Let me ask you a question. Do you really ENJOY cooking dinner? Because lately, after I get home from working a 9 or 10 hour day, plus an hour commute home, and it’s now 7pm, dinner is the last thing I want to worry about. So I’ve been going to the one kitchen gadget that I never really thought I’d use, but is now saving my life on the daily. THE PRESSURE COOKER. Have you used a pressure cooker before? It’s like a crockpot only backwards. It cooks things super quickly under high amounts of pressure. It gives you all the juicy tenderness of a crockpot, in 20 minutes. I especially love using my pressure cooker in the summertime because you don’t have an oven running for 45 minutes or an hour, heating up your house even more. Using a pressure cooker is as easy as you can get. Put some water in the pot, throw in some meat and vegetables or potatoes, put on your lid, cook. I mean, easy peasy! Even I can do that! Here’s my go-to pressure cooker recipe.
1. put 1 cup of water in your pressure cooker.
2. add 2 chicken breasts and some new potatoes.
3. put the pressure cooker on “2” and your burner on high.
4. Close the lid and lock, and wait for your cooker to come to pressure.
5. turn your burner down to medium and cook for 15 minutes.
It is literally the easiest meal you’ll ever make, and the chicken is juicy and delicious, even with nothing on it. Plus, it’s a great way to eat healthier! No cooking oil, no salt, no butter. Just water!
We talk about living better than before by accomplishing the uncommon and seemingly impossible.
Kristin and I, our lives are wildly different than they used to be just a few years ago. We are now happening to our lives, not the other way around.
We’ve gotten comfortable with pain and delaying gratification.
Don’t think that things like debt repayment and weight loss are pain-free. They are not. It’s really hard to say “no” to fun with friends and family.
It’s really hard to work day in and day out to lose 2 pounds.
It’s really hard to go against the grain of societal norms by living with purpose and intention rather than apathy and excess.
Kristin and I went through some of the most painful and difficult situations of our marriage in the first 12 months. We moved out of a lovely home in a great neighborhood. I started working two jobs. We took Kristin’s brother into our new cramped home. We sold many, many things. Every day was a new physical and mental struggle.
Why did we put ourselves through all of this? Because we both knew what we wanted took hard work.
We knew that better things awaited us on the other side of all of that.
As a family who doesn’t have cable, we aren’t ones who regularly keep up with reality TV. On vacation, however, we were spoiled with cable for two weeks. With cable TV comes commercials. With commercials come promos for the latest reality shows.
Amongst them was a show called “Chrisley Knows Best.” To be perfectly honest, the promo came and went, and all I thought was, “well they seem obnoxious” and that was that. I didn’t plan on putting much more thought into The Chrisley’s. But a few days later, who’s mug do I see on The Today Show? Todd Chrisley.
image via celebuzz.com
He was promoting his new reality show, and the scene they chose to show was Todd boasting about his “excellent” parenting skills. He had chosen to teach his young son a lesson by putting a boot on his RANGE ROVER SUV. Yes, his teenage son has a Range Rover. So I decided to do a bit of googling to find out about this Chrisley family. What I found was honestly horrifying.
The first thing I came across was a People.com article entitled Chrisley Knows Best: Inside Todd Chrisley’s $45 Million Bankruptcy Case.Hang on….. $45 Million?? Bankruptcy? What is going on with this family?!
The very first quote in this article is Todd Chrisley boasting,
In a year, we sometimes spend $300,000 or more, just on clothing
Well then. Surely that was before their bankruptcy. But no, the Chrisleys’ bankruptcy was in August 2012, and this interview was a recent quote from show promos. In details of the Chrisley’s bankruptcy case, the family’s assets were listed at 4.2 million. But the kicker? His debts were listed at 49.4 MILLION. Yes, you read that right. The USA Network gave a reality show with the title “KNOWS BEST” to a family that is 45 million dollars in debt. And I’m just wondering, what exactly does Todd Chrisley know best?
Unfortunately, USA Network is not the only network promoting excessive amounts of debt. A show on HGTV called “Flip or Flop” intro’s the show with the starring couple boasting about how they maxed out all of their credit cards and even borrowed money from family. I just can’t bring myself to celebrate that.
I recently heard the sad news that the star of this show recently got a cancer diagnosis. I can’t help but wonder if they regret all of that credit card debt now that they are more than likely riddled with hospital bills. I don’t know this family, and they very well may have come out on top, made enough money to pay off their maxed out credit card debt, and made some money flipping houses. But I’d wager to say that’s not the common outcome of similar situations.
And we can’t forget the infamous Theresa Giudici, start of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. She, along with her husband, are facing serious jail time due to their shady financial ways. Fraud and massive amounts of debt are glorified like crazy with this family.
Their debt rang up to 11 Million. Yet we saw them on tv each week throwing extravagant parties, remodeling their home, and taking their kids on massive shopping sprees. It’s not the best values to be teaching your children.
On the opposite end of the money spectrum, we have shows like Extreme Cheapskates, which focuses on the strangeness of people that love to save. Rather than show off lavish parties and shopping sprees, the people on these shows have to “come clean” to a friend about their money saving ways. So tell me this- Why don’t the stars of the lavish reality shows have to “come clean” about their massive debt amounts? Sure, the stars of “Extreme Cheapskates” may go a little overboard. And we might be a little bit shocked by someone who refuses to buy toilet paper. Yes, it is extreme. But so is millions and millions in debt. Why are we not calling these people “extreme?”
All in all, it is clear that network TV has made a killing on these families who are living a supposed “lavish” lifestyle. But in REAL reality, it seems as though they are just causing more and more families to put themselves in grave financial danger trying to live up to the lifestyle they see on TV.
this post contains affiliate links and free stock photos from www.freedigitalphotos.net
Sticking to a budget can be really difficult, especially when you’re first starting out. It can be confusing, hard to maintain, and in need of a lot of tweaking as you find out what works for you. Our budget today looks a lot different than it did 4 years ago. 4 years ago, our “budget” was more like a general overview. It wasn’t nearly as planned and purposeful as it is now.
Our journey to being what I lovingly call “Super Budgeters” started 2 years ago. We had just gotten married, and Ethan had just purchased a Lincoln MKZ on a loan. We weren’t what either of us would call “bad” with money. But we were definitely spending, and we weren’t saving. In April of 2012, I read The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey. This put us on a path to pay off over $30,000 in debt in less than two years, including our car and all of our credit card debt. We now only have student loan debt, which we are working through, but at a slower pace.
The Dave Ramsey plan set us in motion to be a lot smarter with our money. I’d like to note that we do not follow Dave Ramsey’s plan to a tee, but we did during the time that we were putting all of our extra money towards debt. Do what works for you. We’ll talk a lot more about the things we did on the Dave Ramsey plan in the posts ahead, but today, I want to focus on the budget. Here are some budget tips that will help you get the ball rolling on your own budget.
1. Open and close EVERY month. Sit down with everyone in your family that spends money and PLAN YOUR MONTH. On the 1st, we sit down, write out our budget, and plan where our money is going. At the end of every month, we sit back down and review what we’ve done. Every month is different, so don’t skip a month!
2. Put it on Paper. Putting things on paper makes them much more real that typing them into a spreadsheet. Ethan had always used an excel spreadsheet to work his budget. I also had my own way. But sitting down and looking at what Ethan had done didn’t make the budget feel real to me, and vice-versa. Do it together, and write it down. When you put it on paper, it’s there forever. There’s no delete key on a bad month when you write it down!
3. Find tools that work for you. We went through a few different types of calendars, and a few different ways of organizing what we did each month. It took us a while to find what worked for us, which was a basic monthly calendar along with a small notebook for making additional notes.
4. Write down your mistakes. There will be months where you feel like you just ruined everything that you planned. It happens. But when you make budgeting a habit, you’ll be better financially prepared for those unplanned times. Writing down where you’ve slipped up will help you be more prepared for next month. You can make adjustments, cut back on things to make up for those “oops” moments, and get yourself right back on track.
5. Budget in FUN. When we first started budgeting and paying down debt, it was really difficult not to want to put every last penny towards our end goal. Remember that you have to give yourself some fun money, even if it’s just a little. Budget in a date night once a month, or a new outfit. Having a little fun will make your budget a lot easier to accept.
Kristin and I have a lot of goals that we are setting out to accomplish in 2014. You are reading one of them right now! Having an online space of our own is one of our passions, and it is something that has taken a lot of hard work and a long time to materialize. Not only do your passions take work and talent, but they also take Motivation. Goals are awesome and fun when you make them on New Years Eve, but then not so fun several weeks or months later when the work comes in.
Which brings me to a helpful tool: Passwords.
Here is a list of the most recent worst, or most common passwords from Google.
Notice a trend here?
We tie our most important passwords to the things, pets & others around us, and we do a terrible job of being secure, at that. Why not personalize the password? Why not benefit from your own password?!?
Why not personalize the password? Why not benefit from your own password?!?
Motivating you Password is just another tip on the way to success with life. Here’s why:
1. It’s Specific, Measurable and Attainable, in at least 6 characters that must contain a number.
Most passwords ask for a mixture of uppercase, lowercase, numbers and symbols, and they usually need to be 6 or more characters. Just as “Trying to lose weight” isn’t a specific, measurable, and attainable goal, “WeightLoss1” makes a bad motivational password. If I wanted to Lose 30 lbs. by July, that’s a lot more Specific, Measurable, and Attainable, isn’t it? Typing in a password like “Lose30byJuly14” several times a day would certainly engrain the fact that you will be losing that weight by July, wouldn’t it?
2. Repetition, repetition, repetition!
I use passwords that I will be entering in many times as signposts of focus for my goals. If I’m training for a certain run or working on a specific project, I’ll use my current passion to relate to my passwords. Remember that most tasks become habit after 21-30 days of repetition, and most corporate emails last about 6 weeks.
(As a side note: If you’ve been following Hello, Flecks, you know that we just got back from vacation during our launch. I was able to remember my computer password with relative ease when I came back to work after two weeks of not thinking about it. How? It was one of my goals – how could I forget the thing that’s been my focus and motivation?) 3. It brings your “Why” to the forefront of your mind
With any goal, you need a reason for doing that thing, it’s called your “Why”. You may want to run a 5K to get in shape or eat healthier. It may take weeks of daily routines in order to stay focused and build up that habit. If I’ve been slacking on say, exercising, typing in a password like “IRun2Lose30” gets embarrassing after the 10th or 20th time in a row if you’ve been slacking all week. Just keeping that goal in your mind recharges you and gets you back into that good habit you set out to create.
This is just one way that I stay motivated when my goals get tough, what are some tips & tricks that are already present in your life that can keep you motivated?