22 Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Gifts for 2021

Still scrambling for that perfect Valentine’s Day gift?

Wondering how you’re going to get your special someone something truly special — without spending a lot of money in the process?

Even if you’ve only got $5 in your pocket, you can still make this Valentine’s Day memorable.

22 Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas Under $5

We’ve already got you covered with at-home date ideas — for whether you are together in-person or far apart. Here are 50 last-minute gifts that all cost less than $5.

1. Playlist

Remember mixtapes? Bring that sentiment to the 21st century by making your special someone a Spotify playlist. You don’t even need Spotify Premium; just get the free version of Spotify for your desktop, build the perfect list and share it with your valentine.

2. Lloyd Dobler Serenade

This one works best if your Valentine is a fan of classic ’80s movies.

Take the iconic image of Say Anything’s Lloyd Dobler holding a boombox over his head as you model and get ready to tell your valentine that “In your eyes… I am complete.”

Use an actual boombox if you can get your hands on one, or pull out your iPhone and crank up the volume.

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3. Bulk Candy

Maybe your special someone likes jelly beans or chocolate-covered almonds. The bulk candy aisle offers plenty of choices for putting together a $5 gift that tastes better — and is much more personalized — than a cheap box of waxy Valentine’s candy.

If you’re giving bulk candy, presentation matters. Put it in an attractive bag or box, tie it up with a ribbon and make your gift as special as the recipient.

4. Handmade Card

A handmade card can often be one of the best and most treasured Valentine’s Day presents.

Anyone can go to the grocery store and get a 99-cent card with a pre-printed message. Only you can make a one-of-a-kind card with your own heartfelt statement of love.

5. Art

Do you have painting or sketching skills? Make your special someone a piece of original art. It’s hard to go wrong with a flattering portrait or a sketch of the place where the two of you shared your first kiss.

Your cost investment depends on how many art supplies you currently have around, but a hobby store often sells affordable individual sheets of art paper. Even an ink drawing on a piece of good paper can look beautiful.

6. Poem

Write your valentine a love poem. It worked for Shakespeare, and it could work for you. Choose one of the classic poetry formats, such as the sonnet or the villanelle, or create your own.

An elderly couple show affection to one another as the husband serenades his wife.
Getty Images

7. Song

Take your poem one step further by setting it to music. How many people get a song written just for them? Perform it for your special someone on Valentine’s Day, and you’ll learn that the best gifts don’t have to cost a thing.

8. Band Performance

Got a friend who can play bass and a buddy who knows the drums? Teach them the song you just wrote, or ask if they’ll be willing to help you cover a song that has a special meaning for you and your valentine. Then give your valentine a never-to-be-forgotten concert.

9. Request a Song

Sometimes the simplest gifts are the best. If your local radio station takes requests, request your special song. Text your valentine when it’s time for your song to play, or listen to it together.

10. Old Shirt Turned into a Pillow

Take an old T-shirt and turn it into a pillow. This Instructables guide will help you get started. You’ll need to get something to stuff the pillow with, which you can generally get at a craft store or even Target or Walmart for under $5.

11. Old Stuffed Animal

Nothing says “I’m in this for the long term” like “This was my old stuffed bear, and I hope you’ll love it as much as I do.”

Giving the gift of an old stuffed animal shows your special someone that you love and trust them enough to share one of your most treasured possessions.

12. Book 

Have a favorite book that you think your valentine will also love? Take it off your bookshelf, write an inscription and turn it into a gift. It’s just as intimate as giving a stuffed animal, and you can talk about the book together afterwards.

Don’t want to give away your only copy of your favorite read? Find it in a used bookstore. You can often get used books for under $5, and they make excellent presents.

If your special someone owns a Kindle, a Nook or another e-reader, there are gobs of books available for under $5. Look for the 99-cent listings so you can give multiple books and make your gift look extra-special. You can also look for deals from Bookbub.

A woman decorates heart shaped cookies for Valentine's Day.
Getty Images

13. Homemade Cookies

While everyone else is getting expensive bouquets delivered to their valentines, why not give your date a plate of delicious homemade cookies? You can also take these cookies with you for a picnicking or stargazing adventure.

14. Love Thoughts in a Jar

All you’ll need for this one is a jar and a few pieces of paper. Tear or cut the paper into strips and write something special on each strip. Then, fold the strips in half and put them into the jar.

When your valentine wants a little extra love, all he or she has to do is take a strip out of the jar and read one of your messages.

15. Book of Memories

Buy an inexpensive sketchbook or notebook. Then, fill each page with a memory — the place you first met, the first time you held hands, the concert the two of you attended last spring. Draw, write, glue in ticket stubs — do whatever you want to make this book a true book of memories. Chances are it will be an unforgettable gift.

16. Coupon Book

The coupon book is another classic gift that has almost become cliché. The secret to making it work is to put together coupons that your valentine actually wants.

Does your valentine like picking the movie you watch together? Does your valentine like not having to do the dishes? Choosing the right coupons is what makes this gift special.

17. Massage Night

Get some massage oil, put some towels over freshly washed sheets and give your special someone the massage he or she has always wanted. Look for resources online, like these massage tips from Canyon Ranch resort, that will show you how to give a safe, proper massage.

18. Shared Journal

Get an inexpensive notebook, write a journal entry and give it to your Valentine with the instructions to read what’s inside, write a new journal entry and give the notebook back.

Keep this pattern going until the notebook is full. A shared journal is a lovely way to write about hopes, dreams and plans for the future.

19. Love Letters

Have you read the book “The Wednesday Letters”? It’s the story of a man who writes his wife a new love letter each Wednesday.

Why not make this Valentine’s Day the start of a Wednesday letter tradition of your own? Give the gift of a love letter, and tell your valentine that it is the first of many to come.

20. Clean All The Things

Want a gift that your valentine will really love? Try a perfectly cleaned home.

Find an excuse for your special someone to be out of the house or apartment on Valentine’s Day morning and then scrub, wash, sweep and fold. Top it off with a few flowers in a vase or a plate of homemade cookies on the table.

21. The 36 Questions

If you read the Modern Love column in The New York Times, you might have seen the piece about The 36 Questions That Lead to Love.

These questions, which include “What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you?” and “When did you last cry in front of another person?” are designed to build intimacy and bring people closer together.

Spend an evening asking your valentine those questions — and answering them yourself — and it becomes an evening you’re unlikely to forget.

22. One Rose or Grocery Store Flowers

If you can’t afford a bouquet of roses, see if your local flower shop is selling single roses. A single red rose often says more than a whole dozen.

Even the most humble of grocery store bouquets can become beautiful with a little help. Take the flowers out of the plastic, trim them and put them into a vase. Or, if you don’t have a vase on hand, get a glass jar out of the recycling bin, rinse it out and put the flowers in.

Nicole Dieker is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

Source: thepennyhoarder.com

How Different Generations Experience Debt

  • Get Out of Debt

For the most part, generations are a social construct.  The line that divides a millennial and a “Gen X-er” is oftentimes up for debate and somewhat vague. But paying attention to these generational divides can be helpful. It sheds light on what trends are taking place amongst which age groups and it gives us an idea of how certain demographics are experiencing the world. 

When it comes to finances, each generational group seems to have experienced our fluctuating economy at different stages, resulting in a wide array of challenges. 

The objective truth is that a vast majority of people from every generation suffer from debt—but what are the generational trends in our spending habits?

Average American debt by age

According to a recent survey by Northwestern Mutual’s 2018 Planning & Progress Study, the average American is hauling around about $38,000 in personal debt, not including home mortgages. 

Credit card debt is a large source of consumer debt across the board for all generations, and while the numbers vary, the gaps aren’t too wide. Here is a breakdown of the average American debt by age:

  • Ages 18-24, Generation Z & younger millennials: $22,000
    • For a group of adults this young, it’s not surprising that the bulk of their debt comes from student loans (28%), but credit card balances follow right behind. Many experts believe that student loans are the lesser of evils when it comes to debt since they usually have low interest and there is a possibility of tax breaks. However, debt is still debt, regardless of the nitty gritty details. As a rule, it’s always best to take out less rather than more. Many experts agree that you should never take out more than you anticipate making in your first year after college. If you can expect your first year’s income to be $50,000, try to avoid taking out more than $50,000 in student loans. 
  • Ages 25-34, Older millennials: $42,000
    • As for this only slightly older age group, credit card balances are the number one  cause of debt, making up a quarter of the average debt older millennials are lugging around. The second leading cause of debt amongst older millennials is their student loans at 16%, while home mortgages are only 3% of the problem. This particular age group oftentimes catches a bad rap. While they are notably in the most debt, they also happen to be living in a sweet spot where student loans meet a decent quality of life with an ever-increasing price tag. The overall narrative with this group of consumers is that the cost of every day expenses is increasing without very much growth in the income department. Instead of sacrificing lifestyle habits, this generation shows a trend of racking up debt in order to afford it.   
  • Ages 35-49, Generation X: $39,000:
      • This is where mortgages start coming into play. For Generation X, mortgages are the leading source of debt, accounting for approximately 32% of the overall debt owed by this demographic. Credit card debt is next, followed by tied-in-ranking car loans and student loans—which both are only 7% each.
  • Ages 50+, Baby boomers: $36,000:
  • Baby boomers reside on the lower end of the debt bracket, but follow a similar trend as the slightly younger Generation X with mortgages being the leading source of debt, with credit card bills being next and car loans being last. While this generation has the second lowest amount of debt, they don’t have very much in savings—with only about $25,000 stashed, on average. 

To reiterate, the above statistics are referring to consumer debt that excluding mortgages. According to these numbers, older millennials are in the most consumer debt, but Generation X isn’t too far behind, followed closely by the Baby Boomers. 

Average income by generation

In recent years, millennials (ages 22-37) have actually seen an increase in their overall household income with the average being around $69,000 a year. As far as income goes, this is one of the highest averages this age group has seen since the year 2000. 

Meanwhile, Generation X households (ages 38-53) are sweeping in an average income of $85,800 per year, while Baby boomers (ages 54-72) are pocketing an average household income of $77,600 a year. 

As we’ve seen with the statistics on consumer debt, student loans seem to play a noteworthy role in our overall debt as a country. But, is the investment worth it? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics on average annual income, here is a breakdown of earning potential in relation to education:

  • No high school diploma: $25,636
  • High school education: $35, 256
  • Some college: $38, 376
  • Two-year college degree: $41, 496
  • College degree: $61, 828
  • Advanced degree: $75, 452

Let’s say you were to operate according to the student loan rule that we discussed in the above section. With a starting salary of $61, 8289 after college, a student loan debt less than that would be considered manageable.

Source: pocketyourdollars.com

10 At-Home Date Night Ideas, Whether You’re Together or Apart

The coronavirus pandemic put a halt on a whole lot of awesome things, including date night. If you’ve been with your sweetie for years, it can be tough to find something special to do when you’re spending most of your time at home together. And if you were just getting started dating, it’s hard to establish a connection when you’re apart.

But there are still free and low-cost ways to keep up the date night tradition.

Although they’ve been married for over a decade, Kenny and Celina Beaumont have always realized the importance of romance — especially after having kids.

“If we’re not happy and having fun,” Celina told us in an interview, “our household’s not going to be happy and having fun.”

So they’ve kept their long-standing date night tradition alive through the pandemic with some pretty adorable dates — one of which you may even have seen a glimpse of on John Krasinski’s “Some Good News.” (Look for the fine dining experience around 7:55!)

But dinner dates are just the beginning. Here are some of our favorite at-home date night ideas.

A couple hold hands as they enjoy dinner in their backyard.
Kenny and Celina Beaumont have a date night in the backyard of their home in Orlando, Fla. Photo courtesy of Kenny and Celina Beaumont

Date Nights if You’re at Home Together

If you were already cohabitating, there are plenty of ways to set aside some special time for each other.

1. Fine Dining

You can definitely recreate the restaurant experience at home, complete with dressing up for the occasion and actually sitting down and being waited on. That’s exactly what the Beaumonts did. According to Celina, Kenny and the kids had been conspiring about the idea for several days before surprising her.

They printed real menus, got dressed up and dined al fresco on a three-course meal at “Jack & Olivia’s” — so named for their kids. Kenny cooked up the steaks, while the kids made the salad and dessert.

2. Ballroom (or Any Other Kind of) Dancing

You might not make it out to your local Arthur Murray studio, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn how to dance. Some couples’ counselors suggest that a tango or two can be as good for your relationship as it is fun.

Crank up a YouTube video, clear out a spot on the living room floor, and give it a whirl. After all, nobody except your SO — and maybe the cat — is watching.

3. Game Night

It might not sound like the peak of romance to some, but sitting down to a game of Scrabble or Chess together is a great way to spend some quality time while also giving your brain a workout. If you’re really geeky, you might even take on a match or four of Magic: The Gathering.

We recommend adding fancy duds to the equation to make it feel even more date-y.

4. Virtual Hometown Tours

If you didn’t grow up in the same place as your SO, and you’ve yet to show them around in person, Google Earth offers a great date night opportunity: a virtual tour of your hometown, complete with stops at all the most important places.

Even if you hail from the same place (or have already gone home to meet the parents), you could use Google Earth or Google Maps to show your sweetheart around your college campus — or explore a city you’re hoping to visit together someday.

5. At-Home Spa Services

Treat yourself — and your beau — to some DIY indulgence. Whether you give each other manicures, facials, or massages, it’s bound to be a whole lot more affordable (and considerably more fun) than it would be in a salon. Check out this list of spa treatments you can do at home.

Tips for Successful At-Home Date Nights

Even with the best of intentions and lots of planning, it’s easy for an at-home date night to feel like … well, just another night at home.

Here are some tips to keep it feeling romantic.

  • Put away your phone. Celina and Kenny say they make a point of putting their screens down during dates.
  • Wait until after bedtime. It’s fun to get the kids in on the action — but if they go to bed earlier than you do, those couple hours of quiet can be a great time to rekindle your connection.
  • Look for the silver linings. Although staying home is hard in a whole lot of ways, it also offers a lot of opportunity for closeness, especially in a world where we’re usually running all over the place.

“We never get to spend this much time with each other,” Celina said of her family. Try to look at your at-home dates as an opportunity to slow down and enjoy yourselves.

Date Night Ideas if You’re Apart

Thanks to technology, there are some ways to recreate a date experience even if you’re miles apart.

6. Virtual Coffee (or Cocktails)

Video call applications like Zoom and FaceTime make it easy to recreate classic low-stakes, first-date ideas like grabbing a drink or a cup of coffee.

7. Reading to Each Other

This one’s super romantic whether you’re at home together or apart. If you’re not in the same place, you can read to each other over video chat or over the plain-old phone.

The options are endless: You could pick a book neither of you have read before or revisit an old favorite.

8. Live Streaming Concerts and Events

From superstars to local up-and-comers, lots of entertainers have transferred their live shows to streaming services. Many are free, though it’s nice to drop a tip for these struggling artists.

Re-create the concert experience at home with a cocktail and maybe a band T-shirt, and enjoy unlimited bathroom breaks without having to snake through a pushy crowd.

9. Virtual Movie Nights

There’s nothing quite as cozy as snuggling up with your sweetheart for a movie, whether at the theater or on the couch at home. But even if you’re stuck apart, you can spend time in front of the silver screen together.

A browser extension called Teleparty easily syncs Netflix, Disney, Hulu and HBO videos for multiple parties while also providing a scrolling text chat along the right side of the screen.

If your movie or TV show is on another service — or if, quaintly and adorably enough, you’re going to watch the same DVD in separate houses at the same time — you can always hop on the phone and queue up the video. Don’t forget the popcorn!

10. Art Therapy

A seriously romantic idea for the bold: re-create each other’s likenesses while on a video chatting application like FaceTime.

If that’s a little too intimate, you could simply spend time together being creative, whether that means knitting, cross-stitching, painting or something else entirely. You could even make plans to gift each other the products of your art therapy session.

Tips for Successful Date Nights Spent Apart

A woman FaceTimes with her boyfriend.
Getty Images

Here are some tips to make it feel more like you’re actually together.

  • Get dressed. It’s all too easy to lie around the house in pajamas all day… and even attend your dates that way. Wearing real clothes can make you feel more like you’re on a real date.
  • Connect often. If you can’t be with each other in person, spending digital time together is extra important. Maybe try to move your date night tradition from one night a week to two or three.
  • Remember: It’s only temporary. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and although we don’t know when this pandemic is going to end, end it shall.

Jamie Cattanach’s work has been featured at Fodor’s, Yahoo, SELF, The Huffington Post, The Motley Fool and other outlets. Learn more at www.jamiecattanach.com.



Source: thepennyhoarder.com

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy – What It Is & How It Works

petition for bankruptcy

Who is eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is reserved for individuals and couples, as opposed to corporations and partnerships. You’re most likely eligible assuming you have received credit counseling and possess a regular income sufficient for your living expenses.

Additionally, your secured debt must be less than $1,257,850 and your unsecured debt should be less than $419,275. If you had a bankruptcy petition that was dismissed with prejudice or for abuse in the last half-year, you cannot file until the 180-day waiting period has expired.

How does Chapter 13 bankruptcy work?

You and your lawyer will file all the necessary paperwork, such as the petition, a statement of financial affairs, the schedules, and your plan of reorganization.

You will pay a number of fees and possibly meet with your creditors, but your attorney will handle most details. If you plan to file on your own, you should be aware that the failure rate is very high.

In most cases, it’s highly recommended to hire a qualified bankruptcy attorney. Once your paperwork is submitted, your documents will then be reviewed by the Chapter 13 trustee and creditors. After that, you’ll begin your repayment plan.

Rather than discharging debts as in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy creates a multi-year repayment plan. You’re given a monthly payment amount based on your disposable income and necessary financial obligations.

That amount is then distributed amongst your qualifying unsecured creditors. You then have three to five years to resolve your debts. After you successfully complete the Chapter 13 repayment plan, your debts are fully discharged.

The entire process typically takes between three and five years of structured payments that are applied to your debt adjustment. Some debts won’t qualify for discharge, including federal student loan debt.

What will my duties be under chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Beginning April 1, 2019, when filing for Chapter 13, expect a certain amount of requirements to maintain your eligibility. For example, you must:

  • File all required tax returns before your creditor’s meeting
  • Send all creditors a notice of your bankruptcy
  • Maintain child support and alimony payments during your plan
  • Make all payments to the trustee during your adjustment period
  • Make all payments for agreed upon secured loans, such as your house and cars
  • Meet new tax obligations and not incur significant new consumer debt
  • Provide the trustee with annual tax returns and information changes in income
  • Get court approval for any new loan, or for buying, selling, or refinancing a home
  • No more than $419,275 in unsecured debts
  • No more than $1,257,850 in secured debts (including mortgages and car loans)

What is a trustee and what is their role?

The trustee is a representative of the bankruptcy estate who works for the bankruptcy court and the federal government to review bankruptcy petitions and schedules.

This person generally handles most of the issues related to the processing and approval of bankruptcy cases. The trustee also acts as the disbursing agent for your payments and provides oversight on issues that might arise.

What is the role of my attorney?

In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your bankruptcy lawyer generally analyzes all the particulars of your situation and prepare your estate, allowing you to keep as much of your property as possible. He or she will assemble all your information and data and handle your court paperwork and deadlines.

Your attorney will prepare your petitions, schedules, and statements for filing, draft your plan of reorganization, and help you understand your duties. Attorneys will also meet with your creditors, attend hearings and address issues with the trustee.

Additionally, attorneys will make necessary petitions and modifications if you need to change your Chapter 13 plan. They are now more liable for inaccuracies and other problems that could arise in connection with your Chapter 13 case.

This means that many of the burdens of bankruptcy are taken off you and become the attorney’s responsibility.

Attorney’s fees vary from state to state but expect to pay anywhere between $1,200 and $2,500. Given the level of responsibility they carry on your behalf, it’s well worth the investment.

How does Chapter 13 bankruptcy affect my credit?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy will be publicly listed on your credit report for a total of seven years, during which time your credit will be negatively affected.

However, your score will slowly increase as you establish a positive payment pattern during your adjustment period, and it will continue to increase as long you keep up with your payments.

You can also expect an increased difficulty in obtaining credit. If you do qualify for a credit card or loan, you’ll pay some of the highest interest rates on the market.

You’ll also only qualify for smaller credit amounts so it will become especially important to save up cash reserves to have on hand for any financial emergencies that pop up.

What are exemptions in Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Under Chapter 7, every state has a list of exemptions for things that don’t need to be sold to pay back creditors.

Usually, there is a monetary limit for each category of property you own, whether it’s your home, your car, or your household possessions. Under Chapter 7, your creditors have the right to liquidate assets not protected by this exemptions list.

In Chapter 13, however, instead of having those items liquidated, you must pay to creditors, as part of your adjustment plan, their full value. To fully understand how exemptions work in your situation and state, it’s helpful to talk to a lawyer.

What if I am self-employed or a business owner?

If you are self-employed or operate your own business, you must file a monthly financial report or business operating statement with the trustee before the 15th day of each month.

You’ll also need to verify your income before you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you own your own business, it’s even more important for you to maintain thorough documentation of your financials both before and during Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

What if I can’t continue to make all my payments?

If a situation arises under Chapter 13 in which you’re unable to make all your required monthly payments, you must show that it results from a serious income change or a necessary expense. Your lawyer must then file a moratorium with the bankruptcy court and creditors, which is subject to approval by the trustee.

In most Chapter 13 cases, you should be able to get approved for some type of catch-up plan, including lengthening your repayment term if you’re just suffering from a short-term financial setback.

For a long-term issue, you can apply for a modification. In the event of a severe hardship that makes it impossible for you to make your Chapter 13 payments, you can request a hardship discharge.

Another option is to convert your bankruptcy to a Chapter 7 and have your remaining eligible debts discharged. This is only possible if your new financial situation meets the income qualifications for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

A final option is to dismiss your current Chapter 13 and file for a new one. Just make sure you request an automatic stay from the court to ensure creditors don’t resume their collection attempts as you pivot to a new bankruptcy plan.

Should I file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this question. One of your first steps should be to undertake free credit counseling to see if you can figure out a manageable debt payment plan that works for your current situation. If not, you should then seek professional legal help.

It’s great to read up on the pros and cons of bankruptcy, but at the end of the day, so much depends on your personal situation. From your money to your state, there are countless small details that could influence what it means to take the best course of action.

Source: crediful.com

What Is Bankruptcy Dismissal?

A bankruptcy dismissal happens when something goes wrong and the court rejects your bankruptcy case. There are many reasons this can happen and many consequences. The word “dismiss” shouldn’t be confused with discharge, which is when certain debts are eliminated.

disappointed woman

Instead, dismissal means that the bankruptcy case has been thrown out. The petition has failed. There is no longer a case. With almost all dismissals, the petitioner has wasted his or her time, although usually, one can try again soon, or after a waiting period.

Why are bankruptcies dismissed?

Filing for bankruptcy is a complicated process with many steps, forms, rules, and criteria for eligibility. The stresses of declaring bankruptcy can contribute to easy mistakes. One single mistake with any aspect of the process can be grounds for dismissal, so there is a lot of room for error.

Also, because bankruptcy provides a much-desired relief, some candidates attempt to misrepresent their situation. This is grounds for a type of dismissal that has more serious consequences than dismissals related to honest mistakes.

Causes of Bankruptcy Dismissal

Here are some specific reasons your bankruptcy case might be dismissed:

  • Failure to comply with court rules
  • Procedural violations
  • Failure to fulfill credit counseling or pass a means test
  • Jurisdiction or residence issues
  • Lack of timeliness in filing documents and forms
  • Insufficient documentation
  • Fraud against creditors, lenders, or courts
  • Failure to make court appearances or attend creditors meetings
  • Failure to pay filing fees or installment payments
  • Prior cases, prior dismissals, and prior discharges
  • Failure to make timely plan payments in a Chapter 13 case

Effects and Consequences

When a bankruptcy petition is dismissed, all the time, money, and effort that went into the filing is lost, including the lawyer’s fees. Your debts are not discharged, or your payments are not restructured.

Filing bankruptcy grants you an automatic stay against creditors, but when your bankruptcy case is dismissed, this is lifted and you’re back where you started. It’s important to note that despite a dismissal, just merely filing for bankruptcy can remain on your credit report and further hurt your credit scores.

After a dismissal, creditors and collection agencies can come after you again with all the power of the law. This could result in lawsuits, foreclosure, repossession of vehicles, wage garnishment, and nagging collections calls.

In addition, depending on the circumstances of your dismissal, you may not be able to file again for half a year, or in the same court.

Types of Bankruptcy Dismissal

There are a number of types of dismissal, each with different consequences. Among them is dismissal with or without prejudice, voluntary dismissal, and dismissal for abuse. In many cases, as long the details of your petition were made honestly and in good faith, you can either reinstate a dismissed petition or file again right away.

Sometimes a voluntary dismissal is sought because one’s circumstances change. Usually, this means you are able to pay back your debts and no longer need bankruptcy relief.

However, a request for voluntary dismissal isn’t always granted. If your bankruptcy case was dismissed and you still wish to file, mistakes are not taken lightly. Anyone wishing to cheat the system could claim it was an accident; therefore, many mistakes will be cause for a dismissal that cannot be reinstated.

Dismissals with or without prejudice imply that cases were either dismissed for a good reason, such as fraud or because of unforeseen circumstances or honest mistakes. A dismissal for abuse or with prejudice means the bankruptcy case can never be filed again.

After a waiting period, however, usually half a year, a new case can be filed. Issues related to types of dismissals can be very different, so a great deal depends on your own particular circumstances.

Taking Action After a Dismissal

In cases of involuntarily dismissal or dismissal without prejudice, you can try to get your bankruptcy case reinstated if you move quickly and proactively. You’ll often have a small window to continue pleading your case before it’s thrown out, so you have to pursue the issue immediately.

An honest mistake, or administrative dismissal, can sometimes be rectified by a “motion to reconsider” the case. This is your first step, combined with ascertaining and resolving the reason for the dismissal.

A reinstatement is always an option, even if your mistake was an accident. There is also sometimes the option of filing an appeal.

If a dismissal is final, sometimes you can immediately file a new one. But any case of dismissal with prejudice, or for abuse, involves a waiting period, usually of 180 days. After that time you can file a new case, but your automatic stay might be limited to one month, making it more difficult to get approved.

Worth repeating a final time is the fact that a bankruptcy filing will be recorded on your credit report as soon as you file it, and it could remain on your report even if your case is dismissed. Filing a second time will drop your credit scores still further.

Source: crediful.com

8 Free Sleep Apps for a Blissful Night’s Rest

Whether it’s fear of getting sick, worry for a loved one’s health, job anxiety, the stress of juggling parenting and career in a pandemic, or all of the above, sky-high stress seems to be the new normal.

While free sleep apps won’t solve your big-picture problems, they could help you fall asleep faster, so you can tackle life’s stressors feeling refreshed. Here are the best ones we’ve found.

1. White Noise

White noise free sleep apps are must-haves for travel, when you need a consistent noise to block out the sounds of other hotel guests, city noises, etc. The ‘lite’ version does the trick with free sleep sounds and nature sounds. For $4.99, you get 50 sounds plus the ability to create your own track that includes binaural beats, aka different frequencies that cue your brain to relax.

Find White Noise in the Apple App Store, Google Play or Amazon.

2. Relax and Sleep Well Hypnosis

Hypnosis usually costs several hundred dollars, but you’ll pay $0 for this hypnotherapy sleep app with four recordings of meditation and hypnosis. Additional hypnosis tracks are available as app purchases for $2.99 apiece. This one made Healthline’s 2019 list of the best sleep apps, so if you’re skeptical of hypnosis, their stamp of approval may persuade you to download hypnotherapy sleep apps.

Find Relax and Sleep Well Hypnosis in the Apple App Store or Google Play.

3. Headspace

Headspace’s guided meditation app is the perfect way to wind down for bed: Andy’s soothing British accent will lull you into a state of total relaxation where it seems like nothing could ever go wrong. While it’s $60 a year, Headspace often makes the best sleep apps lists. Students can pay $9.99 for annual access, and Netflix subscribers can watch the Headspace series for no extra cost. Each episode focuses on one style of meditation, so by the time you finish the season you’ll have a whole arsenal of relaxation techniques to try before bed.

Sign up for a free trial of Headspace or watch on Netflix.

4. Deep Sleep With AJ

Deep Sleep With AJ is a cheaper alternative to Headspace, with a one-time cost of $2.99 and similarly dreamy Scottish accent. Developed by a mindfulness expert and therapist, the sleep app includes mindfulness and inspirational talks, bedtime relaxation techniques to help you wake up feeling refreshed, meditations for anxiety and panic attacks and more. You can cue up meditations to repeat a set number of times, so it ideally plays through until you’ve caught those Zs.

Find Deep Sleep With AJ on the Apple App Store or Google Play.

5. Relax Melodies

Combining relaxing sounds, free sleep stories and guided meditation for sleep, lucid dreaming, or relief from medical conditions like tinnitus (ringing in the ears that often gets worse before bed), free sleep app Relax Melodies has thousands of fans. It comes with 52 sounds including white noise, nature sounds, ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response, or that warm tingle associated with sounds like whispers) and binaural beats. Premium sounds are available as app purchases for $4.99.

Find Relax Melodies on the Apple App Store or Google Play.

6. Nothing Much Happens

Think of free podcast Nothing Much Happens as adult sleep stories designed to help you relax into a peaceful slumber. As the title suggests, the stories are fairly low-stakes. Podcast host Kathryn is a meditation and yoga teacher, so think of this as an extended savasana where it’s actually awesome if you end up snoring after five minutes.

Find Nothing Much Happens on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

7. Endel

Perfect for the multitasker, Endel offers “personalized soundscapes” for relaxation, better sleep and better focus. The app pulls data from your environment (like weather, location or time of day), then moderates sounds to match your mood: focus music for daytime work and chill sounds to help you sleep. The app comes with a 7-day free trial, after which point you’ll need to buy a subscription ($5.99 per month or $49.99 per year, at present) or use the free, browser-based version.

Find Endel in the Apple App Store, Google Play, or on Twitch.

8. Rise: Sleep & Energy Tracker

For those wanting a scientific approach to a good night’s sleep, the Rise sleep tracker app is worth checking out. It’s free to download with membership upgrades as app purchases beginning at $6.99 per month. Unlike sleep-tracking apps which just gauge your sleep cycle, Rise looks at “sleep debt”– aka how much sleep you should get but don’t. The sleep app works backward from your sleep debt numbers, drawing from sleep data and health information to help you improve sleep quality and quantity. Rise fans include pro sports teams and Fortune 500 leaders who find the price worth it to sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed.

Find Rise in the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Most people experience sleep problems for a range of underlying causes, thus it can be helpful to have multiple free sleep apps on your phone. Armed with nature sounds, bedtime stories, guided meditation, science-backed sleep habits and hypnosis for life’s most pressing worries, you can stop counting sheep and cue up what’s mostly likely to help you get a good night’s sleep.

Lindsey Danis is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

Source: thepennyhoarder.com

Your Car Insurance Company is Probably Planning to Rip You Off — Unless You Do This

Watch out for your wallet! Do you live in one of the five U.S. states where car insurance rates are going up this year?

According to industry reports, rates are going up this year in Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. For example, New York rates are expected to rise by 1.2%, and Indiana’s by 1.1%. Annoying, isn’t it? Here you are, probably driving less than ever, and they want to raise your car insurance premiums.

They’re ripping you off. The good news? There’s something you can easily do about it.

A website called Insure.com makes it super easy to compare car insurance prices and make sure you’re not getting ripped off. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code and your age, and it’ll show you your options.

Are you driving less than 50 miles a day? Do you have zero DUIs on your record? You could qualify for discounts.

Using Insure.com, people save an average of $540 a year.

Yup. That could be $500 back in your pocket just for taking a few minutes to look at your options.

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He lives in one of these five states, and he’s mad about this.

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com