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Do I Regret Filing for Bankruptcy at Age 23?

It’s been over three years now since I filed for bankruptcy. Do I regret filing bankruptcy? No, I don’t. I really did not want to file bankruptcy initially. In fact, if you look back at some of my posts in mid-2007, I was very adamant about not filing.

I realized that was more about my pride than making the right choice for my family and myself. Pride does that sometimes. Could I have avoided filing chapter 7? It’s possible. If I had known that my income would dramatically rise a year or two after the point I filed, it’s possible I could have avoided filing. Or gone with a chapter 13. The problem is that filing made it all possible for me to reset, to get a fresh start. And my income was down to next to nothing when I filed, so it was hard to see at the time a larger income stream on the horizon.

Do I recommend filing bankruptcy? In the right situation, yes.  It’s not for everyone. The 341 Meeting is strait awkward. The whole process isn’t fun at all…but for me, it was worth it.  I’ve been telling more and more people in my life about my bankruptcy filing. I think if you can recover well from it, it doesn’t have to be this horrible thing over your life forever.

I think it’s also about how you view yourself. Yes, you screwed up, but tell me, who hasn’t? Yeah, my mistakes were bigger than most financial ones, but you know what…it’s not life or death. It really isn’t.  And I think with the way the economy is and the whole housing crisis, I think filing for bankruptcy has less of a stigma than ever.  This doesn’t mean I think it should be a first option. It should always be the last resort. But once you’re at the last option, take it and move on with your life.

What have been the consequences in the last 3 years since filing?

Since I committed to a cash-only lifestyle, the effects have been minimal. The largest has been housing. Every housing situation I’ve found since filing, has been non-conventional. I’ve avoided management companies and rented directly from owners. That’s the only way to even have a shot at a decent apartment.

What happened to your credit score?

Well, like most people looking at filing, I was way beyond on lots of debts. So my score was already in the crapper. I think I hit 472 even before filing.  I applied for a few “rebuilding” type credit cards right after my bankruptcy and I think that was a good move. I never keep a balance on them (the limits are only $300 and $500), and they seem to have helped my credit score recover a bit (I’m above 680 now, I was below 500 post bankruptcy).

So three years later, my credit score is actually looking really good. I have no bad debt, one small federal student loan, and a few good credit lines with no-late payments. 700 FICO here I come.  Not that I will be using that score anytime soon.  I think if I wanted to buy a home at some point, I will run into issues having the bankruptcy on my record.

Any advice for someone thinking about bankruptcy? Meet …

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8 Surprising Items That Can Be Made From Recycled Materials

Even if you don’t purposely look for products made from recycled materials, you are probably using them every day. In fact, you may be surprised to learn some of the unexpected places recycled materials turn up.

1. Playground Equipment

From composite lumber products to tires repurposed as rubber mulch, playgrounds are a veritable hotbed for recycled materials.

2. Shop Towels

When you choose to go with towels made from recycled paper and wood pulp products or recycled cleaning rags from fabric remnants, you are helping the environment by choosing a greener option for wiping up spills.

3. Asphalt

Old roofing shingles can be crushed and recycled as an additive in paving materials. They are, after all, made from asphalt.

4. Automotive Parts

Plastic is recycled into numerous components for the automotive industry and, chances are, some of them are in your vehicle. The most likely items to be made from recycled plastics are seat cushions, splash guards, and wheel liners.

5. Toothbrushes

Before you get totally offended by this notion, it is only the handles of toothbrushes that get manufactured from injection-molded recycled plastic.

6. Coffins

No, they don’t reuse or recycle coffins that have already seen their service, unless of course you only rented one for the viewing. More manufacturers are jumping on board with making your final resting place a greener one by using recycled or biodegradable materials.

7. Baseball Bats

All those beer cans you recycle at the stadium can help make baseball dreams come true for future generations by returning as aluminum baseball bats. It may also be used in a slew of other useful items, like license plates and thumbtacks.

8. Kitty Litter

More households are turning to green cat litter options. You can choose from recycled newsprint, pine pellets, and even crushed walnut shells. Each has a lighter environmental impact than traditional clay-based litters that do not decompose.

The next time you pick up a household item, take a minute to think about where it came from. Chances are some part of it could be made from recycled materials.…

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3 Things to Consider When Growing Your Writing Team

Running a blog takes time, and that isn’t always easy to find. This is your project, though, and you want to make the most of it. The more content, written in the correct form, the better your site becomes. In fact, sometimes it’s just too much for one person to handle. That’s when you may consider expanding your writing team, adding on some team players who can add worthwhile articles. Don’t settle for anyone. Consider the following three things in selecting your new teammate.

1. Does This Person Fit Your Niche?

Not everyone can write about any topic; therefore, go slow and make prospective applicants show their work. After all, despite thorough research, sometimes a writer won’t fit. Ask for samples, evaluating style and information. Do you like the piece’s voice? Does it work well with what you’ve created? You want a happy blend here, not a mismatch. In addition, consider asking for a few topics that they feel would work on the page? Are these suitable? If so, that’s a good sign.

2. Can You Trust This Candidate?

Your blog is your product. It’s part of your income. You don’t want someone you can’t trust; therefore, if this position becomes long-term, begin working on professional screening services. You’ll find out useful background information, determining whether you feel comfortable moving forward with this permanent hire.

3. Is the Price Right?

Does adding a position actually help you make more money? Look at your income, determining exactly how much you can spend. Don’t go over that. If it’s not enough for a part-time hire, stick to freelancing projects that you can’t handle. Freelance writers are out there, willing to tackle projects for a variety of salaries. You don’t have to spend a fortune; plus, should your schedule free up, then you won’t need assistance. At that point, it’s easier to simply do it yourself and save the cash.

Expand wisely, and evaluate how much aid you want and can afford. Then, don’t hesitate to be picky. The right writer is out there.…

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Three Common Reasons To Need a Cash Advance

At one time or another, many of us have met with an immediate need for money and no way to get it. This can occur for any number of reasons, but the end result is the same sense of desperation and despair. In such situations, a cash advance could make a crucial difference.

Small Business Loans for Startups

Sometimes, a small business needs an immediate injection of capital which a bank won’t provide. Cash-strapped startups are especially vulnerable to banks which refuse to risk a loan. A business with limited options could contract with a lender for a cash advance mississippi to cover their costs up front. Some jurisdictions consider these transactions as business to business, making the laws different than for personal loans. After researching all possibilities, a business cash advance might be the ideal answer.

Unexpected Emergencies

There will always be expenses in life for which we can never plan. Frequently, they’re related to the malfunction of some major appliance which we can’t do without, such as a phone, car, or household heating system. A majority of Americans’ total savings are under $1,000. For fast fixes requiring quick cash, have you saved enough to pay it yourself?

This is not to mention the potential price of any sudden urgent medical care. American healthcare costs are infamously high, and plenty of people have poor insurance plans with high deductibles. For most non-routine treatment, it’s simply impractical for folks to pay their medical bills, or possibly even their co-payments, out-of-pocket.

Essential Expenses

We’ve practically all fallen behind on our rent or utility bills at some point. This can become a chronic problem for people whose finite finances come under pressure from mounting numbers of sources. Crunch time comes when the utility companies threaten to cut off services due to delinquency. You need to give them something, as the fees to reestablish these services will only worsen your preexisting debt.

For cash in a flash, a cash advance may be the best solution for your pressing problem, provided you can pay back your lender later.…

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3 Tips to Improve Your Credit

When your credit isn’t where you would like it to be, it can feel like it’s having a big impact on the rest of your life. From buying a car, to owning a home, to even trying to start your own business, there are many things that you may not be able to do on the timeline you would like if your credit is low. However, there are some credit solutions NJ that can help.

Seek Professional Help

Sometimes, if you’ve been struggling with credit problems for a long time, your best option may be to seek professional help. While some may be hesitant about reaching out, there can be benefits to getting professional guidance when it comes to your credit. A professional will often have more information at their fingertips, and may be able to show you options that you may not have been aware of otherwise.

Keep Balances Low

One way to help give your credit a boost is by keeping any credit card balances you may have low. By using less of the credit that you have, you may look better to lenders. This is in part because it can be a sign that you pay your cards regularly, and therefore are a more dependable, and ultimately safer bet for lenders.

Don’t Close Accounts

While you might be tempted to close a credit card account if you don’t use it anymore, it may be a better idea to leave it open. Closing accounts can cause your credit to take a hit, and can also increase your credit utilization ratio, which may make it look as if you are more dependent on your credit than you may be.

The Bottom Line

Having low credit could feel like it’s setting you back in life, and if you’ve dealt with it for a long time, it may feel difficult to get it on the right track.

However, that doesn’t mean that you have to feel stuck with it, and there can be more than one option when it comes to improving your credit score.…

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When Franchisee Employees Attempt to Form Mini-Unions

Running a large Corporation and dealing with thousands of employees is quite difficult. Luckily in franchising most all of the employees are controlled by the franchisees themselves, and not the parent company. Some franchisors do have a tremendous number of corporate run stores, but generally speaking the franchisor’s business model is to sell franchised outlets which are run by other folks.

Now then, this is good because you don’t have to deal with labor unions, however sometimes the franchisees will form their own unions and call them; franchise associations. Luckily, when they do this, their goals are similar to the franchisor’s goals, and that is to extend the brand name and make money. When the franchisees make money, there is more royalty income for the franchisor, and everyone’s a winner right? Yes that’s true, but let’s get back to labor unions, and franchise operations.

Small businesses may not have labor unions, or employees necessarily forming groups to dictate how the business is run, and how much they will be paid. Nevertheless, you’d be surprised how employees will get together, and start bossing around the franchised outlet owner. Before retirement, I was in the car wash in Houston business, and later became a franchisor in that industry. As I also noted that carwash employees would get together, form little miniature unions, and start demanding things.

If I didn’t acquiesce, they would do work slowdowns, show up late for work, threatened to quit, or even walk off the job. As this happened, I would often fire the entire crew as an example, and hire new people. Unfortunately, the new people I hired had to be trained, there was a learning curve, and this disrupted the flow of customer service. After I started franchising, I often had franchisees complain about their employees trying to pull a fast one, or make unreasonable demands.

This is a lot more common than you might think, and most franchisees who have ever been in business before don’t understand how to deal with this, they’d rather look like the good guy, and they can remember a time when they were an employee before they bought the franchise. However, one problem with employees is that familiarity breeds contempt and over time it becomes a huge problem.

Franchisors would be wise to explain the process of defusing challenges to their authority by their employees in their confidential operations manual, while at the same time being very careful not to break employment law. If not the franchisees can get themselves into trouble and even find disgruntled employees coming back threatening violence. I’m serious it’s a real problem, and far too few people are talking about. Perhaps the subject is taboo, or not politically correct.

Nevertheless, it is a real problem that must be addressed in the workplace if the franchisor’s brand name is to be maintained by the franchisees and quality customer service maintained at all times with consistency to the clients. Please consider all this and think on it.…

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How To Install Low Voltage Outdoor Path Lighting

In case you wanna do it yourself, you will have the option to set aside loads of cash, introducing your very own low voltage outdoor lighting. Guarantee you have a GFCI container outdoor lighting. If not, introduce yourself to houston outdoor lighting service.

Make an arrangement

Walk around your property with a long measuring tape, a drawing cushion and pencil, and your creative mind! This is the place you may choose what sorts of apparatuses you might want to introduce and where. An arrangement will protect that you purchase the right measure of materials and installations, so don’t keep away from this one (except if you are going to introduce one post light and still, at the end of the day you need to realize how a lot of wire to purchase).

You’ll have to buy a transformer, in a perfect world with a clock, wire, the light fittings themselves and metal ground stakes.

Measure

To measure your transformer, including the watts for every installation, and after that figure in extra wattage for future ventures. In this way, if your installations are every eighteen watts and you have ten of them, that is 180 watts for your transformer and 25% more for the wire. Include some extra voltage for future development, and you are taking a gander at conceivably a 300-watt transformer.

From your plan, build up the length of each keep running among installations and afterward, the distance from your terminal apparatus to the transformer. At that point, include around 6-7″ per appliance for the connections. Suggested 12 check link for a 300-watt transformer.

Materials

Since you have your materials, you’re prepared to begin the establishment. The absolute first activity is to spread out wire & apparatuses. Spot your equipment on the ground where you have to introduce them. At that point, lay the wire around the entire region you are adding your apparatuses. Lay a little extra cable (like a clench hand-measured circle) at each installation.

Burrow 2 – the 3-inch channel where you will lay the link. A few people suggest pretty much. I’ve seen as much as 5 inches suggested and as meager as 1 foot. I wouldn’t go any under 18 inches, yet to be sure you don’t draw up your link doing yard work, it’s smarter to go somewhat more profound, however close to 3 inches.

After you tenderly cover the link, at every installation area, circle the wire up out of the ground for association with your apparatuses.

Presently you’ll Install the transformer and fitting it into a repository. All you need to do is connect it to your home or a post beside your GFCI switch. Be sure to pursue every one of the bearings that accompany it to be sure it’s grounded accurately. When it’s introduced and grounded, interface your wire to it by cutting the finish of the fence with wire cutters and peeling off a one-half inch of the protection. At that point, place every single one of the two wires under the terminal screws and fixes the screws down on them. This is like attaching to stereo speakers.

Utilizing a little sled hammer, strike your stakes into the ground holding each one as straight all over as you can. Affix the light installations to the stakes and snap every apparatus’ wire penetrating fitting …