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February 2023: ‘The Spender’s Guide to Debt-Free Living’ + I Just Made My Budgeting Simpler

Is Financial February a thing? I sure felt like my February earned that label as I spent time (or…more than usual) thinking about all things money. Here’s my February recap: 

Best Book I Read This Month 

The best book I read this month also wins the award for the longest title with The Spender’s Guide to Debt-Free Living: How a Spending Fast Helped Me Get from Broke to Badass in Record Time. I think even the most financially savvy of us developed some not-so-great spending habits during the pandemic. This accessible guide offers a roadmap for one way to reach financial health. Find it here. 

Best Article I Read This Month

I’m finally sharing a super light read! Are you a black coffee drinker? Do you dress your coffee up? Check out this Wall Street Journal article and let me know your thoughts. 

Tip + Trick of the Month

I discovered something shocking this month: When you blend cottage cheese, you get a texture that can easily be flavored like a dessert. I was skeptical, but I literally tried it for the first time before sitting down at my laptop to write this and am eating it now – it works. As a vegetarian who lifts weights, I am ALWAYS looking for more places to sneak protein in, so this is a wonderful discovery. 

Here’s the very non-precise recipe I tried: 

  • 1 cup of 6% cottage cheese (Good Culture is my favorite brand) 
  • A few packets of raw stevia (raw honey would also be another great healthier sweetener) 
  • A couple of tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • Organic blueberries 

Pulse the cottage cheese in a blender or food processor until it’s a smooth texture, and then throw everything else in and blend. Top with blueberries. 

Let me know if you try this or another variation! 

Quote of the Month

“Just because you make more money doesn’t mean all of your problems go away. A larger income will only magnify any bad behaviors that were already there.” -George Kamel 

Kelvey’s Thought for the Month

I’ve been a budgeter since I was a teenager. Chalk it up to a need to know what’s going on with my money at all times or a hatred for any debt I take on, but it’s been a habit for nearly a decade. I’ve always stayed away from budgeting apps, finding them too complex, and kept a budget written out on a digital page. 

But…that changed this month, and it’s been phenomenal.

I’m finally getting over my distaste for Dave Ramsey’s personality and starting to listen to some of the podcasts put out by Ramsey personalities, and they continued to talk about Ramsey Solutions’ budgeting app EveryDollar with one descriptive word: simple. I decided to try it out to see if it was just being hyped up by people who earn money from it. 

Friends, I was surprised to find the app really is just THAT good. It’s the simplest budgeting tool I’ve ever used, and even the free version has all the features I need. Using it will save me so much time and stress in the coming months. If you’re looking for a budgeting app, I’m a non-Ramsey person telling you that this one is GREAT. 

Sorry if this prompts you to take an uncomfortable look at your finances, but also…not really sorry? It’ll be worth it, promise. I’ll catch you next month.

April 2022: Greenlights + Build Back Better (Habits)

April 2022: Greenlights + Build Back Better (Habits)

Here’s hoping your Monday went well and that your May is off to a great start! April 2022 was far too cold, but I still shivered my way through a full month to recap for you: 

Best Book I Read This Month 

I read my first celebrity memoir, and I think it’ll probably be my last celebrity memoir. Matthew McCounaughey’s Greenlights was a wild ride. Beautiful quotes and wise advice were interspersed with stories so crazy they must be true (partially because a good number of them reflected very poorly on him, his family, and other loved ones). It was an entertaining and bewildering read, and you can get the book here. 

Best Article I Read This Month

I swear I read journalism from other outlets and not just from the magazine I work for, but Reason has so many good takes it would be a crime to not share. Enjoy this longform read from our May 2022 issue talking about the pandemic, social networks, and old-time saloons. 

Tip + Trick of the Month

Do you want to cut back on mindless social media scrolling? Set time limits on your phone, but let someone you live with set the password. And DO NOT let them tell you what it is. I share a house with my sister, and since having her set my phone’s time limits, I am far more exacting in my social media use. I’m not exaggerating when I say it has reduced my phone use by hours every week. 

Quote of the Month

“If you are part of Christ’s own body, your sins evoke his deepest heart, his compassion and pity. He ‘takes part with you’—that is, he’s on your side. He sides with you against your sin, not against you because of your sin. He hates sin. But he loves you.” 

-Dane Ortlund, Gentle and Lowly

Kelvey’s Thought for the Month

I was in great shape when I was in college, but by the time 2021 rolled around, I couldn’t say the same. Between gym closures, reduced outings, and food delivery, the pandemic took the same toll on me that it did on everyone else. Couple that with a newly diagnosed thyroid disorder, and I lost a lot of muscle mass while putting on inches and generally losing a lot of my former healthy habits. 

2022 has been my rebuilding year, and I’ve rebuilt with wellness (not just muscles or hard workouts) in mind. Here are some of the simple habits that have had me feeling better, building more muscle, and leading a healthier life than I have in years. Steal if they work for you! 

  • Prioritizing Enough Quality Sleep
  • Getting 150 Grams of Daily Protein
  • Maintaining Average Calorie and Macro Consumption
  • Averaging 70,000 Weekly Steps
  • Building An Adjustable Workout Schedule

That’s all for now, folks. Have a great May – I’ll catch you next month.

5 Things I Learned by Tracking What I Eat

I’m a little bit of a fitness junkie; I’ve worked for a gym since I was 16 years old, keeping a shift or two in my schedule even when working full time somewhere else. After I graduated high school, I turned my health around, becoming a workout devotee and changing eating, sleeping, and life habits. All the patterns of my life changed, and as a result, my body totally did as well. Continue reading “5 Things I Learned by Tracking What I Eat”