A Designated Leftovers Area

Another common occurance that leads to food going to waste or becoming inedible is when leftovers are spread around the fridge.  Then, slowly but surely, the leftovers get pushed further and further to the back.  Eventually, you’ve run out of containers and the back half of the fridge is piled high with who-knows-what.  It doesn’t have to be that way.

We put leftovers in one area of the fridge.  It may not be our favorite spot of the fridge, but it helps.

Plan A Leftover Night

One thing our designated spot helps is to alert us when we’ve got a lot of leftovers.  When our leftovers spot fills up, we know it’s time to consider a leftovers night.  Nobody enjoys these that I know of, but at least it means no cooking, right?

Bottom line, leftovers nights aren’t fun, but the can avoid waste, save time, and mean one less meal to cook.  That’s just money in your pocket!

Switch Meals With Leftovers

If you don’t want to have the same thing for dinner twice in a week, I don’t blame you.  But, what about lunch?  Many leftovers pack well and can be warmed up at work.  I often look forward to leftovers for lunch, because it breaks up my sandwich routine.

Turn Leftovers Into A New Recipe

One thing we try to do is make leftovers an entirely new meal.  How?  Here are a few things we do:

  • Just about any Mexican food leftover can be converted to a different meal.  Pretty much anything can be made into nachos fairly easily.
  • Grilled chicken can be cut up and made into a nice big salad.
  • Leftover chili can be added to a box of mac & cheese to make chili mac.

Get the idea?

 

Know How To Reheat Your Leftovers

Many leftovers get a bad rap because they’re warmed up incorrectly.  Pizza, for example, doesn’t get warmed up in the microwave in our house.  Warming it up in the oven makes it practically the same as when you had it fresh.  Honestly, I won’t go into too many tips on particular foods, but Google is your friend.  I assure you.

Store Your Leftovers Properly

Sticking leftovers in the fridge improperly is a surefire way to ruin food.   The biggest thing to remember when storing food?  Keeping air away from it.

If you put leftover casserole or pasta in a container, squeeze the air out.  When you have leftover pizza, don’t just put the box in the fridge.  The next time you open the box, you’ll have dried out, nasty pizza that even the oven can’t save.  If you store your leftovers properly, they will taste much better the second time around.

In the end, leftovers will never be appealing as a great meal the first time.  But, with these tips, leftovers can be tolerable and maybe even enjoyable.

What are some of your favorite (or least favorite) leftovers? Do you have any tips to minimize the eye-rolls when leftover night rolls around?

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Spring Clean Your Finances With 5 Easy Steps

Spring has been pretty much absent here in Michigan.  Last weekend we had an ice storm.  Temperatures have been about eight degrees below average for the month.  Snow showers and accumulations are still a regular occurrence.  Still, spring has to come sometime, right?   We’re still hoping.  But, even if the weather isn’t cooperating, spring is still on the calendar.  Now’s a perfect time to spring clean your finances.  Here are a few easy tips to get started.

Calculate Your Net Worth

We calculate our net worth every month, so this is easy.  But if you don’t do this regularly, now’s the perfect time.  Net worth is an easy calculation.  Simply add up all of your assets.  Then add up all of your debts.  Subtract debts from assets and that is your net worth!

Compare Net Worth To Last Year If Possible

Hopefully you know your net worth from last year, in which case you can do a comparison.  If you’re doing things right, the number is higher. If so, celebrate.  Keeping regular comparison points along the way will help show you how things are going.

If you don’t have last year’s number handy, don’t fret.  Simply mark down this year’s and do the comparison next year.  It’s never too late to get started!

Run A Credit Report

You get three free credit reports per year, one from each of the major bureaus.  Now is a perfect time to run one of your free reports.  Ideally, run one report every four months, rotating between the three.

When you get your report, look through it line by line.  Make sure you recognize every account and that the balances make sense.  This will summarize what you owe and what you can potentially borrow.  It also helps to make sure nobody has opened any credit in your name unknowingly.  Plus, you can make sure there’s nothing that’s been forgotten about.

Check On Goals And Revise Them (Or Make New Ones)

If you’re like me, you set some financial goals at the beginning of the year.  Now’s a great time to check on those and see how you’re doing.  If any revisions are necessary, make them now.  Or, if you didn’t set any goals back in January, why not set some now?  It’s never too late.  Plus, you have eight months to get things done!

Clean Up Your Tax Documents

Tax season is behind us, and unless you filed an extension, your taxes should now be filed.  Now’s the time to make sure your tax records are in order.  You need the last seven years of records in the event of an audit.  Make sure you have all of those in one place and that they’re safely locked away.  We keep ours in a fireproof safe.

If you still want to keep your records beyond seven years, I absolutely think that’s a great idea.  But, make sure that you have the last seven years worth at hand.

What Spring Cleaning Do You Do?

It’s your turn.  What spring cleaning activities do you do for your finances?  Let me know in the comments below.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Force Yourself To Slow Down For Better Results

Have you ever had to force yourself to slow down?  What about if you’re looking for better results?  This seems counterproductive, but sometimes it’s quite necessary.  For me, I’ve had to recently go through this when it comes to exercise.  Specifically, with my running.

My Wife The Motivator

I was never a runner at all until a few years ago.  In seventh grade, I joined the track team and dropped out a week later.  It was just never my thing.

But a few years ago, my wife got the idea to run a 5K.  That seemed like a huge deal, and I tracked her progress closely.  I was really excited when she ran her first race successfully.

The next year she jumped up to wanting to do a half marathon.  At this point, I started thinking that if she could get into running, maybe I could as well.

While I never rallied to run a half marathon (she did finish hers), I did start running pretty regularly.  So much that I’ve had to shut myself down.  Twice.

Two Times The Ouch

Both times I’ve had to stop running it was because I started developing problems in my feet.  The first time, I started getting symptomns of plantar fasciitis in both feet.  This was painful and could only be corrected by rest.  So I shut down for a few months.

After the soreness went away, I started running again.  I started using some inserts in my shoes to help give me support, as it turns out that my walking and running step is a bit uneven.

The supports helped.  I ran regularly for awhile, but eventually had to shut down again.

The second time wasn’t exclusively plantar fasciitis, but it again required a shutdown from my routine.

Both times it happened, I had been increasing my intensity.  As it turns out, I’d been overdoing it.

Now, I started running again.  This time, I’m purposefully slowing myself down in three key areas.  All of these are designed to help me prevent having to shut my routine down for a third time.

Frequency

Both times when I started feeling soreness, I was running 5-6 times per week.  This is too much.  I wasn’t letting my feet get the necessary rest between workouts.

Now, I’m forcing myself to run no more than four times per week.  My current routine is to run Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

This way, I’m never running more than twice per week.  When I do, it’s only on one occasion.  And, except for that one back to back, I’m getting an important day of rest.

Distance

Last year, I got into running outdoors.  Prior to that, it was all treadmill for me.  I got into running outside so much that I really increased my distance.  I was going 5-6 miles per run at least 2-3 times per week.

Again, that was just too much.

Now, even though I’m indoors until the weather breaks, I’m still limiting myself to 4 mile runs.  Between cutting back the number of days, and the length of the runs, I’m probably cutting my total distance by about half.  The current routine definitely feels more comfortable.

Pace

When I work out, I always challenge myself to improve.  If I lift weights, I look to lift more weight or do more reps.  If I do cardio, I strive to increase my pace or distance.  I’ve always done this.  During both of my past running regimens, I was focusing on this as well.  Probably a little too much.   Last year, I started off running at about a 10:30 minutes per mile pace.  By the time I shut down, I had shaved about a minute off of that.

That all sounds great, and definitely felt good when I logged them, but my feet told me it wasn’t a great idea.

Now, I’m forcing myself to slow down.  I now look to finish with about a 10:45 minute per mile pace.  As it turns out, this is just fine.  I still come away very sweaty.  I still burn a lot of calories.  That feeling of accomplishment?  Still there.  And what’s the difference really?  For a four mile run, it’s about three minutes.  I’m willing to add three minutes of running time to my day if it means I can keep my routine going longer.  It seems like a perfect trade off to me.

Lessons Learned

In the end, I’ve realized that bettering myself isn’t always about getting better.  I have forced myself to get out of the mentality that I have to push my limits.  Not only is it bad for my feet, but I have to probably accept my age as well.  The time for targeting personal best after personal best was probably 10-20 years ago.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t running then.

But I am now, and I’m trying to be smart about it.

Readers, do you ever find you have to slow down when it seems opposite of what you should do?

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.