Posts

The PBJ Theory, Please Quit Complaining About Food Budgets

Peanut Butter and Jelly Theory

I’m about to save you thousands of dollars.

All the money you spend in your life, or even an average month. Chances are one of your largest expenses is food. It happens, literally to everyone.

Eating Out Is The Worst For Your Wallet

So when people start to track their budgets, they always come to the same conclusion. “I need to quit eating out more”. Get this, the average person eats out 4.5 times per week costing them $12.14 per meal on a national average according to a 2016 survey conducted by Zagat.

“the average person eats out 4.5 times per week costing them $12.14 per meal on a national average”

That means the average person spends $54.63 eating out a week or $218.52 a month on just eating out. Unless you earn lots of money, is the obvious answer to eat in?

What About Eating In?

Most people think they can quit going out to start having nice and relaxing meals in. Here’s the thing with eating in, the movies get it wrong.

It’s not always a romantic and soothing experience.

Often times it’s a “Crap, I need to eat. What should I cook?” experience that you pray to the food gods you have the right ingredients in your fridge and dishes are clean.

Let’s face it, we are busy in our lives and don’t have the time to visit the store every day buying new ingredients for a new recipe we found on the internet.

In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, researcher Eddie Yoon over two decades collected data as consultants for consumer packaged goods companies. He found that:

  • 15% of people say they LOVE to cook
  • 50% of people say they HATE to cook
  • 35% of people say they are ambivalent about cooking (mixed feelings)

If you’re one of the people that hate cooking, you should create a meal plan to make it as easy as possible. Plan a week in advance what you’re going to eat for each meal and know how to cook it. This way you’ll have the ingredients and can plan accordingly for time.

However, not all plans work out.

Introduce The Peanut Butter and Jelly Theory

When meal plans fail, let me introduce Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches, otherwise known as a PBJ.

Let me first admit that I have an addiction to commenting on Finance forums, Facebook Groups, and Blogs. The mechanics of building wealth are simple and I’m always happy to remind people that things are often more simple than they appear. Like how I responded this comment and created “The Peanut Butter and Jelly Theory”.

I get it, you want to start saving money on food and you’re looking for suggestions from the personal finance community to help.

Answers ranged from getting a crockpot to make meals simple, cooking large meals on Sunday and eating leftovers throughout the week, to buying frozen meals that may not be great for you, but easy to prepare.

All of the responses skirted around the idea that a solid weekly meal plan is the best option to help you save money on food. However, sometimes these meals don’t work out for a number of reasons and one fall off the wagon can end up at the local McDonalds.

So I introduced the Peanut Butter and Jelly Theory. The cost-effective, quickest meal ever to keep your budget on track.

This is easily the most actionable thing you can do to start immediately saving on your food budget. In many cases when people eat out, it’s due to convenience because they don’t have anything at home that sounds appealing. That’s when the Peanut Butter and Jelly Theory comes in handy.

Stash emergency PB&J supplies in your kitchen. When hungry but have nothing else, eat a PB&J. If you’re not hungry for a PB&J, wait 2 hours until you’re hungry enough to eat a PB&J.

Sometimes a PBJ isn’t exactly what you’re craving and your favorite restaurant sounds better, or your “husband would not be happy about that” (see comment). Well suck it up, you’ll soon be out of debt and you can buy your husband a jet ski. Everyone loves a jet ski.

Try the Peanut Butter and Jelly Theory

If you want to save THOUSANDS on food budgets, you should try the Peanut Butter and Jelly Theory! Meals cost less than $1 to make, you’ll save time and money. Most importantly, you’ll have a secret stash of PBJs to make when you get those cravings to go out and spend money.

You’re welcome.

Disclaimer: Wallet Squirrel did not invent the Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich, just an advocate of saving money. Wallet Squirrel was not sponsored by big PBJ corporations to promote their superior and delicious product.

Unroll Me Review

Unroll.Me Review – The Best 5 Minutes for Your Email’s Inbox

Unroll Me Review

Unroll.Me Review – The Best 5 Minutes for Your Email’s Inbox

This Unroll.Me Review is going to show you why you should spend 5 minutes every month using this tool to clean up your email’s inbox. At the end of each month, your inbox will be writing you a thank you letter.

I wonder if it will send the thank you via email or snail mail?

In last weeks post, How to Pay Off Your Car Loan Faster – How I paid off $7K in 3 Months, I mentioned that I used Unroll.Me to remove advertisement distractions from my email.

Well, today we will talk about Unroll.Me and really just how easy it is to use!

What is Unroll.Me

To start off this Unroll.Me review, let’s answer a couple questions as to what the tool does and who the company behind the tool is.

Unroll.Me is a free service that allows you to easily (an understatement) unsubscribe from all of those pesky email subscriptions.

After signing in, the algorithm scans throughout your inbox looking for e-commerce emails. Once found, the application lists them out allowing you to decide what to do with the subscription.

Who Is Unroll.Me

Slice Technologies is the parent company that owns Unroll.Me. They are able to make Unroll.Me a free service because they collect data on the e-commerce emails you get. They use this data to, “build an anonymized market research products that analyze and track consumer trends.”

Slice says they strip all of the personal information (name, email, address, or anything else that could identify you) from the data collected. The technology behind Unroll.Me is designed to determine if the email is personal or e-commerce. The algorithm completely ignores the personal emails as it searches your inbox.

You can read their blog for more information to see what the data is used for. Some of the research they post is actually pretty fascinating but I am a nerd when it comes to data.

How to Use Unroll.Me

It literally took me five steps and less than five minutes of my life to unsubscribe from 74 subscriptions. I really could not believe that I was done already!

I will walk you through the steps…

  1. Go to Unroll.Me and click on ‘Get started now’.
  2. Choose your email provider and click through the prompts.
  3. The algorithm will run. It searches through your inbox for subscriptions then spits out a list of them.
  4. Click either ‘Keep in Inbox’, ‘Unsubscribe’, or ‘Add to Rollup’ (I’ll explain that later) for each subscription on the list.
  5. Success!

Was that not super easy? I know! Right?!?!

Oh! I mentioned I would talk about what  ‘Add to Rollup’ is. The Rollup is a single email that Unroll.Me will send to you at the end of the day. This email will consist all the content from every email that is apart of the Rollup from that day. I have not personally tried this yet but they say the Rollup email is very digestible and easy to read.

One final tip. You can have Unroll.Me notify you on a particular schedule to check for more subscriptions that were not in your inbox at the time. I decided to do the monthly reminder.

Why Unsubscribe?

We now live in a world where we are completely submerged by advertisements. The design of these advertisements is to tempt us to spend our hard earned money on materialistic items.

These ads do not stop with commercials, billboards, or temporarily tattooed to the back of that guy’s head on the bus. Subscription emails also drown us every day with more temptation.

Using the ease of Unroll.Me to unsubscribe from these emails trying derail us from our financial goals allows us to stay focused. This is why you should unsubscribe to these emails.

Also, they are just annoying. Unsubscribing will also help keep your blood pressure down.

Final Take

To wrap up this Unroll.Me review I must say that I really enjoyed my experience with this tool to free me from those spammy email subscriptions.

Look, I understand if you are skeptical because of the data collection. You are entitled to have those feelings! Especially after the latest Equifax data breach.

The algorithm design to strip out my personal information is what sold me to try out Unroll.Me. I understand if you are still skeptical after hearing that. But hey! As a data guy myself, I do know this technology exists and it is pretty amazing.

Overall, this is a great free service. If you can get over the data collection thing, then I think you will enjoy it just like I did.

10 Ways to switch to a minimalist lifestyle to make the most of money

Today’s post is contributed by Amy Nickson, a passionate writer on finance. Amy is a professional blogger whom has started her own blog and also works as a contributor for the Oak View Law Group. Please share your opinions by commenting below.

10 Ways to switch to a minimalist lifestyle to make the most of money

Living a minimalist lifestyle has many benefits; it offers more free time, more money in the bank account, and a meaningful way to live the life. Once you adopt a minimalist lifestyle, it will change the way you live your life. Such a lifestyle can change the idea of spending a day, finding happiness, and fulfilling a dream.

However, adopting a minimalist lifestyle is not easy; it is a total transformation of lifestyle.

Most of us have materialistic mindset; therefore, living a minimalist lifestyle can be difficult at the beginning.

However, nothing is impossible; you can try to adopt the simple living mantra to understand the differences between living life with a lot of stuff and living with less.

Keeping in mind that most of you are a beginner when it comes to living a minimalist lifestyle, I am sharing some easy ways to help you to adopt it.

Minimalism is simplifying everything in your life

“Simplifying everything in life” – What does it mean? Well, it means you need to simplify your entire lifestyle including the diet, stuff, debt, health, home, and time.

Sounds scary! Here are 8 easy tips, which can simplify your lifestyle without taking a lot of stress.

1. Write down your minimalism goals

Since living as a minimalist is not easy; you have to be focused on it consistently. Thus, it is important to write down the motive of living a simple life. If debt problem is the main reason you want to simplify your lifestyle, then note it down. Similarly, you can write down other problems that are the reasons behind adopting the minimalist lifestyle, it can be getting no free time for family, feeling stressed out after work, failing to save money, wasting food, and craving for stuff.

If you think it is too difficult to keep going with the minimalist lifestyle, write down the goals. It will motivate you to follow your changed lifestyle.

2. Donate the extra things

Living with unnecessary things often overwhelm us, especially things that are extra. You should find out the extra things and keep them out of your sight. If you don’t need them for at least a month, then you should donate them to people who need them more than you. Once you start living with less stuff, your life will become blissful and less burdened.

Related: Sell stuff on Craigslist or eBay.

3. Carry less things while traveling

Travelling is for refreshment, not for becoming a fashionista. People often take stress regarding the packing for their trip. If they are going for a 4-day trip, they usually pack for 8 days, which is wrong. Pack for 2 day for a 4-day trip. Wash clothes, dry them and wear the same clothes while on a trip. Instead of concentrating on dress up, enjoy the trip wholeheartedly. Carrying less baggage can allow you to move more freely and feel relaxed.

4. Declutter your home

A clean home is blissful. A home full of clutter makes you stressed, irritated, and busy all the time. Thus, you should try to make your home clutter-free, as much as possible. Though the task is not easy, yet you can give it a try. Make your home clutter-free, step by step. Start with your living room, kitchen counter top, bed room, dining space, etc. One day, you will find a neat and clean home with stuff that is necessary.

5. Simplify your style

If you are not a fashion blogger, who needs a lot of stuff to come with fashion tips, then you must try to simplify your everyday style. Don’t go mad with watches, shoes, dresses, bags, jewelry, accessories, etc. Honestly, you know how much is too much. So, show your commitment to other more challenging things in your life instead of wasting money and time on getting dressed up.

6. Go back to the basic

We all are now tech savvy and think all the gadgets are making our life simple. Yes, some are useful, but some are just making your life complicated. How?

The phone is not a necessity; you need to call someone in an emergency. But, now you have a smartphone with sufficient data. You are doing nothing but surfing the phone all the day. A basic phone is enough to contact someone. I agree that smartphone makes our life easier like easy banking, paying money by offering easy banking digital wallet, easy booking, etc. But, it also makes us engaged all the day and you don’t have time to talk to the person who is sitting just beside you.

It is way better to use such gadgets when in need. Enjoy some time with your dear ones to feel alive.

7. Cut down the cable cord

Now cable operators charge about $100 a month for 500 different channels. Out of all the channels, you watch only 7-10. I don’t know why do people pay so much money for things they don’t need at all. Simply pay for channels that you watch mostly and cut down the expenses for those unseen channels.

8. Simplify your meals

Having food is necessary, but thinking what you should eat at breakfast, lunch, and dinner for every day is not necessary. Set the meals for the whole week and rotate it. You will able to eat all the meals that are necessary to intake without wasting time at the grocery store.

9. Build an emergency fund

Financial problem is no doubt one of the biggest stress givers. If you don’t be good with money, it will always create problems. Most of the times, an emergency makes people financially stressful. To fight back with the emergency, people use some easy solutions like using a credit card, taking out a loan, borrowing money from 401(k) fund, etc. All these are financial blunders.

Why commit these painful financial blunders when you have an easy solution to combat with uncertain emergencies. What is the solution? The answer is keeping an emergency fund. Yes, by building an emergency fund, you can cope up with every unforeseen financial challenges without incurring additional debts. You just need to set aside a certain amount into an emergency fund. After a certain time, you will have enough money for any unforeseen emergencies. It will reduce your financial stress to a great extent.

10. Practice frugal living

Frugal living and minimalist living go hand in hand. Frugal living is all about living life in a meaningful way. Frugal living encourages to live within your means. By doing so, you can afford to live a life that you always wanted to live. Living frugally unlocks the world of financial prospects. It will help you save money, pay off debt, fund your children’s education, build a retirement fund (see Andrew’s Investments), plan for a trip, and so on.

Novice minimalists should avoid living an extreme minimalist lifestyle

Living a minimalist lifestyle has many benefits, but you shouldn’t live it in an extreme way. By living an extreme minimalist lifestyle, you will lose the focus and feel demotivated soon. So, you can read books on minimalist living to adopt a minimalist lifestyle in a proper way. The proper guide to minimalist living is important to live with less stuff while feeling delighted. Take small steps to adopt the new lifestyle with less stuff, less debt, and less worry.