Smart Living Soup Maker

Soup Maker

Yesterday I dropped down to the Home & Garden show at the BMO Center in Stampede Park and ended up buying the Smart Living Soup Maker for $100. Now I am not sure if $100 is a good deal or not, it was the “Show Price” but I can tell you that I (and in ME, MYSELF) made a 100% all natural pot of soup from scratch in about 35 minutes, start to finish, with NO help. And if that does not impress you, you don’t know me because I have never made soup before other than Campbell’s out of the can or something similar, which usually takes me around 30 minutes as well. I should mention, my soup from scratch required a lot less effort and time on my part then when I am soup from the can.

And, IT TASTED DELICIOUS!!!

As advertised, clean up was a breeze. Can’t tell you how nice it was not having to scrub the bottom of a soup pan to get it clean.

For $100 (regular price $179) my plan is to bring this puppy into work so that I can make fresh healthy soup at work for lunch. Even if it lasts only a month what a worthy investment, although I think it will last longer than that. Being diabetic means having to watch what I eat, so having a fast, easy way to get a healthy meal and/or snack in throughout the day is incredible. I will most likely have to invest 5 minutes of my own time for this luxury. Looking back I definitely wished I had one of these things when I was out working Seismic. Anyone who travels a lot knows how good a freshly cooked bowl of soup would be on the road, especially if it is easy to prepare.

Just in case you are wondering, I washed 3 potatoes, carrots, celery, left the skin on and cut them into approximately one inch pieces and threw them in the pot. Added a store bought vegetable soup base, added water to the line, put the top on, selected smooth (you can have smooth or chunky soup) and went and watched television for 26 minutes while the maker cooked and blended the soup. Viola, hot bowl of delicious soup.

My first impressions, highly recommend this. For reference, even though I bought it at the show, the company that sells them is Ocean Sales out of Calgary.

Trust me, if I can make soup from scratch, ANYONE can!!!

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Deficit Spending Does Not Work

Deficit Spending Does Not Work!

In simple terms this is where you spend more money than you have and the difference is the “deficit” which immediately turns into DEBT! Governments love to reference deficits because it keeps people distracted from looking at the bigger debt problem. They are no longer sacrificing our kids future, they are more now dumping the economic financial burden on our kids kids and even beyond. For once it would be nice if governments started to seriously address our debt problem and quit the silly deficit nonsense.

But enough on politics because my focus is more on personal finances. Personal being mainly my own, but I will share my views and thoughts with others as well. Like any of the personal finance shows on television, the path to financial wealth and financial freedom starts with stopping the deficit spending immediately. Usually this is with the creation of a budget, but regardless and without exception, creating personal wealth always must start with being able to live month to month within your means without going further into debt.

It is one of the hardest and probably most painful tasks to accomplish.

Not only do you have to stop spending more money than you make, but you must also look at your debt and interest you are paying to service that debt. Even if you make $100 and are able to go a month with only spending $100, if your debt (especially credit card debt) continues to rise you are still in trouble. This is the result of smoke and mirrors of paying money on your credit card in order that you can use your credit card to buy more. I actually use a spreadsheet twice a month (I get paid twice a month) to take a snapshot of my finances to let me know if I am heading in the right direction or not. And trust me, it is NOT always heading in the right direction.

But I do make sure of one thing over and above everything else, and that is that my credit cards maintain a zero balance. It took me quite a few years to get there so I know personally the struggles of having credit card debt and the negative impact it has on people. I also know (again from experience) that quick fixes seldom work. Implementing a real and true fix means addressing the behavior first. Of course getting a credit line with a lower interest rate to get rid of your higher interest credit card debt makes sense, but only if the credit card debt remains zero if you are transferring your credit card debt to credit line debt. How many people have done this only to find that racking up the credit cards again is all too easy? I know I have.

The first step MUST be to stop the deficit spending. Not for one month, but for at least 6 months before considering other options. For myself, this meant making credit card payments that included the minimum payment required plus the interest charged for the month plus all new purchases made that month plus fifty dollars. (PAYMENT = MINIMUM PAYMENT REQUIRED + INTEREST + NEW PURCHASES + $50) And you have to do this for every credit card you have every month. From a personal standpoint, it was HELL, but it had to be done and in doing so, I had to make sure that there were no smoke and mirrors. It definitely put a lot of stress on the finances but month by month it got better and in a relatively short period of time (a couple of months) the term required to pay off my credits cards dropped dramatically. I vividly remember the month where it dropped from 33 years to pay off one credit card debt by making minimum payments to 25 years using this method. It took a lot less than 25 years to finally accomplish that goal thankfully.

And that is why today, my own personal hard and fast rule is NO CREDIT CARD DEBT … PERIOD!!!

It is a lesson I am definitely working hard to instill in my kids. Life is much easier to go through if you learn and apply this lesson sooner rather than later. And given the number of people and governments that are currently in debt, it is a much needed lesson for everyone to adopt quickly. Although definitely a tough lesson to learn it really is simple to apply.

As oil prices continue to plunge and our dollar dropping, wouldn’t it be refreshing for our “leaders” (aka government) to step up to the plate and come forward with a budget that stopped deficit spending today? Would it not be courageous of them to address their/our debt problem in the same manner as the credit card debt solution above? And to do it all within the means they currently have, meaning NO new taxes! That would truly be leadership by example.

Live within your means and invest towards your future. It really is very simple, Deficit Spending Does Not Work for anyone.

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Put away your I-phones at work

Turn Off Iphone At Work

It really should be a no brainier, “PUT AWAY YOUR I-PHONES (smart phones) AT WORK!”

It really is an epidemic. Every business owner I talk with, myself included, I-phones and employees texting and social networking is the number one complaint. It is like employees think they have found their dream job, getting paid to text and social network instead of concentrating on the work they are actually getting paid to do. And every employer I have spoken with, myself included, all tells stories of the employee’s who make that little jump when we come around the corner and attempt to pretend they have not been on their phones and have been working. Worst, employee’s actually seem to believe that they are fooling us when in reality they are fooling no one. I would suggest that at a lot of employers would just as soon prefer that these unproductive and uncaring employee’s simply went away instead of trying to make the employers seem like jerks by putting in place I-Phone/Smart Phone policies.

On the bright side for new employee’s entering the workforce, it is easy to advance because there really is no competition out there is the workplace. Here is my list of Do’s to get ahead in the workplace.

Put away your smart phones

Of course it is my number one rule. Don’t pretend, don’t be sneaky, just turn the stupid thing off for the few hours you are getting paid. Added bonus to those who leave them off on breaks too. Simply fact, as soon as you turn the stupid thing on, you get stupider and that is a contagious trait to have. Turn it off and leave it off until you leave and you will advance.

Get to work on time.

Better yet, get to work a little bit early so you are ready to “start” work on time. It is noticed. Most of today’s employee’s not using a time clock will show up “kind of” on time, take some extra minutes to get their coffee and get settled before starting work (after one more check of their I-phones). It’s aggravating to watch, so don’t do it. Get to work early and start working on time and you are definitely ahead of the rest.

Take an interest in your work.

Every employee thinks that they should be earning more and most at best put in their hours, collect their check and complain about how they could run a better company. Of course, they never look in the mirror to see the type of employee’s they have to deal with. Rare is the employee that actually takes an interest in their work, try to learn more about their work and what they are doing and maybe even become more efficient and knowledgeable about their work. Of course work is usually boring, but that’s probably because you do not even know why you are doing it. Taking an active interest and learning more about your job should not be part of th job requirement and should be something that you just do to make your work more enjoyable and fulfilling.

Here is a tip, if you do not want to take an active interest in your job, that is probably a good indicator you are doing the wrong type of work for yourself.

Don’t be a complainer and whiner/

Another no brainier that most ignore. Worst yet, the biggest complainers and whiners usually think they are the most positive people in the workplace. Best is to be quiet, be helpful and respect others (including other employee’s, management and your employer). It makes a huge difference to be the person that everyone wants to work with and usually those are the people that are actually doing work and avoid engaging in water cooler gossip.

Put in extra hours.

Yes, everyone had better places to go and better places to be and most people leave to go there as quickly as they can. The people who always standout are the ones who care enough to get the job done, even if it means putting in a few extra unpaid hours. I like to think of this as investing in yourself and the reality is that the people who have better places to go usually don’t. Plus, if you take an interest in your job, you will most likely enjoy the few extra hours you spend at work because you will be more productful without the distraction of others.

Starting at the bottom and moving up.

I will always remember when I first went out to work on a seismic crew with my brother (who was in charge of the survey crew at the time). He told me that I had to start at the bottom and work my way up, but also said that it was not hard to do because no one else wanted to really work doing the simple extra things at night that saved time during the day and made the crew increased the crews production. Lots of time, spending an extra hour at night could save 3 or more hours during the day so the net time off was more.

Lots of times in lots of situations, sometimes you just have to wiggle your foot in the door. Once in, do the simple things, the important things and you will increase your value tremendously and have a lot more fun doing the job you are getting paid for. And it definitely starts with putting away your I-Phone.

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