Save Money Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner

Yes you can save money hosting Thanksgiving dinner

Get into the habit of hosting the biggest meal of the year and it has a way of mushrooming into 48 hours of cooking — following a grocery bill of at least $125 (for two dozen guests, both family and friends). While you might not be able to reduce the amount of time you spend in the kichen, you can save money hosting Thanksgiving dinner if you plan carefully. Continue reading

Progressive HomeQuote Explorer Review

Progressive HQX

This post was sponsored by Progressive.

Over the last few years, we’ve come to recognize Progressive Insurance thanks to Flo, the Progressive girl. Initially, when the company first began in 1937, it focused solely on auto coverage. Over time, the Ohio-based company stayed true to its name of being a progressive insurance company, and thus, expanded its services beyond vehicles. From golf carts to condos, customers can obtain coverage for some unique circumstances in addition to standard protection. They were the first major auto insurance company to have a website, they continue their history of innovation with a new service: HomeQuote Explorer.

HomeQuote Explorer Review

What is it?

HomeQuote Explorer is a free online quoting experience to help homeowners compare home insurance rates. Think Trivago for hotels, except it will show prices from multiple insurance companies side by side. Not just that, but when you do enter your information, HomeQuote Explorer will match you with the best policy for you based on your information. Currently, Progressive is the only insurer that offers anything like this, according to their website.

How does it work?

You start the process by entering the address of your home to their search bar on the site. Progressive then pre-fills any information they find based on public records of the house, which helps you save time. Their questionnaire also includes images to assist in the process of answering questions about your home, such as your roof type or flooring details.

Once you’ve completed the assessment, they’ll match you with what they feel is the best policy based on your answers. However, you do not have to choose their recommended. They also provide you with alternative rates and coverage to review – side-by-side comparisons of rates and coverage from multiple companies so that you can ensure you’re getting the best deal.

As you finalize your decision on your new home’s insurance option, you can simply buy it online or call Progressive to speak with a licensed agent.

Pros and Cons of Progressive HomeQuote Explorer

Pros:

On top of comparing your rates, they will even take care of the details with your mortgage company for you if you prefer. They’ll send a proof of insurance and coordinate the details, allowing you to lump in the payment to your mortgage rather than paying Progressive directly.

The information regarding their service is also very clear and easy to find. Their FAQ page answers just about any question you might have about the process, which is something I truly appreciate.

Cons:

The biggest con for me, personally, was that the HomeQuote Explorer was still relatively new when I gave it a try so there were still a few quirks. Using my current address, I went through the process as though I were buying my place. As I went through and filled out the information for my home insurance quote, the images the promotional video showed were not present. It was their old questionnaire that also did not have an auto fill option as promoted.

When I tried again, however, the new screen and features did appear. After going back and taking a look at the newer version of HomeQuote Explorer, this issue was resolved.

Another con I experienced was that the HomeQuote Explorer didn’t directly provide the homeowner’s insurance but rather partner with other companies to do so. Thus, they are limited in the discounts they can offer.

Progressive is a trustworthy company and continues to deliver a quality service. I can say this confidently as an auto insurance policy holder for the last three years. Regardless, it would still be wise to research other home insurance policies before purchasing through the HomeQuote Explorer. It does appear that some glitches are still being worked out.

All in all, the tool was easy to use and helpful in giving me an idea of one of my options for home insurance.

Interested in learning more about HomeQuote Explorer? Check out the video below:

Recover from Bankruptcy With These Tips

recover from bankruptcy

I recently discussed how to navigate your way through bankruptcy, and now, I would like to share what you would need to do to get yourself bank in good standing with creditors. Filing for bankruptcy is not an easy decision, but it is meant to help us in extreme cases of debt. While it should only be looked at as a last resort, there is no shame in having to rely on it as long as you realize what steps you need to take to avoid this situation in the future. If you’ve had to choose this route to clean your slate, the good news is there is hope. Recover from bankruptcy with these tips:

A Quick Guide to Recover from Bankruptcy:

Get a Strategy in Place

As you begin the steps toward recovering from filing for personal bankruptcy, prepare yourself by having a strategy in place. If you met with a bankruptcy lawyer or attorney as mentioned in my previous article, you should consult with him or her on developing such a strategy. Otherwise, your strategy should include the following actions:

  • Know what led you to declare bankruptcy in the first place. This will keep you from repeating mistakes (as long as you commit to preventing it from happening again, that is.)
  • Put together a monthly budget. Those who have a budget in place are more likely to win with money. Even Dave Ramsey thinks so. If you want to know an efficient way to create yours, read this.
  • Create a schedule for your bills. Have a calendar visible in your home throughout each month on which you mark when and what bills are due. If you can, you should try to automate your payments to really ensure that they are being paid on time. Remember, your credit report not only tracks your history but also your capability to make payments on time to creditors and bill collectors. Despite having bankruptcy on your record, you’ll be able to win back the trust of lenders by consistently paying your bills on time.
  • Start building an emergency savings. You may be tempted to try to increase your funds by investing, a common recommendation for building wealth, but hold off until you have an emergency savings in place. This is one of the ways you’ll be able to provide yourself with some security in case something should happen.
  • Eliminate unnecessary costs. I’m not saying you should live in a hole until you’re in good standing with creditors, but if you want to recover from bankruptcy, you need to recognize what expenses you have each month that are not necessary. Limit the number of times you go out and, if you need new clothes or merchandise, consider purchasing them used or up-cycled. Thrift shopping has become so much easier now with the power of social media. In fact, you can also sell some items you no longer need to pocket some extra cash, which can then go directly into that emergency savings fund.

Beware of Credit Repair Scams

Although it may be tempting, be leery of companies claiming they can quickly repair your credit, especially if they claim little to no obligations to you. They may offer to consolidate your debt and charge you fees that may end up costing you more in the end.

Elisabeth Leamy, the ABC News Consumer Correspondent, wrote in this 2008 article that nobody can erase negative entries on your credit report, which are not the same as credit mistakes. (Those you can fix yourself.) During the time the article was written, the recession was in full force and the Federal Trade Commission noticed a resurgence of credit repair schemes. These schemers still exist, so steer clear of the ones that especially promise they can fix your situation fast no matter the circumstance or try to charge you upfront.

Be Smart About Borrowing Money

A common myth that comes with bankruptcy is that you cannot get approved for any type of loan or credit card following this red mark on your credit record. While it won’t be as easy as it would for someone with a high credit score, you can still borrow money from lenders; you just need to be smart about it.

Opt for a secured credit card, which is great for those trying to rebuild their credit. Just remember to make your payments on time and pay off your balance each month. Bankruptcy Attorney Robert Weed recommends using it for regular expenses you would buy anyway, such as gas and groceries. He also advises to obtain a secured loan by your share savings account from your local credit union as a way to rebuild your credit, as long as they were not one of the lenders to whom you previously owed money. By doing this you pay interest on your own money, but it’s a great way to rebuild your score, he claims.


If you need to recover from bankruptcy, just remember that it is possible and there is hope; you just need to dedicate yourself to put yourself back in good standing and recognize negative spending habits that may put you down a bad path again.

Do you have any experience with bankruptcy? What tips would you add?