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What Happens to Your Debt After You Die?

What Happens to Your Debt After You Die?

"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes," wrote Benjamin Franklin back in 1789. However, more and more Americans are including "debt" in that famous quote. In 2015, one poll found that 21% of Americans believed that they would be in debt forever, up from 9% in 2013 and 18% in 2014. But what happens to that debt when you die? The answers may surprise you.

First — What Is an Estate?

Your estate includes all of your assets, including real estate, investments, insurance, and any other assets or entitlements. Since your debts and liabilities are also part of your estate, qualifying assets are liquidated upon your death to cover your debts before your beneficiaries can see any funds.

Establishing a clear will is key to ensuring your estate is managed as you wish. Even when a will is available, executing an estate and administering a will is serious business. So, it’s best to hire a legal professional to cross all t’s and dot all i’s. (See also: Don’t Get Screwed: 3 Surprising Times When You Need a Lawyer)

So, what happens to the debts in your estate?

Credit Card Debt

Recent estimates put average American household credit card debt at $15,762, for those households with credit card debt. But unless your family or friends co-signed a credit card with you, they’re all off the hook in the event that you pass away and your estate is too small to cover it. Even when your spouse is an authorized user on your credit card account, they won’t be responsible for paying if they didn’t cosign at the time of application.

However, your survivors shouldn’t be surprised if debt collectors still try to get a spouse or child to pay for the debt. The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to try to collect a debt. Let your spouse, children, and beneficiaries know that they can file a complaint against abusive debt collectors with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). (See also: 4 Annoying Things Bill Collectors Can’t Do — And How to Stop Them)

Of course, you and your family still need to refrain from tricky tactics, such as taking a $20,000 cash advance days before a death, or continuing to use the authorized credit card after the primary cardholder has died, that could provide a credit card company recourse to legally pass on the debt to the surviving relatives.

Mortgage

There are three main scenarios to consider with a mortgage.

In the first, you were either required by the company issuing your mortgage or decided that it was a good idea to buy life insurance for the remaining balance of the mortgage. In this scenario, your death benefit clears the mortgage and the property goes to the beneficiary listed on the will or to the surviving property owner.

In the second, there is no life insurance, and you and your spouse were "tenants in common," meaning that each of you owned a stated share of the property. To be eligible to receive their share of the property, your spouse would need to first check that there is enough money in your estate to clear your debts and thus no need to sell the property to cover them. If there is enough money in your estate, your spouse would receive your share and take over the mortgage, if applicable.

Finally, there are scenarios in which there was no life insurance and you and your spouse were "joint tenants," meaning that both of you owned the entire property. In this scenario, upon your death the whole property passes automatically to your spouse. But again, the estate must clear any property-related debt first.

Student Loans

Besides credit card debt, student loans are another type of liability that is rapidly increasing among Americans. According to one estimate, the average student loan for a Class of 2016 graduate is $37,173!

In the event of your death, your federal student loans, including direct loans, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program Loans, and Perkins Loans, will be discharged. Additionally, Direct PLUS loans are discharged in the event that the parent or student on whose behalf the loan was obtained passes away.

But private loans are another matter, and your estate may be responsible for covering any balance. And if anybody co-signed a private loan with you, they’d be on the hook for payment.

To learn more about what would happen to your liabilities upon your death, consult a lawyer.

Have you ever take on debts from somebody that passed away? Share your experience in the comments below.

6 Smart Shopping Reminders That Will Save You Big

6 Smart Shopping Reminders That Will Save You Big

When you’re tempted to splurge on something you don’t need, what’s your decision-making process? Do you let emotion determine whether you head to the check-out counter, or do you rationally consider the financial pros and cons? Do you even have a strategy? If the answer is no, don’t panic. Lucky for you we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of questions to ask before pulling the trigger on any splurge-y purchase. Read on and smarten up!

1. Shopping Can Be More Satisfying Than the Purchase Itself

Buyer’s remorse is the slyest devil of them all. At first you’re beaming about your new pair of designer jeans. But will you feel the same way a month out when the high of the buy wears off? Research shows that the flood of happiness we feel when we make a purchase peaks at the check-out counter and then slowly starts to dwindle. Indeed, it’s the experience of shopping that satisfies us — not the purchase itself.

"Thinking about acquisition provides momentary happiness boosts to materialistic people, and because they tend to think about acquisition a lot, such thoughts have the potential to provide frequent mood boosts," said Marsha L. Richins, author of the research paper, When Wanting Is Better Than Having. "But the positive emotions associated with acquisition are short-lived. Although materialists still experience positive emotions after making a purchase, these emotions are less intense than before they actually acquire a product."

2. Shopping to Cure Sadness Only Makes Us Sadder

Retail therapy is a term used so flippantly that it can be difficult to take seriously. Yet studies show that when we’re feeling sad or grieving, we tend to compensate with compulsive shopping. As it turns out, shopping can seem to fill an emotional void while really only serving to dig it deeper. In truth, shopping to curb that feeling of loneliness actually makes us feel lonelier. Take this sage advice: If you’re going through a breakup, battling depression, grieving the death of a loved one, or otherwise feeling alone and blue, take a pause from recreational shopping until you’ve addressed your emotional state.

3. Just Because It’s a Good Deal Doesn’t Mean It’s a Good Deal for You

The price tag on that gorgeous wicker chair very well may be a steal — but is it truly a good deal for you? For instance, maybe you already have a perfectly fine chair in the living room, and this one, though newer and nicer, would nonetheless qualify as an unnecessary purchase. If you weren’t planning on buying a wicker chair until the good deal came along, then you’re running the risk of throwing your money away on something you simply don’t need. And that’s not a good deal at all.

4. Don’t Buy It If You Can’t Afford It

It’s simple advice. It’s also crucial. If you can’t afford to take the financial hit, put away that wallet. And if it’s a stretch but you think you can swing it, take a moment to consider all the possible future unknowns. If you lose your job, or your spouse does, or some other unforeseen circumstance dramatically shifts your financial situation, will you look back on this purchase with regret?

5. Don’t Buy It if It Will Derail Your Financial Goals

Maybe you’re saving for college. Or a down payment on a new car. How will this purchase influence the savings goals that you’ve set for yourself? If buying that new sofa is going to derail your plans to save up enough money for a down payment on the house where you want to put the sofa, consider pumping the breaks. Take it one financial goal at a time. And remember: Your financial habits today determine your future financial health.

6. Consider the Hidden Costs

As with boats, in-ground pools, and motorcycles, there are purchases that require future funding not specified on the price tag. Boats, for example, need fuel, winter storage, and almost constant maintenance. And you can’t operate a backyard swimming oasis without investing in at least the basic accessories, such as a pool cover and cleaning tools and treatments. Whatever the purchase you’re considering, does it have any financial strings attached — and if so, can you afford them?

What do you quietly tell yourself to help you curb the urge to spend?

Best Money Tips: 6 Ways to Attract Love in Your Life

Best Money Tips: 6 Ways to Attract Love in Your Life

Welcome to Wise Bread’s Best Money Tips Roundup! Today we found articles on ways to attract love, things you should be cleaning (but aren’t), and items that are actually cheaper at Whole Foods.

Top 5 Articles

6 Ways On How To Attract Love In Your Life – The first step is to realize your true value and learn to love yourself. When you do, you’ll attract positivity in your life, which promotes healthier relationships with other people. [Dumb Little Man]

63 Things You Should Be Cleaning But Aren’t – If you want to maintain a clean house, make sure you clean these less-than-obvious places regularly. [A Debt Free Mess Free Life]

20 Items That Are Cheaper at Whole Foods – Yes, you can find bargains in the aisles of Whole Foods, especially on the store’s 365 Everyday Value brand. [Cheapism]

7 Things You Can Do to Help Someone With Anxiety – Everyone deals with anxiety attacks in different ways, and the easiest way to know what to do is to ask how you can help. [PopSugar Smart Living]

How to Turn Your Favorite Photos into Wall Art – It can cost a small fortune to order a canvas print of a photograph, but with this method, all you need is a prefabricated canvas, your photo printed to the size of the canvas, some Mod Podge, foam brushes, and some acrylic paint. [Frugal Village]

Other Essential Reading

3 Things You Can Sell to Make Extra Money – Collectors may be willing to pay $80-$150 for your old dress or tennis shoes. [Dinks Finance]

5 Real Strategies to Help You Dine Out Less – You can limit how often you dine out and how much you spend by using only restaurant gift cards that you’ve earned from loyalty reward programs to fund your meals. [Everything Finance]

11 Science-backed Ways To Build Permanent Habits – Sure, it takes time to form a habit, but you can speed up the process by visualizing yourself as already having the habit. [Pick The Brain]

How to Thrive in Difficult Conversations – When you’re having a difficult conversation, it’s important to be as honest as possible. Don’t avoid the tough parts. [Productivity Theory]

7 Ways to Make More Time for Your Wife – Resolve to do something nice for your spouse each day. [Parenting Squad]

7 Delicious Uses for Leftover Hot Dogs

7 Delicious Uses for Leftover Hot Dogs

I love hot dogs. Not just in the summer, but all year long. When I moved to New Zealand, I lost weight from the lack of hot dogs available. I wish I were kidding, but it’s just not something the British or New Zealanders eat, probably for a good reason.

But if you’re in a country that regularly consumes hot dogs, you may have a problem with too many hot dogs left over from summer barbecues. Luckily, there are a lot of other uses for hot dogs besides the usual hot dog on a bun.

1. Hot Dog Spaghetti

My boyfriend loves hot dog spaghetti and believes he invented it. Unfortunately, the Internet beat him to it. This meal is quick, easy, and delicious, albeit a little weird. Simply cut up uncooked hot dogs, thread 6-8 spaghetti noodles through them and boil for six minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Drain and mix with butter. Top with parmesan. My boyfriend also adds ketchup and hot sauce. I’ll leave that up to you.

2. Hot Dog Casserole

The Southern (and most obvious) way to use any leftover food is to make a casserole. Hot dog casserole is basically macaroni and cheese with hot dogs, which is maybe something I eat on occasion anyway. While this particular recipe is not very nutritious, it is very much delicious. Unfortunately, a search for "hot dog casserole healthy" yielded little-to-no actual results.

3. Sloppy Dawgs

Similar to chopped dogs, which are chopped up hot dogs cooked in a chili sauce, sloppy dawgs are chopped up hot dogs with sloppy joe seasonings. In a skillet, cook chopped up hot dogs until golden brown, then add onions and red pepper with tomato paste. Separately mix red wine vinegar, brown sugar, tomato sauce, and Worcestershire sauce, and add to the pan. Cook until thickened and then add to a toasted bun.

4. Chicago Dog Salad

Chicago dogs are some of the best hot dogs in the world. The combination of spicy and sweet on a poppyseed bun — you can’t beat it! That is… unless you make this delicious treat into a salad. Using ingredients from regular Chicago dogs sans bun, this salad is a much healthier alternative to pretty much every recipe on this list. Check out the recipe here and munch away!

5. Hot Dog Hash

I have seen a number of coworkers eat a hot dog in the morning. A hot dog, on a bun, slathered in ketchup. I have no idea what compels someone to eat a hot dog that early, but if you’re going to do it, add an egg at least. This hot dog hash recipe from Michael Symon takes fresh potatoes, onions, eggs, and seasonings to create a delicious sounding breakfast (or brinner) option.

6. Pigs in a Blanket

When I was younger, the food I always asked for on my birthday was as follows: hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls, with macaroni and cheese and baked beans. Every year I requested this delicious combination of everything unhealthy, and every year my mom obliged. Pigs in a blanket is one of the easiest hot dog recipes that exists. You take a can of crescent rolls, cut the hot dogs down the middle, add sliced American cheese, and then wrap them in the crescent rolls. Bake according to package directions, but add an extra 5-10 minutes to make sure the crescent rolls are baked all the way. Serve with macaroni and cheese and baked beans and invite me over.

7. Corn Dog Waffles

Yep, you read that right. It’s like Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson came up with the ultimate food. For these creative corn dog waffles, you’ll need a waffle iron, waffle supplies, and of course, hot dogs. You can even put them on a stick — which might be the best part?. These are perfect for a summer party or your next Parks and Rec themed party (which I had in June).

What are your favorite uses for leftover hot dogs? Share with us!

The 5 Best Popsicle Molds

The 5 Best Popsicle Molds

Whether you prefer pudding popsicles, smoothie or juice pops, or a completely unique combination, the options are limitless once you’ve purchased an ice pop mold. You can create your own popsicles in any flavor you like. You can even mix-and-match flavors to make everyone in your household happy.

By making your own healthy freeze pops at home, you can save money and get more use out of affordable juice, leftover yogurt or smoothies, and seasonal fruits. Along with being economical, they are also eco-friendly as they can be used again and again, and produce less waste. Homemade pops are only a fraction of the cost of store-bought popsicles, and you can add whatever you like without having to worry about looking at the ingredient list.

What Is a Popsicle Mold?

A popsicle mold is a kitchen accessory that can be filled with liquid and frozen to make popsicles and pudding pops right from your freezer. Making your own healthy popsicles can be the perfect treat on a hot day. You can even add alcohol to make adult pops for your next pool party. Once you’ve removed the mold from the freezer, consider running it under lukewarm water to easily loosen the pop inside. (See also: Guacamole, Wine, and 23 Other Surprisingly Refreshing Popsicle Recipes)

Top 5 Popsicle Molds

Tovolo Groovy Ice Pop Molds

The 5 Best Popsicle MoldsThe Tovolo Groovy Ice Pop Molds are made of durable BPA-free plastic. You can easily grab just one of the six individual popsicles, rather than having to take the entire mold out of the freezer. The large molds are sturdy, dishwasher-safe, and easy to use. The holder will keep the pops upright while they freeze to keep your freezer clean. They also feature built-in drip guards to keep your hands clean.

You can find this mold in yellow or green. It is recommended by The Kitchn and is considered the standard for individual popsicle molds. It is also an Amazon best-seller and has more than 1,000 five-star reviews on Amazon.

Currently $11.99 on Amazon

Zoku Classic Pop Molds

The 5 Best Popsicle MoldsAs Amazon’s #1 best seller in ice pop molds, you won’t find better than the sturdy Zoku Classic Pop Molds. It has a clean, compact design that can easily fit in most freezers and stands up well, so you aren’t left with a big mess. You can create six classic popsicles, which can be individually removed from the base. The BPA and phthalate-free molds include built-in drip guards to keep your freezer and hands clean. The molds are easy to use and can be quickly cleaned by hand.

You can find this at upscale kitchen stores like Sur La Table and Williams-Sonoma. It is available in a range of colors, designs, and sizes. It is recommended by The Sweethome and Parent Advice, and has more than 900 five-star reviews on Amazon.

Currently $16.94 on Amazon

Norpro Ice Pop Maker

The 5 Best Popsicle MoldsThe Norpro Ice Pop Maker features grommets in the lid to hold the sticks upright and straight, so you get perfect pops every time. The clean design is made from durable, BPA-free plastic, is easy to use, and can be quickly hand washed. The 10 pops are all together in one holder, so in order to get one popsicle, the entire mold needs to be taken out of the freezer. It includes 24 wooden popsicle sticks, but they are not reusable.

This is a blogger favorite and is recommended by The Sweethome, The Kitchn, and Parent Advice. It is an Amazon best-seller, one of the “most wished for” items on Amazon, and has more than 500 five-star reviews on Amazon.

Currently $13.97 on Amazon

Sunsella Mighty Pops Ice Pop Molds

The 5 Best Popsicle MoldsThe six premium quality silicone Sunsella Mighty Pops popsicle molds are BPA free and dishwasher safe. They make no mess and take up little room in the freezer because you can stand the ice pops up in a large mug. They are easy to use, durable, and feature a quick freeze design. There is no need for popsicle sticks, which can save you money. The contents will expand during the freezing process, so be careful not to overfill the molds. The molds also come with a free 50 ice pop recipe e-book, so you can start creating unique combinations right away.

You can purchase this set in bright or classic colors. They are recommended by The Sweethome, are an Amazon best seller, and have 800 five-star reviews on Amazon. They are also backed by a 100% money-back lifetime guarantee.

Currently $10.77 on Amazon

Ozera Reusable Popsicle Molds Ice Pop Molds Maker

The 5 Best Popsicle MoldsThe Ozera Reusable Popsicle Molds Ice Pop Molds Maker offers six molds made of durable BPA-free plastic. It features a built-in drip guard, allowing you to make extra-juicy popsicles with no mess. The sturdy base ensures that the molds can stay upright in the freezer. It is dishwasher safe, easy to use, and totally non-stick. It is designed so that the pops can easily slip out of the mold once you’re ready to enjoy them.

The mold is available in a range of colors. It is recommended by Parent Advice, is an Amazon best-seller, and has more than 600 five-star reviews on Amazon. It also has a 100% money back risk-free guarantee and a lifetime warranty.

Currently $7.99 on Amazon

And those are our recommendations for the best popsicle molds. As always, be sure to check Wise Bread’s Buying Calendar to learn when and how to buy just about anything!

8 Signs Your Retirement Is on Track

8 Signs Your Retirement Is on Track

You feel like you’re a diligent saver, and are doing all you can to ensure you have a comfortable retirement. But how do you know if you’re doing things right? It’s hard to predict how much money you’ll need, and it seems impossible to know if you’re on the right track when retirement is years or even decades away.

Thankfully, there are some easy ways to tell if your retirement planning is sound. If your portfolio has most or all of these characteristics, keep up the good work and don’t fret!

1. Most of the Funds Are in Tax-Advantaged Accounts

When saving for retirement, it’s important to place your money in accounts that shield you from paying unnecessary taxes. A 401K is a common plan offered by employers that allows you to contribute and invest in a variety of different mutual funds. Any money you contribute will be deducted from your taxable income. It’s also possible to invest in a Roth IRA, which allows you to invest and avoid paying taxes on any gains. If all or most of your money is in these accounts, you’ll be saving thousands of dollars and will have a much higher net return on your investments.

2. You’ve Been Contributing Heavily

It’s hard to know exactly how much you should put into your retirement accounts, but "as much as you can" is usually good advice. If you’re maxing out your allowable contributions to 401K or IRA plans (or both), you’re probably doing quite well. For 401K plans, you can contribute up to $18,000 annually. IRA plans can accept $5,500 in contributions each year. Even if you’re not maxing out these accounts, contributing enough to take advantage of your employer’s match of 401K contributions is one good threshold to hit. As much as people like to talk about stock market gains helping them get rich, the truth is that your portfolio’s value is helped a lot more by the amount you’re contributing in the first place.

3. You’ve Seen Steady Growth Over Time

Take a look at your portfolio’s performance on a line chart. Are you generally seeing an upward trend, without a lot of wild ups and downs? Does it seem like your savings is steadily growing over time, even during periods when the stock market is not doing well? A good retirement portfolio should generally be free of volatility, and see steady gains as time goes on.

4. Your Projections Look Good

No one knows how the stock market will perform in the future, but you can make some reasonable assumptions based on historical market returns. The S&P 500 has seen average annual growth of about 7% since 2006, and annual average gains are even higher the farther you go back. If your portfolio’s performance has been in line with these annual averages, you’re probably in good shape, as long as you’re contributing a significant amount.

It may be possible to project how much money you’ll have in retirement by taking the amount you have now, then adding your contributions and the annual average return through your retirement year.

5. Your Investments Are Focused on Growth

Unless you are close to retirement, your portfolio should be heavy on investments that promise growth over the long term. This means a big dose of stocks, rather than bonds or cash. Small cap and value stocks should be a driver of most retirement portfolios, as they often promise the most growth potential.

It’s tempting to want to be conservative with your investments, because stocks can be risky, and no one likes to feel vulnerable to a bad day in the stock market. But building a large retirement next egg requires you to overcome your fears and recognize the positive historical returns of stocks.

6. Your Portfolio Is Well-Balanced

It’s always a good exercise to examine your investments to see if you are too heavily invested in any one sector or asset class. Sometimes, your portfolio can get out of whack, and will require rebalancing of your assets. If you are working hard to keep your investments nicely balanced, you’ll likely be shielded from any major swings in the market and should see solid growth over time. There is one caveat here, which is that buying and selling during rebalancing could have tax implications, so you’ll want to weigh the costs and benefits each time you’re considering it.

7. You’re Not Paying Too Much in Fees

A robust retirement portfolio should probably contain some mutual funds and/or exchange traded funds (ETFs). But these investments often come with management fees, commissions, transaction fees and other costs. A typical investor pays about 1.5% in fees, according to Rebalance IRA. That could add up to thousands of dollars over time. To avoid losing money to fees, look for investments with very low expense ratios, and those that trade without a commission. Low-cost investments often outperform those with higher expense ratios anyway. So if the costs in your retirement portfolio are low, that’s one more thing you’re doing well.

8. You Haven’t Spent Any of It

There may be times in your life when you’ll be tempted to withdraw money from your retirement accounts to pay for other expenses. There’s a cost to doing this; any money taken early from these accounts is subject to being taxed, and you’ll have to pay a 10% early withdrawal penalty if you take money early from a 401K. And of course, on top of these penalties and taxes, you’ll lose out on any future growth this money might have accrued. If you’ve been diligent about not touching your retirement savings early, you’ll be in much better financial shape than if you had raided these funds.

How’s your retirement looking?

Join Our Tweetchat on Thursday 7/28, 12pm Pacific for a Chance to Win Prizes

Join Our Tweetchat on Thursday 7/28, 12pm Pacific for a Chance to Win Prizes

Join our Tweetchat this Thursday at 12:00 pm Pacific for lively conversation and a chance to win one of two $10 Amazon GCs! Use #WBChat to participate.

This week’s topic: Side Gigs! Learn about jobs you can do to earn extra money, finding extra work, and more! Let us know if you have a side gig and let us know your top tip for someone looking to earn extra money!

For an easy way to keep track of the conversation, try using our special Tweetchat Chatroom.

Anyone can participate, but you must be following @WiseBread and RSVP below to win our prize!

To make it easier for us to keep track of attendees and pick our winners, please RSVP below with your twitter ID (put that in the "Link Title" field), email address, and your twitter URL (put that in the "URL" field, do not put your blog’s url in there). Winners will be selected at random from RSVPs. If a winner is chosen who RSVPed but did not attend a 2nd winner will be chosen.

New Parenting Chat Tuesdays at 11am PST

Our sister blog Parenting Squad (@ParentingSquad) will be hosting a parenting chat every Tuesday at 12:00 pm Pacific. Drop by for fun parenting conversations and a chance to win prizes! Use #PSChat to participate.

11 Meals That Make Terrific Leftovers

11 Meals That Make Terrific Leftovers

Even though I love to cook, over the years, I have come to appreciate meals that are timesavers. I especially favor meals are also frugal and healthy. Cook one meal, and save half of it for the next meal. I serve dinner from the stove, and don’t put the entire meal on the table, where people tend to "pick" and eat more than they should. Here are 11 ideas for terrific dinners made from leftovers. (See also: 9 Ways to Actually Enjoy Leftover Pizza)

1. Chili

Whether you like a meaty or a vegetarian chili, it’s inexpensive, filling, and making a whole batch (usually six servings) will probably get you through two meals. This vegetarian version is extremely satisfying, especially with a little sour cream and blue corn tortilla chips. Eating beans can help you to lower your cholesterol, and they are a good source of protein. Buying store brands of canned beans will keep your cost low, at around $1.70 a can, or less. (Soaking dried beans is even cheaper, but you have to remember to take that step.) But wait, there will be leftovers!

On night two, try making these little cornmeal chili cups; fill them with your leftover, heated chili and garnish with shredded sharp cheddar. Serve with a tossed salad.

2. Cabbage

Yes, mon petite chou, get yourself a big head of cabbage. It’s like… 16 cents a pound. That’s awfully hard to beat. For the first meal, check out this Thai cabbage salad. (No need to also buy the red cabbage listed in the recipe, too, unless you want it). I liked it with the addition of chicken.

For leftovers, take the other half of the cabbage and make this super easy cabbage roll casserole (all the flavor, minus the fuss).

3. London Broil

Watch for this versatile cut of beef to go on sale, where it can be had for a remarkable $1 per pound. Aside from being a bargain, beef is a powerhouse for zinc, vitamin B, iron, and protein. For the first dinner, make this summery London broil salad.

Save part of the meat and, for the leftovers, toss into tacos with roasted sweet potatoes, chopped romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream.

4. Rotisserie Chicken

You can get a rotisserie chicken for an astounding value at Costco for just $5. On night one, serve half with these crispy smashed red potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts.

One night two, slice the rest of the meat; toss a salad, and serve with this tarragon French bread. Super frugal folks will take that carcass and make a chicken broth for future use.

5. Pork Butt

I watch for pork butt or shoulder to go on sale when it hits around $1.89 a pound, or less, and buy the biggest one that will fit into my Crock-Pot. With it I make Kalua pig. This will easily feed your whole family on night one. Use part of the meat, add barbecue sauce, and serve on buns. Get more of the aforementioned cabbage and make a coleslaw to serve with.

On the second night, chop up the rest of that cabbage and saute until tender. Add the Kalua pork and heat through. Serve over rice.

6. Quinoa

This tiny grain is bursting with iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin E. It’s really good for you. To keep costs down, either buy in bulk or at Sam’s Club or Costco. The white quinoa is cheaper than red or black, too. For the first meal, I like this quinoa pilaf served with a salad and French bread. I make mine with vegetable stock, which does, as the recipe suggests, give more flavor.

For the leftovers, take the chilled remains and add diced artichoke hearts and jarred red peppers. Any leftover French bread can be made into croutons. Toss and serve as a salad.

7. Salmon

We eat a lot of salmon, as it’s an excellent source for vitamin B12 and vitamin D. I buy the big packs at Costco and split it into smaller pieces. That runs around $8 per pound. For the first meal, try this grilled salmon; and make baked potatoes to serve on the side.

Bake two extra potatoes and on night two, try these decadent potato, salmon, and spinach patties with garlicky dill cream.

8. Pork Tenderloin

With 22 grams of protein in only a three-ounce serving, pork tenderloin is one of my favorite go-tos. Look for it to go on sale for around $4.99, or less per pound, and stock up. I buy big loins at Costco, cut them into three or four one-pound pieces, and freeze. They make a really easy dinner (like this balsamic roasted loin) on night one.

For night two, mix up some Mojitos, fry plantains, and try some easy Cubanos (Cuban pork sandwiches).

9. Lentils

There aren’t many things that are as cheap to make (and as filling) as lentils. A 16-ounce bag can be had for less than $3. Besides being a great source of fiber, they also contain potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K. For the first meal, lentils prepared in the French style are simple and flavorful.

For the leftovers, let’s make lentil burgers. Allow the lentils (about a cup and a half) to come to room temperature. Add two beaten eggs, a half-cup of panko crumbs, salt and pepper and about a tablespoon of flour. Mix well. Shape into patties and fry. Serve on toasted buns with the usual fixings.

10. Tacos

Tacos are usually a very inexpensive meal. They can be filled with so many different things, from hamburger to turkey, fish, roasted vegetables, or just beans. You may spend a lot of time chopping up toppings on night one, but on night two, it’s farmer’s omelet time. I like to toss all the leftovers into my big skillet, add 3-4 beaten eggs, and fry it up. Top with salsa and sour cream. It’s fast and delicious.

11. Turkey

Who says turkey is just for Thanksgiving? The best prices are, of course, around the holidays. When they are less than a dollar a pound, why not buy two and freeze one? Besides being a great source of protein, turkey is also a source of iron, zinc, potassium, B6, and niacin. My husband smokes them in our smoker and on night one, we do a semi-traditional turkey dinner (even in summer).

There will be a ton of meat to package for leftovers. I think my favorite way to feature the meat on night two is in these turkey enchiladas.

How do you salvage leftovers? Share with us!

8 Creative Ways to Upcycle Used Baby Furniture

8 Creative Ways to Upcycle Used Baby Furniture

Every parent knows just how costly it can be to set up a nursery. From cribs and changing tables, to dressers and chairs, you can spend many thousands creating the perfect room. And then, after a few years, it’s time to get rid of most of it. With safety regulations constantly changing, it may not be possible to sell used baby furniture on the secondhand market. But with a little creative thinking, you can repurpose these items. Here are eight ideas to get you started.

1. Turn a Crib Into a Kids’ Workstation

Cribs can be an expensive purchase, and yet they don’t serve much of a purpose beyond a few years. However, with a little creativity and ingenuity, you can turn that crib into a wonderful desk/workstation that is the perfect height for you children. This instruction guide gives you all the tips you need to create a workstation that’s both attractive and functional, and reuses almost all of the crib. All you really need to purchase for the conversion is a piece of MDF or particleboard, and some blackboard paint.

2. Use the Crib Spring as a Drying Rack/Pot Rack

If you dismantle the crib and are wondering what to do with the crib spring, don’t throw it out. With some chain, a few hooks, and a little paint, you can turn that boring crib spring into a drying rack for the laundry room, or a pot rack for the kitchen. Just make sure the ceiling hooks you use go into something substantial, you don’t want the whole thing coming down on you.

3. That Old Changing Table Makes a Great Potting Station

The basic changing table — three shelves, the top one being used to hold a changing pad — is a functional piece of furniture for any baby room. Of course, once the toddler is out of wearing diapers, there’s not much call for it. Well, the way it is set up makes it an ideal potting table. You really don’t need to do much to it, other than painting it a color that matches your new set up. If you have a little more time and materials, you can add a handy hutch to the top, making the changing table into a fully functional potting station.

4. An Old Dresser Can Become a Kitchen Island

This doesn’t just apply to the baby dresser, but any old dresser you have that has outlived its usefulness in the bedroom. Take an old dresser, apply a new coat of paint, and add some hooks, a paper towel holder, a stone top, and some new hardware. The result is a kitchen island that completely transforms the look and feel of the room. If you don’t like stone, you could make the top of the island a butcher block. Add wheels, and it could move from kitchen to dining room, making a handy serving station.

5. Crib Sides Make Great Magazine Racks

Turn a crib on its side 90 degrees, and you suddenly have a whole lot of real estate that will hold dozens of magazines comfortably. The best part is, this is as simple as remove the side and propping it at a slight angle against the wall. VoilĂ , instant magazine rack. If you want something a bit more permanent, you can mount it to the wall, either at an angle, or flush (leaving enough room to let the magazines easily slide over the rails). A touch of paint can really make this one stand out as a feature on a wall.

6. Turn That Crib Mattress Into Outdoor Seating

While you’re busy turning the crib into something cool, don’t ignore the mattress. With a little ingenuity, you can quickly turn it into a fun and functional outdoor seating station. It can be as simple as a crib mattress cover, some old palettes, and some throw pillows. Many crib mattresses are designed to be waterproof, for obvious reasons, so they hold up well outdoors. You can also turn it into a daybed for use indoors.

7. A Changing Table Can Be Transformed Into a Bar Cart

Or a dessert trolley, if you feel the need to wheel out your impressive confections on a regular basis. However, the bar cart is a fantastic use for that old changing table, and with some wheels and a new paint job, few people will recognize it as a piece of old baby furniture. Adding a cheap accordion-style wine rack is a great finishing touch, especially if you paint it the same color as the cart.

8. Use Crib Ends to Create a Cool Chalkboard Easel

If you happen to have a crib with a solid headboard and footboard, you can quickly and easily turn them into a very cool easel for signage. Use chalkboard paint (or whiteboard material), and you can make it customizable on a daily basis, which is great for small businesses. But it’s also a very handy thing to have to announce birthday parties, anniversaries, play dates, and so on.

What have you done with furniture the kids have outgrown?

Best Money Tips: 5 Ways You’re Overpaying for Health Care

Best Money Tips: 5 Ways You're Overpaying for Health Care

Welcome to Wise Bread’s Best Money Tips Roundup! Today we found articles on ways you’re spending too much on health care, how to optimize your workspace, and why sales tax holidays are not as great as they sound.

Top 5 Articles

5 Ways You Are Spending too Much on Health Care — A procedure may cost more because of how you pay. Discuss alternative payment methods and find what works best for your situation. [Money Spruce]

Five Ways to Optimize Your Workspace for Productivity — You can get into a better working flow by using different places for different kinds of action. [Lifehacker]

Are sales tax holidays good for anyone? — Economists say that sales tax holidays don’t work the way they were meant to. [The Monitor]

6 Reasons You Should Nap More — Feeling agitated, sad, or tense? Napping can help reduce anxiety and depression. [PopSugar Smart Living]

The Hidden Cost of Disorganization — When you’re disorganized, it’s easy to lose money — literally! [Inexpensively]

Other Essential Reading

20 Places That Give You Free Stuff On Your Birthday — Sign up for the birthday club at Baskin Robbins and get a free ice cream on your special day! [SheBudgets]

3 Signs It’s Time to Hire a Virtual Assistant — Not all business tasks are created equal. The day-to-day stuff that don’t make any money can be handed off to a virtual assistant. [Due]

Apartment Hunting: 5 Things You Should Bring With You — Bring a tape measure to get a better idea of how large the rooms and doorways are…and whether your furniture will fit. [The Allstate Blog]

Road Trip Ideas to Maximize Fun and Not Break Your Budget — You don’t want to worry about your car breaking down in the middle of your road trip. If you aren’t renting a car, be sure to check your fluids and tires, and have an emergency kit on hand. [Couple Money]

6 Perfect Summer Chores for Kids — Have your kids help you water your plants. They’ll see their hard work pay off when the plants grow and flowers bloom! [Parenting Squad]