7 Ways For Families To Manage Student Loan Debt

If your family has student debt, you’re not alone.  If you feel like it’s a mountain with no end in sight, that’s also quite normal.  The fact is that student loan debt is a huge part of our lives.  Some people think that their debt is something they’ll have to deal with forever.  But, it doesn’t have to be that way.  You can manage student loan debt.  It might not be easy or quick, but a good plan can pay off.  Here are a few way for your family to manage student loan debt.

Make Student Loan Debt Payoff A Priority

Some people think that student loan debt will be around forever.  For some people, paying off their debt is just another bill payment.  If you’re serious about getting rid of student loan debt, give it more priority.  Additional attention is necessary to tackle something so big.

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10 Ways To Nail Your Job Interview

So you found the perfect job.  There’s only one problem.  First, you have to nail your job interview.   Well, actually you need to get the job interview first.  But once you get it, you need to stand out.  Here are some ways to nail your job interview.

Dress Nicely

Don’t be flashy. Dress professionally.  You want to stand out in your job interview, but not for the wrong reasons.  If you dress nice, it shows respect toward the interviewer and the company.

Start And Finish By Saying Thank You

Even though it’s their job, the person interviewing you is giving you their time.  Make sure you express appreciation for that.  Give a nice smile and handshake while saying thank you at the beginning.  At the end, thank them again.  Manners matter for people of all ages.  Use them.

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10 Ways To Improve Your Outlook On Life

It’s hard to slow down these days.  There’s always something to do, and ten more after that.  If you feel like your day ends before it begins, you’re not alone.  But this isn’t healthy.  Stress increases your chances of heart attacks and creates other health risks.  But what do you do?  The first step is to slow down.  Once you do that, you can improve your outlook on life.  After that, you might find some of the things that are keeping you so busy aren’t as important as you think.

Here are some tips to get started.  These ten ideas can help slow you down.  Once you do that, you may find that you will improve your outlook on life.

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15 Things To Do When Leaving Your Job

Did you hear about the crazy lady that stabbed her HR rep with a pen while resigning?  This actually happened last week.  Now, it probably goes without saying for MOST people that you shouldn’t do that.  But what should you do when leaving your job?  Well, here are some tips to get started so that leaving your job is a positive experience for everybody.

Give Notice

I’m a firm believer that you should offer two weeks notice before leaving your job.  Technically you don’t have to, but it shows you’re a team player.  You can technically quit and be done that day, but it’s just bad form.  Make sure you give proper notice.

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Midyear Checkup On 2018 Goals

It’s hard to believe that over half of the year has gone by.  I put together a list of 20 goals earlier this year.  It’s time to check on how things are going.  This is my checkup on 2018 goals.  Click here to read the full detail of every goal.

Family

  • Be protective of my den.  In progress.  This is hard to judge but I think it’s going well.
  • Be more of the husband and dad I want my wife and kids to remember.  In progress.
  • Look out for my/our parents.  In progress.  Some of these are rather subjective, as I now see.  I guess I’d say I’m trying but ultimately would have to ask our parents how it’s going!
  • Be there when there.  Sometimes.  This is about staying away from a screen when around family.  I try but often find myself lacking.

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18 Items To Take To The Beach For A Great Day

Summer is in full swing.  If you haven’t been to the beach, now’s the time!  The water is still cold here in Michigan due to a late start to spring.  Still, that doesn’t stop people from heading out and having fun.  Here are some items to take to the beach for a fantastic day!

Clothing And Gear

  • Swimsuits.   Wear them or take them.  Just make sure you have them.
  • Towels.  These are definitely an essential for drying off or laying on.
  • Sunscreen. The sun is hot.  Make sure you don’t end up with a burn.  Take plenty of sunscreen.  We like both lotion and spray.
  • Bug spray.  Every once in a while, the bugs like to enjoy the beach, too.  Keep this and use only if needed.
  • Sunglasses.  Protect your eyes and avoid squinting with a nice pair of shades.
  • Blanket.  The sand is great but it gets in places you don’t want it to get.  Protect yourself with a beach blanket.
  • Flip Flops.  The sand gets hot.  Make your walk up and down easy on the feet with a pair of flip flops.
  • Shirt / Cover-Up.  You might need something to throw on without changing.
  • Change of Clothes.  The day at the beach must end eventually.  Nobody likes getting into a car sopping wet. Have some clothes available to change into.

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20 Job Interview Red Flags

Are you interviewing for a new job?  If so, congrats on the new opportunity!  However, as everyone knows, not every job is perfect.  But, how do you determine what might actually not be the best job?  Sometimes, an interview can provide some great insight.  Here are some job interview red flags that I’ve experienced and heard over the years.

Job Requirements and Such

  • Nights & Weekends.  If these words come up at all, it’s a safe bet you might be expected to work off shift.
  • On call.  Are you expecting to be on call?  If so, great, but if not, watch out if this comes up at all.  You’ll likely find yourself on call sooner rather than later.
  • Filling In.  If you suddenly start talking about items beyond the job description, and how you’d be filling in, watch out.  This could be a permanent or way too regular thing.
  • Short Staffed.  If the words come up at all, watch out!  When they tell you in a job interview that they’re short staffed, they are probably always short staffed.
  • Mismatch from the job description.  If the job description differs from what they talk about in the interview, watch out.  My friend hired in for a job where the travel time was listed at 25%.  During the interview, they said it could occasionally be 50-75%.  Well, of course it was 50-75% all the time.
  • Learning a job on the fly.  I was hired for a job where I didn’t qualify.  But, they assured me that my background would make me a quick fit after I was mentored for a few months.  Then, after I was hired, the mentoring shrunk to a week.  It was doomed for failure from day one.

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DTE Insight v3 Review: A Big Step Back

Like many power companies, our local company rolled out smart meters a few years ago.  These smart meters are in constant communication with the power company.  Benefits for this include real-time monitoring capabilities and the elimination of meter reads.  Drawbacks are, according to some, increased exposure to RF radiation as the communication takes place.  Like it or not, they are here to stay. Our company, DTE Energy, made it really cool. They came up with a device called an Energy Bridge and an app called DTE Insight that allowed real time monitoring of your usage. They recently rolled out DTE Insight v3.  Here’s my review.

Energy Bridge and DTE Insight

The Energy Bridge and the DTE Insight app went hand in hand.  With the app, any electric customer could monitor their usage.  It provided breakdowns by day, week, and month.  You typically had access to your statistics after a day or two.  With the Energy Bridge device, it moved this up to real-time.  This device had a data connection that you plugged into your home router. It paired with your electric meter, and you could view your usage in real time.

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Keep Your Summer Budget Under Control

Summer is right around the corner.  Before long the kids will be done with school. Grills will be filling the streets with smells of burgers and hot dogs. The ice cream truck will be jangling down the street.  Summer is the time to enjoy the world, and boy can that be expensive!  Your wallet can take a hit if your summer budget gets out of control.  But, you can keep things under control.

Here are a few summer budget tips so that you can have fun and keep your finances in check!

Shop For Travel Deals

Travel and leisure activities abound during the summer months.   These can add up to big spending amounts if you’re not careful.  The good news is that you can often find deals.  Look through Groupon or other apps.  Visit travel websites or those of places you’d like to go.  There are often specials.  If you want to get away, look for places like AirBnB.  This can reduce the cost compared to more expensive hotel options.

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10 Practical Baby Shower Gifts Every Mom Will Love

Ah, the baby shower.  The time to give all that’s cute for the new life about to enter the world.  While many gifts will draw ooh’s and ahh’s during the shower, there are some that will bring those later.  These are practical baby shower gifts that every parent will appreciate when it matters most.

Diapers (Size 1 and 2)

Diapers are a fairly common gift.  But, here’s the thing, most diapers for yet-to-be born babies are Newborn size.  This is great except that many babies are out of this size in a flash.  While you can usually exchange unopened diapers for a bigger size, make it easy on the mom to be.  Give them the next size or two up.  When that Newborn size diaper just won’t fit, your gift will be at the ready.

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