With rising prices and ever increasing consumer demands, it becomes more challenging for many individuals to live below their means. Credit card bills, keeping up with the Joneses, and other unnecessary expenses are among some of the reasons it is exceedingly hard to stick to a budget. Some find themselves unable to spend less than the amount of money they are able to make each month. Here are a few suggestions to help you live below your means and improve your financial health.
Let’s be honest, many of us lack the time or the money to cook unique, cost-efficient meals today. Whether you are a couple or a family, it is sometimes easiest to just eat out. Eating out on a regular basis can get very expensive. So, it’s easy to see how meal delivery services have become so popular, especially with their attractive introductory offers. I recently received a Blue Apron free trial. I was eager to try and cook my way through a new and adventurous meal, something I wouldn’t normally eat.
As this was a Blue Apron free trial, I had nothing to lose. I had three meals delivered right to my door. All of the packaging was recyclable, and it came with a couple of nice reusable freezer packs. Here is my experience:
Blue Apron Meal: Chipotle-Glazed Meatloaf
What I expected:
Blue Apron said the prep time for this meal was just 10 minutes with the cooking time of the meal being between 35-45 minutes. The card (included in the picture) came with a quick description of the meal along with all of the ingredients for the meal. Each ingredient listed even came with a picture in case you weren’t sure. The flip side of the card also came with step by step instructions on how to prepare the meal. Additionally, there were some pictures to assist you along the way. I laid out all of the ingredients on top of my counter along with the card and began.
You have all of the ingredients you need to create a unique dish. If you tried to go to the grocery store and buy all of the necessary items to create something similar, you would spend way more than $10/meal. Also, all of the items looked fresh and appeared top notch. Everything from the beef, to the potatoes, to the garlic looked like it had been prepared just mere days before. Finally, Blue Apron also pairs each of the dishes with a wine.
While the meal card said the prep time was just 10 minutes, this was not the case. It took me about double that time to prepare the meal. The only way someone could have done the prep in 10 minutes is if they were highly experienced in the kitchen or if they had prepared this meal before. The meal also lacked a side of vegetables. While this might seem quite minor in the details, some healthy vegetables to go along with this meal would have made it complete. I ended up cooking some green beans to go along with the meat and potatoes. You also needed some cooking experience to help guide you through. I don’t believe these meals are for the complete rookie. For instance, you had to mince garlic, slice potatoes, and needed a few kitchen accessories to complete the meal.
Final Opinion of Blue Apron’s Free Trial
Ultimately my Blue Apron free trial was a success. I was able to create a delicious, unique meal all by myself. At just around $10/meal, it is also a great value because the same ingredients would cost much more if you purchased them at the store. Downsides would be that it requires some basic kitchen knowledge and elementary kitchen items. This meal service is great for a couple who enjoys cooking together and wants to spend some time create different dishes and bonding over the experience.
Continuing Beyond the Free Trial
If you decide to continue purchasing Blue Apron meals after the trial, you have a variety of meal options. The website is very user friendly and lets you browse through their selections easily. Furthermore, they cater to specific dietary needs as well. Pricing varies based on the serving size and the plan you choose. However, you receive a discount for your first week and free shipping. If you aren’t quite ready to commit to the program, the Blue Apron free trial is perfect for you. There’s no risk and you’ll have the chance to sample new dishes for free!
Are you interested in Blue Apron? Get $30 off your first week using this link.
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A recent study conducted by the Pew Research Institute reported that more young Americans are living with their parents than ever before. While there are a myriad of reason why children move home, the Covid-19 pandemic and rising unemployment rates have been important contributing factors. With no clear end in sight and our financially stability in question, many young adults are looking to save money any way possible.
The Lost Generation
Let me begin by stating that I am a Millennial, born between 1981 and 1996. Let me then preface this first statement by debunking the stereotypes associated with my generation. Many call us lazy and self-righteous, soft and coddled children. We are not ungrateful or demanding. On the contrary, many of us are just trying to survive.
Some have dubbed us “the lost generation.” We grew up in the age before cell phones, witnessed the birth of the internet, and lived through a terrorist attack on home soil all before we graduated high school. Then, we were forced to take expensive loans in order to get a college education only to graduate in the midst of the mortgage crisis. We are now facing a second economic downturn just as we are reaching our prime earning years.
The promises we had been fed about working hard and getting a good education have fallen short. However, living through such adversity has taught us to adapt and be resilient. The majority of us are simply getting by. Like most Americans, we live paycheck to paycheck, and pray not to get sick or lose our jobs right now.
How Covid-19 Has Affected Employment
Although we are better educated than previous generations, we are the first generation to be worse off than our parents. Most young adults have little savings and fewer investments. Few of us can afford our own homes because we have outstanding debts to pay off first. The only thing that keeps this precarious boat afloat is a steady income. Unfortunately, recent closures and quarantine measures have left thousands of people out of work.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, American unemployment rates have skyrocketed. Millennials have been hit especially hard since many hold jobs in the service industry. The reported job losses in the wake of the economic downturn are the highest ever since the Great Depression. These conditions have forced many young adults to move back in with their parents. According to the Pew Research Center, 52% of Americans ages 18-30 live with one or both of their parents. While unemployment is not the only reason for children moving home, it is a significant factor. Furthermore, no one is certain how long conditions will continue or an economic recovery will take.
Financial Stability of Young Americans
Another intangible mark this has left on our generation is an attitude of pessimism and lack of trust in financial institutions. Paying monthly bills has become a challenge with reduced hours and widespread layoffs. The first stimulus check issued by the government offered some temporary relief, but when rent comes due many tenants will be unable to pay. It’s no wonder why many young Americans are living with their parents. Cutting out a monthly rent payment offers a huge financial relief.
The uncertainty of just how long conditions will persist only exacerbates these negative feelings. Conservative predictions estimate that it will take the better part of a decade for the economy to fully recover. This further complicates any plans to pay off debt, purchase homes, invest and retire. I can only speak for myself, but I think it’s safe to say that most young adults do not want to live with their parents. Unfortunately, with little savings and job opportunities it is becoming more of a necessity until we can better understand the full and lasting economic impacts of the coronavirus.
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Compared to the generation of our parents, everything is extra expensive these days because of inflation. However, our salaries are not getting any higher, and it’s getting more difficult to make ends meet. In order to save and try to invest, here are some tips on saving money in 2019: