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.

Summer Break: Protect Yourself Before You Travel

It’s that time of year when the kids are off school, and families travel to their favorite destinations. It’s Summer Break!

So while you’re planning the trip of a lifetime for the whole family, make sure you have all your bases covered. That includes protection in case the unthinkable, such as an accident or severe illness, were to happen.

Keep yourself prepared by purchasing insurance. There are many different ways to ensure your family’s protection whether you’re traveling in the US or abroad. Here are a few common types of insurance to consider before you step out the door.

Travel Insurance

Travellers insurance covers a wide range of “what ifs,” from lost luggage to injury-related incidences. Here is a basic summary of what travel insurance can include:

Trip Cancellation: Certain packages will include trip cancellation coverage. If for some reason you need to cancel your trip or cut your vacation short because something unforeseen comes up, this insurance will cover the cost of otherwise non-refundable expenses, such as hotel bookings. But make sure to read the authorized reasons for cancelling a trip.

Luggage Coverage: Sometimes your luggage doesn’t make it to your destination on time, or it just doesn’t make it at all. Some travel insurance packages have luggage coverage if your belongings are lost, damaged or stolen on your trip.

Medical Coverage: If you become ill or are seriously injured while travelling, the expenses could be thousands of dollars. For this reason, it’s crucial to have health coverage, whether that means purchasing insurance for your trip, or confirming with your current health plan if you need approval for any certain type of care. If you choose to purchase insurance for your trip, there are two common types: travel medical insurance for short trips, and major medical for stays of six months or longer.

There are many other reasons to purchase travel insurance before you leave. For example, some policies provide coverage if severe weather damages your destination. You can even get coverage for a lost passport, which would help speed up the process of replacing it.

Life Insurance

If you don’t already have a life insurance policy, you should strongly consider getting one before you leave. Just as travel insurance prepares you for the unexpected while on vacation, life insurance prepares you for the unexpected in life.

You plan for a safe trip, but in reality, some circumstances are beyond your control. Life insurance can provide financial protection for you and your entire family. If you were to pass away unexpectedly, life insurance could cover the cost of funeral expenses or for the loss of income to help provide a financial cushion for your family during a difficult time.

There are many policies available to you, including term life insurance, which is very popular. Term insurance is coverage for a set period, after which you have the option to renew the policy.

Before you leave for your trip, talk to your insurance professional to help find a trustworthy insurer with options that best suit your needs.

Other Protection Tips

There are other things you can do to help protect you and your family while on vacation. A good idea is to make a copy of your passport and ID, and leave the copies behind with someone you trust or in a place that a friend or family member can access. This way, if your identification is stolen or lost, you have documentation.

Another tip is to only bring what you need, and this includes your wallet. It’s possible your wallet could get lost or stolen, so make sure you’re just carrying the cards you absolutely need.

So while you are planning your itinerary, make sure to add some of these tips to the checklist. Seriously consider travel and life insurance before you take off. Make sure you are going to a trusted company and are getting what you need.

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.